An introduction to RISE: Connecting SME employers with graduate talent in Sheffield

Written by RISE

What is RISE?

RISE is a unique business support initiative focussed on enabling small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to grow through the employment of graduate talent.

RISE has been effective in helping SMEs overcome the barriers faced in graduate recruitment
and equipping them with the tools and know-how to become successful graduate employers.
Since 2013 RISE has supported more than 400 regionally based SMEs successfully recruit
over 500 graduates. Many of those businesses have gone on to report increases in turnover,
productivity, innovation and growth as a result. The enhanced RISE project now provides even
more comprehensive business support and business benefits.

Who are we?

RISE is delivered through a well-established collaboration of the region’s local authorities,
universities and a specialist private sector delivery partner working together to provide the
tailored support your business needs.

Is my business eligible?

To be eligible your business must:

  • Be an SME based in the Sheffield City Region
  • Currently employ fewer than 250 people
  • Not already be routinely employing graduates
  • Be looking to create new/additional graduate-level jobs

The offer to you

RISE makes the recruitment process easier for you, saving costs, time and increasing your
access to a wider pool of suitable graduates; but more importantly it is about helping develop
your know-how and capabilities, providing the practical tools that will enable you to confidently
recruit graduates in the future. This service is free of charge to businesses and a limited
number of one-off small grants are available towards employment costs.

How does it work?

  • We will support you through the key steps of graduate recruitment, induction and key touch
    points at 3 months and 6 months into the graduate’s employment.
  • We work with you to understand your plans for growth and help broker in additional support
    that could help your business.
  • We give you information and advice about the graduate labour market, including things
    like salaries, skills shortages, advertising, job titles, diversity, and course information.
  • We work with you to develop a graduate job description and person specification, and a
    clear targeted job advert, ensuring they are realistic and attractive to a graduate audience.
  • We promote and advertise your role through a high-profile regional campaign, universities,
    social media and national graduate platforms.
  • An employer briefing workshop is provided which includes practical best practice advice
    about graduate interviews and induction through to graduate employee development and
  • RISE recruitment specialists will match graduate candidates to your needs through a
    thorough graduate assessment and selection process. A tailored assessment route can
    be offered for more technical or specialist jobs.
  • A shortlist of candidates will be provided to you for final interview, supported by a summary
    of each candidate’s performance through the assessment process.
  • The RISE team provide a business induction event for your graduate employee to help
    ensure their transition into your business is a success.
  • Once your new employee is in-post we will be on-hand to offer advice for the first six
    months and support you to ensure the graduate is successfully embedded into your
  • A dedicated RISE SME Relationship Manager will work with you 1-1 and will be in a prime
    position to help you access further business growth support, or wider access into our local

What’s my commitment?

You will need to:

  • Offer a graduate level job with an appropriate market salary and the intention of providing
    a minimum of 12-month contract
  • Work with us and our timelines around adverts and interviews to ensure we can deliver
    our service effectively to you
  • Ensure a named line manager for your new starter attends the employer briefing session
    and your graduate attends the business induction day
  • Commit to NOT advertise or seek to fill the vacancy through other means at the same time
    as accessing this support
  • Provide your business information and sign forms confirming the support you have
    received from us and to enable us to pay your grant
  • Commit to the 3-month and 6-month review meetings

What are the timelines?

RISE typically runs three campaigns every year. The key dates for the next campaign are:

17th June – Deadline to access support and be part of this campaign

27th June – 17th July National RISE advertising campaign, including your role

14th July – Employer briefing (someone from your business MUST attend)

27th July – 5th August Final interviews will take place

31st August – Your graduate will attend a one-day graduate induction

October/November – RISE 3-month business support and grant eligibility meeting

January/February – RISE 6-month business support meeting

How can I find out more?

Amber Bytheway – or call 07837 002886

Ellie Gee – or call 07737290471

Office RISE number: 0114 221 0220

About RISE

RISE is a unique business support initiative that brings together growing small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) with suitably qualified graduates, enabling business growth and retaining graduate talent within the Sheffield City Region’s economy. This project is delivered in
partnership by Sheffield City Council, Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Sheffield, and is part-funded by the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.