Sunderland graduates get a hand up onto the career ladder as 150 internships announced

Ruth Aiken
Ruth Aiken
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BUSINESSES are getting ahead after tapping into a pool of skilled workers – thanks to Sunderland University’s graduate scheme.

The university has received European Regional Development Funding (ERDF) to extend its Graduate Internship Scheme for a further two years.

This will help provide another 150 graduates with the opportunity to work with a variety of small and medium-sized businesses across the North East.

Since the scheme was launched in 2009 to help regional business and industry deal with the crippling economic downturn, the university has worked closely with organisations across all sectors, ensuring their specific needs are met.

More than 110 Sunderland graduates have now been placed with these businesses, which ensure they get a minimum of six months’ worth of high-quality expertise.

More than 85 per cent of the graduates have been offered full-time employment or a contract extension and the recent ERDF funding is recognition of the scheme’s success.

David Donkin, associate director of research, innovation and employer engagement at the university, said: “This scheme is proving that graduates can make a difference to business, during turbulent economic times.

“It’s also helping to retain graduate talent in the region in local organisations and crucially, helping to create and strengthen relationships between the university and business.”

Gary Hutchinson, chairman of the Sunderland Committee of the North East Chamber of Commerce, said: “ERDF funding for this scheme for smaller companies makes it a very cost-effective way of bringing in new talent, energy and ideas to projects at a difficult time.”

The Graduate Internship Scheme offers businesses a financial contribution to employ a graduate on a six-month, fixed term contract.

For graduates, they gain six-months experience at a graduate level job, are paid a minimum salary of £14,859, develop their skills and gain valuable work experience that will help secure future employment.

The success of these graduates is another example or how having a degree can change your life.

The Echo, in partnership with the University of Sunderland, is running the Degrees of Success Campaign, inspiring Wearsiders to make the life-changing decision to go to university.

The campaign aims to help increase the number of graduates on Wearside, giving people with talent, regardless of background, the opportunity to fulfil their career ambitions, increase their earnings potential and ultimately enjoy a truly life-changing experience.

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