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Employer Engagement and Student Employment
Tel: 01392 722395

Graduate Business Partnerships (GBPs)

Graduate Business Partnerships (GBPs)

The Graduate Business Partnership scheme helps recent graduates secure full-time graduate roles, with supportive employers in the South West.

To receive a weekly update on the new jobs we are advertising, please sign up to the Graduate Internship Bulletin Emails.

To apply for each GBP role please complete this Internship Application Form and return it to

(If you are an employer, please visit our GBP employer facing page)

GBP Scheme Requirements

To be eligible to apply and undertake a GBP role you 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 to 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 a 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.


You can view full details of the GBP vacancies in the Handshake system, by searching vacancies for GBP.

If you have not registered on Handshake as a graduate you can do so by clicking on these links:

You can also sign up to receive our weekly Graduate Internship Bulletin Emails with details of all the new vacancies.

How to Apply 

  • Consult Guidance on completing the application for tips on completing the Internship Application Form.
  • Read the full job details found in Handshake.
  • To apply please download and complete the attached Internship Application Form
  • Please insert the correct reference code on the application form: GBP XXXX
  • The University is a Disability Confident employer and as such this policy applies to recruitment through the Internship Schemes. Applicants who identify a disability on the application form will be offered an interview if their application demonstrates they meet the essential criteria. Please also include details of reasonable adjustments you may need for an interview or to undertake the role.
  • State why you would like to work for the employing organisation and why you think you would be a good candidate to undertake this role.
  • Use the STAR approach to evidence each requirement in the Person Specification.
  • When saving your Internship Application Form, please entitle it ‘your surname, your forename GBP XXXX’
  • Please send your completed application (not by OneDrive) to, with the reference code: GBP XXXX in the subject bar of your email, by the closing date.
  • View (Exeter graduates only) My Career Zone Digital resources on application and interview preparation at: Career Zone application and interview information.
  • For support (Exeter graduates only) you can book at appointment with a Career Zone Advisor by emailing
  • If you have any questions, please email us at
  • Unless stated and relevant, interview expenses will not be paid.
  • Please check your online presence to ensure it represents you well, as some employers may undertake online research of their applicants.

The internships are in a wide range of sectors, including working in Higher Education; Advertising; Arts and Culture; Engineering; and Legal Services.

Types of internship vary, but usually cover a variety of roles, such as Marketing, IT, Web Development, PR, Technical, Environmental, Engineering, Market Research, Business Planning, Accounts and Sales.

The employers are often Small Medium Size Enterprises (SMEs) or large organisations such as local Councils, the NHS and utility companies.

The internships are usually located in the South West of England, although occasionally we have opportunities further afield such as in London and the Midlands.

Most GBPs are approximately 36.5 hrs per week, Mon-Fri 9-5pm. Flexible working may be negotiated with your line manager, if your GBP is at the University of Exeter.

Most GBP internships are for 12 months. The shortest duration of a GBP internship is 2 months and longest is 23 months. Graduates are only permitted to work as a GBP for a maximum of 23 months, which can be in more than one role.

Graduates are paid a minimum of £20,604 per annum. This is a set rate of pay working at the University, but working for other companies and organisations you could be paid more.

For University of Exeter GBPs, your pay is subject to the annual cost of living increase which is reviewed in August, but often not agreed and implemented until the following January. If you are still an employee of the University at the point the pay rise comes in, you will receive an automatic back pay in your next pay cheque.

As a GBP working at the University of Exeter are entitled to the same benefits as other University staff.

Plus, any graduate recruited through the GBP scheme can access:

  • 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 until Friday 5th November, which are allocated on a first-come, first–served basis. You 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. Over 4500 alumni signed up to the Ask An Alum, undertaking a variety of job roles and from a huge range of organisations, sectors, and countries. You don'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. You can ask almost any type of careers related question. You can apply as many times as you 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 you can be introduced to an alumni within a matter of days. Our only requirement is that you 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– You are a member of a network of graduates employed through the GBP scheme and at  any one time there are approxiamtely 120 graduates working as a GBP. As the GBP scheme was established in 1996, there have been hundreds of graduates who started their career through us. The networking opportunities include
  • Introductions:
    • to other current or former GBPs
    • to the Univeristy of Exeter’s local employers contacts
    • to Univeristy of Exeter’s national employers recruitment teams
  • Events:
    • 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
  • My Career Zone Digital provides over 5000 employability resources for you 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 you still have an active (extended) Exeter student email address. If not please email requesting renewed access to My Career Zone Digital using a new email address. Graduates from other universities who are participating in the GBP scheme can access My Career Zone Digital 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 Systems 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 univeristy) 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 annula leave or flexi. *Please note WSS opportunities are on hold until COVID restricions in the workplace are fully lifted.
  • Careers Guidance – You can meet our experienced Careers Consultants to discuss your next steps after your GBP role by emailing explaining you are a GBP and wish to make an appointment. 

The purpose of Graduate Business Partnership (GBP) scheme is to create paid, short-term employment opportunities to launch early graduate careers. All the graduate roles recruited through the scheme are only open to recent graduates (within the last 3 years) from the University of Exeter or other UK university, hence providing access to employment for those who have little or no work experience.

GBP roles offer graduates the opportunity to gain valuable experience to aid their career development, with supportive employers that offer a variety of learning and development opportunities. Learning and Development takes place either formally or informally and can occur in many forms including:  

  • University Induction or Internship Induction Checklist (for graduates not working at the University).
  • Mandatory Training.
  • Making the Most of your Internship Guide.
  • On the Job Training - with Line Manager, Task Manager or colleagues.
  • 1:1 catch-up meetings with Line Manager, usually once a month.
  • Team or other meetings.
  • Staff Learning and Development Courses.
  • LearnSmart - Staff Employability Online Resource.
  • My Career Zone Digital - Graduate Employability Online Resource.
  • Handshake - Graduate Careers Resources and Online Graduate events.
  • Career Mentor Scheme - Partnership between an experienced professionals and graduate to meet monthly for sector insights and one to one careers advice and guidance over a six month period. 
  • Ask An Alum - Careers questions answered by Exeter Alumni.
  • Work Shadow Scheme - Bespoke work shadowing opportunities can be can be arranged at any time of the year by request. (Please note WSS opportunities are on hold until COVID restrictions in the workplace are fully lifted.)
  • Networks
    • Online: join the UoE Internship groups on Facebook and LinkedIn; follow Career Zone on Twitter @UoECareers; follow Internships on Twitter @UoEInternships).
    • Events: 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: to other current or former GBPs; University of Exeter’s local employers contacts; University of Exeter’s national employers contacts.
  • Reflection – Time to reflect on the working week and record in a Reflective Log
  • Careers Guidance Meeting- Meeting a University of Exeter Careers Consultant to explore the GBP experience and explore where it can take the graduate after the role ends.
  • Performance Development Review

Problems with accessing the online mandatory training:

If you encounter problems you may need to wait a few days whilst your staff IT details are recognised on the training platform. If access problems still continue please raise a ticket by using the SID Online system.  Log in and start a “New Enquiry”, choosing 'Mandatory Training General Enquiry' from the “Category” drop down list. 

Exemption requests for mandatory training:

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.

The Devon Graduate Careers Network is a friendly and informal community for recent graduates to achieve their career ambitions, make professional contacts and meet likeminded people.

The DGCN is open to any recent graduate (graduated from any UK university within the last 3 years) who is seeking a graduate role or already undertaking a GBP position.

We meet once a month for a free pizza lunch (for 1 hour) at the University of Exeter Streatham Campus and once a quarter for 1 ½ hours drinks in Exeter City Centre. We will facilitate the networking by placing you in small groups and posing a couple of optional careers related questions. We will also provide information about career events, activities and upcoming graduate roles. Plus we will have a careers consultant on hand. At the evening events, we will also have short presentations from current and former GBPs.

Upcoming dates for your diary:


If you would like to see where your fellow graduates have undertaken Graduate Business Partnerships and learn about the roles they have performed, take a look at our case studies.

The ‌following terms and conditions set out by the University must be met by the intern, the employer and the University:

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