Recruit, train and retain high-calibre IT talent in partnership with the University of Exeter and Gradsouthwest

It is widely acknowledged that businesses in the South West struggle when it comes to attracting and retaining young people to fill IT, digital and tech-heavy roles. From web development and app support to data analysis and cyber security, this skills gap is a barrier to productivity and growth, as graduates are pulled out of the region towards London and other major centres.

Degree apprenticeships are a central part of current Government policy to address this challenge, with an avowed target of three million apprentices working in the UK by 2020. In support of this, the Government’s new Apprenticeship Levy will cause any employer with a pay bill above £3m to pay 0.5% of this to fund apprenticeships. Smaller employers will of course not pay this Levy, but instead will be able to claim extremely generous government support, to the tune of 90% of tuition fees – up to 100% in certain circumstances – making this a very attractive recruitment and retention solution.

Apprentices are known to be extremely loyal and committed to their employers, and highly appreciative of the skills escalator that the programmes provide them with.  They receive the best of all worlds – a degree combined with extensive professional experience, a good salary, and no student debt as they kick-start their career.

Launched in September 2016 with employers including IBM, Renishaw and Beran Instruments, the University of Exeter’s Digital and Technology Solutions degree apprenticeship offers employers innovative high-quality IT training while building loyalty and business understanding in their staff.  The programme combines the technical aspects of a computer science degree with the professional skills required for business success.

Crucially, this is fundamentally a work-based programme, relating to real roles within a business.  The University of Exeter offers specialisms as Software Engineer, Data Analyst, IT Consultant and Cyber Security Analyst.  Apprentices are full-time employees, studying towards their degree over four years.

The programme is designed to minimise the impact upon their role through a blended learning programme based on short termly residentials in Exeter, flexible online learning and work-based projects that can be based on an apprentice’s day-to-day role.

The University of Exeter is proud to be a Russell Group University committed to degree apprenticeships as an innovative new approach to higher education, providing new opportunities to job seekers and businesses alike. As the highest-ranking institution in the country offering the Digital and Technology Solutions degree apprenticeship, the University offers superb value for money for the small investment required to recruit an apprentice on our programme.

Their dedicated partnerships team works closely with all employer partners, including crafting job adverts, supporting recruitment through campaigns, and seeking out opportunities with high-calibre organisations such as Gradsouthwest.

Employers who are interested in participating in the University of Exeter’s exciting programme can contact Jonnie Critchley (j.critchley@exeter.ac.uk) or call (01392) 724067.

For further information, see www.exeter.ac.uk/degreeapprenticeships/digitaltechnology.

For our student-facing programme page, see www.exeter.ac.uk/degreeapprentice.

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Grow your own graduate!

Gradsouthwest is pleased to announce the launch of a new service for businesses to advertise their higher and degree apprenticeship vacancies in South West England. Higher and degree apprenticeships help employers tailor graduate-potential candidates to their business needs through on-the-job and academic training. They also give people opportunities to study for a degree while they work.

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The Governments’ ambition to increase the number and quality of apprenticeships, and the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, due to come into effect in April 2017, has led to growing interest in higher and degree level apprenticeships amongst employers. These apprenticeships are equivalent to Foundation, Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees and provide a route for employers to grow their own graduate by recruiting high-calibre candidates and training them to fill their higher-level skills gaps on-the-job.

Gradsouthwest is responding to this growing interest by delivering targeted recruitment support for businesses looking to recruit the best talent they can into their new higher and degree apprenticeship roles.

For students looking to find a higher or degree apprenticeship in the region, the service will offer a one-stop-shop for vacancies targeted specifically at those wanting to work in the South West.

Dr Deborah Watson, Director of Gradsouthwest, says:

“We are pleased to offer this new service to local businesses looking to grow their own graduate by training and developing higher and degree apprentices. For students, we offer a new way to work in the South West and to qualify as a graduate at the same time.”

To find out more about recruiting higher & degree apprenticeships or graduates visit www.gradsouthwest.com or call us on 01392 241302.

 

 

NOTE: Levels of apprenticeship

Apprenticeships have equivalent educational levels:

Name Level Equivalent educational level
Intermediate 2 5 GCSE passes at grades A* to C
Advanced 3 2 A level passes
Higher 4, 5, 6 and 7 Foundation degree and above
Degree 6 and 7 Bachelor’s or Master’s degree

 

Graduate Recruitment Partnership Reaches for the Skies!

Gradsouthwest, the south west graduate jobs board, is pleased to announce a new partnership with the West of England Aerospace Forum (WEAF) – bringing great graduate jobs in aerospace, defence and advanced engineering industries to graduates wanting to work in south west England.

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As a high tech, highly skilled industry, aerospace encompasses a broad range of high value disciplines such as engineering, science, project management, production, service, training and finance. It remains at the forefront of new research and development and requires a constant flow of high calibre graduates with expertise in robotics, autonomous systems, composites, ceramics, avionics and other high worth technologies.

With strong campus links, Gradsouthwest is well placed to assist, attracting candidates from a wide range of universities and disciplines who share a desire to work in the south west. The new partnership will provide WEAF members with a tried and tested way to access this talent pool at preferential rates.

Commenting on the partnership, Dr Deborah Watson, Director of Gradsouthwest, said:

“We are delighted to be working with WEAF. With a world-leading aerospace and defence sector here in south west England, it makes sense to ensure that companies have access to the best graduate talent available, and graduates are aware of what is on their doorstep – and here at Gradsouthwest we aim to do both.”

Simon Young, Chief Executive of WEAF, said:

“Graduate talent is vitally important to WEAF members and we are very pleased to be working with Gradsouthwest to support our members to recruit the graduate skills they need to grow.”

To find out more about recruiting graduates to the aerospace sector, visit www.gradsouthwest.com or contact WEAF via www.weaf.co.uk

Is Postgraduate Study for you?

November is traditionally Postgraduate Open Day season where many University’s open their doors to prospective students looking to continue their studies at postgraduate level.

What is Postgraduate Study?

Postgraduate study is an opportunity to take your subject further and deeper, to focus and specialise. There are three categories of postgraduate study:

  1. Taught courses – including Masters Programmes that tend to be 1 year full-time leading to MSc or MA type qualifications.
  2. Research courses – usually 2+ years leading to MPhil or 3+ years leading to PhD qualifications these courses tend to allow greater academic independence.
  3. Professional Courses – which enable entry into a given profession, e.g. PGCE for teaching.

Why Postgraduate Study?

The reasons people chose to do postgraduate study vary hugely. It is important to consider why you want to continue your studies and what motivates you:

  • Is postgraduate study needed to move into your chosen career?
  • Does postgraduate study allow you to change career path?
  • Do you love the subject and just want to study it in more depth?
  • Do you enjoy being at University and want to stay longer?
  • Will postgraduate study abroad gain you international experience?
  • Are you not sure of the jobs market?

What are the benefits?

A postgraduate qualification is an excellent way to enhance your prospects – whether that is within academia, within your chosen career, or to enable you to change career paths.

For some a postgraduate qualification is a necessary career step. For others it is the chance to grow and develop ideas and interests.

Is funding available?

There are many funding options available for postgraduate study and your best bet is to contact the University that you are interested in studying at for the options they have available for that course.

What next?

If you are looking to stay in the South West here are a few links to help you:

If you’ve missed the autumn Open Day date, then many Universities have further open days in the spring.

If you remain here in the South West or go further afield for your postgraduate study, don’t forget to use www.gradsouthwest.com to get your job in the South West when you finish!

If you are advertising postgraduate study and would like to talk to us about promoting your Postgraduate Open Days or Programmes then give us a call on 01392 241302 or email recruit@gradsouthwest.com

 

Dr Deborah Watson, Director, Gradsouthwest Ltd.

It’s Over! What you can learn from Candice and the Great British Bake Off…

Can Candice bake like Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood? Does she get it right every time? Does she stop being ambitious (remember that peacock)? Does she give up when it all goes wrong?

It’s a resounding ‘no’ to to all of the above. It’s why we love her. And why, if you can emulate her approach, recruiters will love you too.

So, what can you learn from GBBO winner Candice? Here’s our take….

#1        Respect experience

Candice is an outstanding baker. But she can’t trump Mary and Paul. At least not yet. You can be excellent – and still have room for improvement. Know this at every stage of your career, and more importantly, show you know it.

#2        Take feedback

Honest feedback can hurt.  It doesn’t mean you’re not brilliant. It just means that, if you listen and learn, you can be more brilliant. Listen, hear, take notes and be gracious.  Cry later if you need to – but do take it on board and act on it.

#3        Go for it

If we could tell you just one thing, it would be to GO FOR IT. When Candice applied to GBBO, she didn’t think she’d win. She had no idea of the standard required and the competition she would face but she applied anyway. You should do the same. See a job you like the look of? APPLY. Most people won’t – they’ll focus on the things required that they don’t have. If you can meet most (not all – that’s an ‘ideal’) of the criteria – and show willing – you stand a really good chance. Be brave. Be bold. Go for it.

We wish you luck. And if you need inspiration for your graduate career, head over to Gradsouthwest.com for lots of SW graduate jobs with companies that value graduate skills.

Charlotte Weston

Charlotte is a graduate with many years’ experience in both large and small organisations. She now works as a consultant to a range of SMEs across the south west and is a Non-Executive Director of Gradsouthwest.

Gradsouthwest makes National Online Recruitment Awards Finals

We are extremely proud to have been named as Finalists for the 16th annual Broadbean National Online Recruitment Awards.

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From over 25,000 nominations for almost 600 separate recruitment websites, Gradsouthwest has been named as a Finalist by the NORA Shortlisting Judges. In the category BEST REGIONAL JOB BOARD Gradsouthwest makes a short-list of 5.

A final judging panel will now assess all Finalists from a job seeker’s perspective, and select this year’s Winners, to be revealed in mid November.

For more information see: http://norauk.com/finalists-2016/

Wish us luck!

Avoid the #1 Graduate CV Error

We see a lot of CVs. And we know it’s really hard to make sure they’re perfect. But there’s one area where we see lots of graduates shooting themselves in the foot; attention to detail.

Attention to detail is important. Recruiters like it. But if you’re going to claim you have it, you’d better be sure that your CV is absolutely perfect – and that’s not easy. Even when you’ve spent hours on it and checked it the requisite a million and one times.

The problem is clear. As soon as you claim you have attention to detail, anyone reading your CV will immediately be looking for evidence or counter evidence.

Here’s an example of where things go badly wrong – an amalgamation of the most common errors we’ve seen in CVs lately. How many errors can you find?

errors

So, what to do?

Well firstly, do you really need to include ‘attention to detail’? It’s not generally a skill prioritised for graduates so maybe you should use the space to give evidence of something else. Creativity? Initiative? Teamwork? Ability to learn?

And if you must include it, can you get three people to check your CV first? Don’t just ask them to read it but ask them to find  five mistakes in it. Even better, take your CV to your university careers service to give it the once over.

Few skills as attention to detail are so easily debunked. And, when they are it makes recruiters sceptical about the other skills you list. So exercise caution – or extreme proof reading and checking – before you claim Attention 2 detailed.

Do you see what we did there? Recruiters certainly will…..

Charlotte Weston

Charlotte is a graduate with many years’ experience in both large and small organisations. She now works as a consultant to a range of SMEs across the south west and is a Non-Executive Director of Gradsouthwest.

Get business ready with the Young Professionals Academy!

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We’ve joined forces with Zing Associates to bring you the Young Professionals Academy; a unique course designed to fast-track graduates like you to a higher level of proficiency and professionalism.

The Young Professionals Academy will give you a deeper understanding of yourself and others, enhancing your skills to contribute faster, take the initiative and become a valuable ambassador for your employer.

In short, it helps you avoid early career mistakes and makes you more business ready. We really rate it – and so do lots of big name employers.

The next programme kicks off in Bristol on Thursday 13 October 2016 – and there are others running throughout the year.

Interested?

Check out information about the Young Professionals Academy on the Zing Associates website or find out more by calling Zing Associates on: 0117 959 4135.

 

 

 

 

New partnership announced

Gradsouthwest, the south west graduate jobs board, is proud to announce its latest partnership agreement with Plymouth College of Art. The partnership will support the creative sector by matching more skilled arts practitioners with businesses across the region.

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Plymouth College of Art offers a range of undergraduate and master’s degrees for life in contemporary arts practice. The college has invested over £12 million in the last five years enhancing its creative resources and facilities, including significant investment in new Craft, Design and Fabrication Workshops that house state-of-the-art ceramics, glass and digital design workshops include a range of facilities such as 3D printing and laser cutting.

Gradsouthwest Director Deborah Watson said “we are delighted to partner with Plymouth College of Art and look forward to helping creative enterprises recruit their talented graduates”.

Rebecca Moore, Employability & Careers Manager at Plymouth College of Art, said: “This is great news for students from Plymouth College of Art. Our new relationship with Gradsouthwest will definitely enhance the work that we do to connect our graduates with the growing creative industry in the region.”

What Plymouth College of Art can offer you?

FabLab Plymouth, part of the international FabLab network, is filled with the latest in digital design technology; from 3D printers, 3D scanners, and laser cutters to the CNC milling machine, CNC router, and vinyl cutter. Plymouth College of Art can support commercial business activity such as research and development, prototyping and full product development. Visit fablab.plymouthart.ac.uk or contact fablab@pca.ac.uk for more.

Design Agency  The Agency is an incubation space and creative agency that supports homegrown talent – made up of students across all disciplines and offering a wide range of creative services that include: Branding, Web Design, Film, Animation, Books, Magazines, Stationary, Tableware, Fashion, Textiles, Ceramics, Illustrations, Photography, Art, Prints, Graphic Design, Products, Jewellery, Crafts, as well as Home & Lifestyle products and accessories. Please contact Kamal Gohil for more at kgohil@pca.ac.uk.

CPD Training  If you’d like to provide your employees with some creative training in a specialist environment, then Plymouth College of Art can offer bespoke training options, from  one day experiences to bespoke Short Courses. The college can provide you with a tailor-made programme to fit your requirements. Please contact Rosie Drake-Amery on rdrakeamery@pca.ac.uk for more information.

To find out more about Gradsouthwest, visit www.gradsouthwest.com

Graduates very much in demand – CBI survey

The 2016 CBI/Pearson Education and Skills Survey “The Right Combination” was published yesterday, and makes excellent reading for graduates as demand from employers for their higher level skills continues and is projected to rise in the coming years. As for employers, they have high levels of satisfaction with their graduate recruits and know just how critical the right skills are when someone enters the workforce – however there are concerns over the numbers of graduates available to meet high-skills gaps.

The survey, conducted across the UK during April-May 2016, received nearly 500 responses from employers of all sizes (51% SMEs) accounting for the employment of more than 3.2million people. Over 40% of respondents had some staff in the South West.  Below we provide the headline messages from the report for you.

Key messages for graduates and graduate recruiters:

Demand for higher skills is rising fast

  • More than three quarters of businesses (77%) expect to have more job openings for people with higher-level skills over the coming years while just 3% expect to have fewer.
  • The proportion of businesses not confident there will be enough people available in the future with the skills to fill their high-skilled jobs has reached a new high (69%).
  • More than four in five businesses (84%) will be maintaining or increasing their investment in training in the year ahead.
  • Fewer than one in ten businesses (9%) has cut back on graduate recruitment in the past year while 29% increased their graduate intakes, giving a positive balance of +20% increasing graduate recruitment. This represents a further expansion in graduate jobs, following positive balances of increased graduate intakes of +13% in 2015 and +18% in 2014.

Ensuring graduates have the skills for successful careers

  • Businesses look first and foremost for graduates with the right attitudes and aptitudes to enable them to be effective in the workplace – nearly nine in ten employers (87%) rank these in their top considerations, far above factors such as the university attended (13%).
  • For nearly two thirds of businesses the degree subject studied is also among the top three considerations (cited by 65%), particularly in sectors such as manufacturing and among engineering, science & hi-tech firms (86% and 83% respectively).
  • Many businesses are satisfied with graduates’ basic skills and general readiness for employment, with more than four in five firms reporting satisfaction or better with graduates numeracy (91%) and literacy skills (86%), and nearly the same proportion satisfied or better with graduates’ problem solving (79%) and communication skills (77%).

So the messages are pretty clear – demand for the higher-level skills that graduates bring to the workforce are very much in demand, and that demand is set to grow.

To delve into further details see the full report.

To recruit a recent graduate or to find a graduate job here in the South West go to: www.gradsouthwest.com

 

Dr Deborah Watson, Director, Gradsouthwest Ltd.