A project to place graduates with businesses in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has received approval for a £4.25 million investment from the European Social Fund Convergence Programme.
The Combined Universities in Cornwall (CUC) Graduate Placement Project, worth more than £5.6 million with match funding, aims to support almost 800 graduates and post graduates. It follows on from two highly successful CUC programmes – Unlocking Cornish Potential (UCP) project which placed 234 graduates with businesses for 12 month placements in Cornwall between 2004 and 2008 and Creative Enterprise Cornwall (CEC) which facilitated 692 two to three week post-graduate placements.
Allyson Glover, head of graduate placements, said: “Because of the success of Unlocking Cornish Potential there is already high demand for this project among businesses. We will be offering a variety of tailored packages to businesses with a clear desire to grow.
“And we will not be working in isolation. We will work with all of our Higher Education Partners including Business Link who will be able to offer the businesses a complete package of support.”
Carleen Kelemen, Director of the Partnership Office for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, added: “Unlocking Cornish Potential was our first successful marriage of graduate placements and small businesses in Cornwall. It was successful in improving a business’s profitability through managed graduate placement and access to expertise and universities.
“The European Social Fund Convergence Graduate Placement project will focus on those businesses with growth potential to help us achieve a step change in the Cornish economy. This will be one of the most effective knowledge transfer investments of the ESF Programme.”
The CUC project will be managed by Cornwall College and University College Falmouth will deliver the Post Graduate Placements. It will offer packages including financial support, expert mentoring and business skills training – with a leadership and management qualification. It will also include a graduate recruitment portal aiming to advertise all graduate level jobs in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
Dr. Ian Tunbridge, Combined Universities in Cornwall Executive Director, commented, “With more than 6000 people studying for university level qualifications in Cornwall it is essential that we have schemes in place to help the county’s graduates and postgraduates to build their careers in the region. In doing so we will give local businesses access to the fresh knowledge and creativity which so often proves a catalyst for innovation and growth.”
Recruitment has begun for additional specialised business development managers (a key part of the new package), a recruitment manager and office support. This will double the existing UCP team. It is expected the project will begin to be rolled out in the autumn and will run until December 2010.
The larger team will include business development managers specialising in environmental technologies and the creative industries. Advertising for graduates is also to be expanded nationally.
Working alongside Business Link will also be supported by this summer’s move of both Business Link and the Graduate Placement project to Trevenson House, Cornwall College, Pool.
Allyson Glover said: “Co – location with Business Link and the CUC central team will ensure that businesses have easier access and a smooth route through to the full range of support that the CUC partnership can offer.’
The Graduate Placement project aims to place 450 graduates and 314 post graduates with businesses in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. It also aims to support 25 graduates starting their own businesses in Cornwall.
£4.125 million of ESF Convergence investment has been approved and this will be matched with £1.375 million from income generated by 300 foundation degrees.