Grads move up a grade

“East Renfrewshire graduates are now worse off than those with a Glasgow postcode”.

Those are the words of East Renfrewshire councillor Ian McAlpine, following the introduction of a new scheme in Glasgow to help unemployed graduates.

Thanks to the new initiative, £10 million will be invested to fund half of salary costs for Glasgow-based graduates (up to a maximum of £10,000 for one year).

Glasgow city councillor Gordon Matheson said: “Times are hard. But there are things the council can do to help

“Graduates account for 32% of our workforce , well above the UK average , and I want those leaving university to believe they can fulfil their dreams in this city.

“The fund sends a clear message from my administration that we will support you through tough times. Governments should know when to intervene. This is one of those times”.

However, across the border it was a different story, as councillor McAlpine added: “We need to address this problem. We would love to do something similar as Glasgow but we simply do not have the resources”.

Glasgow chamber of commerce chief executive Stuart Patrick welcomed the decision. He said: “We have already seen the positive impact of the two existing commonwealth funds on youth unemployment in Glasgow.

“To include graduates with this new fund recognises the challenges they are also facing in securing jobs, helping us retain the talent that will help attract new investment to the city in the future”.

However, his East Renfrewshire counterpart, Vincent Waters, thinks this scheme is “more about box ticking than enhancing long term prospects”.

He told The Extra: “My concern is some employers will take advantage of this scheme. This risks becoming a revolving door of using public sector money to employ people, only to abandon them when the year is done.

“There are no long term benefits. I believe ERC is doing everything within its power. I cannot imagine any local authority besides Glasgow being able to do this.

“The city has woefully under invested in education historically. It’s about time they tried to amend the situation in some way but I’m not sure how much this will help”.

While East Renfrewshire could not confirm its total, a GCC spokesman estimated around 650 graduates are unemployed in the city, with many more in employment not considered a graduate job.

An ERC council spokesman added: “The council itself approved a graduate internship programme in May this year.

“To date, this has enabled 12 graduates to be offered temporary placements delivering a range of valuable projects across the council”.