New internship fund now open

The SME Internship Scheme – Widening Participation (WP) Fund provides quality, paid work experience opportunities with small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK. The WP Fund is open to students and recent graduates who meet specified eligibility criteria. 

What is an SME internship?

The internships are 140 hours long and can be completed on a part-time or full-time basis, during and outside of term time, and must start before the end of June 2021. 

SMEs are organisations with less than 250 employees and a turnover of less than £40 million, including businesses, charities and social enterprises. 

Over 99% of businesses in the UK are SMEs. In 2019, 5.6 million businesses were micro-businesses (employed 0-9 people), that’s 96% of businesses. (House of Commons Library, Business Statistics, July 2020). 

We offer SMEs a grant to ensure you get paid for your  internship.  


Here’s what some of last year’s interns thought about their internship: 

Working within a smaller team meant that I felt in contact and able to communicate with the other members despite the virtual nature of the internship.’  

From an intern’s perspective, I believe SMEs make you feel less like a cog in the machine and more like you are really getting involved with the company.’  

I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to work with such a personable, focused team and for a company with a valuable mission.’  

This internship was so exciting and equipped me with a number of skills needed to enter the working world.’  

Here’s what some of our partner SMEs had to say: 

‘We were really pleased with how this scheme ran, and how great our intern was. We are delighted that she has managed to find a job due to our time with us. Thank you!’  

‘Thank you for the excellent opportunity and support, this scheme is very welcome.’  

The intern created an amazingly valuable system/program from scratch, to exactly how we envisioned it being, and was instrumental in providing an extra service to our clients that we have wanted to for quite some time.’  

Our intern ‘delivered excellent work right out of the gate. We enjoy working with her so much we’ve offered her a full time role.’  

Read more about intern experiences here on the Careers Service blog.

Want to find out more?

Please read our online guide for more information.  If you have questions about your eligibility or how to get involved in the scheme after reading this, please contact: 

If you don’t meet the eligibility criteria for this scheme, we encourage you to check our webpage regularly for updates on available internship schemes as we hope to release more funding throughout the academic year.