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Graduate Internship Scheme

The University of Sunderland’s Graduate Internship Scheme can provide regional SMEs with a cost-effective approach to recruiting graduate talent for a 12-month period.

Part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the University’s Graduate Internship team work closely with organisations to ensure the recruitment process runs smoothly. The team can support role development, sourcing the graduate, the recruitment and selection process, as well as being a point of contact for the organisation.

The ERDF Graduate Internship Scheme is now closed to new applications. If you would like to find out other ways the University can support you with your recruitment needs, please contact Donna Bainbridge on 079 7619 9512.

Access support to find graduate talent for your business

The project will place 244 graduates into regional SMEs. Following assessment, if eligible and accepted onto the scheme, the organisation will receive funding towards the graduate’s salary. 

The company will pay a minimum salary of £18,000 per annum to their successful graduate and the scheme will offer £500 a month in subsidy. The proportion of the salary funded will be dependent upon the date the graduate commences employment. Salary subsidy cannot continue beyond the graduate’s April 2023 salary.


As the Graduate Internship Scheme is funded via ERDF, there is a rigorous process and compliance procedures which we have to follow in terms of the eligibility check and the recruitment process.

We are currently only able to support SMEs that are registered (and operating or trading) in the following areas:

  • Sunderland
  • Newcastle
  • Gateshead
  • South Tyneside
  • North Tyneside
  • Northumberland

At this moment in time we are unable to support organisations in County Durham.

Person sitting down at a desk gluing folded pieces of book paper

In addition businesses must be:

  • Based in the NE LEP area (excluding County Durham)
  • Private sector
  • SME
  • Has received less than €200,000 in De Minimis funding in the last three years
  • The company must have a trading arm or generate an income
  • At the time of the organisation applying for the scheme, and at the point of the recruitment process, the graduate must not be an existing employee of the organisation

If you are unsure as to whether your business is eligible to access support, please contact the team at internships@sunderland.ac.uk


  • Completion of the Registration Form to check eligibility
  • Once confirmed, the company completes the Business Proposal Document outlining in detail the main skills and competencies of the role
  • The team use the detail to write the advert and role profile, approved by the company
  • The position is advertised via all university channels
  • All applications are sent to the organisation to shortlist
  • The team can arrange interviews and manage the recruitment process
  • The successful candidate is offered the internship and completes the Equality and Diversity form
  • The company completes the Jobs Created Form along with a Financial Commitment Form confirming their bank details. A signed copy of the Contract is to be provided to the team.
  • Copies of the graduate’s payslip and a bank statement are submitted to the University on a monthly basis
  • Completion of additional forms including New Product/Process Review Form, the Employment Increase Form are towards the end of the contract

The Internships and Enterprise project is receiving up to £3,326,399 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund.

Established by the European Union, European Regional Development Fund funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. 

For more information visit the gov.uk website.