Graduate Placement Programme (Unlocking Cornish Potential)

Project information

Index: 0523R2
Priority:1: Innovation and the knowledge economy
Sub Theme:Employment, human capital and education
Location UNITED KINGDOM SOUTH WEST Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Start/End date of the practice
Start: 01/09/2007
End: Ongoing

Topic of the practice

Subsidised 12-month placements for graduates in Cornish SMEs to undertake business development projects

Good Practice Information

Unlocking Cornish Potential (UCP) aims to measurably improve the efficiency, competitiveness and growth potential of SMEs in Cornwall through subsidising the placement of recent graduates living in Cornwall in local companies to undertake 12 month specialist business development projects. The project matches the skills of the graduate with the business development need of the SME and provides a range of high quality, subsidised or free specialist support services to ensure the successful delivery and achievement of the business development activity. The project provides Cornish SMEs with a flexible, low-risk, cost-effective route to undertaking a business development project utilising the skills of a graduate employee and is aimed at making a substantial contribution to sustainable business growth.
Previous business development projects have included marketing, ICT systems development, website and e-commerce development, product design and business systems development. The project provides graduates with work experience relevant to their qualifications, creating a real career option and contributing significantly to retaining them in the county. UCP provides graduate training supported by academic mentors with expertise relevant to the business project, and assistance to SMEs to innovate on the basis of sound technical and market knowledge through the provision of comprehensive, professional support. The project builds upon and maintains the relationships that Combined Universities in Cornwall partner institutions have with SMEs in Cornwall, improving cross-referrals across the partnership and enhancing graduate-based business development and support programmes available. UCP is part-funded by the European Social Fund through the Convergence programme.

Evidence of success

Between Sept. 2007 and June 2010, 571 graduates had been placed with local businesses through UCP. The average estimated additional turnover of business after the first 12 months of employing a UCP graduate has been £128,737. Case studies from businesses and graduates supported by UCP can be found at

Contact details to obtain further information on the practice

Nigel Hewitt

Combined Universities in Cornwall

Annex completed on: 03-08-2012

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