Sheffield rises up as The Graduate City

Sheffield rises up as The Graduate City

14 May 2015

An independent study into the first 50 RISE graduate internships found the programme is supporting business growth as well as graduate employment in Sheffield.

The first 50 placements generated an economic impact of £1.34m *GVA (Gross Value Added) for the city economy. This represents a high return on investment: every £1 investment creates £5.71 in the local economy. The scheme also boasts an intern to permanent position conversion rate of 85 per cent, which outperforms many other graduate internship initiatives.

The majority of SMEs (small and medium size enterprises) stated they would either not have employed a graduate in the absence of RISE or would have been unable to find the quality of graduate placed by the scheme at this time. Furthermore, the study found the scheme had engendered change in the perceptions of SMEs and graduates, breaking down the attitudinal barriers to graduate recruitment that had long since been recognised as contributing factors to the under utilisation of graduate talent by SMEs.

Since the research, carried out by ekosgen (an independent economic research consultancy), commissioned by Sheffield City Council last year, RISE has gone from strength to strength, recruiting a further four rounds of graduates into SMEs and announcing its seventh intake to commence in June; RISE 7.

The most recent data to be released by RISE has elevated these initial findings to new heights and with it, Sheffield’s growing reputation as a ’Graduate City’. With 130 graduates now in employment after RISE internships, 104 SMEs partaking and an employment conversion rate for completed internships in excess of 85 per cent, the economic impact of this unique scheme has started to attract national attention as other cities look for ways to retain graduate talent.

Cllr Leigh Bramall Sheffield City Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Business Skills and Development, said: “RISE is a hot topic at the moment with core cities across the country looking to this Sheffield-born initiative as a viable solution to what is being described as the ‘brain drain’. Analysts have identified a worrying trend of graduates leaving their university cities and moving to London to find employment. Yorkshire is the only region outside of London that is bucking this trend currently but in 2012 a survey found that three quarters of our Sheffield City Region businesses did not employ graduates and did not intend to over the coming three years.

“Ensuring there is a higher proportion of graduate-level jobs within Sheffield is key to securing business growth and economic stability in our region and working with university partners and the business community Sheffield is tackling this challenge head on.

“The impact of RISE on economic growth is twofold – it helps graduates stay in Sheffield and it helps our business community attract the skills they need for growth.”

RISE is a collaboration between city partners; Creative Sheffield (the economic development arm of Sheffield City Council), Sheffield Hallam University, The University of Sheffield and the private sector.

Conor Moss, Director of Education and Employer Partnerships at Sheffield Hallam University, describes the importance of this partnership working: “RISE demonstrates the successes that can be achieved when academia and industry collaborate and innovate to help businesses find the best talent and our students find excellent graduate opportunities within Sheffield.”

Steve Fish Careers Service Director at the University of Sheffield, said: “We are delighted that Sheffield graduates are securing employment with local businesses through RISE and are therefore helping to support Sheffield’s economic development. Retaining this talent in the city is a critical success factor of the scheme and the economic impact report demonstrates this delivery.”

RISE is designed specifically to meet the needs of SMEs locally. Patrick Gulliver, Director, ekosgen said “As a business growth intervention RISE makes a distinct impact in the city, providing SMEs with access to a highly skilled labour pool.” In addition to managing the recruitment and placement process, RISE provides six months on-going support and a wage subsidy of £1000 for employers to use with their first newly appointed graduate.

Businesses with less than 250 employees and their own premises in Sheffield City Region seeking the best graduate interns to meet their business needs are to contact