For over 10 years, the UKESF Scholarship Scheme has helped industry to recruit the brightest and most motivated students into Electronics.

Employers have been fully involved in the design and development of the scheme since its inception, and it has gone from strength-to-strength – this year we had the largest ever number of companies offer scholarships. These range from international, renowned global companies to SMEs, across the whole spectrum of Electronics.

The long running scheme has an established reputation with both staff and students within our partner universities. We work with 26 leading universities throughout the UK, and the very best students are encouraged to apply.

In this blog, we’ll discuss how organisations can benefit from working with the UKESF instead of recruiting their work placements directly.

Efficient marketing

To date, more than 75 employers have participated in the programme. Both large and small companies have benefited from our well-established connections with 26 universities nationwide. Not only are we often able to reach a wider pool of students than companies are able to on their own, but our Scholarship means you will avoid time intensive careers fairs and costly promotional materials. Working with senior academics, our effective recruitment is targeted at high achieving undergraduate students.

Refined processes

We make every effort to understand the unique needs of each company to help find the perfect intern. Our efficient process filters applications, ensuring that a company only needs to review the most appropriate candidates for the role(s) they have available.

A recent survey of our employers found that 100% would recommend us, and 96% said that the quality of UKESF Scholarship applications was ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ when compared to other internship applications.

“The UKESF is great because we don’t have to go anywhere near graduate recruitment centres, which can be a horrendous experience! The UKESF reaches out to everyone on our behalf and broadens access to universities. It attracts the best students, which is what we need, and past Scholars are great to attract new students.”

Cost-effective recruitment

The UKESF is a not-for-profit organisation. Our fees are benchmarked to ensure they are significantly lower than standard recruitment fees, and our charitable status means that we don’t make a profit. Any surplus contributes towards our outreach and engagement work to increase the number of young people pursuing Electronics.

Building lasting relationships

The DfE report ‘Employability programmes and work placements in UK higher education’1 emphasises the benefits for employers in providing work experience to students.

By working with a UKESF Scholar throughout their studies, your company has the opportunity to help them develop the skills they need to excel within your organisation, and build a lasting relationship with them for potential future employment. In return, a Scholar can help to address short term staffing issues, and bring new, innovative ideas into your team.

92% of our graduated Scholars who have finished their studies are working in Electronics and Technology, and of those, 60% are working in a sponsor company.

“We are really pleased to be a part of the UKESF and it is a great service. If you haven’t got a lot of experience in attracting graduates, UKESF should be the first place you go. Our Scholar said they would have never approached our company if they hadn’t gone through UKESF.”

“My experience of the UKESF Scholarship Scheme has been excellent! I completed a placement with one of the best companies in the field I wanted to enter into, and ultimately was offered a graduate position.” UKESF Scholar, 2021

Increasing Diversity

Our Scholarship Scheme continues to champion women in engineering, and 22% of scholars in 2021/22 were female, compared with 17% of engineering, technology and computing undergraduate entrants (OfS 20222).

“We had a higher proportion of female applicants through the UKESF compared to our direct intern programme, which proved to be valuable to us.”

Developing the skills to succeed

The UKESF team knows every Scholar as an individual. We work alongside the companies that offer Scholarships to provide additional ‘wrap around’ support that work placements wouldn’t otherwise receive. This support helps our Scholars to develop their confidence, professional skills and work-readiness. The UKESF Scholars benefit from:

  • Developing a personal network – Scholars become part of a community, which helps to create a sense of belonging. Many Scholars form long-term friendships and make important professional connections.
  • UKESF Scholar Workshop – our 4-day residential course gives Scholars an insight into leadership, negotiation, ethics, neuro-linguistic programming, and cyber security, as well as receiving CV and career advice. 98% of participants who attended the 2021 workshop rated it excellent.
  • Support from a UKESF buddy – to bolster each Scholar’s support system, they are given a buddy who is a current or graduated Scholar.
  • Participation in STEM outreach – this could include including designing starter Electronics kits for schools, planning and leading Electronics workshops and producing videos and other material to help enthuse children about Electronics. Importantly, participating in outreach helps Scholars to improve their communications and teamworking skills.

We do all we can to better prepare students for their graduate career, to ensure that they are retained in the industry and that they have the skills to succeed.

“I’ve learnt a lot more than anticipated and now appreciate that technical ability isn’t the most significant part of being an engineer – there are so many more skills that I have developed this week and will be incredibly useful to take into the workplace.” Feedback on the UKESF Scholar Workshop

UKESF support doesn’t end when a Scholar graduates, and we seek to provide additional opportunities when they’re in the workplace too. We collaborate with The IET to provide advice about professional registration, we encourage Scholars to apply for external awards and support them to progress their careers by providing networking opportunities and advice.

Particularly high achievers often return to join us at industry events, speak enthusiastically at our outreach activities, or contribute to written articles and videos; a testament to their positive experience as a Scholar.

Getting involved

We’re looking forward to offering Scholarships to another outstanding cohort of undergraduates in 2022/23. If you’d like to find out more, or are ready to join the Scheme, get in touch with me on [email protected] or 07894 899544.

“The UKESF is the body responsible for skills and education in the UK Electronics sector. They do a lot of screening so some of the work experience coaching is done prior to us seeing the Scholars. We’ve been really impressed with the quality of people coming through the UKESF.”


1 Employability programmes and work placements in UK higher education

2 Equality, diversity and student characteristics data