The SME Graduate Internship Scheme (part-funded by Santander Universities) advertises project based internships with Start-ups and SMEs (small medium enterprises).

The internships are exclusively for final year Imperial students and recent Imperial graduates. They cover a range of sectors and are part-funded up to 8 weeks. All internship positions will take place with UK start-ups and SMEs between July and September. Upon successful completion of an internship as part of this scheme, there may be the possibility of full-time employment with the SME (further details of this are provided on the individual JobsLive vacancies).

A position with a start-up or SME is a unique career growth opportunity. Smaller companies can provide experiences that allow you to learn, grow and be challenged. Interns have the space to impact on many aspects of the business and contribute to the growth of an early stage innovator. If you are looking for an experience with diverse responsibility and greater autonomy, consider exploring the positions on the SME Graduate Internship Scheme. Please contact the Internship Unit with any queries. 

Previous participants have said, “During the internship I really enjoyed working in a start-up environment. I found it fascinating to network with the people around me and I loved how tight-knit and interdependent the community was. So, I would love to work for a start-up!”

SME Graduate Internship Scheme

How do I find these internships?

SME Graduate internship positions are advertised via ‘Exclusive Opportunities’ on your JobsLive profile. This can be accessed by using the ‘Search’ tab (pictured below). You will only be able to see this scheme if you are a final year student, or a recent graduate of Imperial College London.Exclusive Opportunities on JobsLive

New internship positions will continue to be added throughout May 2020 so be sure to check back regularly.

Please contact the Placement and Internship Unit at with any queries you may have.

The recruitment process

All internships will include an application form that will require you to upload a copy of your Writing an effective CV and provide details on your interest in and suitability for the relevant position. A strong application will provide answers tailored to the specific internship and corresponding organisation. Review the information and resources on the Application Process section of our website for further guidance on making applications. For further support book a Careers Discussion on JobsLive to discuss  your draft application.  

Prior to the application, you must consider your eligibility to undertake an internship in the UK. To discuss details regarding work eligibility and visas please contact the International Student Support Team.

After the vacancy closing date, all applications will be reviewed by the Placement and Internship Unit. A shortlist of candidates will then be forwarded to the recruiting organisation so they can decide who they would like to interview and offer the internship to.

Internship offers are made directly by the recruiting SME. They will pay you directly and provide you with a contract of employment, detailing duties and responsibilities, hours of work, induction, location of work, health & safety and holiday entitlement.

Internships usually start in July and August, but often organisations can be flexible. Internships may be undertaken full-time or part-time at the discretion of the host SME. If you have any queries around this please contact the Placement and Internship Unit at

Please note you can only undertake one internship as part of the SME Graduate Internship Scheme.

If you successfully secure a position on the SME Graduate Internship Scheme, you will be required to complete a short reflective learning journal to help you learn from your experiences. Aspects of this journal may also be used for promotional purposes.

Santander Universities

The SME Graduate Internship Scheme is part-funded by Santander Universities. The scheme supports SMEs to provide internship opportunities to final year students and graduates over the summer vacation (July – September) by part funding their training allowance. 

Santander Universities was originally founded in Spain in 1996. It was instituted by the then Chairman of Santander who decided that the bank should be useful to the communities in which it operates. As the division began to grow so did its global outreach; eventually expanding into more than 20 countries, including Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Portugal and – in 2008 – the UK.

Santander Universities supports students, staff, academics and SMEs through partnerships with more than 80 UK Universities. These long-term, strategic relationships provide financial and other forms of assistance in research, entrepreneurship, internationalisation and employability. Their aim is to help people and businesses prosper and be valuable to the communities in which we operate.

If you are a successful recipient of an internship under the Scheme, you will be invited to join Santander Fellows, an exclusive LinkedIn group.

Prior to the internship start date, you will be asked to complete a Santander Universities student agreement letter. This will outline the relationships between Imperial College London and Santander Universities and further details of the part funding towards your internship project. This letter requests your consent for your personal data to be shared with Santander for their records and business use and you will be given the opportunity to opt out and have your details anonymised.

SME Graduate Internship FAQs

Are the internships paid?

Yes. All internships as part of the SME Graduate Internship Scheme will be paid a minimum of £315 per week (outside of London) or £369.25 per week (Greater London).

Are all students eligible to apply?

No. Only students who are graduating from College London this year and have completed all aspects of their degree, or recent Imperial College London graduates, are eligible to apply. 

What is an SME?

An SME is a small or medium-sized enterprise. According to the EU, an SME is a business with fewer than 250 employees, and a turnover of less than €50 million. Within this umbrella, there are three different categories: medium-sized, small, and micro-businesses.

SMEs make up around 99 per cent of all the businesses operating in the UK, and are therefore enormously important to the UK economy.

Can I apply for the Santander Universities part funding if I have found my own SME Internship?

Yes. If you have already secured an internship with an SME that you think would be eligible for our part funding, please email the Placement and Internship Unit at with the details of your position. Please note funding is allocated on a first come first serve basis.

Could I undertake the project part-time?

Most internships are advertised as full-time opportunities. However, often host organisations can be flexible if you would need to undertake the position part time. We would recommend speaking directly with the SME organisation if you are invited to interview.

Can I do my project remotely?

Most internships are designed to take place at the host SME organisations offices. However, where possible organisations will accommodate a virtual internship with remote working. We would recommend speaking directly with the SME organisation if you are invited to interview.

If you have any other queries please email the Placement and Internship Unit at