book shelf with graduation picture

Student sponsorship

The student sponsorship scheme is a tool which can be utilised by managers to attract qualified graduates into the organisation by sponsoring current students during their studies and in return they agree to work for the organisation for an agreed period of time. The scheme can be found below which outlines the process and the accompanying guidance outlines how this can be applied.

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A part of its Growing Our Own Initiative, Argyll and Bute Council’s Student Sponsorship Scheme aims to provide an opportunity for services to sponsor students through their degree in return for them agreeing to work for the council for a set period of time once they have completed their studies.

 It aims to attract Graduates into Argyll and Bute Council particularly in areas where we have struggled to recruit and fits best within professional areas.

This document lays out the details within the scheme including setting out the obligations of each party, eligibility requirements and selection process details.

The scheme has been developed in the content of Growing Our Own and should be considered alongside services workforce planning requirements.

It can be tailored to meet the needs of different professions.

The scheme supports the sponsorship of an undergraduate to complete their degree with support from the council in return for the graduate agreeing to come and work for the council for a set period of time on completion of the qualification. In order for a scheme to be utilised a workforce planning demand must be identified and meet the timescales of the scheme.


In order to be eligible to apply for the scheme, a candidate must be:

  • Enrolled or have a place on a university course linked to the relevant area identified. The course must be a minimum of SCQF Level 8.
  • Although they do not need to be local, they will require to have a place to stay to participate in employment during the summer and then as a graduate once qualified.
  • Be committed and enthusiastic towards the subject which they are studying.
  • Be willing to join the council as an employee on completion of their studies.
  • They can be at any year of their study in order to be eligible as long as it meets the needs of the recruiting service.

Selection Process

The selection process will vary depending on the time of recruitment. A fair and transparent selection process is required before a candidate is enrolled on the programme. The selection process must demonstrate the candidate’s commitment to the profession/subject area.

At Argyll and Bute Council, we recognise that our employees play a massive part to the service in which we can provide and therefore it is important that we have the best possible employees to deliver services to our communities.

  1. Create a job description, person specification required for the post to ensure that you are attracting the correct applicants who have behaviours and qualities which meet those of the organisation.
  2. Advert inviting applications is placed locally. Although there is not a requirement for the candidate to be local, they will require to have a local connection in order to participate in paid work over the summer period. If services have decided to limit this opportunity to a set year group this must be set out on advert. As part of the application, applicants are provided with questions which will demonstrate their commitment to the subject, their ability and their links to the behaviours of the organisation.
  3. Short leeting is undertaken, to identify candidates for interview. Focusing on those who have shown commitment to the organisation and have embraced the behaviours of the organisation.
  4. Competency based interviews are undertaken, the successful candidate will be offered a position on completion of their studies, it is important that they are the correct person for the role.
  5. Preferred candidate is selected, subject to normal employment checks plus evidence required of enrolment in undergraduate course.
  6. Agreement issued to candidate for completion.

Student sponsorship agreement

Obligations of Argyll and Bute Council

This agreement sets out that the council will:

  • Provide summer employment each year of the contract between the months of June and October to be negotiated between the student and the sponsoring department.
  • Provide the student with £1500 to support them with their studies, specifically for materials to support study such as books or materials. £750 will be paid in penultimate year with a further £750 being issued at the start of the final year.
  • Service will provide student with a mentor which is accessible to them throughout their studies.
  • Provide employment in a graduate trainee position (SLGE9) on completion of the student’s studies.
  • As part of the graduate trainee role, provide support and funding to employee to undertake required further training in line with the council’s learning agreement.

Obligations of the student

This agreement sets out that the student will:

  • Have a secured place/be a student at a University on a course as specified within the agreement.
  • Participate in paid summer employment between the months of June and October by agreement of the employing service. This summer work might not always be placed within the sponsoring service but will still provide a meaningful learning experience for the student.
  • Enter into a graduate post with Argyll and Bute Council for 2 years on completion of the qualification. If a post graduate qualification is required and is funded by the council, the student will be required to stay employed by Argyll and Bute Council for a further 2 years in line with the council’s learning agreement.
  • Proactively liaise with allocated mentor throughout studies.
  • Attend lectures and tutorials as part of course in order to provide themselves with the best possible chance of achieving the qualification.
  • Be committed and enthusiastic about learning specifically in relation to the chosen profession.
  • Participate in promotional material/events in order to promote the council as an employer and its Growing Our Own initiative.

Conditions of scheme

The candidate will be subject to the following repayment conditions if they fail to meet and adhere to the obligations listed within this scheme. Different payback conditions listed below will be implemented for failure by the candidate to honour their obligations:

Failure to pass qualification – if a candidate fails to pass their qualification, no additional support will be provided in order to undertake resits.

Failure to achieve qualification within agreed timescales – will require full repayment of any funds issued in support of qualification.

Failure to take up employment with Argyll and Bute Council – full repayment required of any funds issued in support of qualifications.

Early termination of employment with Argyll and Bute Council – early termination of employment with council (other than for reason of redundancy), will result in a repayment of fees paid as part of this arrangement on a sliding scale, indicated below:

  1. Within a year – Full refund.
  2. One year to eighteen months – 50% of fees paid.
  3. Eighteen months to two years – 25 % of fees paid.

Any deviations of this scheme will require approval from relevant Executive Director.