Information for Careers and Employability professionals
Step is the UK’s leading provider of paid, development focused student and graduate internships and jobs. Originally set up and funded by Shell UK as part of their social investment activity in the UK and based on an idea from Durham Business School, you can read more about the early days here. Now in our 30th year, we have evolved into a commercially sustainable operation to offer year round support to smaller businesses in identifying graduate talent. We operate in all sectors, but our primary focus is on:
- Engineering (Mechanical, Electrical, Chemical)
- Computer Science (Software development, web development, networking)
- Science (Physics, Chemistry, research based projects)
- Business Projects (including HR, Supply chain, logistics, marketing, finance)
- Public sector and policy (councils, charitable and community interest)
- Property and Construction
All our roles are outcome focused and project based. They offer meaningful, paid (at least relevant minimum or living wage and often more) work experience where the work carried out makes a real impact on the businesses in which the student or graduate works. Undergraduates on short summer placements receive a training allowance free of tax and national insurance contributions. All other students and recent graduates are formally employed (either by ourselves or the host business) and receive a salary.
Types of placements
We offer the following types of placements / roles
- Undergraduate sandwich placements
- Undergraduate summer placements
- Graduate internships (all year round)
- Permanent graduate jobs (all year round)
We encourage students to set up an online profile with Step which takes approximately 30 minutes to complete. The basic information of their location, field of study and any particular skills they may hold is then searched on when an appropriate role comes through. This may be up to two years after they register with us but the information makes it easy for us to approach them with interesting and relevant roles.
When they are linked to a role, either by applying or by us approaching them, we support them through the application process, offering advice about how to tailor their personal statement to give them the best opportunity to get an interview with the host company, and then we provide ongoing support during the assessment/interview process.
We also work with clients to develop and support internship programmes – developed in line with Step standards: project/outcome based, paid and development focused.
For example, we are working with the House of Commons as their recruitment partner to deliver their 12-month BAME graduate internship programme. The programme is designed to provide work experience, employability support and guidance to individuals from communities that are currently under-represented in the House of Commons’ graduate level workforce.
We advertise these roles at programme level. Applicants apply via Step and we manage the initial assessment process before matching candidates to the specific opportunities on offer through the programme. You can find more information and examples of the programme that we have ran in the past here.
How we are funded.
We are a commercial business. We charge employers a fixed, transparent fee which reflects the work involved in identifying and placing appropriate candidates. You can view our current rates for clients here.
How can we do more for you and your students?
If you have public or private sector grant funding and could make this directly available to our small businesses, we can help secure more opportunities for your students. We do NOT top-slice your funding – every penny will go directly to the host small business.
We can also help your students better understand the wealth of opportunities open to them in smaller growth-oriented business: we regularly run advice and skills focused workshops on campus under the theme “Think Big Choose Small”.
Consultancy advice and support
Our team has a vast amount of experience supporting universities – with many of our staff having worked within Higher Education and student placements/recruitment.
We can offer ad hoc guidance or structured staff development programmes covering a range of employability and employer-engagement themes.
Just ping us an email or give us a call to find out more!