Businesses urged to 'try before they buy' graduates

A "try before you buy" scheme offering employers the chance to hire graduates as interns on a short-term basis is calling for more North-West businesses to sign up to the project. The University of Manchester scheme, thought to be the only one of its kind, has so far placed 45 students in paid internship roles this year. But, with 1,200 registered graduates fighting for places, it is on the hunt for more employers.

The Manchester Graduate Internship Programme (MGIP) says it will carry out all HR-type duties for free  on behalf of the businesses, which it says can benefit from hiring graduates keen to gain work experience on a short-term basis.

Started in 2008, it claims to have helped about 70 per cent of graduates placed in intern schemes find permanent employment.

The university's head of enterprise and regional development Anne Milligan said: "The scheme has gone from strength to strength and increased the number of graduates involved in intern schemes each year.

"It has proved quite popular - maybe because the opportunities are short-term and it's not such a big commitment for a company to take on.

"It works out for both the graduates and the companies as it gives graduates an insight into a career they are thinking about and offers a 'try before you buy' situation for the employer. I think we are the only university that has incorporated such an intern scheme within its career service."

Milligan said after a fairly busy period, where graduates have found positions in fields as varied as marketing and wealth management services, the service was experiencing a quieter spell.

She said: "It offers businesses the opportunity to access graduates from one of the best universities of the UK and it is free. We provide as much support as we can."

The programme insists that all internship programmes are paid with the average salary about £14,000 to £15,000 and contracts lasting from four to 12 months.

Manchester-based Banc Media hired graduate Monica Cozma for 12 months through the scheme. A spokesman for Banc Media said of MGIP: "We would encourage all companies to take advantage of it." For further details please click here