Interns Inspire Confidence in Next Generation as Cohort Clocks Up Valuable Experience

Tees Valley Combined Authority | Published on: 25th August 2023

A cohort of summer interns at Tees Valley Combined Authority is now looking toward a move into full-time work after finishing their three-week paid placements.

Eight university students and new graduates were offered roles in six departments; Business and Skills, Net Zero, Risk and Strategy, Creative Place, Marketing and Communications one working across several departments such as Legal, Governance and HR.

Helena Keane, 19, an intern in the Net Zero department, studied Environmental Science at the University of Manchester. With more career opportunities in Net Zero than ever before in Tees Valley, Helena decided to apply to work within the region, having lived in Stockton before moving away, and is happy others in a similar position made the same choice.

She said: “Almost all of us have moved away from Teesside for university to areas like Leeds, Manchester, London and Oxford. Seeing all of us thrive in a work environment so close to home shows how much there is to gain from working in the Tees Valley.”

Now in her second year of university, Helena has been working in the department to better prepare herself for a career within the green energy industry.

Helena said: “Working with the Net Zero team, it has been exciting to strive towards a greener future, prioritising decarbonisation, with an emphasis on carbon capture underground storage and the development of hydrogen fuel via water electrolysis.”

Two-time masters graduate Ewan Grainger, from Stockton-on-Tees, is the oldest at 25. He told of the benefits from working with the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority and recommended the scheme to others.

He said: “Whether you’re in university or whether you’ve just graduated like me, it’s an excellent way into the world of work or to narrow down what you want to do over the course of your studies.”

Interns were given responsibilities equivalent to a full-time employee, and, while supported by their team, were given the freedom and control to carry out their work and meet their project briefs.

Helena added: “The feeling of structured independence in completing your own projects that actually help the authority brings a great sense of worth to the internship rather than being given insignificant or juvenile tasks.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen was proud of the team’s accomplishments and was confident they would seek out good career opportunities within the region.

He said: “I’m proud that, as an organisation dedicated to supporting and uplifting businesses within the Tees Valley, we can encourage these intelligent students and graduates to return to the region and support them though the experiences we can offer. It sets the precedent for students living outside of the area with ties here to return, helping to retain talent boost our economy as they Stay Local but Go Far.

“I am confident, following this programme, our interns will move on to form strong careers in their fields, and will improve our region through economic growth and the inspiration they provide.

“As they set off into good-quality careers, anybody who wants to follow in their footsteps can do so with us in next year’s internship programme.”

The scheme paid each intern the Real Living Wage.

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