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News - 8 May 2009

Wired Sussex Awarded Grant to Support 100 Digital Media Internships

Wired Sussex, the independent membership organisation for digital media businesses in Sussex, working with the University of Sussex, has won a grant of £600,000 to help the region’s businesses through the Sussex Internship Programme.

The scheme will directly assist small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the digital media and content sectors – including web, software development, animation, games, e-learning, print, music, TV, film and advertising companies.

One hundred graduate work-based training placements will be funded over the next 18 months, as well as a number of other initiatives. Half of the funding comes from the Higher Education Funding Council for England and the other half from the University of Sussex, Brighton & Hove City Council and other supporters of the initiative.

The funding supports the development of a scheme which has been piloted by Wired Sussex over the past two years, which successfully placed 40 interns in 35 different companies - 40% of whom went on to be offered employment after their internships were completed. The pilot scheme was the most successful of its kind in the country.

In addition to the internships, this new funding also enables Wired Sussex to expand its successful Jobs + Skills events and also to work with higher education skills providers to ensure that they understand the needs of small creative companies when it comes to graduate employment.

The success of this bid reflects growing concern at local and national government levels about graduate unemployment in the current challenging economic times. Unlike recent government schemes which have provided for internships in much larger companies such as Microsoft, which involves companies paying the interns themselves, the Sussex Internship Programme is designed to specifically meet the needs of the smaller end of the SME sector, where a 30 day funded internship with a recently trained graduate could have a significant impact.

Managing Director of Wired Sussex, Phil Jones, said yesterday ‘We’re delighted to be able to deliver such an innovative scheme. We understand better than anyone the needs of smaller companies in the creative and digital sectors where a commitment to taking on an intern demands precious time and resources and so needs to also have the potential to deliver real value to the company involved.

We also know that an intern wants to receive really useful training and experience out of their internship, so these internships are carefully monitored by us and every intern receives training which will really set them up for a career in the sector. We expect the programme to be very popular with companies and interns alike.’

Sharon Phillips, Head of the University's Regional Development Office added: ‘Wired Sussex is an integral part of the digital media sector in Brighton and Hove and we are delighted to be working with them and our supporters, including the City Council and SEEDA, to make this project happen.’

Anyone interested in finding out more about the scheme should contact Wired Sussex directly on 01273 692 888, or register for more information at www.sussexinternshipprogramme.com.


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