A NOT for profit company which secures internships for students coming out of higher education is hopeful of placing its 500th person before the end of this year.

Adopt an Intern, which emerged from the Centre for Scottish Public Policy think-tank in 2010, has managed to get more than 350 placements for graduates and postgraduates so far including for Ashleigh Dickson, pictured above with Michael Russell, the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning.

It has recently announced a corporate fostering programme to encourage more of Scotland's big firms to participate.

The programme said its interns were paid an average of £7.50 per hour and 76% had gained a full-time job after a placement.

Only 3% did not go on to work, further education or another internship.

Joy Lewis, chief executive of Adopt an Intern, said: "Our next three-year period will see us upscale our position significantly and we are now targeting our 500th paid intern by the end of 2013.

"Whilst stretching our current run rate, I want this as our base to start 2014."

Subject to the finalisation of Scottish government funding the organisation is hopeful of raising the rate of intern placements over the next three years and is keen to up its global scope.

At the moment it has a graduate exchange with Germany and has placed an intern into the Mary's Meals organisation in Malawi.

It is understood to be looking at partnerships in fast growing Asian economies.

Ms Lewis said: "We have some of the world's finest education establishments in Scotland and it is critical that the incredible talent pool that this creates is captured and inspired to continually add value to companies of all types and sizes throughout the country.

"Our corporate fostering programme will also allow large employers and SME's to work together and explore the optimum way of harnessing these opportunities."