Businesses – Frequently asked questions

Here’s a list of the frequently asked questions and answers. If you can’t find the answer to your question here, please contact us or try posing your question to other employers and professionals on our Linkedin group.


1. Who is involved in the RISE scheme and why?

RISE was created by Sheffield City Council, in partnership with both Universities and private sector representatives.  We have recently welcomed Sheffield City Region Growth Hub to the RISE family, and are excited to be expanding to offer the scheme formally across the city region.

We believe that bringing together more of our exciting businesses with our graduate talent will drive long term economic success and benefits for the region.


2. Hasn’t this been tried before? What’s different?

There have been schemes similar to this before, however, there are a number of differences with RISE. The main difference is the ongoing support you receive once a graduate is in your business – you aren’t just left to get on with it once the graduate is recruited. But there are many other differences including collaborative approach across the City Region, business friendly focus, business to business support and networking, training support, communications and more.


3. What kinds of businesses are eligible to apply to RISE?

You are eligible for support if you are:

  • a small to medium enterprise (SME) with less than 250 employees
  • based in Sheffield City Region*
  • new to graduate recruitment or looking to recruit them in new ways

Your organisation is likely to be experiencing a period of growth or upcoming development. A RISE graduate would represent a fresh investment – an opportunity where the right, talented person can make a real difference.

* RISE is funded by three core partners: the University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University and Sheffield City Region.  As such, all roles will be located within the boundaries of the City Region: Sheffield, Barnsley, Bassetlaw, Bolsover, Chesterfield, Derbyshire Dales, Doncaster, North East Derbyshire and Rotherham local authority areas.


4.  Are you running more RISE campaigns?

RISE is fully funded by the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub, Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Sheffield until 2019. We run three cohorts each year, though the timings vary from year to year.  Check back or contact us to find out when the next opportunity to recruit/apply will be.


5. What sort of roles are suited for RISE?

The graduate role should be a substantive post – an opportunity for investment in a key aspect of your business, and you should be clear what success will look like at the end.  RISE internships are diverse and have included sales and marketing roles, business analysis, digital marketing, 3D design, systems development, quality assurance, fundraising, business development, metallurgy and many more.


6. How much will it cost me?

The advertising, recruitment, training and support are all free to you along with a £1,000 wage subsidy for your first graduate. So the costs are wages and employer’s NI. Typically the range spans from £15,000pa to £20,000pa depending on the level of specialism needed for your role. The exact salary you pay and how long you employ them for will vary but you can expect it to be no less than £7,250 for a six month contract. We can offer you guidance on what an appropriate salary might be depending on the type of role you need to fill.


7. When do they start and finish?

We suggest the RISE internships run for a minimum of six months. The exact start and end date should be set by you to suit your business needs. The ambition is that at least 60% of RISE posts lead to permanent employment. The contribution that RISE makes to your business we hope should be evident!


8. How will you recruit the graduates and how much choice will I have?

RISE applications are all online, in partnership with the careers services at University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University as well as being featured on the Yorkshire Graduates website.

We work with you individually to develop a job description and person specification. We screen applications and run an assessment centre using a set of competencies agreed by our stakeholders. These include some of the basics such as hard work, standards of written/verbal English and professionalism. We will then provide you with a shortlist of candidates that you get to interview and select the best person for your business.


9. How can I find out more?

You can contact us for more information or to set up a call with the project team.


10. Don’t graduates want big salaries?

The average starting for a graduate is often quoted in the press as well over £20,000pa. But this figure is based on large graduate schemes and in fact starting salaries are much lower than this, especially once London is taken out of the analysis. Most graduates are realistic about their expectations and internships are paid at an average of £16,000pa in the Sheffield City Region.


11. Don’t graduates expect management level work?

Graduate surveys tell us they want challenging and interesting work that gives them the opportunity to learn and progress. Indeed this is often stated as more important than salary and the key to retaining graduates. But most graduates recognise this does not have to mean ‘management’ level work and accept they have to do routine, administrative or basic work first or alongside the more interesting stuff.


12. Won’t a graduate leave in 2-3 years?

Perhaps, but this is not limited to graduates. Changes in society and the workplace mean that far fewer people are entering the workplace with the expectation or desire of a ‘job for life’. Research figures show that the majority of graduates are still with their first employer after 1 year (92%), 2 years (74%) and three years (59%). But ultimately businesses tell us they would rather have three talented graduates come and go, each one bringing fresh ideas, innovation and challenge, than keep one average individual for the same ten year period.


13. Where do graduates look for jobs? How can I get my job to stand out?

Graduates tend to do most of their job hunting online, using graduate jobs boards such as Yorkshire Graduates or Prospects . But they will often sign up to bulletins and check vacancies with their University careers services (such as Sheffield Hallam University and The University of Sheffield) as well as attending the graduate careers fairs.

There are many ways to help your job stand out in a job search, but our top tips would be:

  • Include the word ‘graduate’ in the job title
  • Be specific about the job and the tasks/activities involved
  • Use straightforward honest language, avoid corporate spin and generic phrases such as ‘challenging development opportunity’
  • Detail all training or learning opportunities
  • Include any longer term career opportunities or progression
  • Provide plenty of information about your organisation and its people
  • Make links to any social media or on-line presence you have
  • Talk about any community or CSR (corporate social responsibility) work you do as a business


14. What kind of training should I offer?

This entirely depends on how you are employing a student or graduate but we suggest there are four core things that every experience must have:

  • an induction
  • a line manager
  • good quality work
  • a review/appraisal.

You might also want to consider things like shadowing more senior colleagues, training courses, mentoring/coaching, additional projects or presentations. As a RISE employer you'll get an employers' toolkit and our support to help create your own bespoke programme.