Welcome to Shropshire Grad

Finishing University should be an exciting time for any hard-working and ambitious student. The culmination of three years hard-work (with a little bit of self-indulgence thrown in for good measure), a sense of achievement, pride and nervousness awaits them at graduation. Growing up during the time of Labour’s ‘Education, Education, Education’ political agenda, many of the current generation believed going on to tertiary education would grant a crucial step up the social mobility ladder, the chance to chase ambitions and realise dreams. However, the nervousness that awaits current graduates is not centred on how their first day in the new office will turn out or how to make friends in their new environment, but on how they are going get that first career break.

Recent Local Government Association research illustrates that University leavers are failing to find work with almost half still looking for a job three months after graduating. According to the research, only 51% of graduates are currently in full time employment and part time employment has risen to 11% in 2010. The national trend for an increase in graduate unemployment is becoming a harsh reality for the thousands of students who graduate on an annual basis. In addition to this, there is a hidden issue of underemployment, of graduates working in low skilled jobs in order to make ends meet and not utilising the skills and knowledge they acquired during their studies.

There are a plethora of reasons for this high statistic, including the lack of entry-level roles as a result of the economic recession and the increase in competition for roles, particularly from experienced professionals, marginalising graduates out of the labour market due to a lack of experience. In addition to this, many employers inherently view graduates as being expensive, demanding and lack core employability skills, such as communication, commercial awareness and self-awareness. 

Nonetheless, in order to tackle this shocking statistic, local employers need to take accountability and help local graduates gain work experience and provide employment opportunities to enable them to develop and refine their employability skills and prepare them effectively for the workplace, and this is what we are doing here at Shropshire Council via ShropGrad.

This summer, we launched our first ever summer Internship Programme for students and graduates to gain three months paid work experience within the organisation. The key objective of the Internship Programme was to provide students and recent graduates with crucial paid work experience and exposure in a rapidly changing local government environment. We continually want to support students and graduates and give them an opportunity to raise their career aspirations. Some intern testimonals include:

Cait Wrigley – “My internship with Shropshire Council was eye opening, the internship was more than just a job – it was the start of my career.  I felt valued right from the word go and worked with great autonomy on a bespoke project for the council. This was challenging – but a great experience to have.”

Lucy Mapp- ‘I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to work in a place where I’ve been valued as a member of a team and given real responsibility on high profile work. I’ve enjoyed being able to try everything whilst learning and developing my career at the same time.’

In addition to this, we are also in the third year of running our successful Graduate Programme. With local government entering into an exciting phase in its history, with a substantial change agenda, we need dedicated and outstanding graduates to develop into future leaders of the public sector.

We look for innovative, motivated and talented graduates to help drive our transformation programme, which focuses primarily on putting our customers and our communities at the heart of everything we do. Our graduate programme is a two year talent management programme for graduates who have the potential to become future leaders of the organisation. We also take our role as a large employer within the county seriously and we frequently visit universities within the West Midlands to talk to students about our opportunities and how they can develop their employability skills. We also host Graduate Insight sessions for local graduates to come along and find out about how to get a graduate level job within their chosen field.

Over the next few months, we will be discussing employability, getting that first career break and offering insight events into the life of a graduate at Shropshire Council. If you have any issue you would like us to discuss or feature within this blog, then please get in touch [email protected] or follow us on Twitter @ShropGrad

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Shrop Grad Shrop Grad

Laura Herbert is the Graduate & Apprentice Manager for Shropshire Council and the manager of ShropGrad, the organisation’s Graduate Programme. Over the next few months, the graduates on the programme will be chronicling their progress, discussing key themes within graduate employment and offering advice and shadowing opportunities for local graduates.

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