The second group of graduates to take part in the TalentScotland Graduate Placement Programme in the Highlands and Islands are attending a residential training course this week.
The thirteen graduates benefitting from the tailored business skills course will work in businesses and social enterprises in Shetland, Western Isles, Raasay, Tain, Alness, Inverness, Wick and Forres.
The programme in the Highlands and Islands is part funded by HIE and the European Regional Development Fund with the training element funded by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and Skills Development Scotland (SDS). In the Highlands and Islands the programme is managed by HIE with Scottish Enterprise (SE) managing the programme for the rest of Scotland.
The graduates will be working on projects to help their business innovate or develop new products and processes. The programme also helps graduates gain vital work experience after completing their studies.
Graeme Jamieson, who works on a marketing project for the social enterprise Pulteneytown People's Project (PPP), commented: "The first day of the course has helped me to see my project in the wider context of the organisation. It has been really useful to think about PPP as a whole and how the different parts work together."
A survey of the participating graduates from the first course in December 2010 showed that the course had increased their confidence in their job role. The graduates also felt they had gained a better understanding of aspects of finance, employee relations and new product development.
The course, at Fairburn Activity Centre near Inverness, is delivered by the Aberdeen Business School at Robert Gordon University and The Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship at Strathclyde University. Uniquely, the tailored training package has been developed to include theory and practice, enhancing not just the graduate's employability skills and capacity for innovation, but also increasing the impact of the project in the workplace.
The course will finish with graduates presenting on how they will apply their new knowledge when taking their projects forward. A "graduate's choice award" will be voted for by their fellow graduates and the winner and two runner's up will receive prizes.
The graduates also have an opportunity to make new contacts and friends. A LinkedIn group has been set up for all participants and alumni of the programme to enhance professional networking.
Ruth Sime, Senior Development Manager at HIE said: "We hope that this course will help the graduates to deliver a really good project for their employer and enhance their own employability skills."
Wednesday night will see Tom McCallum, from Gulfstream Software, deliver an inspirational after dinner speech to the graduates, sharing his experiences as an entrepreneur.
The TalentScotland Graduate Placement Programme is a partnership project comprising HIE, Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Funding Council, Skills Development Scotland and Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Service. Up to 430 graduates in Scotland will benefit from this course between 2010 and 2013.
The Programme was launched on 12 October 2010 by the Minister for Skills and Lifelong Learning. So far 39 graduates have started their placements across Scotland. Many more vacancies will be advertised over the next few months.
More information about the Programme can be found on our Graduate Placement page.
Graduates who taking part in the training course: