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Graduate Advantage to boost West Midlands economy by £250k

Aston Campus

4 September 2014

More than £250k will be injected into Birmingham’s economy after an Aston University-led scheme to support graduates was granted 300 bursaries of up to £850.  

Graduate Advantage aims to help small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the region by assisting the arrangement of graduate internships. The programme assists SMEs financially, links them with West Midlands graduates and encourages graduates to work within small, high growth organisations. 

Using the additional graduate bursaries, the Graduate Advantage team will continue to support graduates who wish to remain in the region. Graduate bursaries for SMEs were first introduced in late 2013 and have already prompted some of the West Midland’s smaller businesses to take on over 120 graduates. 

Professor Helen Higson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Aston University, said: “Graduate Advantage is a unique service for our region, partnering many West Midlands universities in with businesses for the benefit of graduates. Fostering graduate employability is central to the Aston’s ethos and we seek to bolster it wherever we can. 

“It is critically important that we retain graduate talent in the region. Our goal is to help transform all organisations into consistent graduate recruiters. The award of these new bursaries should go a long way toward achieving that aim.” 

The Graduate Advantage programme, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), is the longest running and largest graduate provider in the UK.  It has engaged with over 29,000 graduates and 18,000 businesses and has given nearly £600,000 of grants and subsidies to regional organisations. 

The scheme recently celebrated its tenth anniversary at a special event in Birmingham, attended by Aston’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dame Julia King, and local business dignitaries. 

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For further media information, please contact Jonathan Garbett, Aston University Communications on 0121 204 4552 or j.garbett@aston.ac.uk