Welsh firms need to give greater opportunities to graduates – Abi Carter

Forensic Resources in Cardiff have hosted many fantastic work placements through the GO Wales scheme, Carys Baker is the latest graduate to secure work experience with the company after taking part in the Graduate Academy. Abi Carter founder of Forensic Resources believes that more companies should be investing in work experience opportunities, she explains…

The number of unemployed graduates is rising, shows latest data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).

Around 28% of graduates are still not in full time work, three and a half years after leaving university in 2007. I know we are in tough economic climate and companies are holding back on investing in new employees, but surely more people should be in full time work than this. Is it really the economy or is it because students are not being educated sufficiently? Or both?

Moreover, 21.5% of those asked thought that their university had not really prepared them for their future career paths, and 6.4% said it did not prepare them at all. This was reflected in my July article when I mentioned the lack of entrepreneurship studies within degree programmes.

It will take time to implement this through the university curriculum so in the meantime it is up the directors of Welsh firms to help our graduates gain experience which should lead to more full time employment. The lack of taught business skills, coupled with the fact that businesses are now only looking to invest in the ‘crème de la crème’ means that graduates need to up their game with getting experience – which is not easy.

Carys Baker, a work experience graduate at our Forensic Resources said: “I did a degree in police sciences but was only taught about management skills of a police officer. While searching for a job I have noticed that I am being asked about my business experience, which I am lacking in. My work experience placement is helping me to learn about how forensics and business are linked, which should help me, and my CV, stand out of from the others.”

Taking on work experience candidates may seem like extra work, but with a little organisation and clear instructions, it can benefit both parties considerably. Forensic Resources provides a lot of placements and we have gained a great deal of essential research that our staff have simply not had the time to do. It is also beneficial to receive feedback from the candidate’s impartial perspective and gain fresh ideas from someone who is looking at the company through a ‘fresh pair of eyes’.

Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union said: “The countries investing in graduates and high skills are the ones who will prosper in the long run”. Therefore, if you are in the position to, perhaps look into providing some placements to help a graduate and your company; surely we owe it to the future of Welsh commerce and to our country’s future employees?