State of skills in Devon and graduate retention

The information in this briefing covers the work that has recently been undertaken by the Economy and Enterprise Team at Devon County Council. This includes: the annual report on the ‘State of Skills in Devon’, the findings from our research into graduate retention and the work we have been doing to inspire and inform young people about the promising career opportunities available in the STEM subject areas.

Enterprising Young Devon

As a part of Devon County Council’s efforts to encourage uptake of STEM subjects and promote innovation and local talent, Devon County Council recently sponsored the Enterprising Young Devon Awards at the Big Bang Fair South West. The awards are targeted at 11-18 year olds across Devon with the top prizes going to products that exhibit innovation and marketability. The event took place at University of Exeter on 26 June 2014. Judged by industry experts, the four award winners will be given access to dedicated business support, as well as the opportunity to take part in the national final in Birmingham.

Please find more information about this year’s winning projects here

State of Skills in Devon

DCC have commissioned a survey by Wavehill into the state of skills in Devon. The conclusions of the survey outlined in the following report found here.

Graduate Retention

The ability of the county to retain its graduate population is an important factor in determining the quality of its labour force. Devon County Council is working to make businesses aware of the pool of highly-qualified talent in Devon, encouraging them to employ graduates and engage with graduate employment schemes and further cooperation with universities and colleges.

Devon’s Workforce Skills Survey showed that although many Devon businesses recognise the potential of graduates (87% of businesses perceived University leavers to be either very well or well prepared for work) there is still a low level of graduate recruitment amongst responding businesses (22%). Companies that had taken on career starters registered high levels of satisfaction with their level of preparedness for work and very positive impact on their businesses.

Founded in 2010, LittlePod is one of many employers in the region reaping the benefits of employing graduates, having employed approximately ten higher education leavers since its foundation. With a growing number of opportunities for graduates, this company is an excellent case study of the high value of taking on graduate talent, for businesses and for the region as a whole.

Please see the following link to read the full case study.

Devon County Council is supporting University of Exeter’s efforts to increase the number of graduates staying the area. The University is launching a campaign to promote graduate career opportunities in the South West in the autumn. The purpose of the campaign is to highlight graduate opportunities in the area and provide local labour market information.