Graduate Advantage Launches Career Enhancing Voluntary Internship Scheme

Priya from The Vine interviewing Olympic athlete, Denise Lewis.

Graduate Advantage (GA) is expecting a high demand from both employers and graduates for their new voluntary internship scheme being launched today within the West Midlands.

Sourcing fresh and enthusiastic talent for a short term project or role can be both time consuming and frustrating for small businesses. GA is able to give companies more choice by taking the recruitment headache away.

Throughout their courses graduates gain a variety of skills and a vast amount of knowledge however, degrees do not always equip them with the essential commercial awareness and practical experience sought by many employers. Voluntary internships and exposure to a professional environment are an essential way of getting graduates work ready, and making them more employable in the future.
Two graduates, Priya and Karen were recruited on a voluntary internship at The Vine publication. Both were recent graduates looking to add to their experience after completing degrees in Journalism and Media and Communication studies. The Vine is a free publication aimed at the black and minority ethnic community in the Midlands covering all aspects of life. The magazine aims to inspire, empower and educate by highlighting individuals, businesses, community groups and organisations that have achieved real success.

Priya and Karen supported the magazine by creating some editorial design, researching articles as well as representing the magazine at events across the region. They also wrote a number of articles that were published in the magazine, as well as getting to sit-in and interview people like the Olympic athlete, Denise Lewis, and singer/songwriter Beverley Knight.

“Both Karen & Priya hit the ground running; both contributing from day one without much guidance as they are able to act on their own initiative and have brought ideas forward that we hadn’t thought of. Their presence allowed us to concentrate on the development of the organisation and it gave them a chance to develop too,” commented Joanne Gayle, Business Development Manager at The Vine.

The new voluntary internship service offered by GA complements their paid internship services which have been running for 8 years across the region. Developed out of the successful West Midlands Graduate Internships pilot project (WMGI), this new service has been created from lessons learnt and offers more choice to businesses wishing to take on a graduate. Graduates are able to volunteer on an unpaid basis from 4 to a maximum of 16 weeks. To assist them a fund has been created enabling them to claim travel expenses.

Graduate Advantage is funded through the European Regional Development Fund and a mixture of private sector investment and university support.

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