A RECORD number of students will take part in a Scottish entrepreneurial internship programme.

This year’s Entrepreneurial Scotland’s Saltire Scholar Internship Programme will welcome 170 young people representing 15 Scottish universities.

The initiative will see the students work with a range of leading international organisations and will enjoy internships in Scotland, England, India, Hong Kong, Switzerland, USA, Canada, Australia and Japan.

The 2018 cohort is 64% female and 36% male and is the largest ever since the programme began 11 years ago.

During their placements lasting eight to 12 weeks, they will be working with organisations in a range of sectors from banking and legal services to the creative industries, engineering, manufacturing and technology and science.

There are more participating companies this year than ever before. This year’s 74 firms include GlaxoSmithKline, American Express, Edinburgh Airport, Liberty Mutual, Fender Musical Instruments and Cisco.

There are also a number of first-time hosts for 2018 including a role within NBC Universal in Los Angeles, a position with the HALO Trust in Washington to grow the work of one of the world’s largest landmine charities, and two positions with the University of Hong Kong to assess international partnerships. With 21 interns Barclays Wealth is placing the greatest number of students at sites in Scotland, Switzerland, USA and India.

Following a detailed induction earlier this week, most of the cohort will formally begin their internships on 11 June, with 74 heading off overseas and the remainder undertaking placements around the UK.

Sara Cook, head of Saltire Scholar Internship programme, said: “This year we received more than 1500 applications for the Saltire Internship Programme – another record for us. This highlights the importance today’s students place on entrepreneurship and the need for a global perspective.

“Firms who want to grow their business say their biggest challenge is finding talented people with the right attitude, skills and ambition. Saltire Scholars have repeatedly shown that they have all these qualities. As they embark on this life-changing entrepreneurial journey, the interns can look forward to some challenging and exciting business experiences – wherever they are based around the world.”

Sandy Kennedy, chief executive of Entrepreneurial Scotland, said: “In the Year of Young People, it’s marvellous to see so many interns joining our programme. For Scotland to fulfil its potential, we need to ensure that the next generation has the skills and global mindset to succeed in an entrepreneurial world. The Saltire Scholars have an unique opportunity to learn with the best companies and they return to Scotland with increased passion.”