Hundreds try to RISE to challenge

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Thirty one talented graduates are starting internships with local companies after 639 applied as part of a scheme to halt the brain drain and boost SMEs.

The second year of the city council’s RISE programme was hugely over-subscribed with applications pouring in from across the country.

It aims to give youngsters work experience and help firms find bright young blood. Last year 51 youngsters did placements. The target this year is 80.

Some 20 graduates attended a two-day course at accountants Grant Thornton to help them make the most of the opportunity.

They heard guest speakers and networked with business leaders before going to work with companies in engineering, IT, recruitment and the third sector.

Peter Edwards, director at Grant Thornton in Sheffield, said: “The graduates have been through an intensive selection process, ending with a final interview with their employer. A few have already begun their jobs, but most are about to start and this business induction aims to equip them with the skills and confidence to hit the ground running.

“As a firm, we are committed to doing all we can to bring education closer to the world of work and this award-winning scheme is already making a valuable contribution by successfully connecting two of the city’s greatest assets: graduates and SMEs.”

Coun Leigh Bramall, Cabinet Member for Business, Skills and Development at Sheffield City Council said: “This award winning initiative, is part of the Keep Sheffield Working scheme.”

The RISE programme, which is funded by the two universities and Sheffield City Council, helps small businesses to find, recruit, train and keep the best graduate talent in the region. It is open to graduates from any university.