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Mind the gap (year)

Published: Tuesday, 03 August 2004   Category:

A graduate employment scheme between universities in Leeds and local businesses is set to bolster the area’s job market.

The Business Enhancement Scheme, run at Leeds Metropolitan University, allows graduates to work on specific projects in the local companies that range from the introduction of marketing to the development of IT systems.

Graduates are supported throughout the project by an academic expert, so that they can use their expertise to help businesses grow in an uncertain economic climate.

The scheme, which has just celebrated the end of its first project, gives graduates the opportunity to take up paid work experience placements that can last from eight weeks to two years, designed around the needs of employers.  Projects lasting for six months or more receive funding from Leeds Metropolitan for academic support and administration, while businesses pay solely for direct employment-related costs.

Commenting on the scheme, Simon Baldwin, Senior Business Development Manager at Leeds Metropolitan, said:

“Universities have the ability to stimulate private sector growth and become a catalyst for business development. I have heard said many times, especially by small businesses owners, they would like to employ more staff but can’t afford the time, cope with the bureaucracy or take the risk of hiring someone now that they will have to let go a few months later. The Business Enhancement Scheme minimises risk and red-tape for employers, enabling them to grow their workforce and business.”

Beata Olah, a 2009 graduate in Managing Performance at the University of Leeds, has just come to the end of the scheme’s first project; a 16-week placement with Leeds City Council. As part of the project she was tasked with developing an evaluation toolkit to asses the impact of cultural activities in Leeds.

'I saw a number of benefits thanks to my placement in the scheme. For example, I was able to use my knowledge of research and events evaluation from my university studies to see how theoretical frameworks could be realised in practice. I also benefitted from developing a network of contacts, being exposed to new volunteering opportunities, gaining experiences of grant application systems and funding criteria; as well as further developing my knowledge of events, culture, arts and marketing through applied practice,” she added.

Has an employment scheme helped you secure your first graduate job

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