New funding for the South West offers businesses support to recruit graduates

Issue date: 20 June 2013

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A new ERDF-funded programme, Grads for Growth, has been launched in the South West this week with the aim of helping economic growth through the collaboration of graduates and businesses.

Graduates are given meaningful job roles and the opportunity to demonstrate their skills to employers while businesses benefit from a talented individual to manage an innovative 6-9 month project with additional support and investment. Managed by Cornwall College, the programme is being run in partnership with Business West and Universities South West - the membership association of the region's 13 universities which includes UWE Bristol.

ERDF-eligible businesses across the unitary authorities of Devon, Plymouth, Torbay, Somerset, Bournemouth, Dorset, Poole, Bristol, Bath, North East Somerset, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Swindon are being urged to get in touch to see how a graduate could unlock growth in their business.

Project manager Jon Cook says the programme can help in a variety of ways,

“We can help you scope out a 6-9 month project such as product and service development, creating a prototype, exploring new channels to market or exploring Intellectual Property. We'll help you to recruit and define the role, advertise, shortlist and interview, then offer a dedicated business development team as well as a significant project investment fund. You'll also enjoy access to the latest academic thinking through our partnerships with leading universities in the South West and all projects will be supported by expert mentors.”

The team behind Grads for Growth has been running successfully in Cornwall for the last ten years and has helped more than 1,000 businesses increase their turnover and growth. Research Instruments (RI) are worldwide specialists in biomedical technology and medical devices for the fertility field and have employed several graduates through the support programme. Managing director, Bill Brown explains the benefits,

“Programmes like this give us access to high quality graduates on short term contracts, which can also be extended to long term. This flexibility has allowed us to develop new products that we would otherwise not be able to research.”

Graduates who are recruited through Grads for Growth are also offered high-quality, one-to-one mentoring and exposure to cutting-edge academic expertise through links with leading universities in the South West.

Businesses or graduates who are interested in finding out more should go to or email

Editor's notes

Grads for Growth is financed by the European Regional Development Fund Programme 2007 to 2013. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the managing authority for the European Regional Development Fund Programme, which is one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs. For more information visit

Grads for Growth is delivered in the South West Competitiveness Region in partnership with Business West ( ) and Universities South West ( ) and is managed by Cornwall College.

Grads for Growth is part of Unlocking Potential which helps businesses grow and people develop. For more information visit

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