A science park in north Wales is helping a record number of Bangor University students get their foot in the door and take the first steps in their careers.
Anglesey’s Menai Science Park (M-SParc) by Bangor University has helped more than 70 per cent of students interning with businesses at the site secure full-time employment within the centre and help kick-start their careers, with the average salary within M-SParc £5,000 higher than the Welsh average.
The science park, the first of its type in Wales, offers space for technological and science-based businesses of all sizes and provides students with a chance to make their mark in emerging industries and operations.
The positions at the park form part of the Santander Universities Employability scheme, which helps Bangor University students gain the qualifications and skills required to find full-time employment upon graduation while also providing a pipeline of skilled graduates to support growth to businesses in the region.
Dafydd Weightman is one such student who has benefitted from the scheme, and following his internship with M-SParc has now started his own business offering digital content design, photography, and videography, while also working at M-SParc-based business Aerial Worx in a drone filming role.
A local to the Isle of Anglesey, Dafydd was encouraged by M-SParc’s Enterprise Hub to move into his own business pursuing his passions.
Dafydd said: “I studied a BSc in computer science at Bangor which provided me with a fantastic base of knowledge and during my studies I developed a particular passion for the creative aspects of photography and videography, which upon graduating from university became a path I wanted to pursue.
“M-SParc was something I had an idea about as I would drive past it on a regular basis, but after completing an internship there through Bangor University, I turned to them to help get my own business off the ground.
“They supplied me with a brilliant advisor and gave me advice on how to start my business, guiding me through the processes of obtaining support, including free business-starting webinars which were a great help to me in figuring out all the tools I needed to begin work.
“My current role with Aerial Worx stemmed from a meeting I had with them while I was interning with M-SParc to discuss their social media needs and also undertake a lesson on operating one of their drone’s cameras. That initial contact proved invaluable later on when they were looking for a new hire.
“M-SParc works hard to make collaborative links wherever possible, and as they were familiar with my skillset thanks to my internship and that previous introduction and link, I am now in a position I am enjoying, whilst further developing my skills and allowing my own business to grow at a pace I am comfortable with.”
Fellow Isle of Anglesey local Kimberley Williams is another student who has benefitted from the facility, securing an internship at M-SParc at the beginning of 2021 with tenant BIC Innovation which became a full-time role as a marketing assistant.
The internship at BIC Innovation was one of a number Kimberley had secured during her more than six-month search for a full-time position after finishing her BSc in product design at Bangor University during the coronavirus pandemic in May 2020, but the knowledge of the space helped her land a permanent position at BIC Innovation.
Kimberley said: “I’ve been really enjoying the work so far. The role is one where you feel like you are wearing a number of different hats at any one time, but I’ve been invited to sit in on calls and provide knowledge stemming from my studies, which at companies with hundreds of employees I would probably not have been involved in.
“One of the reasons why M-SParc is great to work at is how collaborative it is; you have all these modern businesses and modern skill sets in the same space and it essentially becomes a big mixing pot of talent. We don’t need to travel far at all to seek advice on certain problems and challenges which may appear.
“Having something like this site locally is fantastic for the region as well, as it means students who study here don’t have to move away to make the leap into their careers and talented people can continue to develop their skills close to home, or students can decide to make North Wales their permanent home after studying at Bangor. That can only help the region prosper.”
Professor Paul Spencer pro vice-chancellor leading on employability, company engagement and partnerships from Bangor University said: “It’s exciting to see Bangor University students succeed and find professional positions in emerging industries and businesses on our doorstep here in North Wales.
“M-SParc provides a strong stepping stone for students to make the leap into their careers and focus in on what they enjoy and it is encouraging to see many of these students opt to stay and build on the foundations within the walls of M-SParc itself.”
Managing director at M-SParc Pryderi ap Rhisiart said: “Around 70 per cent of students who intern with businesses at M-SParc eventually go on to secure a position with those companies, with more than 10 students in those positions at the moment, so offering students and businesses a location where they can further their studies and make those important first steps in their own careers is vital.
“M-SParc is here to diversify the region’s economy, and help businesses grow. It’s encouraging that so many internships become careers here in the Park, providing students with opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise get, and supporting companies with access to a qualified workforce right on their doorstep.
“The stories of Dafydd and Kimberley are just two examples of that synergy between M-SParc and Bangor University and we look forward to seeing the businesses they are involved with develop alongside us here at M-SParc.”