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Students pioneer internship website for students with special needs

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Three students from The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (UNMC) have created a platform to allow employers to offer internship opportunities for students with special needs.

Students Prishalini Rajagumar, Wael Aldroubi and Tariq Mohammad joined forces to form a website called Special Needs Internship Program (SNIP), to create access for special needs students and employers for potential internship opportunities. Their idea was a result of their participation in The University of Nottingham’s Ingenuity17 tri-campus competition.

This is the largest entrepreneurship competition in the UK, and was open to The University of Nottingham’s students and alumni from across its campuses in Malaysia, the UK and China.

The team from UNMC succeeded from over 103 teams to win the Asia Business Prize Award of £3,000.

According to UNMC Vice Provost (Research & Knowledge Exchange) Professor Claire O’ Malley: “We are very proud to be winners of the Asia Business Category. As a first time participant in the Ingenuity competition this year, it is a great accolade for UNMC and testament to the entrepreneurial quality of our students. I congratulate all students, staff, alumni and industry partners who were involved.

According to Prishalini, “Through Ingenuity, SNIP is finally growing into an implementable solution within Malaysia and hopes to become a global solution provider for special needs students worldwide.

“As a team, this experience has definitely given us the confidence to expand on SNIP's potential. We are extremely grateful and honoured to have not only represented UNMC, but to have representation from our home countries of Malaysia, Syria and Egypt in this international platform. We are genuinely thankful to Ingenuity17 for this amazing opportunity and experience.”

Prishalini Rajagumar, 21, is a Malaysian studying a BSc (Hons) Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience, Wael Aldroubi, 26, is a Syrian studying a BSc (Hons) Computer Science and Tariq Mohammad, 21, is an Egyptian currently studying a Foundation programme in Science and intends to progress into Software Engineering.

About SNIP

Special Needs Internship Program (SNIP), an inclusive solution for the world's largest minority group, is an internship matching platform that allows disabled students to highlight their capabilities to access the professional workforce. SNIP advocates for "ability first" and encourages companies to leverage on the potential of an under explored pool of talent within our community. SNIP fully supports the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities, and aims to help Malaysia and other countries who will use its website to contribute to the 2030 mission.

SNIP aims to bridge the gap between disabled undergraduates and professional employment worldwide.

SNIP is in development and is projected to be ready for pilot testing by 2018. It will be available to students and employers by the end of 2018.

About Ingenuity 17

Ingenuity17 is the UK’s largest entrepreneurship competition, providing an opportunity for entrants from The University of Nottingham to compete for a share of the £100,000+ prize fund, whilst gaining guidance in developing their ideas into world class businesses. The competition helps propel student and alumni start-ups to success with intensive development sessions, learning from a range of key industry experts, and the opportunity to showcase their work on a global stage. The competition is a tri-campus event and open to all University of Nottingham (UoN) undergraduates, postgraduates, alumni and early stage researchers in the United Kingdom, Malaysia and China.

This year, 23 teams consisting of 59 students and alumni from UNMC submitted their applications. In preparation for the competition, all teams joined the Ingenuity17 BootCamp Programme on 20 and 21 February 2017. This BootCamp was aimed to provide training for the entrants and mentoring from experienced and successful business owners in sectors including applications and software, financial assistance, green technology and consultancy services.

Another session on Successful Business Presentation was held on 7 March 2017 with Datuk Vinod Sekhar, the founder of the Vinod Sekhar Incubation Centre (VSIC) at UNMC, and Stephen Ball, lead partner of Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler (KPMG), UK. The students were prepared with all the tools, inspiration and confidence needed to submit a business plan for the competition.

Further information is available on this video.

(Article image caption: (from left to right) Tariq Mohammad, Wael Aldroubi,  Prishalini Rajagumar and Professor Claire O’ Malley)

(Thumbnail image caption: (from left to right) Professor Denny Ng, Tariq Mohammad, Wael Aldroubi,  Prishalini Rajagumar and Professor Claire O’ Malley and Nengaswary Maniam)

-Ends-

More information is available from Nengaswary Maniam or Josephine Dionisappu, PR & Communications Manager at UNMC  on +6 (03) 8924 8746josephine.dionisappu@nottingham.edu.my.

Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with a “distinct” approach to internationalisation, which rests on those full-scale campuses in China and Malaysia, as well as a large presence in its home city.’ (Times Good University Guide 2016). It is also one of the most popular universities in the UK among graduate employers and was named University of the Year for Graduate Employment in the 2017 The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide. It is ranked in the world’s top 75 by the QS World University Rankings 2015/16, and 8th in the UK for research power according to the Research Excellence Framework 2014. It has been voted the world’s greenest campus for four years running, according to Greenmetrics Ranking of World Universities.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest-ever fundraising campaign, is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. 

Posted on 19th April 2017

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