Name: Duncan Scott
University: Queen Margaret University

Studying nursing is challenging, as I’m either in class five days a week, out on placements or studying, and this commitment – along with my caring responsibilities – leaves no time for work.  As a mature student, I also have the financial burden of a mortgage, car and bills to pay.  

The Santander Universities bursary has transformed my student experience in the most positive way; it’s allowed me to reach my full potential as a student nurse.  I’ve been able to fully concentrate on achieving a high standard both academically and whilst out on placements.  I’ll also be able to qualify as a nurse without debt hanging over me which is a huge psychological boost moving forward.

Name: Gareth Irvine
University: Ulster University

Throughout the process I personally learnt a number of valuable lessons. As a young, enthusiastic and slightly naive entrepreneur, mistakes will come thick and fast. Over-forecasting and under-delivering will happen; being wrong is a good thing so make sure to constantly ask for help. You can never ask too many questions, so be sure to continue to push boundaries!  

Since my team and I started working with Santander Universities, the business has grown exceptionally fast. We launched in November 2016, suppling flavoured gin to 20 to 30 independent retailers across Northern Ireland. Three years on and we’ve grown that number to 700, suppling multinational retailers and e-commerce sites. We distribute across the world, including Australia, New Zealand, Estonia, the UAE, Spain and the Republic of Ireland, with current developments looking at the US, Canada and Asia. We’ve also grown our workforce from just myself, to a team of six and a Board of three, with revenues growing to £750k p/a and a 32.4% revenue increase per year.

The business is experiencing a period of rapid growth and we fully intend to make the most of it. Santander Universities has been instrumental in this growth, and I look forward to growing more with them as the years go on.

Name: Heather McInnes
University: Glasgow Caledonian University

During my time at The Ayr Classic Run, I received great support from all my colleagues; they made me feel welcome and always put me at ease. Through the internship, I learned and developed skills as a designer, while also gaining confidence in myself. For example, being the only graphic designer in the company, I had the challenge of scheduling when jobs had to be completed, defining creative solutions and strategies, while also juggling four to five different tasks within the same deadline. This was a challenge, but a great one at that! My confidence grew hugely, especially in trusting my judgement and becoming more assertive. 

Overall, the internship has opened many career prospects; it’s enabled me to gain industry experience which I can go on to discuss in future interviews, something which is becoming increasingly challenging amongst the competitive graduate market. After being kept on in the company for an extra month, I’ve secured a full-time graphics job. I can’t thank Santander Universities and GCU enough for providing me with this experience, and I would highly recommend the internship programme to anyone wanting a new challenge.