Yorkshire ‘failing to look after business talent’

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YORKSHIRE is failing to make the most of the business talent that is emerging from the region’s universities, according to the CEO of a firm that builds links between graduates and employers.

Martin Edmondson, the chief executive of Gradcore, said the region had to provide more opportunities for ambitious graduates, to ensure they weren’t tempted to move to London.

Research published by the Higher Education Careers Services Unit, shows that the jobs market is picking up for young people in Britain, as early graduate unemployment saw its biggest fall in 15 years in 2014.

The research also reveals that prospects for graduates going into areas hit severely by the recession, have improved significantly in the past year.

Graduates in subjects such as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are all experiencing lower unemployment rates, the research found.

Mr Edmondson, who is based in Sheffield, told The Yorkshire Post: “The data mirrors what is happening in Yorkshire – we haven’t seen really high graduate unemployment, the issue has been the lack of graduates moving into graduate level jobs.

“Yorkshire isn’t being as productive as it should be. Outside London, we’re the only region that is a net importer of graduate talent.

“We’ve got lots of talent in the region, we’re just not making the most of it. It is now becoming more competitive to get the good graduates and there are skills shortages in some sectors.

“It’s all about people buying into Yorkshire and whether we continue to offer opportunities for career progression.”

Andy Tüscher, the regional director for Yorkshire and The Humber with EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, said that highly skilled graduates continue to be sought after by manufacturers, with 63 per cent recruiting an engineering graduate in the past three years. Sixty six per cent plan to hire more graduates in the next three years, he added.

Mr Tüscher added: “Thankfully, we are now also seeing more young people choosing engineering, with the number of 18-year-olds applying to study engineering at university increasing spectacularly.

“This could be down to a combination of industry making it clear that there’s a wealth of opportunity in the sector, with plenty of highly-skilled, highly-paid jobs available and not enough people to fill them, and younger people making more informed decisions about their futures as the reality of higher study fees sets in.”

He added: “Whatever the driver, we need this trend to continue if we are to have any hope of bridging the yawning skills gap faced by UK industry.”

He said the EEF in Yorkshire is also committed to working with the region’s newly created university technical colleges to attract and train high calibre candi-dates.

The positive trends in the graduate jobs market has been underlined by the announcement that IT consultancy BJSS, which has a base in Leeds, is holding a graduate recruitment programme.

The firm is looking for prospective candidates at the University of Leeds on June 8, during the Yorkshire Graduate Recruitment Fair. Laura Lodwick, the operations manager at BJSS, told The Yorkshire Post that the company was seeking graduates with a passion for the sector and technical understanding.

“There are definitely some people who actively want to stay in the region,’’ she added.