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Santander UK vows to treble SME internship scheme

Date Added: 19/12/2013  

The UK arm of Santander is planning to help fund internships for up to 1,500 graduates to work for small businesses, in an effort to encourage those leaving university to consider working for a small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) rather than a large business.

According to The Telegraph, Santander has pledged to treble the number of places that it currently offers through its SME internship programme. The bank’s chief executive, Ana Botin, feels that SMEs are “overlooked” by many graduates.

The scheme works by paying half of each graduate’s £1,000 a month salary while undertaking the internship. This helps smaller businesses appear more attractive to potential staff that may otherwise prove too expensive for the company to take on.

Ms Botin told the newspaper: “When you are running an SME you are typically looking for someone who can come in and do a particular job. Our programme is designed to help match them find suitable graduates that can help growing companies grow faster.”

Research carried out by the bank discovered that while just one in every eight graduates would list working for an SME as their top career choice, a quarter of students actually end up employed by a smaller business.

Ms Botin added: “By increasing the number of internship places from 500 last year to 1,500 in the coming year, we will provide SMEs with some of the country’s brightest and most highly skilled students and graduates,

"Sustainable economic recovery depends on SME growth, and SMEs depend on being able to get the best people they can.”

Santander launched the SME internships last year to help small businesses compete with larger enterprises in the hiring of graduates. Many of the university leavers who took part in the scheme ended up taking permanent, full-time jobs with the SME they interned for.

Schemes such as Santander’s internship programme can only help bolster SMEs and improve their ability to compete in a competitive market for new talent.

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