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University leads £300,000 city success to boost graduate job prospects


Three students at graduation posing together to take a selfie-photograph.

The University of Bradford has won nearly £300,000 to lead a project to boost the job prospects of BAME graduates in the city.

Leading a partnership of thirteen other key city organisations*, the University will carry out a three-year project to tackle the underemployment and unemployment of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) graduates in Bradford and the challenges faced by particular sectors of Bradford’s labour market in recruitment, skills gaps and diversity.

The funding from the Office for Students adds to resources committed by the partners, bringing the total value of the project to over £650,000.

Many BAME graduates from the University remain in the Bradford metropolitan district area, despite opportunities elsewhere, but analysis indicates that they are under-represented in highly-skilled employment in the identified priority areas of health and social care, engineering and manufacturing, and public services.

The project aims to develop a greater understanding of why this is the case and will tackle issues with four areas of work:

  • Supporting businesses to access graduate talent and bringing a greater focus on the available graduate workforce into business support services and into the recruitment planning of businesses and organisations;
  • Improving career and job coaching for graduates and developing a talent pool to meet recruitment and skills gaps;
  • Running a series of events for graduates, members of local communities and employers at which real and perceived barriers to accessing highly-skilled employment can be discussed and solutions identified, and positive relationships, trust and confidence developed;
  • Continued research, in cooperation with students and graduates, will continue to add to knowledge about why BAME graduates make certain choices about careers and the role of culture and place in their decision making.

Professor Shirley Congdon, Vice-Chancellor Elect of the University of Bradford, said: "We have a very strong track record in supporting the employability of our graduates, with 94% being in employment or further education within six months of graduation, and 85% of those in employment being employed in professional and managerial level roles. However, we have to make sure that we identify any issues that lead to graduates not fulfilling their potential and Bradford employers not accessing the skills available.

"We know that job growth in Bradford over the next decade will be fastest in the health, care, engineering and manufacturing, and a number of public sectors e.g. education, police. It is vital that as a city we are able to deliver this growth using the undoubted pool of talent graduating each year from the University, to realise the successful, thriving, vibrant and prosperous city that we are all committed to."

Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of the Office for Students said: "There is an outdated assumption that the typical student experience involves moving far away from home to study and work. This is not true for a large number of students and graduates, and we know that, whether by choice or circumstance, many stay in their home towns."

"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 partners involved in the project are:

  • University of Bradford
  • University of Bradford Students Union
  • Bradford Council SkillsHouse
  • Bradford Council Integrated Communities Programme
  • Education Development Trust
  • Department for Work and Pensions
  • Bradford Chamber of Commerce
  • Bradford Health and Social Care Economic Partnership
  • West Yorkshire Police
  • QED
  • Khidmat Centre
  • Bradford Trident
  • Opportunity Area Bradford
  • Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership