University launches scheme to support 30 new start-ups

The Northern Echo: Northumbria’s Careers and Employment Service helped business and IT consultancy Waterstons Northumbria’s Careers and Employment Service helped business and IT consultancy Waterstons

A NORTH-EAST university is launching a £1.1m project to help start-up 30 new businesses and to provide graduate interns for more than 50 small businesses.

The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) has awarded the University over half a million pounds to support Northumbria University's Graduates into Business project, with the grant being matched by the University and other funding providers.

The funding will help Northumbria University to extend the support it provides to SMEs in the North East and will also enable the University to support the creation of 30 new graduate start-up businesses.

It is hoped that 60 permanent jobs will be created as a result.

Through the scheme, the University will provide graduate interns to 55 SMEs and will contribute up to 50 per cent of their salary costs. The interns will bring new skills, knowledge and approaches to the businesses, helping to develop their workforces and improve business performance.

Northumbria’s Careers and Employment Service piloted an internship scheme last year which proved to be a huge success with 81 per cent of the interns being permanently recruited by their employers at the end of the placement.

One company to use the pilot scheme was Durham City business and IT consultancy Waterstons, which hired maths and business management graduate Matthew Thomas to support their finance team.

The firm recruited him on a permanent contract when the internship ended.

Waterstons human resources officer Lesley Renteurs said: “Our business was starting to grow quite significantly and we needed to expand our finance team. We used Northumbria’s internship scheme to test the benefits of bringing someone else in and it worked so well that we were in no doubt about offering Matt a permanent contract at the end of the scheme.

“Bringing in a graduate intern helped to free up our existing team to work on new projects and brought new skills and enthusiasm to the company. I would absolutely recommend the scheme to any small business. It’s a very good way to find good people.”

 

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