£500k package announced to help unemployed Birmingham graduates secure jobs

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Unemployed Birmingham graduates will be given a range of extra support to help them secure highly-skilled jobs, following the announcement of a new £500k funding package.

The Office for Students has handed Birmingham City University £500,000 to run a new programme aimed at enabling unemployed, or underemployed graduates across the city to find work.

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The three-year project will be delivered alongside partner organisations Aston University, Department for Work and Pensions, Jobcentre Plus Birmingham and Solihull District, and Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership.

Focussing on graduates who are receiving Universal Credit, the scheme aims to ensure university leavers are given support by dedicated Work Coaches, engage with major employers, and provide the skills needed in some of the second city’s key industries.

97 per cent of Birmingham City University graduates are in employment or further study six months after leaving the institution – the seventh highest figure in the UK – and the funding will allow the University and its partners to help even more local people to secure jobs in the area.

It is one of 15 projects across the country, which were given funding through the Office for Students’ Challenge Competition: Industrial Strategy and Skills, which supports programmes based in universities and colleges across England that boost opportunities for graduates who seek work close to home.

It will allow close support for university leavers in searching for graduate-level jobs, finding opportunities and maximising employment.

The project will see activity including:

  •          Work Coaches providing dedicated support to graduates
  •          A focus on employment in the first 15 months after leaving university
  •          Carry out new research highlighting issues linked to graduate employability
  •          Examine barriers to employment in Birmingham and the West Midlands
  •          Provide additional support to groups most at risk of becoming disengaged with universities after graduating – such as those from minority backgrounds or with disabilities
  •          Use graduates to provide much-needed skills in the second city jobs market
  •          Conduct outreach activities focussed on graduate level employment
  •          Improve coordination between universities, employers and Jobcentres

Professor Julian Beer, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Birmingham City University, said: “Although a university education opens the door to a range of opportunities, sometimes for some graduates, no matter where they graduated from, the first year or so after graduation it can be hard to make that first step on the career ladder.

“As institutions we need to ensure we are all doing as much as we can to support people into employment and also to fulfil the skills needs which will grow our region’s economy.

“We have a real opportunity to support both individuals and support economic growth and it is something Birmingham City University and each of our partners are determined to do.”

Projects funded through the Office for Students’ Challenge Competition: Industrial Strategy and Skills aim to tackle one or more of the following priorities:

  •          Improving the employment outcomes of students from disadvantaged backgrounds, particularly BAME students and those with disabilities.
  •          Improving graduate outcomes for mature students or part-time students who plan to remain in their local area for study and post-study work.
  •          Addressing place-based skills gaps by ensuring graduates are well prepared to succeed in local industries.

Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of the Office for Students said:

“There is an outdated assumption that the typical student experience involves moving far away from home to study and work. This is not true for a large number of students and graduates, and we know that, whether by choice or circumstance, many stay in their home towns.

“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.”

The project will begin running this month, following the announcement from the Office for Students.

For more information on other projects funded through the programme, please visit the OfS website.

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