The SME Internship Scheme: what you can offer an SME

If you’re looking for a paid internship, sourcing your own can be a great way to find an opportunity in a sector that you’re really interested in.

The SME Internship Scheme provides funding for UK-based SMEs, including charities, social enterprises and start-ups to support full-time or part-time internships of at least 140 hours.

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The SME Internship Scheme offers funding to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to help them take you on for a paid internship.

You can participate in the scheme by applying to our advertised opportunities on mycareer.

You can also approach organisations yourself to see if they would like to employ you by applying for the scheme.

When you’re approaching SMEs to ask for an internship opportunity, it might feel like you’re asking for something only you benefit from. However, it’s important to remember that an internship can be mutually beneficial, and SMEs in particular can reap big rewards from taking on a University of Bristol intern! 

Reasons recruiting an intern can be great for a small business:

Increasing productivity and saving money

Hiring an intern is a cost-effective way of employing a highly motivated student or recent graduate who is keen to make a contribution. The short-term additional support of an intern can be the perfect way for a small organisation to complete a specific project or piece of work.  

Helping the organisation stay current

Interns can help an SME keep up to date with the latest tech and other social, entertainment, and market trends. However, their real value lies beyond just knowing the latest societal trends. Today’s degree courses encourage critical thinking, innovation, ideation, problem-solving and many other transferrable skills. The real value of an internship lies in creating a role for you, where you can have a meaningful impact on an organisation.  

Test driving graduate talent and developing a talent pipeline

Recruiting the right person into a small business can be hard to navigate; an internship is a low-risk way for organisations to bring a new personality into the workplace. There is no obligation for them to offer you more work, but further employment is often a happy outcome of an internship: 32% of interns on our SME Internship Scheme secured further work with that employer as a result of their work experience last academic year.

Giving something back

An internship will help you gain practical experience of the workplace, develop your professional skills, add to your CV, make industry contacts, among countless other benefits. The organisation will be providing a student at the start of their career with exposure to the world of small business, giving you invaluable insight.  

You can read about some of our recent internships on our blog

Check out this guide for advice on how to approach SMEs about internships

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