How student placements can promote your business

How student placements can promote your business
Clive Bonny
Clive Bonny

Your local universities and colleges are paying small firms to take smart, energetic people of all ages and abilities. Some are summer interns, some part-time and some full-time for a year.

My own business has been taking fully-subsidised students since 2014, so I’d like to share with you how I helped them to help me. 

Step 1 

I looked at my local university's careers section on its website. This showed me they subsidised third-year Business Studies graduates who wanted work experience. I registered as a local employer online and posted a one-page job description with online links to my business.

Total time = one hour.

Step 2

Within six weeks I received CVs and letters expressing interest. I emailed back a time to chat by phone or Zoom for 30 minutes to shortlist the best, who were then invited to visit me for an informal chat about my business needs for an online researcher and marketeer to promote my services.

I said I’d quiz them on my business and on their skills to match my job, including numeracy, use of English and relationship skills. Three weeks later I had the right person and I gave them an initial project to plan their time with me before they came on board.

Step 3 

Day one: we reviewed the plan of work, and agreed on how and when we would liaise weekly to stay on track and stay motivated.

After a week they joined me in my office and outside meeting clients to see the reality of my business. This helped them to understand the 'how' and 'why' of my action -  my clients enjoyed chatting with them, too.

During the pandemic, we liaised regularly via Zoom. At the end of every week, they drafted a graphical 'Learning Log' to show their progress and results.

Step 4 

At the end of the internship, through the learning logs, they had created a portfolio of multiple business skills to show future employers and lots of real-world evidence for their final year degree dissertation. Some of my students' learning logs can be seen below:

These show how they promoted my innovation support services, including business continuity planning, intellectual property protection and Responsible Business Standards.

We need to support the next generation of entrepreneurs with real-life work experience in small firms. My 2020 student even created free press coverage.

If you’d like to learn more about these wonderful partnership opportunities, please connect with Clive on Enterprise Nation.

Clive Bonny
Clive Bonny
Since 1990 Clive has worked as a strategic management partner, management mentor and coach in association with national business support enterprises delivering government funded advice to SME’s, building capacity for high growth and job creation. His work has focused on capacity building, profitable growth and job creation for SME’s and start-ups. His scope of work involves designing and delivering skills workshops and coaching on supply chain development, procurement bidding, Innovation and IP protection, HR productivity, quality process improvement, VCSE investment funding and risk management, alternative finance and crowdfunding, international business development, low carbon innovations. Client projects have created high profits, boosted revenue growth and created jobs through a wide portfolio of support activities. Clive’s assignments have improved corporate partnering, marketing, sales and HR services. He has worked across EU, Africa, USA, Middle East and Asia. His sector experience includes public, private and professional services, finance, IT, health, manufacturing, engineering, retail, leisure, construction, transport, and new media. Clive facilitated workshops for over 500 entrepreneurs at the 2022 Enterprise Nation UK conference presenting on growth topics and leading skill share discussions on funding for start-ups and ESG Environmental Social Governance standards.  Clive's active engagement with professional institutes and trade bodies across UK and abroad enables him to develop skill sharing partnerhips for clients and accelerate SME growth

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