20 students gain experience through the Access Internship Scheme

Once again the RREF Access Internship Scheme took place this summer with 17 companies hosting 20 students for a 4-week internship. The scheme, which aims to address issues relating to widening access to the profession, is now in its 4th year and has become an important element within the RREF programme.

Access_internship_student_visitGaining work experience is vital in today's competitive graduate job market, but students from widening participation backgrounds, for example those experiencing financial hardship or those with a lack of contacts within the industry, often find themselves at a disadvantage when competing with students from more affluent backgrounds.

The scheme is incredibly important as it allows students to undertake an invaluable professional placement without loss of income during the summer holidays, and it doesn't rely on having access to an existing network in the industry. Through the placements Interns get the chance to not only develop their knowledge of the professional area they are placed in and how it operates, but also to establish their own networks under the guidance of a supervisor from their host company.

Isabelle Markey who took part in the 2013 programme commented "I first became aware of the Access Internship Scheme through the RREF website, and was delighted to have found a scheme specifically designed to help students who may otherwise have struggled to get their initial internship. The team I was assigned during my internship were all extremely approachable and enthusiastic to answer any questions about the work I was given or more general queries regarding the industry itself. The wide variety of projects and site visits I was able to participate in allowed me to put into practice what I had learned in first year, as well as providing a context to the role of the wider industry within the market".

As well as aiming to break down socioeconomic barriers and give students real world experience, the scheme also gives employers the chance to see how talented our students are. Elaine Smith, HR Business Partner at Segro, who have offered Access Internships for a number of years explained why they as employers are keen to take part: "SEGRO see the RREF Access Internship Scheme as great initiative to target those entering the property profession who are under-represented and find it difficult to undertake work experience needed to enhance their prospects. We also saw this as a way to identify possible talent for the future of SEGRO.We offer a structured programme of activity so the student sees the whole spectrum of working client side for a property company and are assigned a mentor for the duration of their stay with us. The interns we have seen to date have had varied experiences but all have undertaken a pre-placement induction course helping them settle in to office environment quickly. The students have always come across well and have contributed to the team they have been in at the time."

This year, we are extremely grateful to all our host firms for their support; BNP Paribas Real Estate, CBRE, Colliers, CoStar, Cushman & Wakefield, Gerald Eve, GVA, J Peiser Wainwright, JLL, Knight Frank, Lambert Smith Hampton, Oxford properties, Marks & Spencer, Proplend, Savills, SEGRO and UPP and we look forward to supporting even more students in 2015.

Further information

We encourage a spread of internships across a number of organisations, large and small so if you would be interested in hosting a student for a 4-week placement this summer or would like to receive further information about the scheme itself please contact us on +44 (0) 118 378 4192 or info@rref.reading.ac.uk


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