Team Members

Meet the People Behind Graduate Advantage

  • Paul Harper

    Graduate Advantage Manager

    Paul joined the Graduate Advantage team back in January 2013 starting off as a Business Relationship Manager, progressing to Internship Manager and then finally to his current role today as Graduate Advantage Manager.

    As Graduate Advantage Manager, Paul leads the Graduate Advantage central team based at Aston University and is responsible for supporting graduates from all universities into graduate level employment. 

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    Some of his daily responsibilities include; employer engagement to promote Graduate Advantage and generate graduate opportunities, marketing activities to raise awareness to employers and graduates, resourcing to match graduates to suitable employment opportunities and relationship management, working with Graduate Advantage’s key partners such as Birmingham City University and Coventry University to maximise positive outcomes for their graduates.

    Previous to Graduate Advantage, Paul worked in commercial recruitment for eleven years where he worked with a wide range of employers of all sizes in different industries. This has equipped him with extensive experience of the labour market and local employers which he has been able to apply to the graduate market.

    Paul enjoys working for Graduate Advantage because he thinks it is great to see the impact the service has had on the region, where over 4000 graduates have started their career with local businesses.

    Aside from looking after Graduate Advantage Paul enjoys listening to music, eating out and the occasional drink. He has recently become something of a fitness fanatic and can often be found outside in all kinds of weather taking part in various runs, obstacle courses or classes.

  • James Harris

    Employer Engagement Coordinator

    James joined the Graduate Advantage team in 2016 following a number of administrative roles in the arts and the third sector. James takes care of the recruitment process at Graduate Advantage for employers and graduates and is responsible for retaining existing employer relationships as well as sourcing new graduate opportunities at local SMEs.

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    James graduated from the University of Southampton in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts bringing a fresh perspective to the team. In the past, he has worked at a charity, a contemporary art gallery, a museum, and was most recently employed as a Corporate Responsibility Coordinator at a Bristol based law firm. His exposure to different working environments means he is particularly knowledgeable about the requirements for different sectors which helps him when matching candidates to vacancies.

    James really enjoys the variety that his role has to offer and is always interested to learn more about different industries and sectors of the economy and finding out what specific businesses are looking for in their employees.

    When not at work, James makes paintings and films in his studio, and runs an alternative club night in Birmingham.

  • Nicole Riley

    Project Officer within the Employment Team

    After graduating from Birmingham City University with a Marketing degree, Nicole’s first role working within higher education was a Student Liaison Officer. Being a recent graduate with the knowledge, personality and skills to support and communicate to students, this helped her to progress to her second post as a Faculty Student Communications Officer where she stayed for six years.

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    This role gave Nicole the opportunity to put her Marketing degree and past placement experience of working in a creative agency as an Account Executive to the test!

    Nicole’s role involved communicating faculty information, events, news & opportunities to the students by creating content for a variety of communication channels such as digital screens, social media, emails, brochures and flyers. Whilst in this role, Nicole was proud to have won the Professional Services Staff award 2015 and to also be nominated by the students for the Extra Mile Award in 2016.

    Nicole’s current role as Project Officer sees her working on several exciting projects within the Employability Team with her main focus being on Graduate Employment. Nicole assists the team in connecting with local, regional and national graduate recruiters as well as local SMEs to help seek out placement or graduate opportunities. Nicole works with the employers and Graduate Advantage to promote roles on the Birmingham City University jobs board for Birmingham City Students.

    In her spare time, Nicole runs her own part-time promotional staffing business (iDeal Staff), she enjoys travelling the world, and as well as being a part-time stylist and foodie, she sees herself as a bit of a fitness fanatic and enjoys going to the gym when she gets time.

  • Ranj Barn

    Graduate Talent Consultant

    After studying a degree in Business and Finance at Birmingham City University and going on to study a postgraduate course in Marketing Management at Staffordshire University, Ranj started her career working in Higher Education at Aston University as a Graduate Placement Coordinator.

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    She then transitioned from Aston University, to work for Birmingham City University and progressed into her current role today as Graduate Talent Consultant where she looks after the Arts Design & Media Faculties, as well as the Health, Education and Life Sciences Faculties.

    As a Graduate Talent Consultant, Ranj is passionate about improving Graduate Employability and raising the career aspirations of students and graduates from Birmingham City University. She works with local, regional and national graduate recruiters and SME’s to understand their resourcing needs for short and long term employment opportunities. Ranj manages the whole recruitment process and as well as advertising incoming vacancies from Aston University, Graduate Advantage and local employers on Birmingham City University jobs board, Ranj and the rest of the Employment Team work towards arranging a series of bespoke recruitment fairs and employer events throughout the year, enabling students to network and build relationships with future employers.

    When Ranj isn’t busy doing the job that she loves, she really enjoys attending yoga classes and likes to visit different yoga retreats in Europe when she can.

  • Alice Brown

    Employer Engagement Manager

    Alice works in the central Careers Service at Coventry University where she leads the Employer Engagement Team. Her role at Graduate Advantage specifically supports Coventry University graduates with career opportunities by promoting graduate level roles and placements to them and helping the wider Graduate Advantage team to source great talent for the local SMEs that they work with.

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    Alice studied a HR degree at Aston Business School and later went on to work for Deloitte as a graduate recruiter and for Grant Thornton in the Humans Resources team. Using her prior experience of the private sector graduate recruitment marketplace and skills as a prior graduate recruiter, Alice is able to support her team to implement attractive and engaging employability initiatives to both students and employers. Her excellent knowledge of the graduate recruitment sector and first-hand experience of the selection and assessment processes in HR has really helped her add value to the students at Coventry. Alice is able to understand the employer perspective and help recruiters target the right students on campus, as well as support students to understand the best way to showcase the skills they have to offer.

    Coventry University have enjoyed some great success stories so far through working with Graduate Advantage and Alice hopes that the Graduate Advantage brand will continue to grow at Coventry in the near future through their engagement with Coventry’s students on campus.

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