The Department for Enterprise has now opened applications to undergraduates for the 2020 Step Programme which is sponsored by IQ-EQ (Isle of Man) Ltd. Undergraduates in their second or penultimate year of university off-Island or at University College Isle of Man (UCM) are encouraged to apply. The Programme matches successful applicants with local private, public and third sector organisations to complete paid project placements during the summer break.
The 2020 Programme will begin on 29 June 2020 and run for a fixed, eight-week period, with the final presentation event being held on 21 August 2020 where applicants have the chance to win prizes worth up to £350. Participating undergraduates are required to produce a written report and present their project work at the final event. They will be assessed on a balance of these elements, as well as feedback they receive from their host organisation. This year, 37 undergraduates took part in the programme, competing for a range of awards and prizes.
The Programme offers significant benefits to participants as it brings like-minded, aspiring young professionals together, makes a significant difference to future career prospects as it develops and teaches new skills, and allows them to explore knowledge gained at university in the workplace. Undergraduates are paid £256 per week, totalling £2,048 for the 8-week period, and are entitled to 4 days leave.
Lawrie Hooper MHK, Political Member with responsibility for Enterprise Support, commented:
‘The Step Programme is a fantastic initiative which provides significant benefits to undergraduates. It allows participants to make a positive impact through their project work and encourages them to develop relationships with local organisations, which opens doors to future job prospects after graduation.
‘This year I had the privilege of attending the Step Final where the calibre of the presentations and written projects was outstanding. The Programme has been in existence for many years now, and every year the bar is raised, showing the popularity and value it offers both undergraduates and organisations. I would encourage any undergraduate looking to enhance their employability skills to apply for the 2020 Programme.’
Winner of Most Enterprising Student in the 2019 Programme, James McGhee, who completed a project on the medicinal and cannabis and industrial hemp industry with Business Isle of Man, commented:
‘I applied for the 2019 Step Programme because it is a great opportunity to gain experience and business skills that can be transferred to a future career. The programme is open to everyone, no matter what you are studying, and all the projects allocated had some relevance to either the applicant’s course or anticipated career. My own project was linked to pharmacology which had been one of my second year university subjects.
‘I really enjoyed my experience and was happy to be working on a project which could have significant benefits for our Island. This programme is an exceptional initiative that I would strongly recommend to all undergraduates.’
Undergraduates must be in their second or penultimate year of university and ensure they are available to work from 29 June 2020 to 21 August 2020, with 4 days leave permitted. Individuals that are eligible and would like to take part must complete an application form. Step Programme Coordinator, Kirsty Jamieson of Career Zest, will begin matching successful applicants with organisations after applications close on 24 April 2020.
Minister for Enterprise, Laurence Skelly MHK, with Most Enterprising Student, James McGhee, at the 2019 Step Programme Final.