Aston University, their West Midlands university partners and internship provider Graduate Advantage have been shortlisted for the prestigious Times Higher Education Awards 2010 in the Outstanding Employer Engagement category.
The coveted nomination acknowledges the work of the graduate internship scheme started in 2002 by Graduate Advantage to help smaller employers benefit from the high quality graduates the West Midlands region produces each year. By providing high calibre graduates for project work, the enterprising project team have supported hundreds of local businesses through the economic downturn and at the same time encouraged the talent to stay within the region.
Nicola Turner Programme Director for Graduate Advantage is delighted to be nominated “For many of the companies we work with, this project is their first connection with Higher Education. I am still excited when I hear the uplifting stories where graduates have really made a difference in a business. It’s fantastic to be recognised for the impact Graduate Advantage has had on real lives and real livelihoods.”
The pioneering initiative shows how much employer engagement can be achieved through partnership working. Coordinated by Aston University, this project brings together 12 universities across the West Midlands and has successfully reached out to SMEs in unprecedented numbers. With over 16,000 employers on its database and having now placed over 1900 graduates into companies across the region, in this year alone, Graduate Advantage has earned its reputation as the flagship placement project. As for improving graduate retention and employability, recent statistics show that on average 70% of Graduate Advantage interns are now in employment, and 30% of those are still working with their placement company.
Professor Helen Higson, Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor for external relations at Aston University, nominated Graduate Advantage for the award: “I believe the GA consortium has worked together to make a real difference to our graduates and to the region and deserve recognition for their efforts”
The high profile awards, now in their 6th year, are described by the organisers as a highlight of the academic calendar and a glittering celebration of the best of the sector. They recognise and celebrate the excellence and amazing achievements of UK higher education institutions and receive strong entries year on year.
The awards ceremony is being held on 25th November.