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Graduate unemployment – a huge opportunity for SMEs

Whatever the rate of graduate unemployment is, some say more than 25%, it represents a huge talent pool that we’re mad not to dip in to.

To be clear, I’m not advocating Dickensian internship schemes where the company tries to get something for nothing – you should pay for the work done.

What I am saying is there are thousands and thousands of bright young people in the UK who are desperate for meaningful work experience, who will work flexibly and intelligently for as long as you need and who can add value to your business by at least getting done some of the things that need doing but you never seem to get round to.

For the last six months we have employed the son of a friend of mine who has rebuilt our marketing database, organised our archiving, dealt with a lot of administration between our firm and HMRC and given some of us older folk a lesson in how to use Facebook – who knew!

We were also able to give him some training in bookkeeping which should help with his longer term ambition to get a formal accounting qualification.

Our guy got six months of invaluable work experience and we got some very useful things taken from the back burner and put on the “done” list.

We are not of a size where we have a graduate training scheme so we would not normally look at this part of the labour market but, like many smaller businesses, we have small projects, some one-off, some long overdue which need a bright, lively person to have a crack at. For us, it worked very well.

For you? What have you got to lose?

There are all sorts of ways of tapping in to the graduate talent  pool, which sadly is about to grow. So why not try – it really can be a valuable “win-win” for everyone.