University of Sunderland Graduate Sophie Willox (BA Media Production) - Junior Videographer/ Content Creator Intern at Foresight eLearning and Creative
University of Sunderland


Access University of Sunderland Internship scheme funding to recruit the best graduate talent into your SME

The University of Sunderland’s ERDF Graduate Internship scheme is a long running initiative, connecting graduate talent with regional, Small to Medium Enterprises. During their internship, graduates bring fresh ideas and skills into the company, who in turn provide exciting opportunities for graduates to work on projects supporting growth for the business.

One of the SMEs accessing funding is Sunderland based, Foresight eLearning and Creative who recruited University of Sunderland, Media Production graduate, Sophie Willox, in September 2021. Co-Founder Lee Daymond, himself a University of Sunderland graduate, told us:

“We have had previous experience of accessing the Graduate Internship Scheme and building on the success of that first placement, were keen to recruit again as the business was growing. The scheme offers a significant subsidy which makes it a much easier businesses decision to tap into the quality graduate talent pool.”

The scheme delivers European Regional Development Funding (ERDF) and supports SMEs with the cost of employing a graduate, providing £4500 in subsidy payments. After 12 months, employers can decide whether to extend the Intern’s contract. In fact, most do, with a high rate of graduates being offered full time employment on completion of their internship.

Providing interesting, graduate-level roles, with the opportunity for progression plays a key part in retaining graduate talent in the region. SMEs place a huge role in our regional economy and the salary subsidy, available through the ERDF funding, supports companies to provide such opportunities for graduates.

Graduates on the scheme report that the reality of working in a smaller company means they have an exciting, challenging, and wide breadth of experience which a much larger, corporate organisation may not provide.

The team regularly receive positive feedback from graduates, with many securing longer-term employment once the Internship has ended.

Sophie’s internship with Foresight has given her the opportunity to get involved with a mixture of editing and going out to film in a range of various locations. She told us:

“I’m really enjoying building relationships with people and clients, there’s never a dull day. It’s been challenging learning to be in a more professional environment, as it was my first experience in that kind of surrounding, but I hope the experience will enable me to take more of a lead in the creative aspects - branching out into other creative contents.”

New Year, New Recruit? Get in touch!

The start of the calendar year might not be the most obvious time of year to recruit a graduate, but the team places interns into companies the entire year-round, and the scheme allows for placements up to 5 years after graduation.

If you are looking to expand your team in early 2022 and think an Intern could add value to your business, get in touch to explore how they could support you to recruit the best graduate talent.

As a successful SME joining the scheme, you will gain access to the University’s recruitment specialists who can provide support with; writing of job adverts, advertisement of roles across various channels, shortlisting of candidates and scheduling of interviews, and can even provide support on interview panels if required. The team will actively research and engage the candidates you are looking for, identifying specific skills, competencies, and talent to complement your business goals.

We encourage you to get in touch as soon as possible, as opportunities are limited with all placements via the scheme being made by Summer 2022. The Graduate Internship Team will ensure you are supported through the complete process from initial enquiry, all the way through to the end of the Internship.

For initial enquires you can contact Donna Bainbridge, Internship Development Co-Ordinator on 07976 199512 or email:

We are currently able to support SMEs that are registered (and operating or trading) in the following areas:

  • Sunderland
  • Newcastle
  • Gateshead
  • South Tyneside
  • North Tyneside
  • Northumberland


The Internships and Enterprise project is receiving up to £3,32,6399 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.

Northern Powerhouse

The Northern Powerhouse is a key aspect of this Government’s approach to addressing the productivity gap in the North and ensuring a stronger, more sustainable economy for all parts of the UK. Alongside over €1.5 billion of European Regional Development Fund support for businesses and communities across the North, the government has awarded £3.4 billion in three rounds of Growth Deals across the Northern Powerhouse.

The scheme also allows employers to consider the opportunities for business growth by employing a graduate and using the research skills developed by the university to develop new products and services.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by University of Sunderland .

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