University of Sussex to help recession-hit businesses

Sussex Internship Programme student at work

The University of Sussex is supporting even more businesses in Sussex with a grant of £280,000 to help place 175 of last year’s graduates into internships with firms across the region.

Working in partnership with Wired Sussex, the recession-busting Sussex Internship Programme (SIP) - funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) - is currently placing over 100 graduates into Sussex’s media sector. This new funding enables the programme to add an additional 75 media companies to the scheme but also extends its reach beyond the media sector to the life sciences and pharmaceuticals, advanced manufacturing, professional and financial services, legal and engineering construction sectors.

SIP will also support individual businesses in East and West Sussex with their business strategies. Participating companies are encouraged to commission projects in any part of their business such as web design for a pharmaceutical company or marketing for a car components manufacturer.

Professor Robert Allison, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Research at the University of Sussex, said: "We are delighted to be able to increase the business community’s access to higher education skills and funding with this project. It will bring high-quality, results-driven support to these vital areas of our local economy; not just in the short term but for a long time to come".

The funding is linked to the Government’s New Industry New Jobs programme and provides a recruitment opportunity for recession- affected companies in East and West Sussex who haven’t been able to recruit 2009’s graduates at the pace that they normally would. The programme is open to graduates of any university that now live in Sussex as well as those who graduated at the county’s own universities.

Sharon Phillips, University of Sussex’s Head of Business and Enterprise explains: "Wired Sussex is an integral part of the digital media sector in Brighton and Hove and we are delighted to be working with them and our supporters, including the City Council and SEEDA to grow the model we’ve established and to replicate this throughout the broader commercial sector with a variety of partners."

Phil Jones, Managing Director of Wired Sussex, said "The Sussex Internship Programme is now recognised nationwide as a model of best practice and has been highly successful in helping businesses access fresh talent and new graduates to transition into employment. We are really delighted to continue our partnership with University of Sussex and support them in delivering a proven model into other sectors."

Specifically, the project will provide:

  • 20 working day bespoke internship placements for 175 graduates within small and large companies in the programme region and sectors;
  • Consolidation and development of the existing infrastructure from the current Sussex Internship Programme (web and personnel) to accommodate the additional industry areas and increased numbers;
  • Sharing of the expertise of the Wired Sussex model with other sector specialists through mentoring to replicate the model in new areas;
  • Additional training to graduates during their internship;
  • Support for graduate recruitment in the region by working with small businesses to up-skill them to recruit graduates on an ongoing basis beyond the scheme.

Notes for editors

For press information contact: Danielle Treanor, University of Sussex. t. 0774 0099325

1. HEFCE is responsible for £280,000 of the funding.

2. The bid was supported by:

Wired Sussex

South Coast Design Forum

Sussex Innovation Centre

Institute of Chartered Accountants

HR departments in larger companies

Business Development Team at the University of Sussex

Chartered Institute of Personnel Development

Federation of Small Business (East and West Sussex)

Brighton and Hove Chamber of Commerce

Sussex Enterprise

Alumni and Careers offices of Sussex Institutions (HE and FE)

AGCAS (Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services)

County and City Councils


Partners reaching out to under-represented groups

Business Link


Last updated: Thursday, 28 January 2010