New £7m EU-backed investment in graduate career opportunities

A £7.3m EU-backed scheme to boost the career prospects of students from disadvantaged backgrounds, announced by Minister for Skills and Science Julie James has been welcomed by staff at Bangor University.

The new GO Wales: Achieve through Work Experience scheme will create work experience opportunities for over 2,000 students over the next three years.

Building on the experience of the previous GO Wales programme, students will benefit from work tasters and shadowing opportunities at employers in their chosen fields, as well as paid work placements.

Chris Little, Head of the Careers and Employability Service at Bangor University said:

‘This project allows us to provide additional support for students who find it difficult to access mainstream work experience opportunities and, as such, are often at risk of not securing graduate level employment when they leave University.’

The scheme, which has been backed by £4.7m of EU funds, aims to improve the longer-term job prospects of students from a disadvantaged background after they graduate.

Work experience opportunities will be created in key sectors including advanced manufacturing, financial and professional services, life sciences, ICT, tourism and the food and drinks sector.

Students from disadvantaged backgrounds, with disabilities or caring responsibilities, and from black and minority ethnic backgrounds will benefit from the scheme.

Minister for Skills and Science, Julie James said:

“Access to EU funds is helping us invest in fantastic opportunities for young people to improve their prospects, and this scheme is an excellent example.

“Over 2,000 talented young people in Wales will benefit from opportunities to spend time with employers, strengthen their CVs, and take the first steps in their future careers.

“This is yet another example of why it is so important we get a guarantee from the UK Government that every penny of EU funding to Wales is safe as a result of the impending exit from the EU.”

The Achieve through Work Experience scheme will be led by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) in partnership with Welsh universities.

HEFCW Chief Executive, Dr David Blaney said:

“Thanks to EU funding we have been able to develop Achieve through Work Experience, an exciting new scheme under the umbrella of GO Wales.

“We can make sure that work experience is targeted at students who need it most and find it most difficult to secure.  As with the previous GO Wales scheme, I look forward to hearing the success stories of the students who will benefit over the coming years.”

Publication date: 29 July 2016