A new initiative has been launched by Newcastle College University Centre to improve the employment prospects of graduates in the region.
The three-year project, titled Stay and Succeed, has been awarded funding from the Office for Students (OfS) as part of a multimillion-pound government-backed scheme to keep graduate talent in home cities and address regional skills gaps.
In collaboration with key employers, the University Centre will tackle skills gaps in digital technology and advanced manufacturing, by creating a number of 12 month internships for graduates in these areas.
Grants have been awarded to 15 institutions across the country to help fund similar initiatives, after the OfS found that students who move away from their home towns to study or work are more likely to find skilled employment than those who stay.
Tony Lewin, Principal of Newcastle College University Centre said: “We developed the University Centre in response to industry demand for skilled graduates. Our priority has always been to help our students become work-ready and help them to find skilled employment here in the North East.
“Both digital technology and advanced manufacturing have been identified as priority areas of growth by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership and it is important that we can support these areas by ensuring our students have the right skills, but also that they are given the opportunity to use those skills here in their home region.
“Stay and Succeed will not only help our graduates, but by working collaboratively with employers in those areas, we can continue to develop our degree programmes to ensure we are addressing the right skills that the region’s employers need.”
The Stay and Succeed bid from Newcastle College University Centre was backed by a number of key businesses in the region, including Dynamo, Digital Catapult, Make UK and the North East Automotive Alliance and now employers are being asked to get involved.
Its specific aim is to help local graduates, particularly from disadvantaged backgrounds, harness the vocational skills they developed throughout their degree programme and provide them with links to local employers so they are able to secure graduate level employment within the region.
Dr Nicola Watchman-Smith, Head of Higher Education at Newcastle College University Centre, commented: “The Stay and Succeed project provides us with a fantastic opportunity to help address skills gaps in the region whilst improving the employability of our graduates.
“Statistics show that 77% of North East graduates stay in the region and it is vital that we align employment opportunities in the area with those numbers.
“We are grateful to those businesses who have already committed their support to the project, which will not only help retain graduate talent but also benefit our wider student population.”
The project will receive around £280,000 over three years and benefit approximately 250 students during that period, as they receive enhanced careers resources, curriculum changes and work experience as a result of increased employer collaboration.
Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of the Office for Students said: “Graduates should not have to move to London to get good jobs. It is essential that those who stay in their home towns and cities can enter high-skilled work and are not locked out of the graduate labour market.”
“This funding will help universities and colleges find ways to remove barriers to local graduate employment, broaden the choice for those local graduates, and help ensure that students are getting the right skills to enter rewarding work. It’s good news for graduates, universities and local employers in search of highly-skilled, work-ready graduates.”
Regional employers interested in finding out more about the financial support Newcastle College University Centre can offer for technology or engineering internships should contact firstname.lastname@example.org