BUSINESS leaders from across Southampton are set to return to university as part of a new 'innovative' scheme.

Solent University is launching its new pilot programme of Reverse Internships which will see business leaders head to university to study alongside current students.

It is hoped that this will help them to understand what the next generation wants from a future employer and business.

The programme is expected to give both businesses and students the opportunity to learn from each other whilst also allowing business bosses to understand how students are being prepared for the workplace.

Caroline Walsh, Director of Solent Business School at the University, said the university is "delighted" to launch the scheme "which will provide students and businesses with a great opportunity to exchange knowledge, develop networks and add value to ensure our graduates are career ready, whatever the future brings".

She added: “From undertaking research in the library, to contributing towards a practical project, to utilising campus facilities and equipment and much more – leaders will have ample opportunity to experience Solent‘s academic offer, learn more about how we prepare graduates and also what our students look for from organisations and future managers.”

As part of the pilot programme, Solent is also due to partner with two businesses in the region, Isle of Wight ferry operator Red Funnel and leisure management company Rees Leisure.

Two of the business bosses confirmed to take part in the programme is Leanna Lakes, Operational Director at Red Funnel, and Chris Rees, Business Director at Rees Leisure.

Ms Lakes said: “I am delighted to be partnering with Solent University on this innovative project and to offer my 24 years of experience to the next generation of potential seafarers.

"Over the last 20 months, the sector has experienced a great amount of disturbance as a result of the pandemic, so I hope this programme will offer students the opportunity to see how varied a career in tourism can be.”