Tech firms and students reap mutual rewards of UWE’s Future Space internship scheme

August 10, 2018
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Start-up and scale-up businesses at UWE’s Future Space tech and science hub have opened their doors to students taking part in a new internship initiative designed around their business needs. 

Over the 10-week period the interns, pictured, will develop skills, network and ultimately kickstart their careers in marketing at Future Space companies participating in the scheme.

As it is fully funded, the bespoke scheme – being run for the first time – will bring mutual benefits to both the students and the businesses. 

UWE pro-vice chancellor of research and enterprise Martin Boddy said: “Creating the best environment for our students to develop the skills needed to succeed at work is a hugely important part of our ambition to support their progress – while at the same time working to support innovative fast-growth businesses.

“That’s why we’re always looking for ways to make university and business links stronger. The bespoke fully-funded internship programme set up with Future Space this year is a fantastic example and I am sure will be a valuable experience for those who take part in it.”

Lee Tracey, the founder of Future Space-based eCommerce firm Koan, said: “As we’re such a small company  

“As a micro-business we need all the help we can get and we wouldn’t have taken on an intern unless it was fully funded as we simply wouldn’t have the resources. 

“Our intern Alberto González has been a part of all the major conversations. We’re really glad to have him with us.”

Future Space innovation director Nuala Foley added: “Interns often have the opportunity to learn a lot more at small businesses rather than a large corporation as they get immersed in all aspects of the business from day one.

“The students have the opportunity to really make a splash in the business, helping them grow and develop while enhancing their own CV.

“And the work the interns are undertaking will add a genuine commercial contribution to the Future Space companies. 

“We need more students to get involved, the benefits to both the student and the employer are boundless. 

“The companies here at Future Space already want more interns and the current programme isn’t even finished yet!”

Another Future Space firm taking part in the programme is Open Bionics, which is producing world-beating bionic limbs. Its communications director Chris Edwards-Pritchard is full of praise for its marketing intern Charlie Blaise.

“Charlie has added immense value to our communications here at Open Bionics,” said Chris

“He has filmed and edited videos for the launch of the Brunel Hand 2.0, a robotic hand for researchers, and has also created content for the Hero Arm, the world’s first medically approved 3D-printed bionic arm and the most affordable multi-grip bionic arm ever. 

“His work has received thousands of views and engagement from all around the world. I’m super impressed by his work ethic, adaptability and determination.”

Charlie said: “I’m gaining a lot of skills I didn’t have before. I’ve learnt that launching a product isn’t just about throwing it out there and hoping for the best, it’s very strategic and I’m learning how to use digital marketing professionally as a powerful tool in business. 

“The team is supportive and the tasks I’ve been set are varied and eye-opening. Chris sat me down one day and said, ‘what do you want to do?’ 

“He then gave me a brief and told me to go away and do it. Ultimately I’ve produced a film about the hero arm, something I’m very proud of.”

Future Space, which is on UWE’s Frenchay Campus and managed by Oxford Innovation, was Bristol’s first science and tech hub when it opened nearly two years ago. In its first year it contributed more than £2m to the regional economy. 

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