A NORTH-EAST university is offering the region's small and medium sized companies the chance to use the skills and experience of a science masters or doctoral student for only £125 a week.

With placements starting as early as May, Newcastle University are looking for firms who would like an extra pair of hands to manage a business improvement project which could make a real difference to the company.

The initiative will provide 50 per cent of the costs of the postgraduate for a period of up to 24 weeks or 900 hours, a timescale which will allow the student to use their high-level expertise to develop a significant in-depth project to assist the company leading to improved performance.

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The majority of the postgraduate students placed are anticipated to come from the University's Science, Agriculture and Engineering Faculty and will be undertaking science and engineering based masters and doctoral courses across energy, environment, transport, marine, computing, agriculture and process technologies Support will be provided by a Newcastle University academic who will be closely supervising the student.

Bryn Jones, project director, said: "This is an ideal opportunity for a small or medium sized company to take advantage of the high level skills of our postgraduate students at a subsidised rate."

Mark Dunville - technical director of Advanced Renewable Power Ltd, a South Shields based renewable energy company was one of the first companies to recruit a student from the scheme added: "We have recruited a masters student in renewable energy management utilising their skills to diversify into a new area of renewable energy, which would not have been possible without the subsidy and the expertise from the highly experienced university academic supporting this project." The project is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). For more info contact melanie.dunnett@ncl.ac.uk or ring 0191 222 5259

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