10/02/11

By Chris Winstanley, head of marketing at BaseKit

With university tuition fees on the increase and continued unemployment concerns, students are turning to internships as a way of avoiding student loan debts and enabling them to get a foot in the door when it comes to finding a job.

The UK has one of the biggest SME communities in the world, and with dwindling recruitment budgets and fewer resources, small and medium sized businesses can benefit greatly from running internships. Chris Winstanley, head of marketing at BaseKit, draws on his own experiences of running internships explaining why they make good business sense:

Fresh thinking. Junior employees who have little business experience bring new ideas to the table, and because they have little corporate knowledge, their ideas are not restrained by experience.

Theoretical knowledge. If you are working with a new graduate who has been studying the industry that your business is in, they often have a strong theoretical knowledge base to work from and have been educated in the latest thinking behind business best practices.

They are always hungry to learn. They possess a passion and drive to learn and succeed, promising unparalleled resilience and an adaptability that makes them hard-working and flexible.

An effective way to low-cost recruitment. As internships are often unpaid, the cost of covering travel expenses means that they are cost-effective resources, who often place themselves in the pipeline of permanent employees by showing drive and understanding. At BaseKit, we pay £1k a month to get the best interns, and 50 per cent of our permanent team were employed following successful internships.

It takes time and resources to train interns and monitor their activity, and sometimes they run off with all the knowledge you have painstakingly imparted. That said, the return on investment is incomparable, especially for SMEs who have modest budgets.