Category Archives: Employer Feedback

Devon County Council- Employer Case Study

Name of Organisation: Devon County Council

Description of Organisation and Role: Devon County Council is the county council administering services across Devon. The members are elected every four years to reflect the electorate of each county division. Most being nominated by the large national political parties.

The main purpose of the internship was to support the Democratic process of Devon County Council to assist in ensuring those processes are carried out in accordance with statutory requirements and the Council’s Constitution and procedures and also with the promotion and encouragement of public involvement and participation through, for example, webcasting and social media.

Name of Employer: Karen Strahan

Job Title: Head of Democratic Services

Internship Scheme used:  GBP

Graduate Business Partnership (GBP) – Employment Services – University of Exeter


We recruited an intern to work as a Democratic and Scrutiny Support Officer. He worked on a task group which researched air quality and congestion in Devon. This included producing a report with innovative recommendations targeted at improving air quality and congestion. The report attracted media attention with the Chair undertaking a radio interview, based on the work done by our brilliant intern. Our student became a very important part of our team.

I believe quite passionately about giving young people the opportunity to start their careers and give them a platform to move onwards and upwards. At present there was no vacant full-time position to offer so I made the decision to go through the intern process for a second time.

As a newly appointed manager, I was keen to explore the opportunities offered by the GBP. The fact that I am about to undertake a second placement is testament to the GBP and the calibre of candidates that apply for the positions. The experience was very positive, support from the University of Exeter is excellent and also a fresh face joining the team is always good to shake things up and look at how we do things differently. I recommend hiring an intern, ours was timely and smart and made a positive contribution to our organisation.


Designability Charity Limited – Employer Case Study


Name of Organisation: Designability Charity Limited

Description of Organisation: We are an independent charity with a mission to create and provide products that enable disabled people to live with greater independence. We aim to draw on the expertise and resources of designers, engineers and occupational therapists to ensure our products make a positive impact in people’s lives.

Name of Employer: Rob Hanson

Job Title: Mechanical Design Engineer

Internship Scheme used:  A2I Employer subsidies (A2I) – Employment Services – University of Exeter


Our intern worked with us in the user-engagement and requirements gathering for a purpose-designed ‘saddle’ as part of our ongoing development of dynamic seating for children with dystonic cerebral palsy. As a charity, the team’s time and resources are very limited, so the student’s contribution of scoping and defining the product requirements, translating user-engagement to concept ideas, and shaping an early product definition has been useful in moving this part of the project forward.

This contribution of furthering thinking and understanding in this area is extremely valuable in itself.  As a researcher she was extremely thorough in her scoping, thinking and documentation. She has been a pleasure to work with; quiet, considerate and kind.

We feel that the internship scheme is a great way to get students (either undergrad or graduate) industry connected. Our intern joined us for a short internship, bringing fresh thinking and an open mind. Willing to learn, keen to contribute, and driven to make a positive impact with the engineering skills she developed at university, I am glad she could spend some time with us.


Quote from Intern:

“My time included home visits to a child who would be using the saddle seat – this improved my skills in user-centered design and helped me understand the complex requirements of seating for dystonic cerebral palsy children. I improved my teamworking skills, in consulting other engineers/occupational therapists on my design. I became more confident in putting forward my ideas, as well as understanding criticisms.”

Artecology- Employer Case Study


Name of Organisation: Artecology

Description of Organisation: Artecology is the innovative research and development department of ARC Biodiversity and Climate. Based on the Isle of Wight, Artecology work with industry and research partners to create bio receptive construction and landscape designs for marine, freshwater and land-based development.

Name of Employer: Ian Boyd

Job Title: Director

Internship Scheme used:  Access to Internships (A2I)

Employer subsidies (A2I) – Employment Services – University of Exeter

Internship Feedback:

We recruited an intern to work as a Research Assistant within our organisation. We set her a number of objectives that she met to a very high standard and she made a very positive contribution to our company.

The key output from our Intern’s work was feasibility work on new ideas for Artecology training modules, essential work that we are continuing to take forwards.

We were really impressed with the calibre of the University of Exeter student. She was well prepared for the workplace and worked very well as part of our team.

The Intern was ‘poached’ by a very large international consultancy! We were very happy for her and actually rather proud that we played some small part in her success.

We found the internship experience with Exeter University (and our outstanding intern) to be really useful to our work and to our thinking about future HE collaboration. We would highly recommend any firm to participate in taking on an Intern with the University.

Graduate Finance Associate – University of Exeter, Finance Services


What were your main roles and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

My main responsibilities were assisting my colleagues with various daily and monthly tasks (including staff monitoring and modelling bursary allocations), carrying out and presenting data analysis and processing journals for management accounts. I contributed to the preparation of the University’s Access Agreement (a document that outlines the work that the University will undertake to widen participation) for 2018/19. I was also able to attend a variety of meetings and get an insight into different areas of the University.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

I learnt a lot about working in finance and confirmed that  I would like to pursue a career in this sector. I was able to use the knowledge and experience I gained in my internship to secure a permanent graduate role in finance.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

I was able to lighten the workload of my colleagues during busy periods by taking over some of their usual activities.

“Our GBP made a really valuable contribution, was a fast learner and fitted in well to the team.  She was able to use her experience here when interviewing for the permanent finance role that she has secured.” – Management Accountant. 

Geography Writer – ZigZag Education


What were your main duties and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

My main role was to write various GCSE level geography resources, such as topic tests and case studies. I have also been given other smaller tasks to complete. In addition I have been given plenty of training in order to work to the best of my abilities.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

My biggest achievement has probably been completing the resources that I have. Although I am yet to see the full published versions, it’s fulfilling knowing that what I have written is going through the production phases. I also feel that I have taken on a lot of information and learnt lots of new skills!

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

There are always tasks to be done at ZigZag so I imagine I have helped to get more projects completed so they can produce more resources at a faster rate.

“Rachel is a very proficient employee and has settled into the company very well and now forms a core part of her subject team of writers. She has already written a number of new teaching resources as well as critically assessing the work of her peers” – Line Manager.

Employment Services Administrator – Career Zone, Exeter


What were your main duties and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

Over the course of my internship I had several  responsibilities. At the beginning of the internship I helped to process intern contracts, inputting student and employer information and making sure that our records were up to date. I also ran finance reports, and made sure that the information in our finance spreadsheets matched expenditure. In the second half of my internship I was responsible for organising a careers event for CEMPs students. This involved shortlisting potential employers based in the South West, and getting in contact with them via email and telephone to encourage them to sign up to the event. Whilst doing this, I marketed the event to students via social media, targeted emails, and through student societies. I was also responsible for making sure that facilities were booked for the day of the event.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

Organising the careers event for CEMPs students. I became much more confident speaking to external contacts after inviting employers to the event and providing them with further details about the event. I also gained new skills in areas that I previously had limited experience in such as digital marketing, through marketing the event to students.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

I helped to streamline the processing of intern information during the busy period before Christmas, which meant that departments and employers were able to employ student and graduate interns quickly and easily. I also helped to make sure that the finances were accurate, as I was able to check them more frequently. Finally, I organised the careers event for CEMPs students, which my manager would not have been able to organise alongside their other responsibilities.

“He has been an excellent team player, very hardworking, flexible and reliable for the 3 months he was with us. He has been involved in calling employers about attending an event, writing promotional text to send to students and drawing up an action plan list. He also helped prepare GBP and SCP contracts and worked on finance.  Having him in the office really helped us get on top of the workload.” – Line Manager.

Employment Services Support Assistant – Employability Services, University of Exeter


What were your main duties and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

The main purpose of my role was to ensure the delivery of professional and helpful administrative support within the Employment Services Team, in particular for the Graduate Recruitment Team. I played a key role in supporting the arrangements for the careers fairs and a wide range of employer events, in particular showcase/drop-in events, recruiter in residence and mock interviews. I assisted the team in developing relationships with local, regional and national employers, institutions, Alumni, internal Colleges and Services for the benefit of the University and its students and graduates.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

Throughout the course of my internship, the team was faced with a number of issues and obstacles out of our control that potentially threatened the organisation of successful events, such as double-bookings and extreme weather conditions. One of my biggest achievements was dealing with unexpected problems calmly and smoothly, always making the employer a priority and quickly creating contingency plans. My confidence has significantly increased as a result of this and I now feel more equipped and capable of dealing with the unexpected.  My internship offered a fantastic opportunity to put my skills into practice and gain invaluable office experience.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

I played a key role in the organisation and delivery of four major careers fairs and a large number of smaller employer events, such as presentations and showcases. I coordinated the arrangements of several events from start to finish, taking the original booking, making the necessary arrangements and hosting the event on the day. I feel that my work helped to ease the workload of my colleagues in what was an extremely busy autumn term and was crucial to the smooth running of employer events.

Did you encounter any problems during the course of your internship and if so, how did you overcome them?

The main problems that I encountered during the course of my internships were relating to procedural/system changes, such as alterations to evening event bookings and changes to the newsletter format. I worked closely with colleagues to ensure that transitions were smooth and asked further questions where necessary. I created a comprehensive document detailing the new procedures to guide others in future.

“Jess was brought in to cover maternity leave of a permanent member of staff.  She was an excellent team player, flexible and hard working.  She was keen to ensure she understood what was required of her and wanted to learn.  Her positivity was a delight to have in the office.  As part of her role she had to communicate regularly with employers wanting to work with the University in promoting their internships and graduate role.  Her interpersonal style and customer service were excellent and I had no hesitation in leaving her to get on with it.  We would have offered her a permanent role had she not already secured an alternative role at the University!” – Line Manager.

Research Assistant – South West Heritage Trust


What were your main duties and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

My main responsibilities as a intern with the South West Heritage Trust were cataloguing material dating from the First World War, for a HLF-funded scheme called the ‘Devon Remembers Heritage Project’. My role involved organising and attending meetings with local heritage centres across the county, as well as compiling the results of volunteer research groups into accessible formats such as Excel or Word.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

My biggest achievement during the internship was securing an additional three months of employment with the company, which commenced immediately after the initial contract was due to finish. I was really pleased to see that my work and contribution to the company had been so highly valued and a contract extension will allow me to become more heavily involved in various aspects of the Devon Remembers project.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

I saved my line manager a great deal of time searching through archive collections and driving around the county to visit other local archives. I was able to compile large amounts of information into a usable form for Katherine and the company’s archivists.

Did you encounter any problems during the course of your internship and if so, how did you overcome them?

Whilst not directly related to the content of my work, the most major problem in my internship was the hour-long commute by car. I overcame this by downloading audio books to listen to whilst driving and it made the travelling much more bearable.

“Ciaran is an excellent member of the team and we have offered him further employment as a result of his internship. His skills, attitude and aptitude for learning all make him an asset to the organisation” – Devon Remembers Heritage Project Officer

Global Employability Assistant – University of Exeter


What were your main duties and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

The main objective of my role was to provide administrative support to the Employment Services Teams in the Career Zone (Global & UK). My main responsibility was to upload  vacancies on to CareerHub, and so this required acquiring all the necessary information from the employers beforehand, and formatting vacancy advertisements so that they were accessible to students looking to apply. For this reason, I had to liaise with employers via email about the positions they were offering, and create an online vacancy based on the information provided. I also carried out some ad hoc work, such as flyering for our careers fairs and inputting data about our employer contacts.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

I have learnt a considerable amount about the application process for graduate schemes by being ‘behind the scenes’; uploading vacancies on a day-to-day basis has highlighted to me what it is that employers are looking for, and how to succeed in filling out tricky application forms. Also, I am a lot more familiar with Microsoft Office, for instance I dreaded using Excel before and avoided it at all costs, but now I have been shown how to use it correctly and efficiently, I will certainly be using it more in the workplace.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

A lot of my work for the CareerZone required autonomy, especially because I was split between two departments (Global & UK Vacancies), so I would say that I helped my colleagues most by working efficiently and getting tasks done swiftly. One of the tasks I worked on was uploading a number of Studentships to CareerHub, and I composed a spread sheet to keep a log of what ones had been uploaded/deleted, which others can use as a reference. Also, I helped out the careers fairs by flyering around the university; I was therefore more than happy to carry out additional tasks besides my main responsibility of uploading vacancies.

Did you encounter any problems during the course of your internship and if so, how did you overcome them?

Sometimes in quieter periods there would be a shortage in vacancies, which, as a main part of my job role, meant I had little to do. I overcame this by asking around the office for ad hoc tasks and helped out wherever I could. It was never a major problem as someone always had a task for me to do.

“Paige has provided essential support during her time with me, and has been a pleasure to have in the office” – Line Manager

Film Research Support & Administration Intern – University of Exeter


What were your main duties and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

My duties included:

Updating programme descriptors and modules on iPaMS.
Researching and drafting a plan for the MA IFB webpage.
Collecting student information and formulating a questionnaire for a postgraduate film student database.
Helping with module change and allocation.
Assisting with archiving.
Some reception assistance.
Writing a summary report of film workshop feedback.
Helping with any other general ad hoc tasks.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

Helping the team out with iPaMS as I really felt like I made a positive impact which was appreciated. I also feel that my work for the MAIFB webpage and film workshop summary was of a good standard I was proud of.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

I feel like I have helped relieve some of the pressures on the team at a busy time. I hope that my work for the PG database helps the film department and that my draft for the MAIFB webpage gets used and benefits the students.

“We have loved having our Intern Maxine, who had an extremely positive impact on the team and the work that we do” – Line Manager