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Engineering launches student internship scheme

A first year student being interviewed for an internship

A first year student being interviewed for an internship

Press release issued: 28 January 2013

A new scheme that aims to help first year students find relevant work experience and insight into the world of engineering and related technology companies has been launched by the University of Bristol’s Faculty of Engineering.

An initial group of first year students have been offered summer internships under the new scheme, which was launched at the start of the academic year as part of the University’s focus on supporting student employability.

The Faculty’s Industrial Liaison Office (ILO) has been working with companies to encourage them to offer first year students paid work experience placements.  It is one of a set of enterprises launched by ILO that seek to build on the Faculty’s strong links with industry to benefit home and overseas students from across the Faculty.

Traditionally companies offer internships to older year groups of students, so the scheme is innovative in developing opportunities for newer students.

One of the earliest students to be placed highlighted this: “As a first year, I would have never thought it would be possible to be chosen for an internship, however, the scheme has given me this great opportunity to develop and put in practice my skills in industry.”

Professor Nishan Canagarajah, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, said: “We encourage and support our students in gaining experience of working and to enhance their employability to help their chances of finding suitable jobs upon graduation.

“The fact that so many companies are so keen to work with our first years demonstrates the high regard that companies hold for Bristol engineering students.”

Grenville Hill, Deputy Chief Engineer for Emerging Business at QuEST Global Engineering, noting the quality of the student applications, said: “Selecting the students for placement was very difficult as all the applicants were of a very high calibre. Our internship programme gives students a taste of working at an aerospace engineering consultancy and QuEST is keen that it will encourage them to pursue a career in engineering once they graduate.”

Max Brown, Head of Engineering at GKN Aerospace’s Filton Engineering Centre, added: “As part of the continuing development of the strategic relationship between GKN and Bristol University, we are very pleased to be supporting the engineering internship scheme.  GKN continues to be extremely impressed with the calibre and enthusiasm of the undergraduate population in the Faculty and is delighted to be providing placements across multiple aerospace sites and technical disciplines.”

Wyc Slingsby, Head of Product Development and Product Management at Propagator, commenting on his company’s involvement with the scheme: commented: “Propagator is very much looking forward to working with the University to give engineering undergraduates real-world work experience in a local high-tech company.

“Propagator is a young, rapidly growing technology company with a need to recruit top-quality graduates. As well as giving students useful experience (and money!) during the summer vacation, the internship scheme offers a way for both the student and the company to get to know each other.

“We are hopeful that through the internship scheme we will find some “stars of tomorrow” who will go on to join our company and help us to continue to innovate and grow the business. We have been greatly encouraged by the quality of the students we have already interviewed and have high hopes for the future.”

A first year MEng Mechanical Engineering student, said: “Doing an internship in a renewable energy company next summer is a fantastic opportunity. It will allow me not only to gain experience in a field where I'd love to work, but also be a great asset on my CV.” 

A Computer Science and Electronics student, commented: “As I had never had a job before, or even a formal interview.  I thought that in order to increase my chances of employment after university it would be a good idea to take advantage of the help the scheme provided.”

Another successful student, studying Aerospace Engineering, added: “The wide range of internships available meant I could choose one that was suited to what I wanted experience in, and gave me opportunities to apply to places I otherwise would not have heard of. Being selected was very exciting, and going through the interview process successfully has really boosted my confidence in professional communication.”

Recent reports indicate that a significant proportion of graduate entry level positions will not even reach the wider jobs market. Instead they will be filled by graduates who have already worked for the recruiting company, through vacation work for example. This scheme, and other initiatives being run in the Faculty, will assist students to make that all important first step into the world of work.

Further information

About the Industrial Liaison Office

The Industrial Liaison Office manages and develops relationships with the Faculty of Engineering's many industrial partners across a range of activities.

If you would like your company to get involved in this scheme, please contact John McWilliams, Industrial Liaison Manager on email

About the Faculty of Engineering

Engineering at the University of Bristol is committed to producing leaders and entrepreneurs of the future and to advancing the knowledge and technological innovations required to address global challenges.

Our academics are internationally recognised research leaders who have led the way in some of the most ground-breaking developments - from establishing the equation for the wing design on the Spitfire in the 1930s, to inventing the technology that led to the first mobile phone in the late 1970s. Today, our world-leading research continues, from the development of wallpaper that will protect buildings from earthquake damage, to developing power efficient technologies that will reduce carbon emissions from mobile phone base stations, reducing the environmental impact of communications systems.

Bristol is proud of its interdisciplinary culture where our academics have established lasting global partnerships with other leading universities and industry. We apply our research through successful technology and knowledge transfer, and our work is always engaged with industry, allowing us to add value to the national and global economy.

The engineering disciplines at Bristol empower our students to think creatively and challenge existing practice. This nurtures a culture of enterprise, providing the world with graduates who are best equipped to succeed in a career of their choice.

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