Recently I attended a breakfast meeting to engage local businesses at the Anglia Ruskin University Business School. If you know Cambridge, you’ve probably been past the building many times. However, like me, and the majority of attendees at the meeting, you’ve probably never been in it before. If you get the chance, I’d advise it. It’s an impressive building which hosts a range of exciting courses and lots and lots of students from all over the world. They have a host of national and local partners. Interesting fact – they deliver a specialist degree course in partnership with Harrods!
The purpose of the meeting was to ask for input from local businesses to help shape the content of the business courses, making sure that business graduates are ‘market ready’. The chosen method is establishing a Business Forum. We were a small group (hopefully we will grow!) but we represented a range of different businesses, both in size and in sector.
One of the key questions asked of us was about what a business needs from a recent graduate. It is no surprise that employability was a key theme. Students need to be able to fit into the work environment, they need to be self reliant and be able to manage themselves. It all sounds familiar doesn’t it?
A large part of the discussions was around interns. Some of those attending regularly took on interns in their business, both on a paid and a unpaid basis. This led to permanent work for some of the interns, which reflects on the cadre of students at the university. I had never considered seriously the role that internships can play for small business, but after this meeting I am convinced for many small businesses an intern is a viable option.
It was a really interesting meeting, as with the best type of meeting it had a brilliant unintended consequence. An interesting new contact which may result in a new business relationship.
Work hard and have fun