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Queen Margaret University student begins world-class internship

Posted: 28th July 2014

Peter Jacobs photo

A psychology and sociology student for Queen Margaret University (QMU), Edinburgh, has begun a world-class communications internship with global healthcare company, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), thanks to the Saltire Foundation.

The prestigious Saltire Foundation programme, ‘Saltire Scholars’, opens the door of the world’s leading companies to some of Scotland’s most talented students and provides them with an unparalleled chance to engage with global thought leaders and entrepreneurs.

Peter Jacobs, 22, will spend nine weeks as part of the communications team at GSK in Worthing, West Sussex, where he will be working on internal communication and community engagement projects.

Record numbers of ambitious young Scots have been attracted to this year’s cohort of Saltire Scholars, the internship programme run by The Saltire Foundation, Scotland’s world-class entrepreneurial leadership programme.

The number of Scholars has risen by nearly a third, with 132 undergraduate students taking part – up from 103 in 2013, which itself was a record-beating Undergraduate Programme. The cohort will be working amongst 44 host companies and over 5 continents across the world.

Professor Petra Wend, Principal of Queen Margaret University, said: “The Saltire Scholars programme provides students with global business experience and we are delighted that one of our top students has been able to benefit from these outstanding learning opportunities.

“It’s very rewarding to see QMU students like Peter creating their own goals, rising to the challenges set by high profile businesses like GSK, gaining exposure to a corporate environment and being able to offer their own ideas and solutions to business issues.

“There is no doubt that the skills, knowledge and life experience gained during Peter’s internship will give him a competitive advantage when entering the jobs market.”

Professor Wend continued: “Queen Margaret University is committed to enhancing the student experience. As a direct result of Peter’s positive experiences with GSK we’re continuing to strengthen our Saltire Foundation University Partner status. This should open up more world class placement and networking opportunities for future QMU students.”

Commenting on his communications internship experience with GSK so far, Peter Jacobs said: “I’m very grateful for the opportunity I’ve been given by the Saltire Foundation. Before my internship I had no idea of what to expect and generally had very little idea of what happened within GSK. Being honest I was slightly nervous about the idea of working for a company as big as GSK and the thought had crossed my mind that I would end up as an office coffee boy, as many of my friends are currently experiencing.

“However, I can say now that my experience at GSK has fully exceeded every expectation that I had. It’s been a personal journey for me and has been great to work with so many nice people who are willing to take time out of their day to help me with my project even when they all had a million and one other things to do.”

“Overall, it’s been a great journey for me. Working for a company that saves lives has really opened my eyes to the world of pharmaceuticals. It has given me a lot to think about for the future and what career path I would like to follow. The internship has allowed me to learn new transferrable skills and make new connections.”

Sandy Kennedy, chief executive of the Saltire Foundation, said: “It’s very gratifying to see such a surge in the numbers of young people, including students from Queen Margaret University, who are keen to build their confidence, skills and ambition.

“Scotland’s commercial reputation in the global arena can only be enhanced by this fantastic response, which beats all previous years, and we are delighted to welcome these confident, entrepreneurial and driven young potential executives.”

Peter hopes to pursue a career in events after completing his degree at QMU.

Peter has already started blogging about his internship experience with GlaxoSmithKline on the Saltire Foundation website. You can follow Peter’s journey here: http://saltirefoundation.thegither.com/#/blog/peter.jacob

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