Talented young people are choosing to work in the Highlands and Islands and helping businesses to achieve more as a result of a graduate programme in the region, according to a report commissioned by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).
More than 40% of graduates taking part in the TalentScotland Graduate Placement Programme said that without it they would have been less likely to have been working in the Highlands and Islands.
To date, over 100 fresh thinking graduates have been recruited by employers as part of the programme which is designed to support business innovation, knowledge sharing and growth within the Highlands and Islands.
The report reveals that the programme has had a direct benefit to their career progression and has encouraged them to remain in the region.
Around half of graduates were retained by their employers at the end of the placement.
Lara Pollard, Business Engagement Manager from HIE, said: “This programme is supporting the growth of hundreds of businesses and social enterprises across Scotland. It allows the business to develop new products and processes and at the same time gives talented graduates vital experience in a paid full-time job.
“The report highlights the fact that more graduates would have been doing jobs less relevant to their career aspirations. The young people surveyed felt that they had enhanced their labour market skills and confidence as well as having gained valuable work experience.
“It is great for the region too. Graduates from across the UK see the range and breadth of interesting job opportunities that exist in the region and our hope is that they base themselves here after they have completed their studies.”
HIE commissioned Cambridge Economic Associates to carry out the review of the economic impact of the TalentScotland Placement Programme across the Highlands and Islands.
Every business interviewed during the review process commented that had it not been for the programme, they would have carried out fewer projects and would have done less graduate recruitment.
A high number of businesses interviewed pointed to a significant impact on the scale of activity generated within their place of work.
The programme which began in 2010 places skilled graduates and undergraduates in organisations across all sectors throughout Scotland. Placements are paid and the programme supports employers by providing a wage subsidy. It is managed in the region by HIE and supported by the European Regional Development Fund.
The TalentScotland Graduate Placement Programme is a HIE and Scottish Enterprise programme delivered in partnership with Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Service (AGCAS), Scottish Government, Skills Development Scotland (SDS), Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Businesses taking part on the Graduate Placement Programme include: