Issue 8: January 2014


By Joy Lewis, CEO, Adopt an Intern

Unemployment and underemployment shaped much of our economic debate in 2013, and continues to be a challenge facing many people across Scotland.

The next generation are fundamental to the success of the Scottish economy. If they are unable to secure permanent employment after school and university it begins to create a long term hole in the very fabric of our society. Sustainable economic growth and success lie in creating job opportunities for this future generation.

It’s not surprising then that youth unemployment was a focus for the Scottish Government in 2013 and is likely to stay prominent throughout 2014. Last year,  the Scottish Government announced its investment of £4.6 million in graduate employment schemes.

Since it’s creation in 2010, Adopt an Intern has been committed to creating meaningful and worthwhile work experience for graduates through paid internships with cross-sector organisations. It is the hope, and the reality, of Adopt an Intern that graduates who take part in this  programme are much more likely to secure a graduate-level job soon after their internship. 76% go on to permanent graduate jobs within 6 months of their internship. An amazing 97% achieve a positive destination (permanent employment, further internships or return to education).

Paying graduates for their work is a must.

“Adopt an Intern is a great programme because it gives graduates like me a big boost in these hard times ... What I found most important was that by being paid as an intern, I was more motivated in my work ... I would definitely recommend it to all graduates.”
Serena Mariani (ex intern with CPP Seminars, now permanent at MacKay Hannah)

Since it’s creation in 2010, Adopt an Intern has been committed to creating meaningful and worthwhile work experience for graduates through paid internships

Adopt an Intern had a busy and successful 2013. Over the past four years the Scottish Government has ensured our core funding  and in 2013 we secured £516,000 of the aforementioned £4.6 million to place a further 270 graduates into paid internships. The year also saw us more than doubled our existing staff-base (including taking on our own intern) and work with Scottish Government to help them set up their own internship programme (which saw 27 graduates gain placements). 

We also helped Museums Galleries Scotland place 20 graduate into 12-month internships with museums across Scotland and brought the year to a close by placing our 500th intern in December.

Adoption, Fostering and Guardianship

We’ve seen an incredible amount of small businesses grow through taking on (adopting) a graduate intern.  Mainly the business pays the graduate’s wages but we have funding to help those meeting our criteria. All organisations benefit from our free advertising and shortlisting services as well as our access to graduate talent.  We advertise transparently across all universities and have built up a large following on social media over the years.

It is rewarding to help startup businesses take on their first member of staff. It’s a win-win for new business and graduate intern alike .

“We didn’t have a lot of resources to set up... It [Adopt an Intern] has been instrumental in us becoming a successful enterprise” (Penny Phillips, Manager, Velocity Cafe and Bicycle Workshop)

We’ve formally launched two new services for businesses, aimed at public sector organisations and medium-to-large businesses. We have seen first hand how smoothly our ‘adoption’ initiative works with start-ups, micros and small companies but we wanted to extend what we do and create more of an opportunity for bigger organisations to join in, and consequently further variety for our graduates.

Our Fostering Programme allows larger organisations, and their individual departments, to access skilled graduates all year round on short-term, project-based internship contracts. This may be instead of, or in addition to, a graduate scheme. 

"We have run a highly successful internship programme since March 2011. We currently have Graduate Interns in various positions throughout the Council and with our third sector partners, almost all of whom have been recruited through Adopt an Intern…." (Sandra Inrig, Senior Economic Development Officer, East Renfrewshire Council)

…… 97% achieve a positive destination (permanent employment, further internships or return to education).

Our Graduate Guardians are larger organisations who choose to use their corporate social responsibility programmes to help Adopt an Intern create internship opportunities for graduates in charities or perhaps startups. Both are successful ways to help businesses and graduates in a difficult economic climate.

Adopt an Intern is continuing its expansion by placing Scotland’s interns abroad and building working relationships overseas. We have just confirmed a graduate’s internship with Rolls Royce in Germany and have plans to work in other parts of Europe as well as Asia.

Reducing graduate un/underemployment remains at the centre of all that we do at Adopt an Intern. As well as placing graduates in paid internships, crucial to enhancing the skills and experience required for the world of work, Adopt an Intern provides mentoring for graduates who have not yet managed to break into graduate-level work. This takes place in the form of an online mentoring service, personal feedback on unsuccessful applications as well as employability workshops throughout the country. Each with a focus on providing graduates with the information, guidance and practical experience necessary to secure the graduate-level job they dream of. 

Over the past 4 years, we have been working to establish our vision of a fair, sustainable and accessible internship culture in Scotland.  With much more to achieve, we are always looking for new businesses and new graduates to work with.  If you can help us open new doors in 2014, or would like us to help you do the same, then do get in touch. 

Meanwhile we plan to continue to create more opportunities for graduates and to contribute in our own small way to the sustainable economic growth of Scotland!

Joy Lewis, CEO, Adopt an Intern

Adopt an Intern have been nominated for two awards by the judging panel of the Scottish Business Awards 2014

By Joy Lewis, CEO, Adopt an Intern

Issue 8: January 2014

Issue 8: January 2014


Smart Cities: Smart Services: Smart Working Editorial

In focusing on 'Smart Cities' let's start with a few teaser questions (answers at the foot of this column)...


Looking for a previous issue? Use the menu below to select an issue.