Leicester’s Graduate City project up for national award

A pioneering work experience project designed to match skilled students with Leicester businesses has been shortlisted for a major national award.

The Leicester Graduate City Programme (LGCP), launched in September 2020 as a partnership between the University of Leicester, Leicester City Council and De Montfort University, has been shortlisted by the Institute of Student Employers (ISE) for Best Work Experience, Internship or Placement Programme.

The annual ISE Awards are the benchmark for outstanding performance, recognising and rewarding excellence at the highest levels across a broad range of categories.

Tom Ledgard, Head of Placements and Graduate Outcomes at the University of Leicester, said: “This nomination is recognition of the impact that effective partnership working across the City can have.

“The Leicester Graduate City Programme is one of those fantastic projects which benefits everyone: businesses gained access to skilled, creative minds, and our students have real-world experience to add to their CV. The feedback from both groups has been hugely positive.

“It’s also opened our students’ eyes to the fact that there are a huge number of graduate opportunities right here in Leicester.”

LGCP provides paid six-week internships for second-year students to work in Leicester industries that face high skills needs, including the logistics and digital sectors.

Created following feedback from students and local small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the region, many of the businesses which engaged with the scheme in 2021 had never recruited a student or graduate before – and six were micro-businesses established during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Of the students who accessed opportunities through the scheme, four in five said they now wished to progress a career in Leicester following their studies.

ISE Awards winners will be announced at a Gala Dinner in June 2022. Other shortlisted organisations in the work experience category include Blackrock, The Civil Service and IBM.

The Leicester Graduate City Project is receiving up to £840,000 of funding from the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England.

Established by the European Union, the European Social Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support skills development, employment and job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations.

If your business would like to benefit from support to recruit students and graduates from the University of Leicester, please contact tom.ledgard@le.ac.uk or call 0116 252 2068. Our team of careers and recruitment experts can support with recruitment services and some businesses may be able to benefit from access funding to cover the cost of salary subject to meeting eligibility criteria.