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Graduate Business Partnership (GBP)

Due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation, the Internships Team have asked that for the foreseeable future all new and existing internships are conducted remotely, i.e. working from home. If this is not possible, please get in touch with one of the team to discuss your situation. We will be working remotely, undertaking normal working office hours, Monday - Friday, 9am - 5pm, so please use the email internships@exeter.ac.uk or contact Jo McCreedie, Employment Schemes Manager on 07805637968. 

Graduate Business Partnership (GBP) supports South West organisations from a range of sectors, to recruit intelligent and enthusiastic graduates into full time roles.To start the recruitment process, please complete this ‌Internship Vacancy Form and submit it to j.mccreedie@exeter.ac.uk. Please note, if you are recruiting a graduate for the University, you will need to undertake the ESR1 approval process first. For more details on the full recruitment process and what else the GBP scheme offers, please read the information below.

"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.

(If you are a recent graduate please see our graduate page.)

 The benefits of recruiting through the Graduate Business Partnership (GBP) scheme are:

  • 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 and ask employers to populate our Internship Vacancy Form 
  • 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 using our Internship Application Form 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.

‌This is a summary of the GBP recruitment steps. For details on how you carry out the following tasks, please click on the relevant boxes below

For UoE recruiting managers only:

  • Seek budget holder and management verbal approval to recruit
  • UoE recruiting managers only:Submit an ESR1 request following the ESR1 process, attaching the Internship Vacancy Form under the recruitment tab. The ESR1 will be sent to the Internships Team the day after it is approved. If you wish to speed the process up you can send your vacancy to internships@exeter.ac.uk as soon as you receive am alert to say your ESR1 is approved, which is usually as day earlier than us.

For all employers wishing to recruit a graduate

  • The employer completes the Internship Vacancy Form and submits to internships@exeter.ac.uk. We will advertise the role within 1-2 days of its receipt, usually for a 2 week period.
  • Applicants complete our standard Internship Application Form and submit it to internships@exeter.ac.uk.
  • We handle all enquiries from potential applicants.
  • The following working day after the closing date, the Internships Team will send via email, the applications and provide guidance on your next steps.
  • Employers will shortlist and can send rejection emails to those not called to interview, or ask the Internships Team to do this.
  • Employers invite selected candidates to interview (which can be done by video call) asap (remembering to use the Guidance to Verify Right to Work (RTW) Evidence for UoE Interns).
  • Employers conduct the interviews (you may wish to use our Guidance for interviews via video call) and offer the role to successful candidate.
  • Employer rejects the unsuccessful candidates and provides interview feedback.
  • Once job offer has been accepted, employer completes the GBP Appointment Form and return to internships@exeter.ac.uk so we can set up your graduate as a new GBP.
  • The Internships Team will send the employer an Internship Agreement and further guidance, on the next steps, then stay in touch to offer support and seek feedback.

Summary of GBP Scheme Requirements

To be eligible to apply and undertake a GBP role the graduate must meet all of 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 students and in particular those from the following underrepresented groups. Selection and recruitment itself will be 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.
  • Right to Work in the UK for the duration of the GBP internship without the need for sponsorship and follow the ‌Intern Guidance- Proving Right to Work the UK. Current immigration legislation prevents the University to provide sponsorship certificates for GBP roles, as they do not meet the requirements for a Tier 2 (General Visa) as explained on the International Student Support webpages.
  • All graduates need to reside in the UK whilst undertaking this role.
  • Applicants cannot undertake another GBP role if the contract length in total exceeds the maximum duration of 23 months working as a GBP

* To undertake a GBP role applicants must achieve their degree. In the unlikely scenario where a degree is not awarded, the GBP hours may be reduced to 15hrs a week (for undergraduates) or 6hrs a week (for postgraduates) to enable to the graduand the capacity to successfully complete their degree. If the graduand 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 j.mccreedie@exeter.ac.uk 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 Jo McCreedie, Employer Liaison Officer on 07805637968 or j.mccreedie@exeter.ac.uk

The next step is to complete the ‌Internship Vacancy Form and submit to j.mccreedie@exeter.ac.uk copying in internships@exeter.ac.uk. We will review your vacancy and place it to advert within 2 working days.

As an 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
  • Jobs.ac- 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:


  • Applications will be made using the Internship Application Form and sent to internships@exeter.ac.uk
  • 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 Guidance to Verify Right to Work (RTW) Evidence for UoE Interns 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 informng us at internships@exeter.ac.uk                        

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 Guidance to Verify Right to Work (RTW) Evidence for UoE Interns.


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

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 e-claims@exeter.ac.uk (for temporary payroll) or humanresources@exeter.ac.uk 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.

Training for all GBPs

Your GBP must complete mandatory training and is permitted to access at least 4 days of learning and development opportunities per annum, pro rata. Opportunities can include; time to undertake online training (LearnSmart & My Career Zone Digital); face to face training; and work shadowing.

All graduates will need to be provided with 'on the job' training delivered by line/task managers or colleagues. 

All graduates can access on-line training through My Career Zone Digital. If your GBP is not an Exeter Alum, please ask them to get in touch with j.mccreedie@exeter.ac.ukabout access. Materials include:

  • Sector reports for industries such as Banking, Charities, Consulting, Media and Telecommunications.
  • I.T. skills course in Excel, Word, PowerPoint and Outlook.
  • Workplace skills e-learning courses including: business numeracy; business writing; negotiation; problem solving; project management; teamwork.
  • Career assessments on personality, motivation, decision making, assertiveness, learning styles and stress management.
  • E-learning paths including: skills and preferences; career possibilities; CVs and applications; interviews. 

Work Shadowing opportunities to help a GBP in their current role and/or with their career development can be facilitated by Employment Services on request.

All GBPs will be invited to a 1.5 hour meeting with Jo McCreedie to discuss 'How to make the Most of your Internship' focusing on networking, training and support opportunities.  If graduates are based outside of the South West, Jo will offer a SKYPE alternative. There is an expectation that managers will release their GBP to meet Jo within work time.

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

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 fom 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

As an University of Exeter employer you do have to option to offer your GBP, apprenticeship training (under recruiting tab). GBPs need to be employed at least 12 months to participate and released from 20% of their work time. 


Additional 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


Additional 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.
  • £50+VAT if you extend your GBP intern within 23months of first appointment

University of Exeter Employer

  • £300 no VAT per internship.
  • £150 no VAT if you appoint a second GBP intern from the same internship advert.
  • £50 no VAT for every GBP extension you make.


We ask that graduates are paid a minimum £19,217 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

HOUR £10.12 £0.75 £10.88 £2.28 £13.16 £0.05 £13.21
WEEK £369.56 £27.67 £397.23 £83.15 £480.39 £1.85 £482.23
MONTH £1,601.42 £119.92 £1,721.33 £360.33 £2,081.67 £8 £2,089.67
YEAR 19,217 £1,439 £20,656 £4,324 £24,980 £96 £25,076
HOUR £10.28 0.78 £1.11 £2.31 £1.34 £0.01 £13.42
WEEK £375.10 £28.44 £403.54 £84.39 £487.92 £1.87 £489.79
MONTH £1,625.42 £123.25 £1,748.67 £365.67 £2,114.33 £8.08 £2,122.42
YEAR 19,505 £1,479 £20,984 £4,388 £25,372 £97 £25,469

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 - Employer Submission and also encourage your intern to complete the Internship Feedback - 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.


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 Jo McCreedie asap on j.mccreedie@exeter.ac.uk 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 careers@ex.ac.uk and advise that they are leaving.


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


Our Employer Engagement and Student Employment team would welcome a discussion on your internship opportunity. Please contact:

Jo McCreedie
Employment Schemes Manager (Streatham Campus, Exeter)
Tel: 01392 722617
Email: J.McCreedie@exeter.ac.uk and/or internships@exeter.ac.uk