According to data, 71% of the SMEs (small and medium sized enterprises) that have taken part in the Northumbria University £1.1 million graduate programme are expecting to see a rise in profits.

Northumbria University launched their programme Northumbria Graduates into Business Project during 2013 to help start-up SMEs provide graduate internships to students.

With support from the European Regional Development Fund, 50 SMEs in the region took part in the project.

Bringing new approaches to the business world

The project allowed graduates to be taken on by local SMEs in a part funded internship for six months, giving them time to bring their new skills, knowledge and approaches to the business world.

During a 12 month interim evaluation on the project’s success the report found that 42% of the SMEs involved witnessed an increase in annual turnover – of £50,000-£200,000 – as a result of recruiting a graduate intern.

An additional 29% stated that they expected an increase in turnover in the upcoming 12 months.

A final six businesses said their turnover had increased by between 25% and 50% since employing a graduate intern.

The report also found that 20 graduates had been offered full-time positions at the company after their internship had ended.

As a result of the success of the project, the SMEs involved are set to increase their headcount by creating an additional 64 positions over the next 12 months.

Creating the next business leaders

Northumbria University also aimed to create the next business leaders through the medium of this project; something which is proving to be a success.

Currently, the university has been approached by 70 graduates looking for advice to start their own business.

Pro Vice-Chancellor for Business and Engagement at Northumbria University, Lucy Winskell OBE, commented that the role of British university’s is now to contribute towards economic regeneration and this is exactly what Northumbria University is aiming to achieve.

The university is pleased to see the “positive impact” the project has had on graduate retention, she said.

Are you a recent graduate? Would you like to get involved in these graduate internships?