Businesses in North Worcestershire now have an opportunity to benefit from a scheme aimed at connecting them with skilled graduates for their existing workforce thanks to collaboration between North Worcestershire Economic Development and Regeneration (NWedR), higher education institutions and neighbouring local authorities.

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

The HLSM scheme is now available in North Worcestershire to help businesses to define, obtain and retain the skills and talent required to grow.

Andy Bywater is NWedR’s Skills and Employment Officer. Andy said:

“We are very pleased to launch this scheme across North Worcestershire. The scheme, which is part funded by the European Social Fund (ESF), has already seen 206 businesses benefit to date with a target of 320 by the end of 2019. Our businesses across North Worcestershire are forward thinking and entrepreneurial. Bromsgrove has the most start-up businesses outside London, so we want to encourage them to benefit from graduate talent.  Our vision is that this scheme will enable businesses to grow and flourish and retain talented people accessed through this programme.”

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 Chase District Council, Lichfield District Council and Tamworth Borough Council and is part-funded by the ESF.

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 320 businesses, and connect them with over 750 students and graduates over the next 9 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 dedicated account managed.”

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.

For more information on NWedR visit, www.nwedr.org.uk, the North Worcestershire Ambassadors scheme, and to find out about the North Worcestershire Business Leaders group, visit the website.

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