Sheffield job scheme set to place 500th graduate - and play big role in city's recovery plan

A Sheffield job scheme is about to place its 500th graduate with small, local firms – and aims to play a key part in the city’s pandemic recovery.

Tuesday, 17th November 2020, 4:45 pm

The RISE programme has placed 52 youngsters in the last 12 months, two thirds since March when it had to go online due to lockdown.

It was hugely oversubscribed after receiving 2,005 applications from graduates who want to work for companies in the region.

Some 490 have been recruited by 380 companies since it launched in 2013. The landmark 500th is set to be hired before Christmas.

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Moore Insight graduates, from left: (back row) Mercy Ubani, Nick Daly and Thomas Walsh. Front: Isobel Cox and Helen Colls.

Kate Hill, business development manager at accountants Moore Insight, said they had gone looking for two workers and were so impressed they ended up with five.

She said: “We advertised for one trainee accountant and one project support post. As we started to meet the candidates it became clear that there were other opportunities.

“When you're growing at pace as we are, it isn't just about expanding the client-facing side of things, you also need to invest in the back-end functions and processes to scale up that service efficiently.

“We decided to create more posts during the interview process! The calibre of people we met and the diverse range of perspectives, skills and experience was simply too good to ignore."

Rebecca Fielding, RISE project leader and founder of Gradconsult.

RISE acts as a free recruitment department, advertising jobs and sifting applications. It also offers £1,000 salary top-ups to help small companies match corporate salaries. That figure rises to £2,500 for hi-tech roles.

It is run by the city’s two universities, Sheffield Council and private sector company Gradconsult Ltd.

For 2019 to 2022 it has received £684,132 from the European Regional Development Fund - some 58 per cent of the £1,179,658 total. The rest is from Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Sheffield.

Rebecca Fielding, RISE project leader and founder of Gradconsult, said the scheme had repaid its investment 14 times over - increasing the size of the local economy by £15m - and would play a key part in Sheffield’s recovery from the pandemic.

It also ‘massively outperformed’ similar programmes nationally, which average £3.90 for every £1 invested.

She added: “RISE is unparalleled, but attempted and envied in other areas of the UK, and it is well known and loved by the SME business community.

“We are sure it will be one of the tools we can use to help drive our economic recovery post COVID. It feels like things have gone full circle. RISE was originally launched back in 2013, after the last recession, to help drive economic recovery and job creation, which is always achieved by SMEs first and quickest rather than bigger employers.”

Sheffield City Region businesses that employ fewer than 250 people can access free recruitment, talent matching, training and funding support.

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