Press Office


Graduate boost for business


Small and medium sized companies across the North East could benefit from the ideas, creativity and drive of a graduate, thanks to a placement scheme run by Newcastle University.

With support from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), SMEs can take advantage of a free recruitment service and employ a graduate for a 12 week period and half of a £16,000 pro rata salary will be paid by the University.

The project; ‘Improving SME performance through Graduate Apprentices’ will run until 2014 and there are over 160 placements available, helping SMEs across Tyneside, Teeside, Wearside and Northumberland to boost their performance.

In the current economic climate, many people are discussing how few jobs are available for graduates these days.  This scheme gives graduates the opportunity to seek new opportunities and stay within the region.  When a similar scheme was run at Newcastle University from 2009-11, 92% of graduates who took part were retained in longer term employment.

One of those, Masters graduate Euan Martin, secured a role at Lynx Fishing after impressing the team during his 12 week placement.

Euan, (pictured, front left, with the Lynx Fishing team) who completed both his BA in Business Management and Masters in International Business Management at Newcastle University, is now Lynx Fishing’s first Digital Marketing Manager and is playing a key role formalising the company brand and identity, developing the company website and establishing and managing the corporate social media strategy, among other things.

He said: “The Graduate Apprentice scheme is fantastic. It gave me the opportunity to gain some quality work experience; that is invaluable at a time when youth unemployment is the highest it has been for many decades.

“I feel I have learnt a lot whilst being on placement and it has certainly helped me in terms of gaining experience and strengthening of my employability for the future.”

Latest official figures show that over 93% of Newcastle University graduates are in employment or further education six months after leaving university, and this scheme is just one way that the University supports graduates.

Nick Keeley, Director of the Careers Service at Newcastle University, said: “We are committed to retaining our graduates in the region and this scheme offers the perfect opportunity to do just that.

“Thanks to this funding from ERDF, businesses can take on a graduate without the risks associated with hiring a new employee. It is a great way for small companies to increase their productivity through recruiting a talented graduate.”

To access funding through Graduate Apprentices, contact the project team on 0191 208 77 48 or visit the website.

published on: 20 July 2012