Santander To 'Encourage SME Internships'

Spanish Bank Wants To Make Graduates More Interested In Working For Smaller Firms

10.12.2013

Santander UK has stated it will triple the number of internships it arranges for SMEs in the coming years to 1,500.

While many graduates currently prefer working for large organisations, Santander is keen to see this change and it wants to encourage more university leavers to take up jobs in small businesses.

To do this, Santander will pay half of a each graduates £1,000 per month salary, while the SME covers the other half and benefits from a promising, skilled worker who will inject fresh ideas into the workplace.

Ana Botin, the bank's chief executive, told the Daily Telegraph: "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 them find suitable graduates that can help growing companies grow faster."

A recent survey conducted by Santander looked at the opinions of 2,000 graduates and found that half were attracted to working for SMEs because of the salary opportunities on offer, while 31 per cent liked the fact they are more likely to get promoted quickly.

This resulted in 25 per cent of study participants going on to work for SMEs, while 30 per cent were employed by larger corporations.

But despite help from banks like Santander, many university leavers are having trouble getting any kind of graduate role at all.

Recent figures released by the Office for National Statistics showed that 47 per cent of those who have received a degree in the last five years are working in careers that do not require a higher education qualification.

This follows on from analysis by the Financial Times that shows recent graduates are earning 12 per cent less than those who left university before 2008's stock market crash.

But with recent economic news showing signs the UK economy is growing, SMEs could increasingly be in a position where they can utilise the country's academic skill base to grow their profit levels.

Expert Opinion
Small businesses are the lifeblood of the economy and initiatives of this nature will play a key role in ensuring that graduates get a chance to experience life at such organisations and have a first-hand experience of the opportunities that such companies can take advantage of.

"Such schemes will potentially not only provide start-ups and smaller companies with a boost in terms of their workforce, but may also go some way towards inspiring top talent emerging from universities to consider their options and even examine the possibilities that they could face if they were to launch their own start-up.

"However, it is also vital that smaller businesses prepare for being part of initiatives of this kind and growing their workforce in general. A key part of preparing for such changes is having the right legal support at hand to ensure that expansion and growth runs as smoothly as possible."
Steven Beahan, Partner