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Adopt an Intern Awards

Triumph for Alexis as Adopt an Intern hits new milestone

Adopt an InternAdopt an Intern, the company which places graduates into paid work placements, announced last night that it has placed its 1000th intern.

The landmark was revealed at its inaugural awards reception at the Scottish Parliament attended by more than 200 guests.

Alexis Cairnie (pictured), a collection care intern for East Ayrshire Leisure was named Intern of the Year, while the 1000th intern, Marie Montondo, has secured a 12-month paid internship as a communications and executive assistant with the Young Academy of Scotland at The Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Earlier this year Adopt an Intern predicted a record year for internships with Scottish-based employers. To date it has partnered with 635 businesses and estimates that as a direct result £30 million has been contributed to Scotland’s economy.

Of those placed, 77% have gone on to secure permanent work straight after their internship. The 1000th appointment comes a little over a year since it announced its 500th placement.

Joy Lewis (below centre), chief executive of Adopt an Intern, said: “I am sure Marie will enjoy her time with the Royal Society of Edinburgh and find it invaluable for future opportunities. From our research 97% of the graduates we have placed have told us that their internship has contributed positively to their career development.

Joy Lewis at awards“It is by no means one way. Our graduates make a positive economic impact when given the opportunity of paid internships with Scotland’s employers.

“We are delighted to have reached the 1,000 mark. We have a great desire to increase this number significantly so that even more young people can fulfil their potential, more businesses can grow and in turn they can contribute to a stronger, smarter economy.

“I urge organisations, whatever their size and wherever they are based, to get in touch and see how easily their businesses can benefit while giving invaluable work experience to someone in our graduate population.”

Ms Montondo, Adopt an Intern’s 1000 placement, said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to have found a job in my field after several years searching and working outside my field of expertise to make ends meet. I know first-hand how difficult it is for graduates to start a career after university.

“I was caught in that common Catch-22 of not being able to secure paid work because of lack of experience, but not being able to gain experience because I couldn’t afford to take an unpaid internship or volunteer position.

“Adopt an Intern put me in touch with employers who were willing to take on a graduate and give them actual responsibilities. I found and applied for several interesting-looking positions, and when I got an interview with the Young Academy of Scotland it became clear that this internship was a great fit for my skills and education.

“I can’t wait to get started at my new job. I know from my discussions with my new employer that I’m going to continue to develop my communications, public relations and writing skills, and also add new skills to my CV. I feel very confident that by the end of my contract I will be equipped to move forward in my career.”

Adopt an Intern has a 2-step process to internships. After an employer makes contact it advises on job specification, terms and conditions. It will then advertise the role to its large pool of graduates, phone screen and shortlist the top candidates for the employer to interview.

Last night’s winners were:

Intern of the Year – Alexis Cairnie

“Alexis brought an incredible wealth of knowledge within essential modern disciplines to her internship. She excelled in not only using these skills but in training the team to cope with and understand these new challenges. Alexis regularly rose above expectations and continues to work on the digitalisation programme on a freelance basis.”

Employer of the Year – Commando Spirit

“Commando Spirit went above and beyond their role as an employer. They embraced the opportunity to learn with their intern, while striking the perfect balance between guidance and autonomy, enhancing the intern’s personal and professional development.”

Outstanding Achievement – Working on Wheels

“Working on Wheels has recruited eight interns through Adopt an Intern, all of whom have stayed with the company beyond their initial internship period. In April 2012 Working on Wheels took over the management of the Scottish Government’s Roadshow Campaign. It is facilitated entirely by graduates recruited through Adopt an Intern.”

The awards were judged by Susan Edwards, Director of HR, Abellio UK; Gary Merrylees, Talent Manager, Diageo; Laura Peacock, Key Relationship Manager at Investors in People; and Rhoda Grant MSP. At the beginning of the evening RBS presented all the successful finalists with certificates of commendation.

Following a survey of graduates, Scottish Water received the accolade of ‘Scotland’s large business that graduates most aspire to work for’.

Annabelle Ewing MSP, Minister for Youth and Women’s Employment, keynote speaker at the awards said: “Adopt an Intern has proven itself to be an important and influential scheme, providing 1000 young graduates over the last five years with an invaluable stepping stone to developing their careers.

“The Scottish Government is a proud supporter of this scheme as we recognise investing in our young workforce is key to the future economic success of the country. Our future workforce needs the best possible chance to develop the skills and experience they need to realise fulfilling careers.  No matter what their background – nothing should stop our young people from succeeding.”

Ms Lewis said: “I congratulate all our winners this evening and all the individuals and organisations that made our shortlists. The judging process was exceptionally difficult. The high quality of entrants is a great barometer of the significant talent and energy that we have in our graduate population, and the businesses and organisations, large and small, which make up our economy.

“Scotland’s economy needs sustainable growth. Graduate internships provide a flexible approach to bringing talent and innovation into the workplace to support that growth.

We look forward to achieving more over the next 5 years, building on the significant base we have today. Working together I am absolutely certain that we can.”

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