Frontrunners is the University’s on-campus internship scheme, supporting students with little or no previous work history to develop a range of skills and improve their prospects for future employment. 

Our emphasis this year is on Frontrunner roles, as we focus our resources on students who need opportunities to develop their experience.  Internships are open to students at all stages of study. They can take place across all areas of the university and the Students Union, and on all three campuses.

This unique scheme allows you to:

  • Provide students with the opportunity to develop their knowledge, skills and experience in the workplace.
  • Support students on developing their career story and gain recognition of their participation in university life through the Big Essex Award.
  • Engage motivated students in meaningful activity.
  • Gain students’ perspectives on your work.
  • Develop your supervision and mentoring skills.

Timings overview

Date Action 
October 2022 Student recruitment campaign 
1-18 November 2022 Shortlisting, interview and appointment 
November 2022-January 2023 Onboarding
16 January 2023 Internships
22 April 2023 Internships complete 

Things to consider

Please note the following key principles of the programme:

  • Frontrunner internships are only accessible to students who have little or no previous work history. As a developmental / learning experience for our students, you should be prepared to provide close support and guidance as required.
  • Funding will only be allocated for Frontrunner internships, maximising opportunities for students with little or no work experience.
  • Students should not be expected to work more than 10 hours per week during term time over the course of their internship. During holiday periods students can work up to 20 hours per week.
  • Every effort should be made to ensure that your Frontrunner completes all hours offered by the internship.
  • All Frontrunners must demonstrate a right to work in the UK before commencing work.
  • Frontrunners are subject to the employment policies of the university whilst undertaking their internship.

More information on how the scheme is run and the expectations on colleagues who host a Frontrunner can be found in the terms and conditions (.pdf).

Supervising your student

To successfully fulfil your responsibilities as a supervisor, you will need to:

  • Provide close supervision and guidance for the duration of the internship, to ensure clear direction, completion, and review of activities.
  • Provide opportunities for development and a clear structure for training.
  • Provide an induction to the department, including orientation, meeting colleagues and ensuring required training is completed.
  • If working in an office, ensure the student's desk is located close to you or other suitable colleagues should they need any assistance and guidance.
  • Be willing to be appointed as a supervisor within the universities HR structures and processes, and undertake the administrative activities associated with this – e.g. verifying timesheets in People Manager. 

Supervising a Frontrunner can require significant time and energy. Before applying, please ensure that you can commit to properly supporting a student who will have very little work experience.   The value of Frontrunners to our students relies on the development of positive working relationships, effective support to build confidence and skills and the sharing of knowledge and experience.

Additional support is available to supervisors who have no experience of line management.

Terms and conditions

Additional costs

Students receive an hourly wage, funded by Frontrunners, during their internship. Additional costs to a host department may be in the form of additional training /equipment needed for the student to fulfil their role.

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