Businesses put pen to paper to join up to skills scheme

Dozens of West Midlands businesses have put pen to paper to join a scheme aimed at connecting them with skilled graduates for their workforce.

Organisations have joined up to the Higher Level Skills Match (HLSM) project run by Aston University, Birmingham City University and Newman University, which analyses the needs of small and medium sized enterprises and connects them with training opportunities and graduate talent.

The scheme, which is part funded by the European Social Fund, has seen over 100 businesses sign up in its first ten months.

The institutions held a special Charter signing event for businesses registered with the service.

The event was attended by VIQU Ltd Recruitment, Aspire Sports, Auctus Training Solutions and Kiondo Open Source Design and Fabrication and saw them become the latest organisations to take advantage of the service.

Richard Toy, CEO of Auctus Management Group, has used HLSM to access graduate talent for his business.

Richard said: Working within the rail and infrastructure sector, we are acutely aware of the demand on skills to meet the needs of our clients such as Midland Metro Alliance, Network Rail and HS2 delivery partners, and what effect the Commonwealth Games and Brexit will have for demands on skills at all levels, all of who are fishing from an ever-decreasing talent pool.

“This led to one direct hire and a further six candidates being interviewed and considered for posts within the business.

“As an employer achieving above average growth year-on-year, I need as wide a network as possible to identify where my future talent is going to come from and this will be a key partner for my business moving forward.”

Professor Julian Beer, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Birmingham City University, said: “This region boasts an array of exciting businesses and it is important that we as universities find ways to make sure they thrive and have the support they need to achieve their ambitions.

“Skills can be one of the biggest barriers to organisations reaching their aims, so it is fantastic to see three of the city’s institutions working together to offer this kind of service and that businesses are already seeing the benefits of this.”

The scheme is aimed at boosting the level of skills in the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership area in order to support economic growth and productivity.

The project is also supported by Cannock ChaseDistrict Council, Lichfield District Council and Tamworth Borough Council and the European Social Fund.

Rachel McIntosh, Head of Strategic Employability Projects, at Aston University, said: “Aston University is delighted to be involved in the HLSM partnership.  This collaborative approach is central to delivering our strategy and supporting the needs of students, graduates and SMEs in the region.

“The partnership is already making a difference with three universities working together to provide a unique proposition for business. It is also instrumental in supporting our vision to develop the most employable citizens.”

The project is aiming to support more than 320businesses, and connect them with over 750 students and graduates over the next 16 months.

Mehreen Mirza, Assistant Dean for Social Sciences and Business at Newman University, said: “’We are offering real benefits to local businesses through the HLSM Project.

“Not only can our partners access high-calibre student and graduate talent, but also take advantage of the agility and responsiveness of our team.

“And, of course, it’s great for local businesses to be able to access the combined resources of three local universities through their Newman account manager.”

If you’re a business who would like to take advantage of the support services on offer you can find out more by visiting the Higher Level Skills Match project page.

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