Scheme taps into new talent

An innovative recruitment scheme at the University of Lincoln has helped British Hardwood Tree Nursery and tap into a new pool of graduate talent.

The Opportunities at Lincoln scheme, devised by the university, is helping to link top graduates with local small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

It was pioneered by the university's opportunities service manager Mark Stow, whose team offers career advice and information to graduates.

Stow said: "We can now offer businesses with fewer than 50 employees or those based in key industrial sectors £1,500 to help subsidise a graduate for three to six months. Our scheme offers employers the chance to see what a graduate can offer them, with minimal risk - it's almost a 'try before you buy' initiative."

Stow said 80 per cent of graduates in the market tend to be taken on by SMEs. "I believe that the recession means that smaller organisations are viewing graduates as fair game for jobs, whereas historically they may have been left for the larger blue chip organisations and the graduate recruiters," he added.

So far, 25 students have been placed on three-month internships, including business marketing graduate Sophie Bulgin who is helping the nursery and its sister website businesses improve their purchasing and stock management processes ahead of their busy autumn period.

British Hardwood Tree Nursery and director Andrew Henderson said: "Both our businesses are getting busier. The tree nursery is building up a head of steam in readiness for its peak period and I knew we needed extra help.

"It can be a real challenge to find highly motivated staff who are able to hit the ground running and prepared to travel to our premises. University staff did the hard work, providing us with a shortlist of people to interview. Sophie made a great first impression and she is settling in fast."

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