A transatlantic student internship programme run collaboratively by the University of Birmingham and the British American Business Council (BABC) is playing a key role in enhancing graduate employability.

In an increasingly competitive global employment market real-world experience is crucial to graduates attaining successful jobs. The programme gives third year undergraduates from the University’s Department of American and Canadian Studies an exciting opportunity to gain vital commercial experience in the United States.   

The nine-month placements are based with member companies within the BABC network or at BABC chapter offices in Chicago, New York, Seattle and San Francisco. The interns are able to develop their professional and transferable skills, and benefit from mentoring from colleagues.

Graduate Lisa Taylor, who interned with the BABC in Chicago, and subsequently returned to the US to work for Think London (now London & Partners) in New York City, said: "The skills and experience I gained during my internship year have definitely influenced and shaped my career.  It was a fantastic opportunity to gain exposure in an international and commercial environment; the learning and skills I developed during that time helped me secure a job with Think London in a tough job market after graduation, and have subsequently helped me progress in my career."

Ruth Berchowitz, Events and Sponsorships Director, British American Business, New York, said: “Interns become an integral member of the events team here at British American Business, providing vital administrative and practical support for our comprehensive programme of 45-55 events here in New York annually. We have seen individuals grow hugely in confidence, developing new skills and expertise to equip them for a successful professional future.”

Eluned Jones, Director of Employability at the University of Birmingham, said: “Here at Birmingham we recognise the great importance of offering our students access to a range of global opportunities to experience commercial environments firsthand.  The excellent BABC internship programme is just one of a number of internship programmes developed enabling students from across the University to obtain invaluable real-world work experience.”

Professor Dick Ellis, who manages the scheme in the Department of American and Canadian Studies, commented: “We are delighted to work with the BABC to provide our students with such beneficial work experience in the US market. Feedback we have received from both interns and employers highlights the continued value of the programme.  Our continuing contacts with our graduates show they are securing employment swiftly and advantageously as a result of taking part in this programme.”

The University of Birmingham is ranked 55th in the world and 9th in the UK for post qualification employability by the International Herald Tribune. The University’s Department of American and Canadian Studies is the only department of its kind to offer integrated work placements. Companies interested in benefiting from hosting a highly motivated intern should contact Cassie Veatch Muir, Executive Director, BABC at c.muir@birmingham-chamber.co.uk for further details.

For media enquiries, please contact Catherine Byerley, International Press and PR Officer, University of Birmingham, tel: +44 (0) 121 414 8254 or email: c.j.byerley@bham.ac.uk