Coventry University European affairs internship placement programme

An example of activities designed to provide outstanding opportunities for internationalisation, student experience, employability, and building the reputation of the university within Europe.

Alun Jones
Coventry University

Background and Objectives
Following the BREXIT announcement, Coventry University took the decision to open a Brussels-based European Office. The aim of this office was ultimately to ensure established connections and networks continued to be utilised, and to develop new opportunities for the university in both research and commercial areas.

As part of the role of the enterprise and innovation team, the EU enterprise and innovation development manager, in collaboration with the university’s centre for global engagement developed and implemented several medium to long term strategies. One such of these is outlined in the paper: The Coventry University European affairs internship placement programme.

The Brussels office draws on its extensive European experience to identify suitable placement opportunities with brussels-based organisations. In particular, organisations that undertake activities based on the research and teaching strengths present within the university group.

The Coventry University Brussels office will coordinate activities designed to provide outstanding opportunities for internationalisation, student experience, employability, and building the reputation of the university within Europe. According to British Council / The Higher Education Funding Council for England – gaining international experience makes you more employable.

Students with international experience obtain higher starting salaries, develop the global skills employers require and achieve better career progression.

The objectives of the programme are:
1) To place 12 students per academic year in Brussels-based organisations – each placement lasting between 9 and 12 months, depending on the suitability of both parties
2) To support and develop each student by providing personalised training and goal-setting both before and during the placement
3) To work with all parties to ensure a quality placement and outcome, thus ensuring the long-term and continuous survival of the programme
4) To further develop ties with Coventry University alumni community by partnering each placement student with a Brussels-based alumni, acting as a guide and mentor
5) Further develop existing research and commercial opportunities via organisations used for placements