Friday 28 February 2014
In spite of bad weather and tube strikes, a large group of students, staff, graduates and business people gathered at a special event in Drapers’ bar on Wednesday 5 February to celebrate the efforts and achievements of enterprise and internships at QM. Students presented updates on projects that have been supported by the Try It and Grow It fund, and there were also talks from students who have secured internships through QM Careers and Enterprise. Businesses that are working with QM to provide internship opportunities also talked about the opportunities they are helping to provide to students.
Emily Yates, who recently graduated with a BA English Literature, received Grow It Funding through UnLtd and Santander, for her accessible travel guide projects for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and 2016 Olympics and Paralympics in Rio. Emily came up with the idea for the guides after she volunteered as a Games Maker at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Emily, who presented her project at the event, said, “I've now been to both Glasgow and Rio since I received the generous funding from UnLtd and Santander, and have got a great amount of content for both guides, which I am now writing up. With Rough Guides, I am now in the process of pitching for sponsorship from corporate businesses. If, by creating these Guides, I empower just a small fraction of the disabled community, and others realise that the concept of travel can be available to them, regardless of their conditions, then I'll be a very happy girl!’
Sinead MacManus, who also spoke at the event, co-founded the start-up business, Fluency, which recently took on a QM student as an intern, thanks to funding received from the Start-Up Internships Scheme. Fluency is a learning platform and crowd work marketplace that gets young people into work, by teaching young people in-demand skills such as how to build a website, how to market a company on social media or how to optimise content for Google. Fluency hired Ollie Brown, a BA International Relations graduate, as an intern, where he has worked for three months.
Ollie said, ‘I knew I wanted to work in tech and social media but didn't have the knowledge of the market or the depth of experience that most entry level jobs required. I found the opportunity with Fluency through the QM careers website and after an interview was successful in securing the 3 month position. Queen Mary's internship scheme has allowed me to get to work, and given me a bridge into an industry that I had no access to before.
‘During my time at Fluency I have not only had the chance to build up my CV and acquire new skills, I've received training and made contacts in a range of industries. If you're prepared to work hard then an internship like this can really boost your prospects, a fact that is not insignificant in a job market where employment options are limited.’
Emily Huns, Head of Careers and Enterprise: ‘It has been an exciting year for student enterprise at Queen Mary, with both the launch of our Start-up Internships Scheme (placing student interns into local start-ups), and the growth in our Enterprise Programme, which seeds and supports student businesses. The event was a fitting celebration of what we have achieved so far. We look forward to continuing to expand activity, so that more and more of our students get valuable work experience whilst learning what it’s like to create and grow a new business.’
Professor Peter McOwan, Vice-Principal of Public Engagement and Student Enterprise said: ‘The event was impressive, and even more so when you consider we only launched the schemes a year ago. That success is due to the talents of our students and the hard work and dedication of the careers and enterprise team. The room was buzzing with people with a real passion for their ideas, and as one of the business owner attending so rightly said, 'this is the way universities should work with our businesses '. I totally agree and can't wait till next year to see how the scheme develops further.’
If, like Emily Yates, you have a business or project idea that you would like to try out or grow, and you need funding for, make sure you apply for Try It and Grow It funding. The next application deadline is 31 March at 5pm. More information is available on the website: www.careers.qmul.ac.uk/students/enterprise/Funding.
QM Careers and Enterprise Centre will also be funding a further 20 start-up businesses through the Start-Up Internship Scheme, which kicks off in April 2014. This means that a further 20 start-up businesses will be supported to take on an intern. So, if like Ollie, you’re interested in getting an internship, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.