Creating opportunities for STEM graduates and businesses in Devon

Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) looking for high quality graduate employees are the focus of a new initiative led by the University of Plymouth.

STEM Graduates into Business looks to help connect companies in Devon, on the hunt for specific expertise, with science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) graduates.

The programme is open to graduates of any UK university, and offers talented graduates the opportunity to either stay in or come to the county and undertake a six to twelve-month paid internship.

Thanks to funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), each eligible business will receive incentive payments once the graduate completes their employment.

There are more than 5,000 SMEs across Devon but they can be overlooked by graduates looking for jobs in favour of larger organisations outside the region.

Simon Taylor, STEM Graduates into Business Project Manager, said:

“Small businesses make a great contribution to the regional economy and we are lucky to have many great companies in fields from manufacturing to digital technology and much more. However, they often have difficulty attracting candidates with the skills to complete a certain challenge or task, sometimes because graduates simply aren’t aware of what’s on their doorstep. This project aims to meet that demand while providing graduates – many of whom will either be from Devon or have had a great time studying here – the chance to continue making a positive contribution to their local community.”

The project is being run in partnership with the University of Exeter, City College Plymouth, Petroc, Plymouth College of Art and South Devon College.

Over the next two years, the project aims to help 80 individual businesses across Devon with recruiting a STEM graduate, who will help the company to innovate within a particular area.

Those opportunities will be advertised for free through the project’s networks, including careers services at the universities and colleges, and graduates who have completed any science, technology, engineering or mathematics degree will be able to apply.

As well as providing short term solutions, the project aims to help create a growing network of graduating employing SMEs who can generate longer-term opportunities for graduates within the local economy, helping to retain more of the talent produced within the area.

Mr Taylor added:

“The project has already been well received by the business community and the first job opportunities are soon to be advertised. We are now hoping to reach out to more companies to make them aware of what the project can offer, and how working with us could unlock new potential within their business.”