Call for graduates to ‘stay local’

Published: Wednesday 15th October 2014 by The News Editor

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Graduates should be offered “golden handcuff” deals to stay and work in an area after they leave university, according to a report.

It also suggests establishing campaigns to offer university leavers advice on jobs and housing and to match them with local employment prospects.

The study, published by the RSA think-tank, examines how higher education can play a bigger role in boosting the economy of local areas.

Universities receive around £7 billion of public money, it argues, and have a responsibility to help encourage local growth.

In several cities, or “metros”, university students, teachers and staff make up around 10% of residents.

In a foreword to the report, Jim O’Neill, chairman of the RSA City Growth Commission, warns that relatively low numbers of graduates stay in the cities where they studied with many “either disappearing back overseas or down to London to employ the fruits of their enhanced minds elsewhere”.

He adds: “Surely it would be sensible to consider pursuing a number of initiatives to either help or encourage graduates to stay in the metro areas where they graduate, as a key ingredient to helping these cities prosper?”

The report calls for employers to be helped to pool resources so they can offer “golden handcuffs” covering different industries and sectors to graduates who commit to working in an area for a set number of years.

It suggests that local councils and other groups could run “ReFreshers Weeks” with universities campaigning for students to stay in the area after they graduate by offering job advice, help to find housing and matching individuals with job opportunities.

There could also be a “graduate clearing system” which takes rejected graduate recruitment applications and sends them on to local firms that have jobs available.

Report co-author and RSA senior researcher Jonathan Schifferes said: “Universities are key economic assets in every major UK city: our objective should be that their global competitiveness is reinforced through their metro contribution.

“The UK’s university system is already world-leading, but we can continue this excellence whilst becoming metro-focused, drawing on the opportunities which our great cities bring to universities, their students and faculties.”

Published: Wednesday 15th October 2014 by The News Editor

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