SIC graduate placement scheme suspended

The SIC’s graduate placement scheme has become the latest victim of the local authority’s serious financial problems.

Up until now the scheme, which has been running since the turn of the century, has provided an opportunity for newly-qualified students to get a first year’s experience in the workplace.

It had been advertised as usual this year, with the council intending to support five 12-month placements at a cost of around £125,000. But with belts getting ever tighter, the scheme has now been put on hold and the applicants advised accordingly.

SIC political leader Gary Robinson confirmed the decision had been taken because of the need to make savings wherever possible, though he does hope the scheme can be reinstated in the future.

Mr Robinson said the council would be speaking to figures within local industry to glean whether any businesses are willing to pick up the scheme this year.

“The reason is just the financial situation that we’re in just now,” he said. “It’s the kind of thing that has been good in the past and, if we can get to a more settled position with our finances, I’m sure it’s something we’d want to pick up again. The intention would certainly be to revisit it.

“We tend, with the graduates, to basically give them a project to work on. In the present climate, officers had looked at seeing if they could use the scheme as a spend-to-save in some way, so that we could better justify doing it, but unfortunately that didn’t stack up.”

College board chairman Drew Ratter said putting the scheme on hold temporarily was one thing, but as a “long-term phenomenon”, he felt providing employment for graduates in Shetland was “extremely important”.

He said: “Retaining graduates is going to be extremely important, or getting ones to come from elsewhere. Having clever people doing stuff in your community is a very good thing.”


Add Your Comment
  • Shona Ellis

    • August 30th, 2012 14:59

    What a shame, it’s hard enough for young people to get a job at the moment. The graduate scheme has been a fantastic opportunity for all those who have taken part. By cutting opportunities for young people in Shetland the island is going to struggle even more to attract local graduates for the future

  • Graeme Sutherland

    • August 30th, 2012 15:22

    Another kick in teeth for the youth of Shetland. Schools closing, opportunities for young people diminishing – do the members of the SIC really think this is what the people of Shetland want? I would love to see a report on the SIC’s vision for a sustainable Shetland, with an indication of the plan for retaining talented young people and creating long-term job prospects. My worry is that, if the SIC did start looking at doing a report like this, the consultation costs would be huge and the end result would be “let’s just keep doing things the same way”.

  • Leanne Gear

    • August 31st, 2012 14:35

    A recent graduate, I applied for this scheme with much excitement and anticipation, waiting four weeks to hear that in fact it was being cut. Disappointed isn’t the right word and I am now having to look for graduate opportunities outwith Shetland at rather a late stage. Maybe £10000 spent on a skate park could have better been used to fund five graduate salaries in the council with innovative ideas fresh from four years of learning. I thought that one of the most important things to the island was encouraging graduates back here and implementing their ideas into the community…and this decision seems to be doing the complete opposite.

  • David Moore

    • September 2nd, 2012 14:14

    Appalling! This could have easily encouraged 5 new graduates back ‘home’ to gain much needed work experience with a decent salary & to potentially add to the local pool of suitably qualified/experienced workers who are Shetland’s future. I echo Graeme Sutherland’s comment above – I would love to see this ‘sustainable report’ – however, as said, the cost of the consultants required to do this would possibly exceed £125,000. It’ll be interesting to see if the report follows & at what cost – I’m sure 5 graduates could do a much better job than a lot of the ‘sooth moothers’ who are brought in at ridiculous expense.

  • Louise Scollay

    • September 3rd, 2012 12:27

    It is so difficult for graduates to get the first rung on the career ladder, so it is such a shame that the SIC have decided to cut the placement.
    Cutting costs is one thing, but these days employers are looking for graduates to have already had some on the job experience. Can’t the council offer shorter, voluntary internships, which might help local grads get that step up and stand them in better stead for gaining paid employment?


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