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Save time and money by taking on a bright student this summer

Posted on 16 April 2002

Small businesses could save themselves time and money by taking on a bright student this summer, says the University of York

The University and Business Link are relaunching the STEP programme in North Yorkshire which places students with small and medium-sized businesses (up to 250 employees) to work on a project that needs seeing through from beginning to end.

In other parts of the UK last year remarkable results were achieved. A science student working with the Northamptonshire business Speciality Desserts, undertook a production system analysis which cut production times by up to 90%. Another student conducted a cost audit for Rochdale-based Falcon Trunking which saved the company over £22,000.

Other projects might include market research, developing a web presence, rationalising an administrative system, and helping to develop overseas distribution.

STEP is designed to help businesses and community organisations by providing access to bright and enterprising students to work on projects identified by the businesses as important to development, usually for eight weeks during July and August.

STEP provides interested companies with a shortlist of three students. Once the business has selected one, the University handles the payroll and provides the student with basic project management training, cutting administration for the businesses to the minimum. The employers pay the student wage of £165 per week to the University plus a small administrative fee.

Projects are entered into a national contest with a £1,000 prize for the winner.

Andrew Ferguson, of the University of York's Research and Industry Office, said: 'Both sides gain a great deal from STEP. Businesses get an enthusiastic, motivated person to do some work that needs doing, and the student has something very concrete to put on their CV.'

If you would like to learn more about the potential the scheme could offer your business you can contact Andrew Ferguson at the University of York on 01904 432497. You can also view the scheme's national website at

Notes to editors:

  • As a national programme STEP has existed for 15 years
  • Some 98% of businesses taking part believed the benefits of STEP had either equalled or exceeded the cost of taking part
  • Of these 63% rated the value of the project at over £2,000, 36% at over £5,000 and 20% at over £10,000
  • A very happy 5% of surveyed businesses placed the value of the completed project at over £20,000
  • Further survey questions revealed that 79% of the participants could foresee long-term improvements in company performance
  • STEP stands for Shell Technology Enterprise Programme

Contact details

David Garner
Senior Press Officer

Tel: +44 (0)1904 322153