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The Bridging Role of Graduate Placement Programmes in the SME Workplace. Padraig Gallagher 8/11/2013. The Small and Medium Enterprise Sector (SME). 1-250 employees 99% of all businesses across Europe

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the bridging role of graduate placement programmes in the sme workplace

The Bridging Role of Graduate Placement Programmes in the SME Workplace

Padraig Gallagher

8/11/2013

the small and medium enterprise sector sme
The Small and Medium Enterprise Sector (SME)
  • 1-250 employees
  • 99% of all businesses across Europe
  • Complex broad and diverse sector – size, product, service, ownership and stage of development
  • Owner managed/small team
  • Lack of skilled labour/resources
  • Focused on the short-term/survival
graduates and smes
Graduates and SMEs
  • Dependent on small scale studies on graduate employment in the sector
  • Relatively low up take (market issues on demand and supply side)
  • Rely on ad hoc or direct entry recruitment– in contrast to traditional milk round route
  • Recognised that the transition is challenging with limited resources to support graduates - induction, opportunities for formal learning, expectation miss-match
graduate placement programmes
Graduate Placement Programmes
  • Concern about the low up take of graduates
  • Extension of human capital perspective
  • Government/agency led e.g. The Teaching Company Scheme, The STEP programme
  • General characteristics
  • Little published information or evidence of impact – practical issues in accessing SMEs
methodology
Methodology
  • The research looked at the role of graduate placement programmes in bridging the gap between HE and the SME sector.
  • The research design was exploratory, in depth and qualitative in nature
  • Multiple case study focusing on seven graduates with a science, engineering or technology background
  • Interviews – three perspectives
  • 5 Manufacturing, 2 service based companies
the fusion programme
The FUSION Programme
  • All Island Programme launched 2001 by Intertrade Ireland – 450 placements to date
  • Technology/developmental based projects – 12 to 24 months
  • Project management and steering group
  • Academic support
  • Structured training support – Diploma Business and Management
  • Funding -100% academic costs, 50% graduate salary and 100% for training
findings
Findings
  • Planning recruitment & selection
  • Internal supervision & appraisal
  • Academic support and mentoring
  • Business & management
conclusion recommendations
Conclusion/Recommendations
  • The study showed that graduate placements programmes such as Fusion can help to bridge the gap between HE and the SME sector, increase graduate employability and help graduates to negotiate the transition to the SME workplace (5,1,1).
  • The study confirmed that the impact of graduate placement programmes on the transition of graduates to the workplace can vary according to factors such as
    • the nature and complexity of the graduates’ projects
    • the ability and commitment of the academic
    • attitude of the owner and ability of the companies to provide mentoring support
    • the nature of the relationships and interaction between the graduates and the academic.
conclusion recommendations1
Conclusion/Recommendations
  • This means that such programmes need to be sensitive to individual company contexts, needs and expectations when placing graduates and allocating academic mentors to support graduates in the workplace.
    • SME
    • Academics
    • Post Graduate courses
    • Communication
    • Post placement
    • Policy makers
conclusion recommendations2
Conclusion/Recommendations
  • Future research
    • Findings replicated in other graduate placement programmes
    • The motivation and role of academics
    • The preparation of graduates for the sector
    • Learning processes and socialisation of graduates in the workplace.
contact
Contact

Dr. Padraig Gallagher

Letterkenny Institute of Technology

County Donegal

e.mail: padraig.gallagher@lyit.ie