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Students have their say on living in Leicester

More than 100 university students have been giving their views on living in Leicester as part of the city’s first Leicester Student Voice event.

The event marked the start of a new three-year partnership between Leicester City Council, De Montfort University and the University of Leicester, which aims to increase the number of talented graduates who choose to stay and work in the city and county.

Students from both universities took part in the day which took place at the council’s City Hall HQ. They were welcomed to the session by City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby, who talked about his own experiences of life as a student in Leicester.

The students shared their thoughts on what they liked about living in the city and discussed ideas on what could make student life even better.

In total, the views of 102 students from 15 group discussions were carefully captured, providing rich source material to identify common themes and areas for action. The students’ insights and feedback will contribute to an action plan to address graduate retention.

The City Mayor has made retaining graduate talent in Leicester a key priority within his Economic Action Plan. The city council has already created a large number of graduate roles within the authority and continues to work with both universities to encourage students to stay in Leicester after graduation.

Leicester City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said: “I was pleased to see such a good turnout of students who were keen to share their experiences of the city with us. They play a vital role in the economy of the city, but we need to do more to encourage them to use their skills here after they graduate. Their views will be vital in helping us to do this.”

Joanne Cooke, Executive Director of Student and Academic Services at DMU, said: “We were delighted to see so many students from both universities choose to join the event in their free time, highlighting their interest and passion for the city and their future here. We know that local employers need skills, and graduates want to put their skills into practice. Our project is aimed at closing this gap and bringing new ideas and innovation to the heart of the city economy.”

Rob Fryer, Director of Student Life at the University of Leicester, said: “It is often said Leicester undersells itself, that we are too modest, but this event highlighted so many wonderful things that our city has to offer. It also shone a light on what we need to do better to ensure our students choose to stay, live and work in the area.”

Findings from the event will announced in the autumn, where employers will be invited to a similar event to share their thoughts on how the retention project can help support their needs.

Last year research by the financial adviser Grant Thornton found just 17% of students in the East Midlands planned to stay there on graduation, compared to 33% who wanted to move to London.  

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