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Midlands businesses to get a graduate advantage

Thursday 28th May

Midlands businesses to get a graduate advantage

A NEW �3.5 million initiative that will offer the best and brightest graduates in the region to local businesses will be launched at Aston University on Wednesday 4th June 2003.

The multi-million pound Graduate Advantage recruitment 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.

Based around its recently launched web site ( www.graduateadvantage.co.uk ), the scheme will provide a specified vacancy handling service for businesses wishing to hire graduates. It also offers two placement programmes which will allow businesses to experience the economic benefits graduates can bring to a company.

On the website, businesses will find:

• A vacancy advertising service.

• A vacation placement programme for undergraduates that offers a sponsorship scheme to encourage participation from SMEs.

• A longer post-graduation placement programme to attract high-calibre graduates.

The initiative 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, focusing mainly on transport technologies, specialist business and professional services, information and communication technologies (ICT) and medical technologies*.

Aston University is leading a consortium of West Midlands universities 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.

Project Manager Dr Jill Woodman said: "It's the perfect opportunity for local businesses to test out the benefits that graduates can bring at minimal financial risk to themselves. Graduate Advantage will bring them the support and expertise they'll need and leave them with no recruitment headaches to worry about."

ENDS

For further information please call 0121 204 4549 or email: b.a.l.coombes@aston.ac.uk

Notes to editors:

1. Partners in the scheme are the Universities of Aston (lead)); Birmingham; Warwick; UCE; Staffordshire; Wolverhampton; Keele; Coventry; University College, Worcester; Newman College; Open University, Harper Adams, Birmingham College of Food and GTI.

2. *The project offers links with the new �8 million Aston Academy of Life Sciences (due to open in 2004) through its focus on the medical technologies cluster. A separate news release on the new Aston Academy is available on request.

Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research