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Gradvantage - in partnership with Santander internship funding for SMEs

Gradvange is an employability programme which works with students from BAME and underrepresented backgrounds

Gradvantage offers careers guidance and employability support to a targeted group of final year students. On successful completion of the programme the students will be offered the opportunity to apply for exclusive internships offered by SME employers once they have finished their studies in June. Therefore, internships can commence between June – October. These internships can be part funded by the Santander SME Internship Funding.

Eligible students

This year we have funding for 23 eight-week internship opportunities with final year undergraduate students who gain a place on the GradVantage Programme across:

  • Law
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Economics
  • Computer Science
  • Engineering
  • Mathematics

The Recruitment Process

  • Use the application form to send us details of the internship you'd like to offer.
  • Participating employers will recruit an intern from the pool of GradVantage final year undergraduate students
  • Participating employers will  form a ‘Talent Bank’ as part of the Gradvantage Programme.
  • The SME must sign the Funding Agreement in order to be allocated funding. The SME then processes the funding through its own payroll and employ the intern.
  • City University will arrange interviews and assist you with offers.
  • The intern will be paid by the SME. The SME will invoice City at the end of the internship for the funding it is entitled to.

How can you sign up?

Talent Bank employer application form

For more information please contact Lydia Hughes on +44 (0)20 7040 4684 or email if you would like to participate in the programme.

Santander Funding

Santander SME Internship Funding

As a partner of Santander Universities, City can provide small and medium-sized enterprises with funding and recruitment support for summer internships.

City is part of the Santander Universities network and therefore eligible to participate in the internship programme which aims to create around 2,000 internships for university students and graduates.

Santander Universities support towards employability and in 2012 they launched the SME Internship Programme by our Group Chairman, Ana Botin, to date the programme has supported over 10,000 internships, many of which lead to further employment. They have an aspiration that in 2020, 80% of students receiving our internships will be from a widening participation background with 75% gaining further employment with the SME they have their internship with.

The Santander Universities SME Internship Programme is an entrepreneurial internship programme that provides recent graduates paid work experience over the summer with local businesses. The programme enables participating local businesses to recruit final year students and recent graduates from City to undertake valuable work experience.

Funding details

  • Santander contributes £184.63 per week towards each internship and the SME must also contribute £184.63 per week – so the candidate is paid £369.25 per week (based on 35 hours) minus payroll and tax contributions up to £1,477. This is reflective of the London Living Wage (£10.55 per hour).
  • The SME must have a turnover of less than £50m and have fewer than 250 employees.
  • Internships are open to recent graduates from City
  • Internships must be for between 4 to 8 weeks in duration
  • Internships are part (50%) funded by Santander
  • A maximum of two internships per SME is allowed during the academic year (September to August).
  • Internships can be extended beyond 8 weeks or converted into permanent employment and funded fully by the SME employer
  • For the full terms and conditions please click here.

Gradvantage Talent Bank

Gradvantage Talent Bank

The aim of the Talent Bank is to match SME employers looking to hire graduates from the Gradvantage programme for internships starting between June – October.

How it works

  • Send us a job specification which is suitable for a graduate internship
  • Your internship will be advertised from June 2020 specifically to final year students from the Gradvantage Programme
  • Students apply to internships they are interested in by uploading a CV and Cover Letter.
  • A Gradvantage Coordinator will send you applications, arrange interviews for you and manage the recruitment process
  • Internships can start from mid-June 2020. The latest an internship can start is October

Student Testimonials

Santander Funding Internship Success Stories

Mert Arduc - Santander University SME Internship with Proportunity

Mert Arduc My name is Mert Arduc, I recently (and virtually) graduated from City University of London with an LLB Law Degree! I undertook an exciting internship position at Proportunity as a Lending Executive Intern. My work consisted mainly of legal and market research work such as proofreading legal documents and processing underwriting files which are used to evaluate if a customer is eligible for a Proportunity loan.

Why did you apply for a SME Internship through City University?

I wanted to use my time productively during the lockdown and I found that the SME internship was the perfect way to do so. I think it’s very important to engage in proactive activities when there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the world and this internship provided just that. I was also very encouraged and motivated by City’s Careers and Employability GradVantage team to apply for internships they advertised. All the support sessions provided by the GradVantage team were very valuable and overall, it increased my confidence to apply for such positions made available to me.

Tell us about your internship. What were you doing and where were you working?

My work was varied week to week. As an intern in the lending department, I was working with my supervisor on processing key documents that were necessary for first time buyers to apply for the Proportunity loan. This consisted of creating and processing ESIS, underwriting and legal documents. The underwriting documents for example, helped evaluate whether a potential customer was eligible for a Proportunity loan. This included a lot of calculations and formulas created in Excel. I also undertook a market research project that required me to analyse mortgages rates in London and this required a lot of spreadsheet work.

How has this role helped you (e.g. financially, personally, professionally)?

Financially, this 2-month internship has helped me pay off my deposit for a master’s course I’m starting in September! Professionally, I have massively increased my commercial awareness in the housing and technology industry. I have practised key skills that employers look for e.g. Excel and data analysis. Personally, the biggest thing I can proudly take away from this experience is all the great mentors, fellow interns I met and in general people that I can call friends from now on.  This internship has allowed me to go out of my comfort zone and engage in activities and tasks that I probably would have avoided before, for example, interacting with potential customers and brokers. Overall, it has greatly improved my confidence in interacting with whole wide range of people, these include CEO’s, CFO’s and department leads.

What skills has your role through the scheme given you?

There are 4 skills that I can confidently say I have boosted during my time at Proportunity. These include data analysis, research (quantitative/qualitative), communication and Microsoft Office proficiency.

If you could give a student thinking of doing an internship one piece of advice, what would it be?

One of my supervisors gave me a great advice that has stuck with me. He suggested that no matter what career or profession I decide to enter, it’s very important to be a nuisance in the most positive way possible. This includes engaging with people, asking relevant questions, putting in the extra work and going the extra mile to show your passion, commitment, and enthusiasm to your employers. In general, I would recommend students who are thinking of doing an internship is stop thinking and apply. There is nothing to lose and so much to gain. Students start their careers on a blank canvas, you have the perfect opportunity to fill it in with unforgettable experiences so why not!

What are you doing now?

Right now, I’ll probably be meditating after I finish writing this but, in all seriousness, I’m currently looking forward to starting a MSc Public Policy course at UCL. I am hoping to gain more work experience whilst studying.

Sherwin Domingo - Santander Universities Internship with Cru Wine

Sherwin DomingoI am Sherwin, currently studying my final year of Computer Science with Games Technology MSci at City University. During the summer I have worked for Cru Wine Limited, a fine wine investment company, as a Junior Software Developer.

Why did you apply for a SME Internship through City University?

I have been studying at City University for 3 years and during this time the university have been promoting many job roles (1-year placements and 1-3 months internships) and many of my fellow students have been giving a very positive feedback. As I am towards my final year of my degree, I thought it was a good opportunity to take advantage of this facility and apply through City directly.

Tell us about your internship

I applied for a Junior Software Developer role which involved me developing and improving the company’s current systems. I was involved in many projects such as Web Development, where I have helped them to produce their current website ( I have also been involved in some back-end projects involving their database as well as creating REST APIs which improved the company’s workflow as now some aspects of their database are automated.

The position was remote so I worked from home for most of the internship duration. However, towards the end of the internship, I have attended to the office for some days.

How has this role helped you?

I believe this role has helped me in all aspects (financially, personally and professionally). I have learned many new technologies that I otherwise might not have learned and practiced if it wasn’t for this internship. I can now add these new skills under my belt which I believe it will help me to be more employable and desirable. I was also able to gain experience on how this position plays out on the real world and what to expect from it when I apply for a similar role in the future. Finally, it has helped me to be more confident about my career path and get a better insight on how I want to build it.

What skills has your role through the scheme given you?

I have learned how to use many back-end technologies such as Amazon Web Services to create and interact with a Relational Database Service (RDS) as well as create APIs which interact with the RDS used by the company. Along with this knowledge I have also been able to further learn and practice Python, a programming language which I can add to my skill tree.

Finally, I have been able to expand my knowledge on front-end developing through Web Development by using WordPress to develop the Cru Wine’s website on that platform. I was able to put into practice my web development knowledge during the internship.

If you could give a student thinking of doing an internship one piece of advice, what would it be?

If you have the time, you should definitely go for it! If you have the chance to pick a role that you are interested in you should prioritise that role. Otherwise, trying new things won’t hurt as long as you meet the requirements because the goal of an internship is for you to learn something new that will help you in the future.

It has taught me many aspects on how this role works in the real world and what to expect from it. If I didn’t do this internship I probably wouldn’t know how this role works and what a future employer might expect from me. It is also a good experience to see how a real full-time job feels like with less pressure as employers understand that you are new in the field and will offer you as much help as you need.

What are you doing now?

I am currently towards my final in university. After graduation I plan to seek for a job as a programmer/developer either as a Games Developer or as a Software Developer just like my previous role.

Samreen Babur - Santander Universities SME Internship with Proportunity

Samreen BaburMy name is Samreen Babar, I am a 21-year-old Law Graduate at City University who recently completed a summer internship at Proportunity.

Why did you apply for a SME Internship through City University?

I applied for an SME internship because I find SME businesses to be filled with more opportunities for learning. Often smaller companies are more hands on providing more opportunities to do a wider range of work and to work closer with more senior members of the company. I have discovered this with my own previous experience working at SMEs.

Tell us about your internship

Proportunity is an Equity loan mortgage provider. I worked as a Business Development Intern generating leads for the team to build their broker portfolio. I worked remotely but the company is based in Kennington and I was invited to the company retreat and an intern breakfast to meet the team in person.

How has this role helped you?

This role has developed my understanding of the financial service industries which will be extremely useful in my future. Further to this, this experience allowed me to save enough to fund my Masters in Law.

What skills has your role through the scheme given you?

I developed a better ability to generate business leads and work in a Fintech environment.  I have become comfortable working with a broker.

If you could give a student thinking of doing an internship one piece of advice, what would it be?

All opportunities are worth it. I find that students get hung up on wanting specific experience but companies want to employ people with commercial awareness which comes from working in all industries and all roles. It’s the most unassuming roles that often surprise you and teach you the most.

What are you doing now?

I am working part-time as a tutor and will be starting my LPC with an integrated LLM in January.

Sana Ajmal - Santander Universities SME Internship with Cyber-Duck

I graduated here at City University of London in July 2020 with a First-Class Honours in Politics. I am currently undertaking a five-month digital optimisation internship at award-winning digital agency Cyber-Duck.

Sana Ajmal

Why did you apply for a SME Internship through City University?

I was determined to take a head-start in pursuing an internship that catered to various fields, and given the unforeseen event of COVID-19, searching early was a crucial step to my personal and career growth. The opportunity to undertake work experience in a field outside of my typical degree pathway would open up new doors for future prospects, thus making an SME internship a great way to start off my career.

Tell us about your internship? What were you doing and where were you working?

I applied for a digital optimisation internship role which involves improving the Cyber-Duck website based on findings from the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) audit; updates include image optimisation, re-directs, internal linking and refreshing meta-tags on the website Content Management System (CMS). I have worked on client services including producing keyword ranking reports and updating marketing dashboards. Currently I am involved in conducting firmographic and brand awareness research, with a focus on directories, awards and press records to amplify Cyber-Duck’s position in the digital agency sphere. I am also heavily involved in conducting the website content audit and strategy alongside the CEO and founder, with the focus on brand ambition, depth and trends.

How has this role helped you? What skills has your role through the scheme given you?

This internship has enabled me to enhance and adopt new skills, from familiarising myself with back-end technologies such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Content Management Systems (CMS) to applying new Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) knowledge on client projects – such as producing meta-tags for UK Sport and Sport England: The Whyte Review.

It has allowed me to gain a variety of transferable skills that I am certain will benefit me in the future; developing remote-teamwork skills, organisational skills and a new confidence in working with large datasets to produce client reports.

Additionally, working alongside various ‘Ducks’ including the CEO and founder, web-developers and working closely with the Digital Optimisation Lead meant that I have fully immersed myself into the digital marketing sphere and gained insightful knowledge that would otherwise not have been presented had I stayed to my typical degree pathway.

If you could give a student thinking of doing an internship one piece of advice, what would it be?

I would encourage new graduates to apply to internship roles regardless of whether it is in a field they have explored previously – internships are the perfect opportunity to gain new skills outside of the academic realm and gain transferable skills. To add to this, I would advise to start research early, especially given unforeseen events such as COVID-19 that have heavily impacted job opportunities.

What are you doing now?

My contract with Cyber-Duck has been extended which was fantastic news! I am excited to continue to work through brand awareness and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) tasks and develop Google Analytics skills. I look forward to seeing what the future holds in terms of new avenues and doors.