Graduates get degree of help in job hunt
It has never been harder for graduates to land their first
But a pioneering Kent scheme puts them in touch with local firms
to get them off the dole and into meaningful work. It also
encourages more small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to consider
hiring a graduate.
GradsKent was set up in 2010 and works with 300 employers and
2,500 registered graduates, undergraduates and A-level
The scheme, run by Kent County Council, operates mainly through
a website, uniting firms offering a graduate opportunity with young
people seeking full-time work, internship or work experience.
"There really is a need for it at the moment," says project
officer Nadia Lawes. "It's so tough for graduates out there."
The Egyptology graduate from the University of Cambridge joined
the council's graduate entry scheme and spent nearly two years in
various departments before being assigned to GradsKent.
She worked for the South East England Regional Assembly and the
Government Office for the South East in Guildford.
"I graduated just before the market got bad," she said.
"We have some amazing graduates who have so much experience
under their belts and are just crying out for an opportunity. They
just need a foot in the door."
Registration is free to the job-seeker but employers are charged
from £5 to advertise a job. A bigger fee pays for a full
agency-style recruitment and shortlisting service. Telephone and
face-to-face interviews are carried out and graduates are helped
with their CV, application and interview techniques.
The subsidised scheme has generated £22,000 from a £108,000
outlay but it to become a self-sustaining social enterprise.
"We won't be profit-generating that's not the aim because we
want it to be a service," said Ms Lawes.
"Some employers have no tradition of taking on a graduate but Ms
Lawes says it's worth thinking about."
Registration by employers, graduates, undergraduates and A-level
students at www.gradskent.com.