Graduate Advantage was born in 2003. Based in Birmingham City Centre, at Aston University the Graduate Advantage project was a partnership between Aston University and 12 other universities across the West Midlands.
Formed as a reaction to the reported ‘Brain Drain’ of the early noughties, where talented graduates left the West Midlands for roles in London. It was first piloted as a way of raising demand for higher level skills, boosting the region’s productivity, which in turn attracted and retained graduates within the West Midlands.
Over the past decade and a half, the success of the project has grown immensely and our mission to transform the attitudes of organisations in the West Midlands towards graduate employment and of graduates towards working with local SMEs in the region is swiftly becoming a reality because we invest heavily into the local economy, to encourage SME’s to take on graduates. To date, GA has provided over £600,000 worth of grants and subsidy to businesses as well as ten years continual free recruitment consultancy service.
Over its life time GA has acquired £10 million worth of private and public sector investment and are extremely proud to have been backed by several prestigious organisations including the Federation of Small Businesses, Institute of Directors, Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Birmingham Future; partners including The West Midlands Universities and Job Centre Plus; Public Sector investment from all the region’s Universities, Advantage West Midlands, HEFCE, Birmingham City and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
In 2015, Graduate Advantage moved away from being externally funded and became fully embedded into the Careers+Placements team at Aston University, taking full advantage of the strong employer links and student contact the University could provide. Now working in partnership with Birmingham City University and Coventry University we continue to offer a real choice and diversity of graduate talent. Having listened to employers and graduates we work with, Graduate Advantage are no longer the ‘Internship People’ now supporting both temporary and permanent opportunities. Keeping things as simple as possible for you to work with us, GA also now comes with the added bonus of no more reams of paperwork to complete!
After handing out many an Ollie stress toy at various events across the region to graduates and employers, our much loved Ollie soon became the GA mascot, making an appearance in campaigns and games for many years.
Brad came to life in with the introduction of a giveaway USB stick in 2005 and went on to become a well-known face across our social media channels, offering his advice to graduates on how to secure their dream role.
In 2008, Graduate Advantage known then as the ‘Internship People’ launched the Cream of the West Midlands campaign, highlighting the top quality graduates and employers we had the pleasure to work with and encouraging more to join us.
In 2013 Graduate Advantage celebrated their 10 year anniversary, having engaged with over 29,000 graduates and 18,000 businesses over this time and helping to launch the careers of over 3,500 graduates in the West Midlands.