27 February 2003
Midlands set to retain business stars of the future
A NEW �3.5 million initiative to keep the best and brightest graduates in the region will launch on Monday, 3rd March.
Aston University is leading a consortium of West Midlands universities in the multi-million pound Graduate Recruitment Project that aims to attract and retain graduates to the region, helping to ensure its future financial growth and innovation. The project, which has been funded by Advantage West Midlands, will run over the next five years. It contributes to the third aim of the West Midlands Economic Strategy Scheme 'the development of a workforce that is highly skilled and can adapt to meet challenges that will face businesses in the next 10 years.'
The Project, which will be run from a central unit based at Aston, will provide a strategic approach to graduate retention and utilisation across the region, with particular emphasis on the needs of SMEs. It will provide a specified vacancy handling service (via a web portal) for businesses wishing to hire graduates, by allowing them to experience the economic benefits they can bring to a company. This could be via a vacation placement programme for undergraduates or a longer post-graduation placement programme to attract high-calibre graduates. The Project will also offer a sponsorship scheme to encourage participation from SMEs.
The proposal will substantially improve links between businesses and the HE sector across the West Midlands region and will create a cohesive framework of partnership for future development. It will address all sectors of the local economy but will focus specifically on the following clusters:
• Transport technologies
• Specialist business and promotional services
• Information and communication technologies (ICT)
• Medical technologies*
Stewart Comfort, Head of Schools and Colleges Liaison & Careers at Aston said: “I am delighted that Aston is leading this project which has the potential to make a real impact on the regional economy and which will enhance local placement and graduate job opportunities for students of all higher education institutions in the West Midlands. Part of the project builds upon the success of Aston's Work Experience Resource Centre and summer placements scheme and I'm sure it will deliver real benefits to students and graduates in the region.
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