The Apprentice star tells students to ‘put themselves in the shop window’

Gary Poulton

The Apprentice finalist Gary Poulton has told students to make as many links with employers as possible at the launch of a new service to connect learners with jobs, and businesses with talented workers.

The Marston Green born entrepreneur was at Birmingham City University for the 'Introduction to Get Skills' event which gave dozens of organisations, students and graduates the chance to meet each other to help strengthen the West Midlands workforce.

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Birmingham City University

Get Skills, created by the University’s business growth service - BCU Advantage - allows prospective workers to showcase their skills which can provide untapped talent for businesses with placement, internship or career opportunities. 

Poulton, who beat over 60,000 applicants to make it to the final four of the 2015 hit BBC show, said schemes like Get Skills were absolutely fantastic in providing new graduates with career and development opportunities.

“After graduating I thought 'what now?' It was the first time in 23 years I hadn't had a teacher telling me what to do, giving me a course or pointing me in the right direction.

“During that period, this kind of project is something I could have done with. Having employers reaching out to me, or the chance to put myself in the shop window.”

BCU Advantage also allows businesses to access the skills and knowledge of academic experts or business specialists through collaborative projects like Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, which connect businesses, graduates and universities on dedicated projects.

The service aims to underpin economic growth and continue the trend which has seen a quarter of West Midlands’ companies expand their workforce by more than 10 per cent over the last three years.

It also provides organisations with detailed information on grants, academic expertise and connections with other businesses and potential employees. 

Professor Julian Beer, Pro Vice Chancellor (Research, Enterprise & Business Engagement) at the University said: “For many students graduating from University is just the beginning of their journey and real world working experience is the next step.

“Get Skills is all about bridging that gap and supporting these students, organisations in the area and this region’s economy.

For more information visit the BCU advantage website.

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