Oct 15 2012

Harrow Council lead the way for aspiring graduates

Harrow Council has launched a pioneering work experience scheme to equip graduates with the skills needed for their future careers, with 75 per cent of people on the scheme finding paid employment onc

In the council’s Xcite scheme, graduates take on a ten week practical placement in council departments and Harrow Voluntary Sector organisations including Economic Development, Libraries, , Community & Cultural services, Communications, Housing and Children’s Services.

Fewer entry levels jobs and high volumes of graduates have made it even harder for inexperienced university graduates to find jobs in a very competitive market. Harrow council’s initiative aims to address these problems by providing graduates with practical work experience in the hope that they can find jobs more quickly once their placement is over. They also benefit from coaching and job search support from an assigned mentor for the duration of the scheme to re enforce learning and share expertise.

The council was successful in winning money from Jobcentreplus’s Flexible Support Fund to run the scheme

Cynthujaa Satchithananthan, aged 23, took part in the graduate scheme and managed to secure temporary employment at Harrow Council once her placement was over. She has since found permanent employment elsewhere. She said: “My experience with the X21 Grad Scheme has been highly rewarding and a wonderful experience which allowed me to gain employment. I was placed with Quality Assurance, Commissioning and Schools (QACS) directorate in the Children and Family Services. I barely knew anything about Children and Family Services and even less so about QACS. However, during my weeks here, I learnt a great deal about the council itself. I had a really great and supportive placement manager, who challenged me from the beginning whilst providing support. As a result of my placement with Harrow Council, I gained two jobs, a temporary and permanent position; I made friends with some of the other graduates in the course, gained incredible transferable skills, and gained a sense of purpose. I owe a great deal to the Xcite scheme and team. I would thoroughly recommend the X21 scheme to any graduate, as not only was it a wonderful experience, but it was the first work experience scheme targeted at graduates.”

Harrow Council’s Portfolio Holder for Planning and Regeneration, Cllr Keith Ferry, said: “I am delighted that the graduates who have come to work on our scheme have found the experience so useful. Supporting our young people is a top priority for the council and despite our figures for the number of young people in education, employment, or training being the very best in the country, it is important that we continue to help improve prospects for our graduates. Jobs within the public sector have become increasingly specialised with the decline of traditional entry level jobs. By making these projects available to young graduates, they get to experience what it is like to work for a council. They will then be able to apply for vacancies equipped with some sector knowledge and experience.”

Source: Harrow Council

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