Graduates play an important part in the local economy of Birmingham, so retention of the best and brightest is vital. In her latest column for the Birmingham Post, Helga suggests the creative and cultural sectors can attract graduates to stay once they’ve completed their studies;
Helga Henry: More needs to be done to keep graduates in Birmingham Sep 13 2010
I love this time of year. Call me a swot but I liked going back to school.
I relished the change in the weather, the influx of new friends and the promise of a fresh start.
Autumn is also the time when professional service firms take on new trainees.
Graduate training schemes kick off with inductions and welcome events.
If you are a recent graduate, moving to Birmingham for a new job and reading this column for the first time, I welcome you to the city. I congratulate you on getting a job in the toughest recruitment climate in a long time.
I wonder what kind of introduction you received to the city?
When I arrived, to join a law firm in another recession many years ago, each trainee was given a thorough grounding in all aspects of our work, a “buddy” to show us where to buy lunch and an all-important organised pub crawl to welcome us to Brum.
Life goes on, never more so than in our drinking establishments.
But if our new graduates are being shown exactly where they can go and drink, who is sharing with them the many exciting spaces and places in which they can go and think?
If pubs and bars form part of the city’s cultural offering, how do newly adopted Brummies find out about our many other cultural pleasures and pastimes?
And what do cultural organisations themselves do to say hello?
Given that the West Midlands in general, and Birmingham in particular, have a graduate retention level well below the national average, perhaps we could all do more to celebrate the arrival of those who have chosen to work here.
Honourable mention here goes to Birmingham Future who have a useful “Graduates welcome to Birmingham” event, in October.
In Future’s survey of members this year, most are satisfied that the city does enough to attract and retain graduate talent, but (salaries aside), they suggest better interaction with the universities and increasing the profile of Birmingham as a whole.
It would seem that no matter what the season, the call to raise the profile of the city never goes out of fashion.