Future Space prides itself as an organisation that provides space for ideas and people to grow. 

The innovative co-working office with dedicated built-in laboratories is at the heart of Bristol’s tech scene, incubating some of the city’s brightest minds. The workspace has been designed with high-tech in mind, making it ideal for science-based entrepreneurs and innovators. 

Future Space is an avid supporter of our much loved annual awards celebration, The SPARKies. Once again, Future Space is sponsoring the FutureSPARK Award, which recognises an under-25-year-old already making series waves in their field. This support speaks to Future Spaces’ wider mission of nurturing young and emerging talent, ensuring age and prior experience are not barriers to becoming key members of the tech community. 

Through their commitment to this, the Future Space internship programme has overseen a myriad of interns successfully joining resident tech teams. Time and time again, talent new to the working world is able to thrive in this environment, firmly marking their stamp on the industry. These new minds with fresh ideas have been integral in moving innovation forward across the South West tech cluster. 

To highlight these fantastic internships, we’ve compiled just a handful of success stories to come out of Future Space:

If you work with or know a young person in the tech and digital space that has impressed you this year, show them some love by submitting a nomination for the FutureSPARK Award today

XR Tech takes on international student after internship

Two of Future Space’s long-term members, XR Tech and Ferryx, took on interns as part of their annual programme funded by the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol)  to support their innovation and growth. 

XR Tech is a tech development house that builds innovative technologies, specifically integrating AI, IoT and robotics into centralised applications. The team welcomed Asifur Rahman as an intern last year, who has been the perfect fit.

“We needed specialist resources around data science and computer vision machine learning”

“The internship programme at Future Space was of interest to us because we needed specialist resources around data science and computer vision machine learning. In this respect Asifur was the perfect candidate”, explains XR Tech Founder Gurps Nijjar.

Asifur moved to Bristol from Bangladesh at the end of 2021 to study his Master’s in Data Science at UWE. He tells us, “For my undergraduate degree I studied Computer Science, but I focused on machine learning for my thesis and realised I had an interest in studying Data Science at a higher level. Bristol is a great city to live in, so I chose to come here.”

Asifur is the second intern XR Tech has hired full-time over the last year from UWE. Gurps says that the team at Future Space have been instrumental in supporting them on this journey.

Service Robotics intern joins as full time employee

Back in 2021, Service Robotics took on a summer intern who is now still thriving with the team.

Service Robotics are the creators of GenieConnect®, a product that delivers flexible and better-quality care to vulnerable older adults and people with learning disabilities, by alleviating loneliness and isolation while enabling independent living. GenieConnect® was also one of our Silicon Gorge Pitching Competition winners in Spring 2022!

Rob Parkes, CEO at Service Robotics, tells us, “We’ve had five interns through Future Space so far and it’s been really successful. Now that we’ve offered Jessika a full time job we will have two interns who have been offered employment with us.”

Jessika Perdomo is 22 and originally from Bogota. She explains, “I was looking for opportunities to gain work experience. Aimee Skinner told me that they’re recruiting here at Future Space through the internship, and now I’m part of the customer service team at Service Robotics.

“I help them to communicate better with their users and I’ve also got involved in setting up the robotics. It’s been a very flexible role because it’s a startup, and that’s what attracted me to the role. The flexibility means you get to learn skills that are transferable.”

éclateral trains the next generation of scientists

Bethan Larkin was in her third year studying Biological Sciences at UWE Bristol when she applied for an internship at éclateral working as a lab assistant. The internship was part of the annual Future Space internship programme funded through the university.

After her eight-week internship Bethan was invited to continue working for éclateral as a Trainee Scientist, a position that they are keeping open for her once she has graduated. Bethan is one of three interns that have gone on to be part of the team.

Commenting on her experience, Bethan tells us, “The internship has shaped my view on what I’d like to do in the future,” continues Bethan. “Everyone at éclateral was really welcoming. I felt like I had a purpose because I was doing the tests and I could analyse the results for myself.

“This gave me clarity – now I can see that R&D is an area I enjoy, and it is a career path I could follow.”

éclateral is a startup working to make medical test results more accessible. Inspired by a Royal National Institute for the Blind campaign highlighting the inaccessibility of pregnancy tests for people who cannot see, the team is building a solution.

éclateral is now working with lateral flow tests (LFTs) to pass an electrical current through the test and control lines to give everyone a clear result. The results are sent to an app via Bluetooth, which can then provide the results in a variety of accessible ways, including reading them aloud.

LFTs aren’t limited to Covid testing. éclateral’s product could help at home testing for bacterial infections and even help men with a diagnosis of prostate cancer to monitor the symptoms. 

Reygar enters period of high growth with university intern

Future Space members Reygar were launched in 2012 and developed their award-winning technology with support from Innovate UK.

Their product BareFLEET is a remote monitoring system that gathers data from on board boats – such as motion and fuel consumption – to give customers an insight into how efficiently their vessels are operating and if they are performing as they should.

Now a team of nine people, they took on their first intern this year as part of the Future Space internship programme supported by UWE Bristol. Chris was aware that the Reygar team of engineers and “techies” were lacking the capacity for design and marketing, so he recruited intern Ashlea Philips, who is in her final year studying Animation at UWE Bristol.

“I’d definitely recommend these internships, especially for creative students”

Reflecting on the experience, Chris says, “I’d never taken on an intern before so it was really useful to get the support of the Future Space team to decide what skills we needed and how to work with the intern.

“The applicants were really high calibre and we’ve been very happy with the work Ashlea has produced. We’re hoping to keep her on for future work, and Ashlea is keen to work with other businesses at Future Space too. We’d definitely recommend her.”

Ashlea has also gained lots of value for her personal development: “I’d definitely recommend these internships, especially for creative students. It can be hard for companies that aren’t in a creative industry to know where to find good designers, and it can be hard for arts students to know which companies are looking to hire. This scheme is a great way for both sides to bridge the gap.”

Future Space Internship Programme 2023

Last year Future Space placed 17 interns with their member companies thanks to the Future Space internships scheme, and a further five UWE interns through the university’s own schemes. 

From the 2022 internships scheme, 8 out of 17 interns have been offered some form of further employment by their host company, with 5 of these now in full time employment with their host company!

Excitingly, Future Space has 15 more internships lined up with their companies for this summer.

“Interns working for Future Space companies get to experience the exciting, early stages of a business, gaining a unique insight into what goes into running an organisation”

Future Space’s Assistant Innovation Manager, Abi Ross, manages the scheme. On the success of placing interns she tells us, “The internships bring a huge amount of value to our companies, and I’ve loved speaking to the interns about their experiences here, particularly those who are now employed by their host companies.

“Interns working for Future Space companies get to experience the exciting, early stages of a business, gaining a unique insight into what goes into starting and running an organisation.”

The FutureSPARK Award is all about supporting these success stories. Make sure to put forward that talented young person before 18 May (tomorrow!) so they can be in with a chance to take home the award at The SPARKies on Thursday 13 July.

Shona Wright

Shona covers all things editorial at TechSPARK. She publishes news articles, interviews and features about our fantastic tech and digital ecosystem, working with startups and scaleups to spread the word about the cool things they're up to. She also oversees TechSPARK's social media, sharing the latest updates on everything from investment news to green tech meetups and inspirational stories.