Q&A: Rajeeb Dey, CEO Enternships

We spoke to Rajeeb Dey, chief executive of enternships.com and co-founder of StartUp Britain about the importance of work experience and skill sharing.

The traditional concept of an internship in a blue-chip has to change as the numbers don't stack up.

What do you perceive as the main barriers/obstacles for internships in the UK for both intern and employer alike?

As we deal predominantly with startups/SMEs the main barrier for companies accessing talent is knowing who to approach.

Often, university career services struggle to reach out/manage relationships with local small businesses and students/graduates are unaware of the fact that 99.9 per cent of the British economy is comprised of SMEs.

What's more, if businesses are not run by graduates they may not often see the value students/graduates can add. In many cases, we've found after taking on 'enterns' businesses want them to stay on full-time as they make themselves indispensable.

The traditional concept of an internship in a blue-chip has to change as the numbers don't stack up. Given the fact that in any one university cohort [of around] 300,000 students graduates, probably only one per cent of them will be able to access the more formal blue-chip internship roles.

We need to more work effectively to tap into the 'long tail' of small businesses and at the same time create more of a culture where students see the need to gain valuable work experience in SMEs to develop their CVs and explore their passion - especially in an ever competitive jobs market.

How can we change this and where does responsibility lie?

Some of it requires providing great exposure through student enterprise societies, careers services and so on. One of the initiatives we're working on is to hold startup milkrounds across the country so that students are aware of the vast range of exciting opportunities available in small businesses.

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