A new course developed by Sheffield Hallam University in partnership with employers is aiming to stop the ‘brain drain’ and keep leadership talent in the region.
The Professional Practice in Organisational and Regional Change Leadership, PGDip, has been developed by academics at Sheffield Hallam University with employers and staff from Sheffield City Region businesses in an attempt to keep more high achievers in the area.
Despite a belief to the contrary, only 22 per cent of 2015 graduates who gained employment were still working in the SCR by 2017 – this is significantly lower than in other northern cities.
Research conducted by the University found their main reasons for leaving were a lack of better jobs and progression opportunities and wages being higher elsewhere.
Launching the course today (Wednesday 30 January) at Sheffield Hallam University, Rotherham Council Leader Coun Chris Read said: “It is really important that we have a highly skilled workforce to drive the local economy across the Sheffield City Region. We want people to have real opportunities for career development, so they in turn strengthen our local economy. That is why I welcome the work being undertaken by businesses working with Sheffield Hallam University to develop, nurture and retain talent in our area.
“The new programme at Hallam will be a valuable contribution to this and will support with regional challenges that we all face.”
Dan Jarvis, Mayor of the Sheffield City Region, said: “It is great to see that Sheffield Hallam University, in partnership with businesses, is seizing the opportunity to develop and retain our region’s future leaders. The Sheffield City Region is a fantastic place to live, work and raise a family. It is made up of vibrant communities and surrounded by breath-taking countryside, so it is no wonder that large numbers of graduates decide to settle here after graduation.
He added: “Our economy is growing and our two-world class universities are at the forefront of creating exciting new opportunities across a range of industries. This course strengthens Sheffield Hallam University’s commitment to connecting our region’s best talent with those opportunities and I applaud everyone involved for their initiative.”
Conor Moss, director of business engagement and employer partnerships at SHU, said: “As a resident of Sheffield for nearly 20 years, I know only too well what a great place our region is to work and live.
“Enterprising and vibrant urban communities coupled with beautiful countryside presents an attractive offer for anyone. That’s why there are some extremely talented individuals active across our region – both home-grown and those who have chosen to stay here, often after coming to study at one of our two world class universities.
“However, whilst we have seen significant regional employment growth and some outstanding new developments in recent times, we all know that we need to do more. The region suffers from low productivity, our economy is building from a low base and there is fierce competition to attract new talent.
“It’s a recognised fact that an above average percentage of talent chooses to start their career here immediately after graduating from university. However, perhaps not so well-known is that an above average number choose to leave two or three years into their career – depriving our region of the next generation of dynamic, future leaders.”
Researchers spoke to 173 workers within 37 public and private small, medium and large organisations within the city region.
Graduates said things that would keep them in Sheffield City Region included the right job, development opportunities, geography – with the area and family ties being a strong pull – and the prestige, size, reputation and culture of their employer, including attitude to work life balance.
The new course, for both graduates and non-graduates, will start in May 2019.
Learners will spend 18 months studying while they work and the cost of the course is met by the employer.
Conor said: “This is a fresh, ambitious and applied programme that has been co-designed with organisations from across the region in partnership with Sheffield Hallam.
“This is just the beginning. Collaboration and networking opportunities delivered through the project will continue to shape policy and provide solutions, bringing the Sheffield City Region together to help achieve our ambitions for the region and make a positive difference.”
Sheffield Hallam University is committed to contributing to economic growth in South Yorkshire and beyond by developing partnerships with employers which benefit learners, employers the University and the region as a whole.