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STEP 2004 Launched 8 December 2003

Trade and Industry Minister, Alex Downie MHK has announced that the DTI is launching next year’s Shell Technology Enterprise Programme (STEP). Mr. Downie said:

"STEP is a reputable nationwide student work placement scheme. It is designed to help employers meet a specific business need using the skills and enthusiasm of a bright undergraduate over an eight-week period during the summer. Last year’s Programme was the most successful yet, and the Department is planning to maintain its high standards."

Last year’s projects, selected by local employers, included: market research, a customer care programme, an awareness-raising campaign, establishment of a database, internet based research, a feasibility study, the building of a corporate intranet site and a study of the commercial possibilities involved in the recycling of waste.

In late summer, students present their projects in a competition at which their sponsoring organisation is also fully recognised (any sensitive information being withheld). The best overall student is selected for entry into high profile UK regional and national STEP competitions.

Each student receives £200 per week under the Programme and participating organisations sponsor the Programme by the same amount. The Director of one of last year’s participating organisations, John Hellowell of Strand Cleaners, said of his experience of the scheme:

"It is obvious that [the student’s] recommendations will repay the company within the first six months, outweighing any costs involved in sponsoring the STEP Programme".

The UK Government’s Treasury Department recently released a report in which STEP is praised for having a valuable effect on the lives of graduates participating in the scheme: “An independent assessment of STEP has shown that students who had undertaken their placement obtained jobs much more quickly than non-STEP graduates. The 2002 STEP exit survey showed that 75 per cent of participating companies had employed graduates on a regular basis, and of those companies, 71 per cent were more likely to consider doing so after participating in STEP.” (Lambert Review of Business-University Collaboration, Dec 2003)

The Department believes that this is an important initiative beneficial to both local graduates, and organisations.

Organisations wishing to receive further information about the initiative are requested to contact STEP marketing manager Ian Moncrief-Scott on 664883/469261, ims@manx.net or Vicki Webster, STEP Programme Manager at the Department of Trade and Industry, Employment Services, Hamilton House, Peel Road, Douglas, on 682383, Vicki.Webster@dti.gov.im.

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