University of Sussex students take up summer internships to help local businesses recover from Covid-19

Anna Maukner is working at FareShare

Anna Maukner is working at FareShare

University of Sussex students will spend their summer helping local businesses and organisations hardest hit by coronavirus.

The University Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) and Santander Universities UK are co-funding 30 intern positions designed to support local businesses looking to bounce back from the impact of Covid-19 and frontline services helping those left most in need.

Roles include Support Assistant Intern at substance misuse service Oasis Project as they deal with unprecedented numbers of new referrals, Fundraising Intern for domestic violence charity RISE and Project Support Officer assisting FareShare Sussex to redistribute triple the amount of food to vulnerable people that the food poverty charity did before the pandemic outbreak.

Sussex students have been taking up their roles since July 8 and will be aiding local companies for around two months.

The roles are a mixture of working from home and working on site and all advertisers had to agree to meet the University’s terms and conditions including health and safety and intern wellbeing safeguards. All internships will receive the Living Wage as a minimum.

The university team received 450 applications for the advertised roles indicating the level of interest among students to help the local economy and build-up their CVs.

Andrea Wall , Employer Engagement Manager at the University of Sussex’s Careers and Employability Centre , said: “There has been a tremendous response from both employers and our students and graduates to this opportunity which really shows there is a strong need for this kind of internship programme at the current time.

“As well as being an excellent opportunity for local businesses to recruit a new hard-working and enthusiastic member to their teams to help them bounce back from the pandemic disruption, this programme will give our students a paid virtual internship at a time when they may otherwise struggle to find summer work experience and employment opportunities in the current economic climate.”

Matt Hutnell, Director of Santander Universities, said: “Santander is committed to supporting higher education as well as local communities across the UK so we’re pleased that our funding is able to be redirected to where it is most needed at this critical time.

“Universities, such as Sussex, are doing some fantastic work to contribute to the UK’s effort to combat the outbreak of COVID-19, so we’re delighted to collaborate with our university partners in a way which increases their response effort and look forward to continuing to work with them on supporting both students and the broader higher education community with further initiatives over the coming months.”

Beth Parry, Fundraising and Communications Manager at FareShare Sussex, said: “FareShare Sussex are thrilled to benefit from the University of Sussex’s internship scheme. To be able to provide paid work opportunities to new graduates is very rewarding to us and is in line with our mission to support people into work.

“The programme couldn’t have come at a better time. The organisation has had to make huge adjustments to cope with the additional demand at a time when many of our volunteers had to go into isolation and we are also having to adjust our long-term strategies to account for a more uncertain future. This work is all vital to our continued success and we are extremely grateful to the university and their partners for making these internships possible.”

Emily Hicks, University of Sussex anthropology graduate and summer intern at FareShare Sussex, said: “It’s been a fantastic opportunity and I’ve met so many amazing people already. My role is really varied which is nice because I get a well-rounded idea of how everything works and I’m learning so much.

“It feels great to be part of such an important organisation, especially in the wake of the pandemic that has plunged so many more people into food poverty. FareShare’s work is more vital than ever right now, and getting the opportunity to work within such an environmentally and socially sustainable organisation during this time is really brilliant.”

Alex Hales, Community Fundraising Officer at RISE, said: “During the challenging time of the pandemic, we’ve been receiving over three times the amount of calls to our helpline than we were prior to lockdown. Additionally, with many of our signature running and challenge events postponed or cancelled, it’s been more of a challenge than ever to find unique ways to raise vital funds to support our survivors.

“Our two new interns from Sussex have been instrumental in setting up and executing our four current fundraisers. They’ve both been assisting us get key messages across to our supporters and fundraisers to inspire the Brighton community to help us raise funds and support our survivors during these challenging times.”

Employers interested in recruiting University of Sussex interns can find out more information about a number of opportunities here.

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By: Neil Vowles
Last updated: Friday, 7 August 2020


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