Today’s graduates are entering an almost unrecognisable job market – one where any small step ahead can help pin down that elusive dream job. In recognition of this competitive environment, King’s is stepping up to ensure that students from all backgrounds can gain the experience they need to demonstrate that they are stand-out candidates.
In 2018, King’s launched Springboard and Advance – our flagship internship schemes designed to promote social responsibility and equitable access to work opportunities, as well as to assist employers in diversifying their workforce. Both are paid summer internship programmes that are designed to address the opportunity gap that exists between students who are from under-represented groups, and students who are not. Working closely with our employer partners to embed inclusive recruitment practices, King’s, with the support of these schemes, is empowering organisations to access diverse talent. In turn, both the Springboard and Advance programmes support and enhance King’s commitment to widening participation.
Q: What does widening participation mean?
A: King’s is committed to giving access to higher education to more people from under-represented groups. This includes…
Mature students (anyone who is over 21 at the start of their first degree); students from low socioeconomic backgrounds; students with a disability; those who have participated in King’s-led outreach programmes; students who are care-experienced, estranged or forced migrants; and students from Black, Asian and other ethnic minority backgrounds.
Springboard has been designed to equip undergraduate students from backgrounds or with characteristics that are under-represented in the graduate labour market. The scheme works with employers who are committed to diversifying the workforce and supports interns’ professional development enabling enable them to gain and build their employability skills. In summer 2021, the scheme successfully ran internships in a wide range of sectors, from marketing and PR to education, from social impact to sustainability, and from animation to STEM, to name a few.
Hannah Brown (International Relations, 2016) works for The Jo Cox Foundation, which was established in 2016 by the friends and family of the late Jo Cox MP. The foundation inspires and galvanises positive change at local, national and international levels by partnering with visionary individuals and organisations who share the same commitment to the fairer, kinder world that Jo dedicated her life to building. This summer, the foundation recruited a Fundraising Intern through the Springboard programme.
Hannah shares, ‘What really appealed to us about the programme was the emphasis on diversifying the sector. We [the foundation] are conscious of our role in getting more diverse talent into the charity sector. We’re not there yet and we want to change that. In our experienced hires, it hasn’t been as successful as we would like, as there hasn’t been the talent within our pipeline. So, we went back to the drawing board and thought about how we could have an impact on early career roles. When we found out about Springboard and Advance, we thought ‘perfect’, as we have already run a work-experience programme for 16–18-year-olds, so this was a great next step. Our intern has exceeded our expectations. She has brought enthusiasm and lots of ideas and really become part of the team. We will definitely look to hire future interns through this programme.’
We [the foundation] are conscious of our role in getting more diverse talent into the charity sector. We’re not there yet and we want to change that.
Advance has been designed with undergraduate students with a disability in mind, focusing on declaring disabilities and implementing reasonable adjustments to make the experience adequate and worthwhile for both interns and employers. Implementing reasonable adjustments effectively is important to reduce or remove obstacles that candidates may face because of disability. The aim is to ensure that all disabled candidates or employees are assessed and appraised on an equal basis with non-disabled peers. The King’s team works with employers that are willing to go the extra mile to increase access and support the development of disabled candidates, amongst which the following sectors are represented: publishing, charities, marketing and data analytics.
Jasmine is studying for her BA in Global Health & Social Medicine. She interned with First Care.
‘I have a declared disability – grade three arthritis in my hips with a bilateral hip impingement. My internship through the King’s Springboard scheme allowed me to gain skills and experience in a sector that I am interested in working in once I graduate. In particular, I had the opportunity to get in touch with my creative side, developing campaign content for topical health challenges. This internship allowed me to network with new people and be inspired by some great minds. I am so appreciative of the opportunity and I will continue to take forward the skills I learned along the way.’
Preparing for success
To ensure that the interns are prepared for their placements, King’s Internships has created a year-round suite of support for participants that involves careers workshops, employer-led events – like the popular Spotlight on Inclusion sessions – and an e-learning course that students can complete in their own time. This lays the groundwork for their personal and professional development before they begin their internships and means that, when an organisation recruits through Springboard or Advance, they can be sure that their intern is prepared for the working world and is ready to make the most of the opportunity. In addition, both schemes offer organisations a comprehensive and free recruitment service and connect them with talented students.
Internships take place in the summer between June and September and students can apply from March. To find out more and receive the Springboard and Advance Handbook to help you get started, you can get in touch with the King’s Internships team by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To participate in a Spotlight on Inclusion session or to find out about our portfolio of events, visit our events page.
Each spring, the King’s Internship team offers funding to start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to run Springboard and Advance summer internships. If you would like to find out more about this, you can register your interest here.
This internship allowed me to network with new people and be inspired by some great minds. I am so appreciative of the opportunity and I will continue to take forward the skills I learned along the way.