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Santander: SMEs need the brightest students

Santander: SMEs need the brightest students


2 min read Partner content

Students and graduates are being encouraged to work for small businesses, who often struggle to attract top talent.

Santanderis calling for a ‘cultural shift’ among major corporate companies to help students and graduates understand opportunities at smaller businesses.

The Santander Universities internship programme has placed 532 of the UK’s brightest students in three-month internships with SMEs. This academic year the number of internships has trebled to 1,500.

This weekend Steve Pateman, Santander’s head of UK banking, is due to address the National Association of College and University Entrepreneurs (NACUE) student enterprise conference at Sheffield Hallam University.

He said small business growth and the next generation of entrepreneurs will be key to the continuing recovery and growth of the British economy.

Research by Santanderfound only one in eight university students would actively choose to work for an SME, even though SMEs are responsible for 59% of private sector employment and represent the greatest growth potential for the British economy.

Pateman will tell conference delegates – young entrepreneurs aged between 16 and 25 – that small businesses often struggle to find top talent.

He believes there needs to significant cultural change to ensure firms have access to the brightest graduates, and likewise make sure graduates have access to small business employers.

“Britain’s economy appears to be recovering, but it’s got a long way to go,” Pateman will say.

“This can’t be achieved or even sustained by big business alone, it needs entrepreneurs and small businesses to accelerate growth and bring about prosperity. Without entrepreneurs coming out of our education system, Britain’s economic recovery is going to struggle to get out of first gear.”

Around 700 student entrepreneurs are expected at this year’s student enterprise conference – where Santander is the lead partner – where they will hear from peer entrepreneurs including Jacob Hill from Lazy Camper, Rosie Ginday from Miss Macaroon, Jamie Osman from Red Light Management.

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