Earlier this month, the Deputy Leader of Kingston Council attended the graduate2business event at Kingston University: a locally run project which helps unemployed graduates find employment and supports businesses in recruiting skilled interns.
Liberal Democrat Cllr Liz Green took up the opportunity to speak with local business leaders and students, asking them how the economic downturn is affecting them. She also discussed the graduate2business project with its organisers, finding out how this locally run initiative is helping residents of the borough.
Cllr Green said: “I was extremely impressed by what I heard.
“Graduate2business is an employment initiative run by a partnership of Kingston Council, the university, the local college and Chamber of Commerce. Graduates living in the area are being provided with first-rate employment advice and actively supported in finding and applying for jobs. It also helps set up paid internships in local companies.
“The project is tailored to the needs of local graduates and businesses, and seems to be making a real difference to residents who are unemployed or struggling in the economic downturn. Working together as a borough we can achieve a great deal to keep our local economy buoyant and local people in employment or training.”
Cllr Simon James, who is the Liberal Democrat-run Council’s Lead member for Economic Development is overseeing the local authority’s “response to the recession” programme. Other projects which are designed to help support the borough’s residents, businesses and high streets in fighting the economic downturn, include:
- The Council paying all invoices for within 10 working days to help the flow of cash into small and medium-sized businesses;
- Working with Job Centre Plus to create apprenticeship schemes, work trials and work experiences placements in the Council and wider community;
- Running employment support services, such as ‘Kingston Executive Futures’ which is tailored to the needs of managers and professionals who are out of work;
- Jobseeker boot camps which are helping hundreds of graduates prepare for employment;
- Credit Crunch Seminars providing a helpful forum and advice sessions for struggling local firms;
- Helping provide the ‘GoGreen Plus’ business support package which gets local companies to reduce their costs whilst also reducing their impact on the environment;
- Supporting Kingston Town Centre through Kingston First and the expanded ‘Business Improvement District’;
- Promoting improvement schemes in Tolworth and Surbiton district centres;
- Providing helpful information to both businesses and residents affected by the economic downturn on the Council’s website;
- Publishing a local business directory;
- Using money from the Future Jobs Fund to create new jobs which benefit the local community for long-term young unemployed people .