Why Graduates Should See Yorkshire More As A Career Destination

POLITICS undergraduate Megan Russell from the University of York, worked at the Local Enterprise Partnership for three months over the summer as our Communications Intern, helping out with everything from creating e-cards for our social media to writing news releases and helping compile our annual report. Here, Megan, shares what she learned from working here and attending our annual conference. In particular, on how Yorkshire should be seen as more of a graduate career destination. 

“HEARING from the speakers at the Annual General Meeting, I listened not only as an intern for the Local Enterprise Partnership, but also as a soon-to-be graduate. Graduate recruitment has always been London-centric, and areas all over the country experience the brain-drain of their young people moving away. As a young person studying and working in Yorkshire with an interest in staying here, it was surprising and thought-provoking to see the potential for this area from different angles, and the efforts that the LEP is making to attract bright young things here.

Natalie Cramp asked: when our young people leave school, what do you want them to be? Answers ranged from confident, aspirational and happy – a much welcome change from the usual: “an engineer”! I think Natalie tapped into a lot of young people’s fears about the future, from the unknowable nature of jobs, to the idea that few of us will have one job for our whole lives in the way that our parents’ generation knew. Certainly the expectation of many companies that thousands of jobs will be replaced by robots is a worrying thought indeed.

Natalie’s aspirations are to aid young people and support the economy of the area by linking businesses with schools and creating meaningful encounters with the world of work. Being resilient and adaptable enough to change career direction and re-train yourself aren’t skills that come naturally to most people, but having a joined-up and effective careers guidance service can provide a good basis for that and the Careers Enterprise Company is working with the LEP to provide this.

For me, this is part of what makes the many small and medium sized businesses in this area attractive to work in – by working across lots of different roles, you have the chance to add multiple strings to your bow.

The speaker I was most looking forward to was Harry Armstrong. He is from a charity called Nesta – which specialises in research into innovation. In a time of such uncertainty, foresight is a valuable commodity, and having an idea about how technology will impact business and the world of work would certainly seem to be an advantage.

In fact, Harry’s research suggested technology can have a greater impact in collaborative efforts than through trying to gain a personal advantage. For example, part of his research has shown that fuel poverty, like living in a cold house, can cause long term mental health problems. Although managing energy effectively is economically important for local authorities, the unexpected benefits of this for the community as a whole could be much more meaningful. Trends suggest that community efforts such as crowdfunding are taking a growing role in lending to small business start-ups – investing in community can in turn mean investing in small businesses, a key feature of our area.

Being somewhere with a strong sense of community is important to me, and Johnny Hayes really represents what makes this area such an attractive place to live.. Moving to a new city, you would be hard-pressed to find the welcoming community and a sense of belonging that Bishy Road in York seems to provide. Living close to Bishy Road, but having only experienced the street as the well-organised and thriving place that it now is, it was surprising but inspiring to hear about its previous struggles against the recession and the rise of supermarkets and chains. Of course, young people and graduates don’t just look for affluent areas with good business opportunities, but places with character and a sense of community that make them enjoyable to live in.  If the starting point to becoming Great British High Street of the Year was a wildly successful street party – then count me in!

Despite there being such a wealthy of reasons to live and work in our LEP area, London is continual shown as the definitive graduate destination, when in fact many job sectors prosper more in Yorkshire. I wish more people my age would see this area as a career destination in the same way that London is always shown to be. An injection of young people in new businesses, in finance, in the bioeconomy, and in the shops and restaurants of our many towns and cities could be massively beneficial to this area.”