Support for smaller businesses

If you are a small to medium-sized business in the Sheffield City Region, recruiting students and graduates can help your business deal with the present and prepare for the future.


You may need help to develop new products or services, introduce new systems and procedures or break into new markets.   You may be looking for future business leaders or just need an extra pair of hands to get you through a busy time. Whatever your needs, we will work with you to tailor the ideal strategy for your organisation, ensuring your engagement is impactful and effective.

What we provide

Free Vacancy Advertising and Guidance

We provide advice and guidance to help you create and prepare your opportunities for advertising, such as producing an effective vacancy advert and setting an appropriate graduate salary

You can advertise vacancies to thousands of our students and graduates and we have additional options for enhanced advertising on social media.  Our Student Jobshop can provide additional support to promote and fill part-time vacancies in the Sheffield City Region.

Opportunities to get involved

We offer a flexible programme of physical and virtual events and activities to enable you to introduce your organisation and opportunities, and engage with students and graduates from your target disciplines, with discounted rates at any chargeable events. 

Free support with selection and recruitment

We have dedicated resources available to handle applications and shortlist candidates on your behalf and provide physical and virtual space for you to hold informal, one-to-one appointments with students or formal interviews.  

Access to grants and funding

Our partnerships with funding providers enable us to provide bursaries for summer placements and graduate roles at certain times of the year.

Help to connect with academic departments

We are ideally placed to link to you to the wider institution.  You may be interested in contributing to curriculum delivery by holding guest lectures or offering projects.  You may like to explore building relationships that lead to advancement of your business in other areas e.g. research, CPD, degree apprenticeships.

Terms and Conditions of Engagement for Employers

View our Advertising Terms and Conditions


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 retention.
• 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 business.
• 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 universities.

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 hard copy 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

How can I find out more?

Laura Talbot, Employer Engagement & Placement Officer (Regional)

SME Funded Projects Scheme

Have you considered taking on a student to work on a project?

Our students offer a wealth of knowledge and transferable skills that can help you to kick start a project that has been put on the back burner due to the current climate. From marketing, finance, research, international communications, to technical innovation and expertise, our students are ready to put their knowledge and skills into practice, contributing to your business. 

We're looking for small, local businesses and charities to recruit our final year students to work on real business projects. These can be in any sector and open to students from any degree discipline. They need to be a minimum of 50 hours in length, and to provide you with flexibility, they can start from anytime between March and July, as long as they are completed by the end of July 2021.

We will provide a grant of £500 for an internship of 50-100 hours or £1000 for 100+ hours up to a maximum of two interns per organisation.

Santander Universities Employability Scheme

The Santander Universities Employability Scheme connects talented students with some of the region's fastest-growing, most exciting, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and Charities. This year we have 10 x £1000 grants available to SMEs and Charities within the Sheffield City Region, to host a student internship of between 70 and 108 hours. Funding applications close on Sunday 11th April 2021 (funding is not allocated on a first-come-first-served basis). For further information on the scheme and how to apply, please see our employer information pack

Hear from previous organisations and interns on their experience of the scheme:

Contact us

To discuss your needs and identify the most appropriate support for you.

Tel: 0114 2220900


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