Skip to main content

For further information or to arrange an informal chat, you can contact the Internships Team at

Alternatively, you can call the office on 01392 722617.  Phone lines are monitored 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday.

The Graduate Business Partnership Scheme (GBP)

The Graduate Business Partnership Scheme supports employers from a range of sectors, to recruit fresh and enthusiastic graduates into full time roles.

Before you start the recruitment process, it is recommended that you speak to the Internships Team who can learn more about your needs and provide guidance. You can contact the team at or call the office on 01392 722617. Phone lines are monitored 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday.

External Companies

If you already have a job description, you can complete the External Internship Vacancy Form and send it to‌.

University Academics and Recruiting Managers

Please complete the Internal Internship Vacancy Form

I would just like to say that, yet again, the standard of applicant we attracted through the University’s Graduate Business Partnership was outstanding. All three passed the threshold for appointment at interview. We were very impressed with the way the chosen candidate presented herself. She was a credit to whatever work the University does to prepare students for this next stage of their lives.

 Andrew Kirchin, Director, Intelligent Communications and Engagement

  • We will find you an intelligent and enthusiastic graduate, who is keen to learn, work at pace and eager to start their career with you.
  • We advise on the content of your job description and person specification to ensure it will be attractive to pool of high quality applicants and the role meets recruitment regulations.
  • We advise on graduate salary rates.
  • We advertise the role in an open and fair way and promote your role in at least 32 ways, including targeted marketing to specific Exeter’s final year students and recent graduates.
  • We ask applicants to apply in the same way, so you are presented with applications that are easier to compare.
  • When sending you the applications we highlight issues that apply to certain applicants e.g. Graduates who have a disability so we need to be interviewed if they meet the essential criteria; applicant availability and visa issues.
  • We provide a lot of detailed information and advice on how to shortlist; conduct the interviews and appoint your Intern.
  • We issue Internship Agreements and provide detailed guidance on how to set up you graduate and making the most of them whilst you employ them and offer ongoing support.

‌To be eligible to apply and undertake a GBP role the graduate must meet all the following criteria:

  • Achieved* (or about to achieve) a full undergraduate degree (or Masters or PhD).
  • Graduated in the UK within the last 3 years of your most recent degree (we will consider extenuating circumstances of potential applicants that may have prevented them from undertaking a graduate role within 3 years of graduation).
  • Attended a British university (or spent time studying at a UK university through ERASMUS)
  • The University of Exeter is committed to developing an environment which promotes equality of opportunity, values diversity and inclusivity. 
    • The University of Exeter is a Disability Confident Employer, committed attracting and recruiting people with disabilities, and retaining and supporting staff with disabilities. If an applicant declares a disability and meets all the essential criteria, they will be invited to interview.  
    • We welcome applications from all eligible graduates and in particular those from underrepresented groups. Selection and recruitment itself will be based entirely on merit alone unless there are multiple applicants demonstrating equal merit. In this clear circumstance, preference would be shown to applicants from under-represented groups. This is in line with lawful positive action measures under sections 158 and 159 of the Equality Act 2010.

*To undertake a GBP role, you must achieve your degree. In the unlikely event where the degree is not awarded, the GBP hours may be reduced to 15 hours per week (for undergraduates) or 6 hours per week (for postgraduates) to enable the graduate the capacity to successfully complete their degree. If the graduate fails, their degree the GBP role will end early.

The best time of the year to advertise for a 2021 graduate

To recruit a 2021 graduate, to begin working for you from 28/6/2021 we recommend the following recruitment dates:

  • Employer to submit Internship Vacancy Form: 16/9/2020-19/3/2021
  • Start of advertising and promotion period: Within 2 days of agreeing contents of form
  • Application Closing Date: 4/4/2021
  • You are sent applications: 5/4/2021
  • Interview Date: 19-23/4/2021
  • GBP Start Date: 28/6/2021

If you want or need to do a second round we recommend the second round of recruitment:

  • Employer to submit Internship Vacancy Form deadline: 19/4/2021-14/5/2021
  • Start of advertising and promotion period: Within 2 days of agreeing contents of form
  • Application Closing Date: 13/6/2021
  • You are sent applications: 14/6/2021
  • Interview Date: 28/6/2021
  • GBP Start Date: 12/7/2021

Timings to recruit an 'immediate start' GBP

If you would like to employ a graduate between October-June we can take a vacancy from you at anytime and advertise it for two weeks. We will be promoting this to graduates who have already completed their degree within the last 3 years, using this Recruitment Timeline:

  • Employer to submit Internship Vacancy Form deadline: Please submit to anytime
  • Start of advertising and promotion period: Within 2 days of receipt of vacancy
  • Application Closing Date: 2 weeks after start date (on Sunday if closing date falls on a Friday)
  • Interview Date: 1 week after the closing date 
  • GBP Start Date: 1-2 weeks after the interview

Advertising your vacancy

To discuss your vacancy please contact the Employment Schemes Manager at

The next step is to complete the Internal Internship Vacancy Form‌ for internships at the University of Exeter or the External Internship Vacancy Form for internships with external organisations and submit to We will review your vacancy and place it to advert within 2 working days.

As a University recruiting manager (this stage does not apply to external employers) you will need to raise an ESR1 with your Human Resource Advisor, attaching the Internship Vacancy Form in the recruiting section. The Internships Team will be notified the day after your ERS1 is approved and will have access to the Internship Vacancy Form, but if you wish to speed up the process you can forward the approval email and link to your ESR1 once you receive notification it has been approved.

Promotion of your vacancy

We will then advertise and promote your GBP vacancy through:

  • Handshake - the University's careers portal
  • Targeted emails to graduates by career sector; occupation; and discipline
  • Social media- Career Zone; Internships and Alumni: LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter
  • Jobs bulletin sent to over 3000 graduates
  • The relevant Societies to add to social media
  • Employability Officers in the Colleges to add to social media
  • 4 x graduate recruitment websites
  • Other universities' careers portals x 9

Plus for GBPs employed at the University we also advertise on 

  • University of Exeter 'Working here" vacancy page
  • advertising jobs at Universities

What else can you do to increase applications for your graduate role

To raise the profile of your company we would recommend that you engage with the following activities with current students:

  • offer paid part-time student internships during term-time, through the Student Business Partnership scheme. 
  • offer paid student summer internships, through the Student Business Partnership scheme. 
  • attend the Casual Jobs and Internships Fairs that take place every October, February and May. The fairs are mainly attended by SMEs and companies with a based in the South West.
  • join the Career Mentor Scheme.
  • deliver a Recruitment Presentation.


  • Applications will be made using the Internship Application Form and sent to
  • On average you can expect to receive between 5-20 applications.
  • We check all applications meet the GBP scheme eligibility criteria and highlight any issues i.e. disability; right to work; and restrictions on working hours
  • We send all the applications by email the following working day after the closing date.


  • The employer shortlists the applications. You may wish to use our Shortlisting Scoring Grid.
  • As the University of Exeter is a 'Disability Confident' organisation we ask that you interview all applicants who have declared a disability and who meet the essential criteria for the role.

Inviting to Interview

  • The employer invites the shortlisted candidates to interview as soon as possible. We tell graduates to expect to hear if they have been shortlisted 5 days before the scheduled interview date. We recommend you call candidates to book an interview time and date and follow this up with a confirmation email. You may wish to use this Invitation to interview email.
  • Please ask invited candidates to send you their Right To Work documents before the interview. Please see the Employer Guidance - Verifying RTW in the UK for details.
  • For the candidates you do not wish to call to interview we ask you let them know as soon as possible by email. You may wish to use this Not called to interview email. Alternatively the Internship Team can do this for you by informing us at           

Conducting the interview

If you are a University of Exeter Recruiting Manager please follow the University's  Recruitment and Selection-Interview guidance.

If you are an external company recruiting a GBP you may wish to:

If in-person interviews cannot be conducted you may wish to use our Guidance for interviews via video call.

Checking Right to Work (RTW) evidence at interview

When inviting your candidate to interview you will have either asked them to email you a copy of the RTW or to bring it to the interview. Fore details on how to verify the RTW documents at interview please read this Employer Guidance - Verifying RTW in the UK.


As the employer, it is at your discretion if you decide you would like to take up references.  If you wish to do so, you may like to use the relevant reference template:

If you are employing a GBP through the University of Exeter, please note only in exceptional circumstances will the University Contract of Employment be retracted based on a negative reference, so you may choose to wait for the reference before the internship start date.

Please ensure that any references not required after appointment, are destroyed or retained, as applicable, in accordance with GDPR and the University's Retention Schedules for University appointments

Informing the interviewees of the outcome of their interview

  • At the end of the interview please let the interviewees know when you will be in touch to let them know the outcome of the interview. We require this to take place within 3 days of the interview and that you make all efforts to speak to the candidates.
  • When you contact the successful candidate to offer them the job, please ask them to confirm they would like to accept the job and agree a start date. 
  • For the unsuccessful candidates we ask that you offer honest feedback. Inexperienced graduates really benefit from learning what they did well in interview and how they could improve. Please deliver feedback in a kind and supportive manner by starting and a finishing with posiitve feedback. If you thought they were appointable (just not the top candidate), please let them know!
  • For further information please view our Guidance on Informing Candidates of Interview Outcome

Retaining Interview Evidence

It is a requirement for university staff and a recommendation for other organisations to retain evidence of scoring and selection for all the candidates you interview for 6 months, after which please destroy or delete. 

Once your chosen candidate has been identified and has accepted the position, we will ask you to complete the relevant Appointment Form so we can issue the Internship Agreements and further guidance on the next steps.

External employers will issue a Contract of Employment. Graduates must have employed not self-employed status. For more information please go to the HMRC website.

As a University recruiting manager or DCC employer using the University payroll, we ask that you allow at 10 working days between sending the Appointment Form back and your intern's start date with you. This is to provide enough time for HR to issue the contract of employment and for us to issue Internship Agreements and guidance. If your GBP starts after the main payroll deadline for the month you wish them to start, your intern will not be added to TRENT until after the payroll ‘lock-down’ has been lifted, usually on payday.  Hence your intern can start work within 5 days of notification, but they may not be able to get their University staff card and access to IT until after that month’s payday.

You would like to appoint an intern for a role you have not advertised.

At the University each post needs to be openly advertised, unless you have permission of the relevant Human Resources Business Partner to appoint a selected person. Exceptions may be considered if the following criteria is met:

  1. The role can only be undertake by that person as they are the only person with the relevant knowledge, skills and experience, or
  2. The project timeline means it is not possible to recruit and train a person in time to meet the imminent deadline, and
  3. It is a short-term appointment. eClaims can only offer temporary payroll service of 12 weeks, unless utilising the SCP scheme, which has permission to use the payroll for up to 23months.

If the HRBP grants permission, you can liaise directly with (for temporary payroll) or for main payroll about setting up your new employee. You do not need to utilise the Internship scheme.

The Internship Induction Checklist is a tick list of some of the areas you may wish to cover with your intern during their induction period, including:

  • Personnel documentation and information
  • Health and Safety (includes COVID-19 issues)
  • IT  
  • Getting to know your organisation
  • Getting to know who the intern will be working with
  • Expectations of how the intern will work
  • Support and Training

However, if you are employing a GBP at the University of Exeter, please instead follow the University’s Induction Code of Practice.

As GBP roles are training roles for graduates at the beginning of their career, there is an expectation that graduates will undertake at least a day a month of learning and development activities. Highlighted below are a list of learning and development activities open to all graduates; graduates employed by the University of Exeter; and graduates employed by other organisations.

Learning and Development opportunities open to all graduates (GBPs) recruited through the Graduate Business Partnership scheme

  • Career Mentor Scheme - The Career Mentor Scheme brings together a graduate with an experienced professional, for sector insight and one-to-one careers advice and guidance. You will meet you mentor virtually or in-person once a month, over a 6-month period. There will be at least 360 mentoring opportunities advertised through the Handshake system from Monday 13th September 2021 until Friday 5th November 2021, which are allocated on a first-come, first–served basis. Your GBP will need to apply for your chosen mentor and pass the simple application process, then undertake online career mentor training to prepare for your mentoring partnership. In December we will introduce you to your mentor and your partnership will officially run until May 2022.
  • Handshake - Handshake is an early careers network and careers management platform which allows graduates to discover employers and opportunities- including Career Mentor Scheme and Ask An Alum opportunities, submit applications, and attend career fairs and other events.  
  • Ask An Alum - Ask An Alum is a simple and reliable way to connect you with our University of Exeter alumni, to answer your careers questions, via a short email exchange. Hundreds of alumni are signed up to the Ask An Alum, undertaking a variety of job roles and from a huge range of organisations, sectors, and countries. Your GBP doesn't need to have a set career in mind, just a desire to gather more information and gain insight into the careers you are considering. Your GBP can ask almost any type of careers related question and apply as many times as they like. There is no long term commitment, objectives, training or preparation needed to participate in Ask An Alum. Just fill out our quick and easy Ask An Alum Application Form (in term-time only) and your GBP can be introduced to an alumni within a matter of days. Our only requirement is that they respond to the introduction as soon as possible and within 3 days! Ask An Alum opens for applications on Monday 20th September- Friday 10th December 2021.
  • Networks
    • Online: Your graduate can join the UoE Internship groups on Facebook and LinkedIn; follow Career Zone on Twitter @UoECareers; follow Internships  on Twitter @UoEInternships
    • Events: Your graduate can join the Devon Graduate Careers Network – in-person monthly lunches and quarterly drinks- On hold until Autumn 2021; Cornwall Graduate Careers Network– in-person monthly lunches and quarterly drinks - On hold until Autumn 2021.
    • Introductions: Your graduate can be introduced to other current or former GBPs; University of Exeter’s local employers contacts; University of Exeter’s national employers contacts.
  • Abintegro – Abintegro (formally known as My Career Zone), provides over 5000 employability resources for your graduate to use- including careers assessment tool; IT Skills; Employability skills and the latest industry developments. Graduates of the University of Exeter will automatically have an account and can access it if thye still have an active (extended) Exeter student email address. If not please email requesting renewed access to Abintegro using a new email address. Graduates from other universities who are participating in the GBP scheme can access Abintegro by sending an email to stating the first name, last name and personal email address so we can request a new account to be set up by our Abintegro Administrator.
  • Work Shadow Scheme – Bespoke work shadowing opportunities can be can be arranged at any time of the year*, by request. We offer to broker a work shadowing opportunity on your behalf using our network of local employers (including within the university) for a half or full day. If this is to aid you to undertake your current role you can ask you line manager to take out of work (and still be paid) to undertake this opportunity. If it is to help you to develop your career only, then you can ask to be released from your duties, but your manager may ask you to take the time as annual leave or flexi. * Please note WSS opportunities are on hold until COVID restrictions in the workplace are fully lifted.

Training for GBPs employed at the University 

Your GBP will need to undertake a University of Exeter induction process with you.

It is expected your GBP will be able to undertake at least one day (pro rata) or learning and development per month. This can include any relevant University of Exeter in-person or online training courses; using University of Exeter's Learn Smart resources; MS Training; or any of the opportunities highlighted above via the GBP scheme. 

GBPs must undertake the following mandatory training:

  1. An Introduction to Prevent as it Affects Higher Education
  2. Equality and Diversity Introduction
  3. Health and Safety Introduction
  4. Information Governance.

Requests for exemption from the essential training will be considered only in exceptional circumstances e.g. when the internship is for one week only. Unfortunately HR will not accept similar training with a host organisation as a reason for an exemption from the University's essential training. To apply for an exemption please:

  • Log into the SID Online system.
  • Start a New Enquiry”, choosing "Mandatory Training Dispensation" (not the Mandatory Training General Enquiry) from the “Category” drop down list.
  • Dispensations must be sought on behalf of a member of staff, associate or casual worker by the line manager or requester (or an individual must attach an email to the enquiry from their line manager explaining why dispensation is being requested).  Dispensation can be requested for individual courses or for multiple courses.
  • For all other courses please refer to the Table of Mandatory training and contact the course sponsor / owner directly with your request.
  • Please note, the People Development Team can not authorise dispensations.

To check the mandatory training compliance status of everyone within your team please use the ‘Training’ tab of the My Team report

Objectives will need to be set and reviewed in the University's Performance Development Review (PDR)

As an University of Exeter employer you do have to option to convert your GBP to an apprentice so they receive apprenticeship training. GBPs need to be employed at least 12 months to participate and released from 20% of their work time. 

Training for GBPs employed at the University and seconded to DCC or The RAMM

You are expected to undertake an induction process with your intern within the first two weeks of employment. If your organisation does not have an established induction, please complete the Internship Induction Checklist with your intern.

Please set clear objectives for your GBP. You can use your own organisation’s ‘Performance Development Review’ (PDR) paperwork; alternatively you can use the Internship PDR Form.

As University employees, your GBP must undertake the following University's mandatory training:

  1. Equality and Diversity Introduction
  2. Health and Safety Introduction
  3. Information Governance

Training for GBPs employed with other companies

Your GBP is expected to undertake an induction process with your intern within the first two weeks of employment. If your company does not have an established induction, please complete the Internship Induction Checklist with your intern.

Please set clear objectives for the GBP.  If your company does not have an established PDR/appraisal process, please use this Internship PDR Form.

This guide, Making the Most of Your Intern explains how you can manage and develop your intern. 

GBPs can expect to have regular 1:1 sessions with their line manager. We recommend daily catch-ups during the induction period or if the intern is working remotely.

If in the workplace with other team members, 1:1 catch-ups with line mangers can reduce in frequency, depending on the intern’s need for direction, decision making and information. This can range between once a week to once every 4 weeks.

We will be in regular email communication to check the internships progressing well and offer support to you or your intern if needed. 

GBPs employed by the University are also able to access staff wellbeing services.

Management Fee

  • Advertising - includes advising on job details and person specification, advertising your role in a variety of places, and appropriate timescale;
  • Managing the application process - includes handling general enquiries and applications;
  • Training – Meeting with the GBP
  • Contract/Agreement support – includes providing internship agreements and liaison with HR about contracts for GBPs
  • Support and guidance – For interns and employers on placement and employability issues.

External Companies

  • £400+VAT per internship.
  • £200+VAT if you appoint a second GBP intern from the same internship advert.

University of Exeter Employer

  • £300 no VAT per internship.
  • £150 no VAT if you appoint a second GBP intern from the same internship advert.

External Companies (DCC/ECC) using University of Exeter Payroll

  • £400+VAT per internship.
  • £200+VAT if you appoint a second GBP intern from the same internship advert.
  • £75+VAT per internship for payroll set up
  • £50+VAT per internship for extensions


We ask that graduates are paid a minimum £20,604 per annum, based on a working week of 36.5 hours. When setting the salary we ask you to consider pay expectations in your sector, for that role, and the location of your business. The average graduate salary in the South West is £19,000-£22,000 per annum. To find out the latest salary that graduates get paid see the Complete University Guide.


From 2018 all employers must provide a workplace pension scheme. This is called ‘automatic enrolment’. The only exception will be if your company has a pre-standing agreement with the pension regulator to allow you to have a 3 month opt out window for a new employee, before placing them onto the company pension scheme.

National Insurance

Employer National Insurance contributions (NICs) are currently 13.8% of pay above the “salary threshold”, which is revised by the Government each year. In practice, employer National Insurance contributions are approximately 12% of salary. Technical information on the contribution rates and thresholds for National Insurance can be found on the UK government’s webpages.


GBPs working at the University automatically become members of the University of Exeter Retirement Savings Scheme (ERSS). The employer contribution of 22.5% covers both ongoing deficit contributions to the closed ERBS scheme and employer contributions to ERSS. You should always budget for the employee being a member of the pension scheme. Even if they opt-out, they can (subject to the rules of the scheme) choose to re-join at a later date and they may also be re-enrolled through the statutory scheme for pension auto-enrolment. It is an offence to induce an employee to opt out of the relevant pension scheme.

Apprenticeship Levy

The Apprenticeship Levy is a  tax introduced by the UK government from April 2017 to fund its planned increase in apprenticeship training. The Apprenticeship Levy is calculated and applied at employer level (rather than employee level like National Insurance). The Levy is 0.5% of the University’s total payroll costs, less an allowance of £15,000 per annum. In practice, this means that a charge of 0.44% is applied on each employee’s and casual worker’s pay each month The Levy applies to everyone paid through both the main and casual payrolls. Technical information on the Apprenticeship Levy can be found on the UK government’s webpages.

Annual Cost of Living Increase 

GBPs employed by the University are subject to the annual cost of living increase which is reviewed in August, but sometimes are not agreed and implemented until October. GBPs will be paid backpay. 

Incremental Rise in Salary

All GBPs employed by the University salary scale L3 Pay increments to salary scale point L4 will automatically be given to GBPs in post more than 6 months on the 1 August each year and payments will be made in the August payroll.

Salary and Oncost Breakdown









































































If you would like to read feedback from previous GBP employers, take a look at our case studies.

We ask that you please complete the Internship Feedback Form - Employer Submission and also encourage your intern to complete the Internship Feedback Form - Intern Submission

Can I appoint a graduate into a GBP role without advertising?

The University has a policy to advertise all employment opportunities in the interest of openness and fairness. Exceptions to this rule will only be considered if :

a) the role has a specific skillset and or knowledge that only a specific person can undertake; and/or

b) there is a time limitation that prevents you from going through the normal recruitment process e.g. the project is ending soon or funds need to be spent by the end of the financial year; and

c) these reasons have been approved by your HR Business Partner.


Do I need to pay a graduate intern?

The University of Exeter has committed to paying the Living Wage to all our employees and workers. Employer Engagement and Student Employment has a policy of not advertising unpaid opportunities through our vacancy service. The Internship Team only advertise paid internships, through the SCP, SBP and GBP schemes.


Can I advertise for a graduate intern with a protective characteristic?

  • Protected characteristics. There are 8 protected characteristics: race, gender, religion, age, sexuality, disability, marriage/civil partnership status and pregnancy/maternity (Equality Act 2010).
  • Positive Action is defined as measures employers can introduce take to address any imbalance of opportunity and or reduce disadvantage that those with a protected characteristic could face. In order to demonstrate the need for positive action the employer must have at least twelve months’ worth of data indicating that particular groups of people are under-represented in a particular area of work. Positive action can be used to encourage particular groups to apply, or to help people with particular protected characteristics to perform to the best of their ability e.g. positive action statements in recruitment adverts.
  • Positive discrimination is illegalDiscrimination occurs when a candidate is given preferential treatment because of a protected characteristic, or is employed specifically because of a protected characteristic, rather than because they are the most qualified or equally qualified for a role.
  • Occupational requirement. There are certain instances when an employer can specify particular characteristics for a role, if the role needs to be done by a person with that particular characteristic. For example, it would be legal and appropriate to specify that only women can apply for a role in a women’s refuge. This type of occupational requirement is permitted only if the employer can demonstrate:
    1. Robust and demonstrable link between the requirement and the job
    2. Good business case or aim for holding the specific requirement
    3. Holding the requirement is proportionate (i.e. appropriate and necessary)


What are Exeter graduates are looking for from their graduate employer?

  1. Type of work
  2. Location 
  3. Quality of training and development programme 
  4. Quality of staff already working for the organisation 
  5. Work-life balance
  6. Overall reputation of the organisation  
  7. Organisation’s business performance  
  8. Starting salary and additional benefits (Exeter graduates have an average starting salary of £23,000, DHLE-Jan 2018)
  9. Potential to work for the employer longer term
  10. Culture of the organisation
  11. Opportunity for overseas experiences  
  12. Employer’s corporate social responsibility


What are Exeter graduates are looking for in a graduate role?

  1. Being challenged and stretched on a day-to-day basis
  2. Genuine responsibility from day one 
  3. Early opportunity to work with clients or customers
  4. Responsibility for managing people
  5. Working with senior managers and executives 
  6. Joining the part of the organisation you want to work in straightaway
  7. Being part of a structured graduate training & development programme
  8. Doing a series of placements in different parts of the organisation
  9. Working towards a professional qualification
  10. Using their degree subject
  11. A job that allows you to ‘give something back’ to the community 
  12. A good social life around work
  13. Not working evenings or weekends 
  14. Opportunity for increased responsibilities and rapid promotion 


What do I need to do if my graduate is leaving their role before the end of their contract?

If your intern is leaving their role early please inform the Internship team asap on with the new end date. 

If your intern is employed at the University of Exeter and they are leaving, here is the leaving process for staff.

If your intern has access to My Career Zone as an administrator, please contact and advise that they are leaving.


Can I accept an expired passport as Right to Work evidence?

Yes, but only if it is a UK passport.

The following terms and conditions detail the obligations of all parties:

Any data provided to the University by any party will be processed in accordance with Student Employability and Academic Success (SEAS) Privacy Policy.