A pioneering partnership project between the University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University and Sheffield City Council has been recognised for championing talented graduates into employment after winning a prestigious national award from the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR).
The partners scooped the Preparation for Work by Higher Education award for the innovative RISE project.
RISE is a major city-wide initiative which strives to increase graduate employment in small and medium sized enterprises
The project, which has been shortlisted for numerous national titles this year including the Guardian Awards, and the Times Higher Education Awards, brings together graduates who want to work hard and achieve great things, with businesses with energy and vision that are looking for fresh talent.
Steve Fish, Careers Service Director at the University of Sheffield, said: "It is a great honour to win this award and I am delighted that this fantastic collaboration between both universities and the Council has been given the recognition it deserves.
"RISE is the first scheme of its kind which is not only making a huge difference to the talented graduates who gain internships, but also the growing number of SMEs in the region
"I am very proud of the scheme and the tremendous success it has achieved and I am looking forward to watching the RISE project grow even further.
"The city of Sheffield is full of interesting businesses going interesting places and when you take this energy and innovation and add bright, graduate talent, the potential to rise is limitless."
Councillor Leigh Bramall, Cabinet Member for Business, Skills and Development, said: "The RISE graduate programme is a great example of successful partnership working in the city. The feedback we get from graduates is that they are keen to stay in the city if they can access employment opportunities within the Sheffield city region, RISE gives graduates that progression route and also supports small to medium sized businesses to develop and grow.
"To date RISE has helped 50 graduates into intern roles and resulted in over £624,000 in salaries being put back into the local economy. The benefits of RISE are evident for both the intern and business, we are delighted that the success of this programme has been recognised with this award."
Paul Helm, Assistant Director of Student and Learning Services at Sheffield Hallam University, added: "RISE is a terrific initiative and it’s great to have its success recognised by this national award. It’s an excellent example of the Council and both Universities working together with local businesses to provide graduate employment opportunities in the region.
"Lots of big employers run graduate recruitment programmes, but RISE is the only initiative of its kind in the UK, providing a unique opportunity for SMEs to benefit from the fresh talent provided by graduates from the city’s two universities.
"The scheme has been extended for 2014 and has become a key part of the University’s employability offer, one of a range of services we operate for students to help them get into employment after graduating."