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Business support programme extended to benefit more companies

Published: 23/11/2022

A support programme that helps businesses and social enterprises benefit from student and graduate involvement in the workplace is being extended to benefit more organisations.

Deborah Tait

The Technology Placement programme was developed by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) as part of the agency’s role in the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal.

Initially targeted at SMEs in the Highland Council area, the programme is now accessible to enterprises of any size within the same region.

The programme pairs businesses up with students or graduates who bring innovative thinking, fresh talent and technological awareness into the workplace.

It aims to provide businesses with a cost-effective route to sourcing expertise for business growth. It also offers valuable experience for graduates and students and provides more incentive for young people to stay in or relocate to the area. 

Student placements last for up to 12 weeks and are paid at least the real living wage. Graduate placements are available for up to 12 months, with a current salary range of £21,750 to £28,750. HIE pays up to half the salary costs.

The Technology Placement Programme is part of the technology and young people strand of the HIE-led Northern Innovation Hub (NIH), which is funded with £11m from UK Government, £1.2m ERDF and £2m from HIE.

NIH is part of the Inverness and Highland City Region deal, a joint initiative supported by up to £315m investment from the UK and Scottish governments, The Highland Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and University of the Highlands and Islands, aimed at stimulating sustainable regional economic growth.

Deborah Tait, HIE’s development manager for the Northern Innovation Hub, said:

“The Technology Placement Programme provides a cost-effective way for businesses to benefit from fresh ideas. At the same time, it gives students and graduates real experience in the working world, where they can put into practice the skills and knowledge gained from their studies.

“The programme complements our broader work on attracting and retaining talent in the region, particularly young people, which is crucial in meeting the recruitment needs of growth companies.”

UK Government Minister for Scotland, Malcolm Offord said:

"This fantastic programme gives participants workplace experience right out of education with very competitive salaries while providing opportunities to stay in their local area.

"It has never been more important that businesses are able to find new talent for their workforce and benefit from their insights and fresh perspectives.

"The UK Government is supporting the Technology Placement programme with £11 million investment in the Northern Innovation Hub, and levelling up communities right across Scotland with more than £2 billion for regional initiatives." 

More information about the technology placement programme is at: https://www.hie.co.uk/support/browse-all-support-services/techplacements/