The first residential course for the ScotGrad Graduate Placement Programme in the Highlands and Islands took place this week. The 18 graduates who attended the tailored business skills course are employed to work on innovative projects by organisations across the area.
The programme in the Highlands and Islands is managed by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) with Scottish Enterprise (SE) managing the programme for the rest of Scotland.
Employers select the graduate with the right skill set for their project through a competitive recruitment process. These projects provide the graduates with the opportunities to apply their knowledge and make a real impact on a small or medium-sized organisation.
The projects take place across growth sectors in Scotland, like renewable energy and creative industries, and cover diverse areas such as marketing, science and community development.
John Fraser, a BA (Hons) Politics graduate from the University of Strathclyde, is employed as Graduate Logistics Coordinator at Fresh Marketing in Dingwall. He said: “Coming to this course has completely changed my understanding of my role within my workplace. The information and activities that we have undertaken have made me realise that I am not just a member of staff but a vital part of the organisation and its future. The relaxed but focused atmosphere is the perfect environment for learning these new ideas and exchanging experiences with people in similar working environments. The skills I have learned on the course have been invaluable and I cannot recommend it enough.”
The culmination of the course is a day of presentations by the graduates about their placement projects and learning from the course.
Caroline Bate, from Elgin Youth Development Group, attended the day to hear from her own and other graduates. She commented: “It was great to see the variety of organisations that the graduates have been working with, and to see how the residential course has clearly made a big difference to them both personally and also in helping them to work more effectively within their organisation. “
Graduates benefiting from the training course work in businesses and social enterprises in Orkney, Fort William, Bute, Western Isles, Dingwall, Invergordon, Elgin, Aviemore, Skye, Mull and Wick.
Ruth Sime, Head of Programmes at HIE said: “This is our first course since the TalentScotland placement programme evolved to become ScotGrad. The programme gives the opportunity for some of our brightest minds to gain experience working in a small or medium sized business in Scotland and in turn make a real difference to the organisation employing them. This course will support the graduates by enhancing their project management and employability skills while preparing them for their future career.“
Funding from the Scottish Funding Council has made the development and delivery of this tailored course possible. Up to 750 graduates in Scotland will benefit from this course between 2014 and 2016.
The ScotGrad Graduate Placement Programme is a partnership project comprising HIE, SE, Scottish Funding Council, Skills Development Scotland and Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Service. In the Highlands and Islands the ScotGrad programme is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
The ScotGrad Graduate Placement Programme was launched on 26 August 2013, continuing the success of the former TalentScotland Graduate Placement Programme, which was launched in 2010. Since 2010, over 700 graduates from 23 different countries have already had the satisfaction of making their mark with various projects across Scotland. Many of these led to permanent jobs and over 70% of graduates on the programme go on to graduate level employment after their placement.
More information about the Programme can be found on the ScotGrad website: www.scotgrad.co.uk