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THE Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) is launching a graduate scheme to enhance productivity, innovation and economic growth among businesses in South East Wales and promote the region as a destination for talented graduates.

£175,000 has been allocated by the CCR Regional Cabinet for a one-year pilot of the scheme which will provide targeted support for businesses to assist in creating an initial 50 graduate internships in 2019/2020.

The programme has been developed in partnership with the University of South Wales, Cardiff University, Cardiff Metropolitan University, the Open University in Wales, and business representative groups in response to the low graduate retention rate in the Cardiff Capital Region.

Councillor Debbie Wilcox, Leader of Newport City Council and Cardiff Capital Region Cabinet Member for Skills’ said: “The high number of students choosing to study here underlines how appealing the Cardiff Capital Region is to young people. However, many who want to stay and seek employment, find themselves underemployed and in lower-skilled positions, especially outside of the public sector.

“As a region, we need to do better for our graduates. In order to raise productivity, we need to show highly-qualified graduates in Wales the opportunities available to them and highlight the investments that are being made in state-of-the art sectors, such as financial technology, cyber security and compound semiconductors.

“We look forward to working with our partners, that span academia and the private sector to promote and develop this scheme, and in the process enhance the region’s prosperity by improving skills.”

Kellie Beirne, Director of the Cardiff Capital Region, said:

“Businesses face multiple barriers when it comes to recruitment, as many don’t have the resources and time to promote their business to talented graduates. This graduate scheme enables us to support businesses within our region and encourage higher-skilled employment across the private sector, particularly in some of the investable sectors that were identified in our Industrial and Economic Growth Plan including financial technology, transport engineering and life sciences.

“We strive to deliver a scheme that will benefit our communities for years to come and that has the potential to outlive the CCR City Deal.”

Dr Francis Cowe, representative of the four universities on the CCR Skills Board, said:

“This is a unique opportunity for both businesses and graduates in South East Wales. The University of South Wales is excited to have taken a lead with our Partner Universities in setting up this pilot scheme. We look forward to matching students and businesses to high-quality, well-connected graduate opportunities that meet both regional needs and learners’ skills and aspirations.

“With this partnership, we are able to continue to support our graduates and provide them with networking opportunities that will ultimately accelerate their future careers within the Cardiff Capital Region.”

More information about the graduate scheme, including how businesses can get involved, can be found on the Cardiff Capital Region website at:

Available vacancies will be open for applications from April/May for positions starting in September 2019.