The Humber Internships Programme (HIP), delivered by the University of Hull, is helping employers in the Humber region acquire talented students and graduates through a part-funded 12-week internship programme.
The programme is increasingly popular as employers struggle to recruit and retain employees within their business and skills gaps increase.
We spoke to Helen Johnson, Product Manager at confectionery specialist Creme d’Or to explore their programme experiences and how their Graphic Design intern Sarah Day was a match made in chocolate heaven for their business.
Creme d’Or is a specialist wholesaler of chocolate, confectionery and snacks with exclusive brands and licenses. My role and team take care of all aspects of the licensed product range, and due to an increase in product lines, we were struggling with the volume of design work required to support products such as Mr Men, the Grinch, and the National History Museum. Previously we had used freelance design support, but this didn’t enable us to respond quickly enough. We receive new ideas and last-minute requests regularly and needed to be geared up for this. We felt we could also benefit from a fresh pair of eyes on our design work.
How did HIP support you in finding the best fit intern?
The team at the HIP were incredibly supportive. They helped us set up all the paperwork and manage the funding side. They handled the advertising of the role and supported us with the short-listing and interview process. We found their interview process very helpful and feel this guided us to identify and find the right skill set for our role. We received a 40% contribution to the cost of the intern, which was a fantastic support for us in growing our team and skills.
Can you tell us about the qualities of your intern and the value of her joining the team?
From the outset, we found Sarah to be very friendly and confident, and since joining us in June, she has settled in well. She quickly comes up with ideas and turns projects around on her own initiative. Quality is essential to the Creme d’Or business as we are responsible for working with licensed brands, and Sarah has brought the right skills to help us meet our quality standards. Sarah gets stuck into any project (even our stock checks!). She has also worked on a private label hot chocolate product, and all design work to support this is going into Fenwicks stores nationally in time for Christmas.
Internships are a great way to test out graduate talent and evaluate the potential of a permanent role; how are internships helping Creme d’Or to attract top talent?
As our product lines and business continues to grow, we need the right level of talent and skills that a graduate or future graduate can offer. Fitting in with our team and culture is also essential. We feel the internship programme allowed us to test the water and look at ways we can bring graduate-level ability and mould that person to our business. With the support of HIP, the whole process has been very positive and benefitted the company enormously.
What advice can you share with other businesses considering a HIP intern?
My advice would be to go for it. It is a fantastic opportunity to introduce skills at a high level and be supported throughout the process of recruitment and learning about best practices in interviewing and managing the intern. We hope Sarah will stay with us once she has graduated, and we wouldn’t be in this position without HIP.