How the OU helps small firms attract top interns

Our Guardian Labs campaign is raising the profile of OU graduates and students among employers and HR staff involved in recruitment

The Open University (OU) is helping start-ups that struggle to recruit skilled and motivated interns when competing with large organisations find top talent, according to Stuart Harvey, CEO of Datactics.

In an article for Guardian Labs, Harvey said companies like his – a Belfast-based venture-backed tech scale-up – had to adopt a more creative approach to recruitment. “Belfast is a bit of a hotspot for fintech firms, and the challenge we face is finding motivated candidates of a high calibre, in an employment market where we’re lacking brand identity.

“Bigger firms here have departments of people who hoover up talent as it falls off the conveyor belt at graduate fairs. We’re the poor cousins in that environment, so we realised a couple of years ago that we needed to be far more creative, both in how we approach that market, and in terms of the types of people we hire.”

Harvey explained how the OU helped him recruit a “mature individual with good communication skills” that could work with Datactics’ blue chip clients. He hired Shauna Corr, who studies IT and computing and is one of five OU students at the company. The article gives both Harvey and Corr’s perspective on the internship’s success and the OU’s help in matching them together.

Another Guardian Labs interview exploring the relationship between employer and intern features Claudio Marturano, who runs Nubis Aviation Training, and OU students Lily Beach and Helen Wood.

Maturano, an MBA graduate from the OU, talked about using the University’s online vacancy service OpportunityHub to find students and graduates with a “similar mindset” to him. Meanwhile, Beach and Wood discussed the skills and experiences they have gained while working at Nubis, a compliance training and support platform for the aviation industry.

The Guardian Labs campaign was launched to raise the profile of OU graduates and students among employers and HR staff involved in recruitment. It also aims to highlight the opportunities for companies to engage with OU talent through our Careers and Employability Services team.

Visit Guardian Labs to read six of the 10 articles running in the campaign.

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Rob Morris


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