LONDON, Jul. 27, 2015
Step, the UK’s leading provider of high quality student and graduate internships, today announces a joint venture with long term partner WEXO, the matchmaking network for paid internships and jobs, with a view to merging the two businesses under the Step brand in the coming months.
The move will bolster Step’s prominent position in a sector currently dogged by negative perceptions around unpaid opportunities and lack of fair access. Step was the first internship organiser in the UK to insist on fair remuneration for its student and graduate interns (equivalent at the very least to National Minimum Wage)
The Step programme currently delivers around 600 internship opportunities per year, with around 80% of these leading to permanent graduate jobs. 50% of Step placements are in STEM related disciplines and 50% in general business areas.
Together, Step and WEXO will continue to target high growth smaller businesses that lack the reach and resources of their larger counterparts. Existing clients that have already committed to development focused internships range from Puma to tonic makers Fever Tree and Ralph Lauren to tech innovators, Skimlinks.
The merged business will also build on existing partnerships with universities and professional bodies like the IPA which recently licensed WEXO’s technology to find interns for agencies including Saatchi & Saatchi, OgilvyOne and Karmarama.
With the tie-up, Nottingham based Step will license, co-develop and integrate WEXO’s technology. Co-founder Robin Kennedy joins the Step board as Commercial Director and will head up the new London office. The combined entity aims to raise investment to expedite growth and further democratise access to opportunity.
Following the integration, Step’s full service recruitment and employment offering will be supplemented by ‘SaaS’ options enabling companies to pay monthly to distribute opportunities, create talent pools and cherry-pick candidates using WEXO’s matching algorithms.
Step Managing Director, Philip Donnelly, commented: “The combination of WEXO’s technology alongside Step’s heritage and unique position within UK Higher Education as a proven and trusted programme, will position us as the provider of choice in the growing UK internships market, with the potential for expansion internationally. Agile small businesses require agile talent solutions: our aggregated platforms will offer smaller businesses sophisticated solutions, once the preserve of the largest graduate recruiters, but at a fraction of the cost.”
Robin Kennedy, Founding Director of WEXO said: “We’re delighted to be joining forces with Step. For a long time, they have set a national standard on the most productive way to engage interns whilst finding innovative ways to work with universities and government to help companies find the best talent. Together we can help even more young people find compelling opportunities in areas where there is high demand.“
Since its launch in 1986, Step has evolved from a small corporate social responsibility programme for Shell UK, to a UK-wide programme. In 2009 Shell UK transferred programme ownership to Step Enterprise Limited, allowing it to invest in new infrastructure and expertise and to create a commercially sustainable foundation on which to grow the Programme further. Consistently cited as a model of good practice by Government reviews into Higher Education-Business links (Dearing, Lambert and Milburn, for example), the programme is also supported by leading employer groups like the CBI, the Institute of Directors and the Federation of Small Businesses. (step.org.uk)
WEXO started out as an online work experience portal that has evolved into an acclaimed graduate recruitment and paid internships business with a skew towards the creative industries. Founded in 2007 by former HSBC derivatives broker come ski instructor, Robin Kennedy, and London ‘fixer’, Harry Becher, the company quickly developed a strong client list of over 500 companies including Sony Music, Conde Nast and Working Title as well as many start-ups, charities and SMEs. In blending the benefits of a job board with a platform that can rank, manage and filter candidates intuitively, it was a finalist in the 2009 LSE Recruitment Awards and has been featured on BBC London Television News. (wexo.co.uk)
Case studies: step.org.uk/my-step-experience
Alternative release: step.org.uk/blog/jv
Does your degree matter – Huffington Post
How to find your first graduate job – Huffington Post
Experience is essential for getting your foot in the door with potential employers – Mirror
How to tackle online job application forms – live chat – Guardian
All mapped out: Internships, placements and experience key to landing dream role – Mirror
Recruiters’ candidates can get work experience from WEXO – Recruiter
How to save money on…Recruitment – Evening Standard
Small business paid internship plea – Daily Mail
Boost for graduates schemes – FT
WEXO on BBC London Television News – BBC
Graduate jobs crunch calls for experience – Sunday Times
Further information: Philip Donnelly: +44 (0) 115 9775 030 / firstname.lastname@example.org