New fund aims to link 300 talented physics students with region's hi-tech business sector

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Physics students across Yorkshire and the Midlands will be able to benefit from 300 new internship and work experience opportunities as hi-tech businesses in the region access a pool of new talent.

The University of Sheffield is part of a £490,000 project being led by the University of Hull, and in collaboration with the Universities of Leeds, Nottingham and York through the White Rose Industrial Physics Academy.

The money is part of a £5.6m funding pot from the Office for Students that aims to boost opportunities for graduates who seek work close to home. It will be used to create hundreds of opportunities for physics students over the next three years.

The funding will enable hi-tech businesses across the region to access a rich pool of talent and more are now being encouraged to come forward and get involved.

Dr Alastair Buckley, who is leading the University of Sheffield's contributions to the projects, said: "We want to help physics students to be more mobile with the Yorkshire, Humberside and North Midlands region while they are at university. We want them to be able to travel within the region for work placements and industrial projects.

"We've got all sorts of ideas about how to do this, and thanks to the OfS, now we also have the money to help them. If our students are more mobile when they are at university then they are more likley to travel away from home to find thier first job - and we know that students who are prepareed to travel will get better jobs"

Analysis of survey data from 2015-16 shows that 69% of graduates took their first job in their home region. Therefore, opportunities for progression into skilled employment for over two-thirds of graduates depend on the demand for graduate skills in their local regions. The OfS hopes this funding will enable universities to forge partnerships with employers to ensure that better use is made of local graduate skills.

The academic lead for the project at the University of Hull, Dr Mossy Kelly, says: "This not only delivers some fantastic experiences for our students and allows them to get incredible work-based learning experience, it also gives businesses access to a wide range of talented young physicists who could deliver fresh ideas and thinking.

"The funding will remove barriers to work-based learning for students by covering travel and subsistence costs and we are calling on high tech businesses, particularly SMEs across the Yorkshire, Humberside, and East Midlands region to get involved. We're happy to discuss the wide range of benefits and possibilities this could bring and then link them up with a physics student that can support what they are trying to achieve."

Hi-tech businesses, particularly SMES interested in learning more, or offering a work placement to a physics student, are urged to contact Mossy Kelly at Mossy.Kelly@hull.ac.uk or Andrew Hirst at andrew.hirst@york.ac.uk.