University scheme designed to help plug skills gap for East of England SMEs

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Anglia Ruskin University has £155,000 of Government funding to offer SMEs in the East help in finding, recruiting and training graduate talent.

It said its GREATS scheme is designed to support economic growth by overcoming the skills gap in the region.

The funding, awarded by HEFCE (the Higher Education Funding Council for England), will support the development of the Anglia Ruskin’s GREATS programme – Graduate Recruitment Employability And Training Supply.

A spokesman for the university said: “GREATS aims to help SMEs access graduate talent while also assisting graduates in acquiring the workplace skills they need to flourish in their first job.

“The ultimate goal is to support economic growth by overcoming skills gaps in the region.”

GREATS is aimed at SMEs wanting to access graduate talent but which lack the time and resources to recruit graduates and support them fully in the workplace.

At the same time, GREATS can also provide training to develop the workplace skills which employers expect from new graduate recruits.

Through a range of services including an online graduate jobs board, a comprehensive graduate recruitment service, and a six-month graduate training course delivered by Anglia Ruskin, GREATS provides smaller companies with the equivalent of an in-house graduate scheme.

Dr Tony West, Director of Research, Development & Commercial Services at Anglia Ruskin, said: “This HEFCE funding will allow us to use our expertise in graduate recruitment and work-based learning to establish GREATS as an invaluable service to local businesses.

“Our research shows that SMEs need to fill skills gaps to grow and innovate but do not have the resources for the same complex recruitment and selection processes as large businesses.

“Nor do they have the time to offer the same level of support as graduate fast track programmes.

“We also found that UK graduates are not aware of the benefits of working for SMEs, even though they provide nearly 60% of all private sector jobs and are key to the UK’s economic growth.

”We look forward to bringing local businesses and talented graduates together through this exciting and important programme.”

GREATS will launch next month and can be used by any SME employing a maximum of 250 employees.

The training courses are also available to any graduate in their first year of employment with an SME.

For more information, email GREATS@anglia.ac.uk