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.

SME's in Birmingham's Custard Factory area

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 vacancy

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-bulletin 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
  • Business, Finance and Consultancy Fair
  • Law Fair
  • Internship & Work Experience Fair

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

Getting to Know Series (Presentation or Skills Session)

If you are looking to do something more bespoke or targeted, presentations and drop-ins offer you the opportunity to meet with our students and let them know:

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

Presentations are available during Autumn and Spring Terms only, please check Term Dates

For more information, visit our Presentations Programme page. 

Insight Into Series (Panel & Networking)

In early Spring Term (January to February), 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 2018 – 19 we are looking for speakers from the following sectors:

  • Advertising and PR
  • Charity and non-profit organisations
  • Consultancy
  • Education (both teaching and non-teaching)
  • Human Resources
  • Law
  • Marketing and digital communications (including analytics)
  • Public Sector
  • Science

If you have further questions or interested in sending a speaker to one of our events, please contact April Cheung, Regional Development Officer y.s.cheung@bham.ac.uk

Company treks (Office visit)

Many of our students may not have had the experience of an office or work environment.

Company treks are essentially a visit to your organisation in order to:

  • Explore their career options to better understand what they want
  • Learn from experienced professionals about their journey to finding a career they enjoy
  • Gain real insight into the day-to-day working life

To find out more and arrange a company trek, please contact Hassana Ahmed, Enterprise Lead h.ahmed@bham.ac.uk

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 d.mall@bham.ac.uk

Mentoring

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@contacts.bham.ac.uk

Internships

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 match-funding support for SMEs offering internships, see Match-funding for undergraduate and graduate 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 internships@contacts.bham.ac.uk

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.

Santander Universities SME Match-Funding Scheme

Santander has partnered with the University of Birmingham to provide match-funding of £1,500 for 10 week, full time graduate internships.

Find out more at Match-funding for undergraduate and graduate internships

Events for businesses and employers

We have events throughout the year for businesses and employers to get the latest updates on our graduate labour market, opportunities to meet our students and business development. 

Tapping into Talent (Conference)

Tap into the wealth of expertise and resources at the University of Birmingham to discover how we can help move your business forward at our flagship mini-conference.

Around 40% of our graduates stay in the West Midlands area, providing local small and medium enterprises with an excellent opportunity to recruit high calibre student.

Our programme for June 2018 included:

  • Overview of University of Birmingham, Careers Network and our graduate statistics
  • Graduate recruitment best practices
  • Google Digital Garage training: How to Build a Digital Marketing Plan
  • Launch of Birmingham Connections
  • Networking with fellow local businesses and current students

If you are interested in hearing about Tapping into Talent 2019, please contact the Employer Relations Team recruiters@contacts.bham.ac.uk 

Birmingham Connections (Networking)

Birmingham Connections launched at Tapping into Talent 2018, bringing together local businesses in Birmingham and the West Midlands, alumni, and students at the University of Birmingham through networking and lightning pitches.

Our aim is to create a friendly and informal environment for businesses and students to interact, learn and get inspiration from each other.

Find out more about our next events please visit the Birmingham Connections page.

University of Birmingham Business Club (Business Development)

A club for business people who are looking to network and exchange ideas with University of Birmingham academics and our business engagement team.

For more information please see the University of Birmingham Business Club webpage. 

 FAQs

  • To find out about further support schemes for SMEs, please visit the business section of our website.
  • To obtain academic references for both current and former students, please visit the References for Employers section of our website. 

For general enquiries please contact recruiters@contacts.bham.ac.uk