20 young people have been given access to internships at Future Space in Bristol thanks to programmes funded by the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol).
Future Space is co-located with UWE Bristol and provides workspace, meeting rooms, labs, and workshops to more than 50 innovative Bristol businesses.
To mark World Youth Skills Day the team celebrated the interns, who are all completing eight or 16-week internships within their resident businesses.
The internship programme has been so popular with its residents that Future Space worked with UWE Bristol to extend the funding to make 2021 its biggest year yet.
The programme has offered internships in engineering, VR, AI, explosives, biomedical sciences and more to 40 young people in Bristol since Future Space launched in 2016.
Bristol is often named as one of the most innovative cities in the UK, and in 2019 it was shortlisted for the European City of Innovation Award.
One of those young people is Jessika Perdomo, 22, from Bogota. Jessika has just graduated in Environmental Health at UWE Bristol, where she is also a BAME advocate and part of their Widening Participation programme.
The programme ensures the university attracts a more diverse student body and ensures they have access to all university opportunities so they are able to fulfil their potential.
Jessika heard about the internship opportunities through Aimee Skinner, Innovation Manager at Future Space. Jessika says, “I was looking for opportunities to gain work experience. Aimee told me that they’re recruiting here at Future Space through the internship, and now I’m part of the customer service team at Service Robotics.
“I help them to communicate better with their users and I’ve also got involved in setting up the robotics. It’s been a very flexible role because it’s a start-up, and that’s what attracted me to the role. The flexibility means you get to learn skills that are transferable.
“I’ve worked as a carer before and so I have an understanding of the needs of the end user. This combined with the internship has meant I’ve now been offered a full-time role with Service Robotics and I’m so happy because it feels like a family. I didn’t know I was going to enjoy it so much so it has surprised me and I’m excited for the future.”
Rob Parkes, CEO at Service Robotics, adds, “We’ve had five interns through Future Space so far and it’s been really successful. Now that we’ve offered Jessika a full time job we will have two interns who have been offered employment with us.
“We’re a startup so we don’t have much money, so anything that’s funded is a big help. We’re also very busy so this programme allows us to tap into the right pool of talent without having to spend time scouring the market.”
Aimee Skinner, Innovation Manager at Future Space, says: “It is vital for our city’s economy and future that we give the next generation of innovators in Bristol a chance to work at the cutting edge of science and technology.
“This programme also provides funding for Future Space businesses to bring in vital skills to their companies so that they can work on research and kick-start projects that they wouldn’t otherwise have been able to progress. This is especially important right now, when many young people have been cut off from these opportunities due to the pandemic.
“This year we’re delighted to be working with students from every faculty of the university, from photography undergraduates to forensic science masters. Some of them have already been offered full-time employment here and we’re all looking forward to seeing where it might take them in the future.”
Tracey John, Director of Business, Research and Innovation at UWE Bristol, comments, “We are passionate about skills development and providing opportunities for all. For us, pairing our innovative businesses that are part of Future Space with our eager to learn students is a no brainer. The internship scheme provides the businesses with access to our talent and provides the students with vital industry experience and helps them to develop skills needed for the future.”