A ground-breaking LJMU project which created scores of jobs in the City Region has won a prestigious Liverpool Chamber of Commerce award.
Graduate Futures scooped the Skills Provider of the Year award at last night’s Innovation in Business Awards after being described as a “new blueprint” for graduate employment.
The vote was judged 50% by a panel of Liverpool Chamber members and 50% public vote.
Project manager Shulah Jones, of the careers and employability team Student Futures said: “Our win not only reflects the impact our graduates are making on industry but also the high regard that everyone holds LJMU in.
“As our project draws to a close, what a fitting tribute to the team, our businesses who have worked with us to create jobs and most importantly, our graduates.”
Over almost three years, Graduate Futures created more than 200 graduate-level posts in growth sectors - creative and cultural, digital, biomedical, professional services and others - and has engaged around 2,000 students the job market.
Judges said the scheme which matches graduates with SMEs (companies with fewer than 250 employees) has highlighted the value of having highly-skilled graduates on the doorstep and has convinced many businesses of the potential of working with higher education.
Commenting in May 2023, Paul Cherpeau, CEO of Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, said: “Graduate Futures has provided an invaluable offering to businesses within the Liverpool City Region, providing a pipeline of talent for organisations desperately seeking a skilled, energised and flexible workforce amid an unprecedentedly tight labour market.”
The scheme influenced how graduates perceive the job market, opening their eyes to the potential of different paths to fulfilling careers.
“A lot is said about brain-drain to London in particular but it is far from inevitable,” Shulah Jones has said. “Graduates want to stay; they’ve had a brilliant time in Liverpool and many worry about the cost of living in the capital.
"Many can be unaware of the wealth of potential employment opportunities with small to medium businesses right here in the City Region.”
Shulah and the team worked to show businesses how they can grow their workforce and support the local economy by joining up the dots between university and business.
In some instances, businesses even created new roles that they hadn’t realised they could fund to help their business grow: “We’ve simply shone a light on what a graduate could do for them, whether it’s new ideas, a skill they didn’t have on staff or knowledge someone can bring of a new technology,” added Shulah.
LJMU Graduate Futures is part-funded by the European Social Fund.
For more information, see the Graduate Futures website.