December 7 2013 Latest news:
Shaun Lowthorpe, Business editor
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
A former UEA graduate who founded EDP Future50 firm Fountain Partnership has teamed up with the university to offer valuable experience to students.
Rebecca Lewis Smith, managing director of internet marketing specialists Fountain said that after taking on a number of interns, she spotted a chance to offer a larger number of students experience working as freelance writers.
After approaching the UEA a new pilot project – the University Writers Service – has now been set up.
In the coming term, seven students will be given the opportunity to learn about search engine optimisation (SEO) and be given guidance on how to write for the web. They will then be paid by Fountain to write a number of articles each.
The project has already drawn large interest from UEA students, with more than 150 attending an initial SEO training session last week, for which additional spaces had to be added to meet the high demand.
“Our aim is to help students recognise the commercial value of their researching and writing skills, so that they can go on to earn money as freelancers,” she said. “We want to make this as professional a process as possible, which will mean the students treating us as a client.”
The pilot programme is being run by the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing at UEA, but will be open to all students in the second year of study and above. Every student that applies will be able to attend the training on offer and, based on their writing skills, seven will be picked to take part in the programme.
Dr Sarah McIntyre, Lecturer in Literature and Director of Employability in the School, is working with Lucy Jobber, a recent graduate who has been offered an internship, to run the programme.
“We’re eager to see students from all schools and faculties applying,” Dr McIntyre said. “Our aim is to help students translate their writing skills into valuable experience that will serve them well after they graduate.”
The programme aims to be a new model of collaboration between universities and local businesses, which could be expanded to give opportunity and paid work to a larger number of students each year.
Another UEA graduate, Emily Buchanan, has been hired by UEA as a research consultant to assess the feasibility of expanding the project in the future.
“From our point of view there are multiple benefits to setting up this type of collaboration,” Ms Lewis Smith added.
“Graduates are great employees for us, so we see the University Writers Service as a way to get to know potential future employees. We’re also really keen to help students get experience on their CVs in this difficult job market.”
Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis has hailed the town’s growing significance as an energy hub after the arrival of a new offshore business bringing the promise of 100 jobs over the next three years.