Support for smaller businesses

If you are a small to medium-sized business in South Yorkshire, 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 South Yorkshire.

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

Rise logos banner

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 South Yorkshire
  • 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

SME Summer Internship Programme

SMEs and charities in the Sheffield City Region can apply for a grant to host a paid summer internship. This opportunity is funded by the Rob Pulford First Gen+ Fund.

Applications to the SME Summer Internship Programme are now closed for 2022. If you would like to be added to our mailing list and receive correspondence about the 2023 programme, please contact us at

Hear from employers and interns that have taken part previously:

What organisations are eligible? 

Organisations that:

  • Have 250 employees or less, and an annual turnover of less than £50million
  • Are a UK company, sole trader, partnership, or charity based in the Sheffield City Region
  • Can offer a valuable internship, allowing a student to develop their employability and use their skill set to benefit your business. 

Funding is not allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. We are particularly interested in receiving applications from organisations in sectors where unpaid work experience is the norm and organisations in sectors that the pandemic has hit hardest. We hope to support students that would not otherwise get a paid opportunity and also support local businesses and charities that form our communities. 

Contact us

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

Tel: 0114 2220900


A world top-100 university

We're a world top-100 university renowned for the excellence, impact and distinctiveness of our research-led learning and teaching.