Manchester Metropolitan University and The University of Manchester have joined forces to launch a new scheme aimed at boosting the digital skills, confidence and employment chances of local graduates from underprivileged backgrounds.
The Office for Students (OfS) will fund the collaborative scheme, ‘Graduates for a Greater Manchester’, which is part of the larger multimillion-pound government-backed project aimed at ensuring that graduate talent stays in the cities it comes from to curb the regional brain drain to London.
Based on current evidence, OfS said that students who move away from home to study or work are more probable to get highly skilled employment than those who stay in their home region.
In order to check the imbalance, the OfS gave grants to 15 institutions across the UK with Manchester’s bid being the only joint application. The Manchester project will get nearly £290,000 funding over three years to benefit close to 1,300 students.
OfS chief executive Nicola Dandridge said: “Graduates should not have to move to London to get good jobs. It is essential that those who stay in their home towns and cities can enter high-skilled work and are not locked out of the graduate labour market.
“This funding will help universities and colleges find ways to remove barriers to local graduate employment, broaden the choice for those local graduates, and help ensure that students are getting the right skills to enter rewarding work. It’s good news for graduates, universities and local employers in search of highly-skilled, work-ready graduates.”
The collaboration of the two Manchester universities puts a focus on digital skills and is designed to tackle the skills gap in one of the city’s fastest growing sectors.
In particular, the Manchester scheme aims to aid local graduates, from disadvantaged backgrounds, enhance their confidence in the industries by harnessing, improving and using the digital skills they already have as ‘digital natives’.
The University of Manchester careers and employability head Tammy Goldfeld said: “We are delighted to be collaborating with our academic colleagues on innovative initiatives designed to improve the employability of our students. This unique partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University will help to retain graduate talent in Greater Manchester for mutual benefit.”