While Scotland is home to many experienced and highly-skilled people, businesses also value the role of young people in achieving competitiveness, sustainable economic growth and community resilience.
The 2018 Year of Young People upon is an excellent time for businesses to consider how a graduate or student could help them explore new opportunities. These could be around innovation, internationalisation, process improvement, product development or digital technology.
Over the past few years we have been running the ScotGrad student and graduate placement programme, along with Scottish Enterprise and in partnership with the Scottish Government, Skills Development Scotland and the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Service. In the Highlands and Islands, the programme is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
ScotGrad supports graduate placements of up to 12 months and, in the Highlands and Islands, student placements of up to 12 weeks.
The programme has been highly successful in bringing businesses and young people together, combining experience and fresh ideas. It enables businesses to deliver improvement projects, for which they would otherwise not have the resources. These often lead to growth and job creation. At the same time the placement-holders get valuable experience that strengthens their CV.
While the ScotGrad programme is only available to businesses we already work with (account managed clients), there are similar opportunities open to the wider business community.
The language student placements, for example, are open to all SMEs in the region and cover most languages relevant to business development.
We are also leading on the Northern Innovation Hub for the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal partnership. As part of this we will be running a programme of technology graduate and student placements, accessible to all businesses in The Highland Council area. This programme is designed to help small or start-up enterprises deploy the latest technology to accelerate growth and become more productive and competitive.
Right across the Highlands and Islands employers tell us about the success they have had with placements and would recommend the programme. Often we hear how impressed they are with the fresh thinking, motivation and problem-solving that a graduate or student brings.
So if you, or an organisation you know, are interested in employing a graduate or student, please visit our website for more information on the support available here