Yorkshire graduate mentoring programme sees number of applicants rise from 20 to 260

A Yorkshire-based professional recruitment and development company has received an overwhelming response to its annual graduate mentoring programme with a one thousand per cent increase in applicants.

Felicity King, who co-owns Edwards and Pearce in Hull with her husband Dan King, said that in previous years the firm has had 20-30 graduates on its programme but this year it has had over 260 applicants.

“Our graduate support programme combines the two separate areas of our business, both recruitment and development. We talk to employers every day and know the pressures they are feeling too,” she said.

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“On the one hand there is an endemic skills shortage as companies struggle to recruit experienced people, then on the other hand, fast-growing business requires a very well-established training and development function to ensure new recruits are supported and nurtured as quickly as possible.

Felicity King, co owner of Edwards and Pearce in Hull.Felicity King, co owner of Edwards and Pearce in Hull.
Felicity King, co owner of Edwards and Pearce in Hull.

"Not all companies can manage this and, as a result, many small to medium-sized companies (SMEs) have shied away from recruiting graduates because they feel under resourced and feel it’s too risky.

”As a result of the pandemic, remote and hybrid study have also meant human connection, collaboration and all-important personal development isn’t in focus anymore.

“Whilst students have been busy adapting to the changing way university education is delivered, it has meant that the vital skills required to jump into your first position like confidence, professional conduct and being part of a team, are often lagging behind. Our programme exists to fill that gap between employer needs and graduate employability.”

The mentoring programme is delivered as online workshops over three weeks with the aim of preparing graduates to secure their first position.