As lockdown restrictions slowly lift and the economy begins to open up, some businesses are grappling with how to overcome the serious challenges faced during, and post, the Covid-19 pandemic.
To offer support to the manufacturing industry that has been particularly affected, businesses can now access fully-funded student interns from Lancaster University, through the EnginE programme, who can offer expertise and support remotely.
EnginE’s successful internship programme provides Lancashire-based manufacturing and advanced engineering SMEs with dedicated and fully-funded online support in areas including but not limited to finance, data marketing, project management, HR and engineering.
Annette Suddes, EnginE Project Manager at Lancaster University Management School, said: “We have had a lot of success in offering our flexible internships remotely, and we know that the new skills interns bring can make a real difference to manufacturers in these challenging times.
“SMEs have the opportunity to approach us with specific problems and outline exactly what expertise they need. We can then match them to an intern who has specialist skills and can help them for a fixed period of time. This provides the intern with valuable experience while the business gets unique expertise and talent – without incurring costs.
“Remote working has rapidly become accepted practice during the Covid-19 pandemic, and I would encourage people to take advantage of the opportunity – those who have used our interns previously cannot speak highly enough of their contribution to their business.”
Lancashire-based Fleming & Howland Limited, a specialist in design and manufacture of luxury British furniture, worked remotely with EnginE intern, Matt Mottaghian, over two months.
The business was seeking new skills in marketing and e-commerce to give them an additional edge in their international sales.
Matt, 28, who lives in Lancaster, completed an MSc in e-Business and Innovation last year and was able to help.
Managing Director Paul Fleming said: “Matt brought a fresh perspective, taking control of our social media and e-commerce, and increasing confidence in our brand.
"Most of his work - pre Covid-19 - was conducted remotely, and we met frequently online and collaborated remotely -which we continue to do. We have been so impressed we have offered him an ongoing role.”
The EnginE project is designed to improve productivity for SMEs, helping them tackle common workforce development and skills challenges, such as recruiting and retaining great staff, delivering cost-effective training, upskilling and development for existing employees, and making apprenticeships work for their business.
Lancaster University Management School has a range of opportunities available to manufacturing businesses across the North West.
Lancashire SMEs can find out how they can secure a remote-working intern this summer or about all of the manufacturing opportunities available by contacting [email protected], calling 01524 510728 or visiting lancaster.ac.uk/EnginEintern.
EnginE is part-funded by the European Social Fund, and is delivered in partnership with Blackburn College, Blackpool & Fylde College, the Northern Automotive Alliance, and in collaboration with Boost; Lancashire’s business growth hub, which means the support and advice businesses receive is fully-funded, and the programmes, masterclasses and resources available are often heavily subsidised.
EnginE internships are available to Lancashire-based SMEs subject to specific eligibility criteria.