Information for small and medium sized enterprises

With the city centre and its flourishing businesses in close proximity to the University of Birmingham, many of our students want to gain practical experience within small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) during their time here.

Our students can move your business forward

The University of Birmingham was established as a civic university in 1900 and the first in the UK to develop a Faculty of Commerce. We have a long history of working with local businesses and a foundation of diverse students from across all backgrounds with 77% of our students coming from the state sector.

We recognise that SMEs may have limited time, resources and budget for recruitment compared with larger organisations. However, we believe that the SME experience for most of our students is just as valuable as those who have worked with larger organisations. That is why the Employer Relations Team at Careers Network have developed a range of services and opportunities to help connect you to our student and graduate talent.

Advertise your roles to our students

It's free to advertise your roles and opportunities to our students and graduates on Careers Connect.

Post your vacancies on Careers Connect

Advertise your vacancies free of charge using our Careers Connect online jobs portal.

Careers Connect is a one-stop portal where our students and graduates (up to two years post-graduation) can access job vacancies, book events and appointments.

Even with the availability of search engines, popular job search websites and LinkedIn, Careers Connect is still one of the top resources our students turn to when job hunting. 

If you are looking for additional promotion of your vacancies take a look at our e-newsletter service and how to engage with our followers on social media.

Engaging with our students

Expand each section below to find out more about the variety of ways in which you can engage with our students.

Careers Fairs

We run a number of careers fairs throughout the year including:

  • Autumn Careers Fair
  • Engineering, Science and Technology Fair
  • Law Fair
  • Internship & Work Experience Fair

For more information about each fair, visit our Recruitment fairs page. 

Employer Insights Series (recruitment events)

Our employer-led events series titled ‘Employer Insights' offers you the opportunity to meet with our students on campus or virtually to share insights into your organisation, your industry sector and recruitment processes. Sessions could include:

  • what you are looking for in an application
  • what your recruitment plans are
  • opportunities for the coming year
  • what differentiates you from your competition

For more information, visit our Employer Insights page.

Insight Into Series (panel and networking events)

Throughout the academic year, we run a series of panel and networking events for our students to explore different roles within a themed sector with alumni and industry speakers talking about their early career experiences to now.

This series has been popular with SMEs looking to increase their brand awareness on campus for recruitment.

For more information, visit our Events in college page. If you have further questions or interested in participating in one of our events, please contact the Employer Relations Team at

Impact Challenge (project)

The Impact Challenge is a unique opportunity for our students from a widening participation background to gain invaluable work experience that contributes to supporting their career journey, and enhancing the business prospects of local employers. 

This involves working in small groups on a particular project that is set by a local employer, where each group then presents back their output(s) at the end of the week. 

To find out more about past projects and how your organisation can get involved, visit our Impact Challenges page or contact Danny Mall, Widening Participation Employability Officer


Become a mentor and support our students to reach their full potential.

Mentoring is a great opportunity for students to gain real insight into their chosen industry from a professional currently working in that same area.

Find out more about what becoming a mentor involves and what others have to say about their mentoring experience, visit our Mentoring page.

Hiring our students and graduates

Depending on your business needs there are options in what type of student or graduate you are looking to hire. Explore the different job types below. 

Graduate hire

This is simply hiring a graduate into a full-time, part-time or fixed term role as you would when hiring into any position in your organisation.

Graduates will expect a salary, an employment contact and all other rights under employment laws as applicable in the relevant country of work. More information on UK contracts of employment and working hours can be found on the government website.

You can advertise your vacancy to our students and graduates up to two years post-graduation free of charge using our Careers Connect online jobs portal. 

Year in industry (sandwich year)

Some of our programmes encourage students to take a year out to work for an organisation, also known as a “sandwich year”, to form part of their overall university experience.

This not only gives our students an advantage in developing their workplace skills whilst at university but also gives businesses an additional resource for up to 12 months on projects such as marketing campaigns, initiating new policies, or developing a new team.

Subject areas which offer opportunities for Year in Industry include:

  • Business Management
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Engineering (Chemical, Civil, Electronic and Electrical, Mechanical)
  • Mathematics

Students are expected to be paid at least the National Minimum Wage or salary pro rata during this time with a fixed-term contract.

You can advertise your vacancy to our students and graduates up to two years post-graduation free of charge using our Careers Connect online jobs portal.

For more information, please contact our Internships and Work Experience Team


Internships not only provide a valuable learning opportunity for our students, they also give you the opportunity to work with high quality and knowledgeable students for competitive rates.

Internships typically last 3 to 6 months, can be full-time or part-time and this can be a student or graduate.

This is a perfect opportunity for our students who don’t have the opportunity to undertake a Year in Industry to undertake a summer internship or in some cases, a part-time internship during term time if their timetable allows.

We ask for our employer partners to pay at National Minimum Wage or higher for the duration of the internship. There is also funding support for SMEs offering internships, see Impact Internships for more information.

You can advertise your vacancy to our students and graduates up to two years post-graduation free of charge using our Careers Connect online jobs portal.

For more information, please contact our Internships and Work Experience Team

Professional Placements

Professional placements differ from internships, in that students gain credits towards their course on completion.

Placements are usually short project assignments for a minimum of 40 hours, either in a full-time capacity during the summer vacation, or part-time during term-time. 

Typical placements include:

  • Research into the most effective ways for an organisation to market its services to potential partner organisations
  • Research into the impact of public policy into a specific industry sector
  • Research project into the most effective use of social media for an organisation

For more information about students who are eligible for placements or to propose a placement, contact the Professional Development Team

For more information and details for different types of work experience our students seek, please visit our FAQs and Resources page. 

Funding programmes

Did you know there is funding available to help you benefit from the assistance of a student from the University of Birmingham? The University of Birmingham strives to help SMEs grow their business as well as assisting our students and graduates in gaining work experience.

Impact Internship Programme

Our Impact Internship programme will help you recruit skilled student talent without funding being a barrier. Offering up to £1000 funding for social enterprises and CICs; and match funding up to £1500 for all other businesses. 

We will help you to address your unique skills gaps and recruitment challenges by connecting you with the best talent in the region.

For more information, please see the Impact Internships page.