April 2019


Council initiative to stem "brain drain"


"We will work with businesses to increase their recruitment from the pool of around 50,000 potential employees on their doorstep at university in Coventry and Warwick."

Warwickshire County Council has launched an initiative designed to stem the "brain drain" of graduates from the county.

In light of research revealing that only one third of University of Warwick graduates stay in the West Midlands to work, the council is helping to build bridges between universities and employers to ensure graduates are fully aware of local work opportunities.

It is  matter of high importance that the region tries to retain more of its graduates. It is forecast that, in the next few years, demand for jobs requiring higher-level skills and qualifications will grow more in Coventry & Warwickshire than in the rest of the West Midlands region and England. The jobs forecast to grow most include engineers, scientists, production managers and quality professionals. 

To address this, an initiative is now underway to develop digital resources which will enable Warwick and other local universities to showcase the benefits of living and working in the county to students who may not have considered staying here after graduating.

The county council will also assist businesses to be more proactive in attracting this talent.

Warwickshire County Council's Skills for Employment Manager Glenn Robinson said: "Warwickshire is clearly a great place to live and work as shown by the record employment rate and the number of people who travel from elsewhere to be here. But students coming through college and university often look first for career opportunities in other areas without realising there might be very good opportunities nearby. We want to make them aware of those.

"We will also work with businesses to increase their recruitment from the pool of around 50,000 potential employees on their doorstep at university in Coventry and Warwick."

Warwickshire is a victim of its own success in a way with its employment rate at a record high. That means that graduates sometimes have to look elsewhere, but businesses in the county do share the recruitment issues of those nationally, so more can be done to match local graduates with local vacancies.

At the Council’s recent Skills Conference, Professor Pat Tissington, Academic Director Employability and Skills at the University of Warwick, said:

"At present, 40 per cent of our graduates recruited on to 'graduate schemes' go to London. Only a third of our graduates staying in the West Midlands region but these graduates have a great deal to offer businesses in our region. They are creative, energetic, ambitious, questioning and digitally adroit - major assets to any employer.

"Along with Warwickshire County Council, we are encouraging businesses to develop partnership relationships with universities. Such a partnership can work in many forms, including work experience, placements, internships, summer projects and many more."

In recent years, many businesses have switched the focus of recruitment from graduates to school and college-leavers aged 17 and 18 with the aim of developing these employees to higher levels internally using degree or higher apprenticeships.

In the May edition of WMB we will explore this issue further by examining how businesses can recruit from the talent pool of young people aged 18+ who are completing A Levels and vocational qualifications at Warwickshire schools and Further Education colleges this summer.


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