Introducing the Durham University Santander SME Internship Programme

The Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre at Durham University, in a recognised partnership with and funded by Santander Universities (a division of Santander UK plc), run a programme called the Santander Universities SME Internship Programme. The purpose of this programme is to create work experience (or internship) opportunities for Durham students or recent graduates in local SMEs (small to medium enterprises). The programme offers access to a variety of skilled and highly sought after students to a cohort of successful and well regarded SMEs, therefore introducing a unique partnership.


Eligibility of SMEs*:

  • This Programme is open to organisations with 250 employees or less which have an annual turnover of fifty million pounds or less (“SMEs”). They must be registered and based in the UK.
  • Eligible organisations include companies, sole traders, partnerships and charities.
  • Participating SME’s can recruit a maximum of 2 interns through each cycle of the programme.
  • SME’s cannot apply for further Santander UK plc funding to either extend an intern contract or employ the same student or graduate after the internship has completed.


Eligibility of Students & Graduates*:

  • Candidates must be current students or graduates of Durham University
  • Once a student or graduate has completed an internship with an SME (under this scheme) they cannot apply for another part or fully funded internship with the same SME.


Management of the Programme:

The University’s nominated Programme Managers (Victoria Cawkwell and Helen Jackson, contact both via: are the main point of contact for the SME. They will ensure that the programme and the internships on offer are advertised widely via our Student Services Portal, social media and weekly email bulletin, as well as answer any queries the SME might have.


SMEs will receive applications directly, therefore allowing them the opportunity to manage their own recruitment process. Once the SME has shortlisted candidates for an internship position, it will be its responsibility to interview candidates and manage all aspects of the recruitment process.


Once the internship has been allocated, the partner university’s nominated Programme Managers will update the Santander Internships Portal (a web based database).

All internships should be allocated and filled by 30th September 2018 with start dates no later than 1st November 2018.


Allocation and Programme management:

The internships will be for a duration of between 2 and 10 weeks with the intern working on a full-time basis (35 hours per week). Any extension of internships past the agreed term must be funded by the SME.


To maximise the impact of the funding we are seeking proposals from SMEs for:

3 x 2 week projects @ £600    = £1,800

3 x 7 week projects @ £1,050 = £3,150


Funding and payment:

Each intern under the Programme shall be paid a minimum of £300 per week

based on a 35 hour week.

  • Santander Universities will contribute up to a maximum of £1,500 per internship
  • For internships between 1-2 weeks Santander will fund £300 per week. Internships between 3 and 10 weeks will be part-funded by Santander at a rate of £150 per week to a maximum of £1,500, to be matched by the SME. These internships will not be fully funded by Santander at any point.

Durham University receives the funding from Santander Universities and will forward to the SME as agreed.


The SME will pay the intern this money, inclusive of the remaining matched funded element, where applicable (or other higher sum that the SME has agreed to pay the intern). The SME is entitled to provide more than minimum matched funded element towards the intern’s salary over the agreed period if they choose to do so. The partner universities and the particular SMEs’ shall determine how payment is to be made and agree this with the intern prior to commencement of the internship.


If you would like to find out more information, please contact Victoria Cawkwell or Helen Jackson: 0191 3341406 or