Kirklees Council, in partnership with Azure Consulting, have been investing in developing technical and leadership skills amongst graduates who have been recently employed by the Council, amid research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) that highlights the difference between expectations and reality for many recent university graduates who are struggling to find graduate-level jobs.
According to the CIPD in their recent report entitled The Graduate Employment Gap, 48% of graduates across the country are not yet employed in graduate-level jobs, and almost a third are earning less than £20,000 (the average UK wage being £28,300). Kirklees Council’s Economy and Infrastructure Directorate are making a concerted effort to invest in the development and prospects of the recently employed young talent within the organisation by enrolling graduates on a two-year development programme. Azure Consulting are designing and facilitating skills modules covering topics including emotional intelligence, commercial skills, and how to create a high performance culture. The highly practical workshops aim to improve self-awareness and leadership qualities amongst the graduate employees.
Azure’s Sue Alderson explained that the programme also contains a blend of coaching, mentoring, e-learning and job-rotation designed to stand graduates in good stead not only during their recently acquired roles, but also during their future progression up the career ladder. She added: “I have been extremely impressed with the graduates on the programme, who are clearly very talented and are taking an interest in their own self-development. This programme will allow them to acquire some useful skills beyond the academic ones developed at university. It’s great to see Kirklees Council investing in tomorrow’s leaders during times of uncertainty for graduates.”
Sarah Durdin, an Operational Manager for Kirklees Council who is overseeing the programme, described the benefits: “Kirklees Council are really proud to recruit talented graduates to the Economy and Infrastructure Directorate Graduate Programme, an exciting new programme for Kirklees Council. The Council provides training, personal development and workplace opportunities to suit the graduates’ needs, and in return our graduates bring skills, passion and a desire to succeed in delivering highly valued public services. Surely that’s a recipe for success!”
Cllr Musarrat Khan said: “This Council, like many others, is facing significant changes and challenges. It is essential for our future that we have officers who are both well trained in their specialism but also in the machine that runs the council. This scheme prepares recent graduates to meet the needs of the Council by combining hands-on practical work experience with personal development and wider training.”
Cllr Graham Turner said: “The scheme is a win-win for the Council. By employing graduates on this scheme we all benefit – they gain valuable experience and the opportunity to apply their learning in a real life situation and we get the benefit of their up to date knowledge, bright ideas and endless enthusiasm, all of which can really boost a team’s moral. This all helps make the Council more productive so we can deliver quality services for local people.”
The graduates themselves are already seeing benefits from being on the programme and are applying their newly acquired skills to their role. Joanne Cooper, a Student Environmental Health Officer recently commented on one of the sessions: “10/10 – very effective and informative!” Jordan Geldart, a Graduate Trainee, said the programme has so far “exceeded expectations – I have a better understanding of the skills learnt and how they can be used in the workplace”. Three of the graduates have already secured permanent posts as a result of the programme, which came to a successful end in May 2018.