Graduate Internship Scheme Gets GT Towing Going
GT Towing knew they needed to increase website traffic and online sales, but were unsure how to find the required resources. As Sally Smyth, one of GT Towing’s Directors explains:
‘Employing graduates was not something GT Towing had considered before. We knew we needed particular knowledge to enhance our website, but I had it in my head only large companies gave graduates work experience.’
Whilst puzzling over this issue, Sally received a communication promoting the Graduate Internship Scheme. The scheme aims to find three-month work placements for recently qualified graduates with local businesses.
‘I realised this could be the answer to our problem,’ Sally says, ‘and went to the seminar in January 2010 to learn about the scheme.’ There she met Guy Thomas, a Skills Development Adviser, and arranged an appointment to discuss GT Towing’s requirement.
‘When Guy visited we talked through the areas we needed help with,’ Sally explains. ‘This meant finding a graduate with web design, programming, optimisation and e-commerce skills.’
With Sally’s brief in hand, Guy performed a matching process to identify likely candidates. He comments, ‘It’s the advisory team’s job to find out exactly what the employer needs. It’s crucial we identify every requirement to match the right graduate to the position.’
Guy identified five potential graduates and sent Sally the CVs to review – including one for Anthony Bayliss. Anthony’s CV contained details of his Foundation Degree in Web Design and BSc(Hons) in Computer Science – a perfect knowledge fit for the post. ‘Anthony’s CV stood out immediately,’ Sally remembers, ‘his skills ticked all the boxes we had listed.’
Anthony first heard about the Graduate Internship Scheme towards the end of his 2nd degree course. He visited the internship website and was impressed with what he saw. ‘I realised the scheme was an ideal way to gain experience when you’ve just left university and are job hunting,’ he comments. ‘All employers want work experience on your CV and most graduates don’t have any.’
Following an interview in February, Anthony started his placement in March. His remit was to increase website traffic via Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) techniques and to improve online sales figures.
Anthony recalls, ‘Part of the appeal of the job was the e-commerce side of things. You learn more skills when working with e-commerce websites as opposed to static ones. There was an e-commerce site in place but it wasn’t performing as hoped, so the objective was to make it work better.’
This was a challenge Anthony took up with relish. During his three-month internship he completed the necessary SEO work and, as a result, website traffic jumped by almost 50%.
Anthony also identified the e-commerce system wasn’t working correctly. He says, ‘Once I fixed the issue sales started to increase and now we have online orders coming through every day.’
As a result of Anthony’s excellent work, GT Towing offered him a permanent position. He’s now working full-time in the offices maintaining the websites and investigating new online projects.
Sally points out the benefits of taking on a graduate have been invaluable for GT Towing, ‘We now know what visitors are looking at when visiting our website which helps with future marketing planning. We are continually looking at the analytics Anthony provides so we can develop and put more emphasis on the products people are browsing.’
From Anthony’s point of view everyone benefits. ‘The scheme is a win on both sides. A company gets a graduate with fresh knowledge and it’s a great way for graduates to get work experience.’
Sally is also keen to point out that any size of company can reap the benefits of taking on a graduate. ‘I was initially very surprised a small business could be part of a Graduate Internship Scheme. However, small businesses can offer something that large ones often can’t – the opportunity for graduates to be involved in many different projects and areas of the company.’