Solent University, Southampton has conducted a new survey to understand what is necessary for local businesses to grow and has introduced initiatives such as “reverse internships” for local business leaders.
The research produced has helped the business school understand ways of facilitating learning and development within local businesses. 70% of survey respondents said that universities could provide more access to their academic experts to help facilitate learning. Solent University has taken steps to resolve this and now offers apprenticeships and a government-subsidised management development programme to help business owners succeed.
The programme, which is designed by leading UK business schools, allows business leaders to receive expert academic and business support, one-to-one mentoring and continuous access to a peer and alumni network. In turn, educating local business owners helps drive the economy within the local area.
The survey also revealed that respondents feel universities could play a bigger role in promoting local employment and career opportunities to their students, retaining talent often being the biggest recruitment challenge for businesses.
From undertaking research in the library, to contributing towards a practical project, to utilising campus facilities and equipment and much more – leaders will have ample opportunity to experience Solent’s academic offer – Caroline Walsh, Solent Business School
In response, Solent has now created networking events with Business South, giving students the opportunity to work with local businesses. Recently, the university has launched its ‘Reverse Internships’ programme, providing local business owners the opportunity to return to university to learn what younger generations want from an employer.
Chris Rees, business director at Rees Leisure, said “It is really exciting to head back to a university setting. I started my business when I was just 18 and it’s really inspiring to see Solent leading the way with the next generation of entrepreneurs coming through their Business School.”
This innovative programme will give business owners the opportunity to see how Solent is preparing its students for employment and supporting their development.
Caroline Walsh, director of Solent Business School at the university, said: “We are delighted to announce the launch of our Reverse Internships programme, which will provide students and businesses with a great opportunity to exchange knowledge, develop networks and add value to ensure our graduates are career ready, whatever the future brings.
“From undertaking research in the library, to contributing towards a practical project, to utilising campus facilities and equipment and much more – leaders will have ample opportunity to experience Solent’s academic offer, learn more about how we prepare graduates and also what our students look for from organisations and future managers.”
In addition, the university is offering a series of events to support businesses in networking and understanding the economic landscape.
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