Student Gap Year and Internship Recruitment

Student Gap Year and Internship Recruitment 

A world leading pharmaceutical company was looking to outsource the recruitment of their high profile Summer Internship and Gap Year Student Programmes. As part of their fully managed service provision to this organisation in the UK, Kelly Services was awarded these recruitment programmes, successfully filling all available placement roles to date. 

The Challenge 

As a world-renowned company that is consistently voted one of the top workplaces on the planet, this organisation offers both a Summer Internship and a Gap Year Student Placement Programme. The management of these is quite onerous and time-intensive, so when the Internship Programmes within Marketing and Corporate Affairs were only initiated in early May 2013, it was evident that additional resource would be required to ensure their successful delivery. 

Kelly was given the challenge of managing these programmes with recruitment for the summer 2013 internship commencing in May 2013 for the 11 individuals for the Marketing and Corporate Affairs divisions; a short timeframe given the level of activity required. The challenge also included the management of the Gap Year Student Programme, which has an annual intake of 50-60 students, who are assigned to the organisation’s Marketing, IT, Finance, Biology and Chemistry divisions during their year’s placement. 

The Solution 

 Kelly developed a full management process to support the recruitment for these programmes consisting of the following elements: 

  • Identification of the top 20 relevant UK universities and development of good working relationships with their Student Placement Officers to ensure promotion of the schemes 
  • Liaison within the business to co-ordinate collation and timely distribution of promotional literature for both university and other recruitment fairs, as well as other supporting events 
  • Logistics and attendance at relevant recruitment fairs 
  • Management of all applications and pre-screening 
  • Organisation and management of a range of assessment centres, differing in requirements, for various departments within the organisation 
  • Facilitation of the interview process 
  • Management of offers and on-boarding 
  • Coordinating a Familiarisation Day for students prior to their start date including meeting their team, lunch with their department, presentations from key management and support departments including IT, Finance and  Marketing, plus former students 
  • Facilitation and management of the First Day Induction covering Health and Safety, security, information on pay and timesheets, a full site tour, as well as a presentation by their Head of Department. 


Since taking over the management of the intake for both programmes, Kelly has worked with a different manager from the organisation each year. This has encouraged fresh ideas and has introduced a constantly evolving process with the focus on implementing best practice and a positive experience for all applicants at every touch-point. One key element of process improvement has been the additional focus on promotion of the programmes at universities with the introduction of attendance at recruitment fairs and the development of relationships with University Placement Officers. 

Since 2010, this organisation has had placements available for 50-60 students on their Gap Year Programme and Kelly has successfully filled them all each year, screening 300-400 applicants for each intake. 

For the Summer Internship Programme Kelly received almost 350 applicants for 11 roles within the Marketing and Corporate Affairs divisions, all of which have been filled. 

Kelly’s on-site Account Specialist has been nominated for a second award by the business, this one for ‘Outstanding Customer Service’ for work specifically with the 2013 summer internship intake of students for the marketing division. 


Industry: Pharmaceuticals 
Scale: 350 screened with 11 individuals placed for 2013 Internship Programme, 300-400 applicants screened each year for 50-60 places on Gap Year Student Programme 
Skills: Marketing, Corporate Affairs, IT, Finance, Biology and Chemistry 
Service: Management of recruitment for Internship and Gap Year Student Programmes 
Basis: Ongoing. 

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