Postgraduate programme to boost business

Employ a student or graduate

3 February 2014 

Aston University is supporting a £734,000 scheme to boost graduate employability and assist businesses in the West Midlands. 

The Postgraduate Intern Project (PIP), run by the Aston-based Graduate Advantage team, seeks to help small and medium enterprises (SMES) by arranging postgraduate internships on their behalf. 

The not-for-profit project, part funded by a  £355,000 European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) grant, aims to place graduates in businesses with high-growth potential across all sectors. 

Postgraduates involved in the scheme will help develop new products, research new markets, implement business plans and organise projects and events during their work placements. Graduate Advantage also offers SMEs up to £900 in financial assistance. 

Aston University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Helen Higson, said: “This unique project is a fantastic contribution to the economy of the West Midlands and offers invaluable access to talented postgraduates who bring their skills to make a difference in SMEs. It is also instrumental in supporting the region to develop the most employable global citizens.” 

This unique project is a fantastic contribution to the economy of the West Midlands and offers invaluable access to talented postgraduates

The West Midlands is the only region to have a service with such extensive business links and access to postgraduates from a wide range of disciplines. PIP, which is run at the universities of Aston and Wolverhampton, also draws on the professional expertise of staff at both institutions. 

Norman Price, Deputy Chair of the West Midlands ERDF Local Management Committee, said: “For local businesses there are many benefits to be gained by working with our postgraduate students. Through arrangements such as internships, businesses can gain and learn from the knowledge and skills that the individuals bring, providing fresh thinking to normal business practice. 

“Through this project businesses will get the opportunity to explore this idea within a risk free, supportive environment and trial the benefits gained from working with a postgraduate student. It’s important that through ERDF funding we are able to both support local businesses to grow and also help to retain graduates in the area. This project neatly combines the two and I am delighted to be able to offer our help.” 


For further media information, please contact Jonathan Garbett, Aston University Communications on 0121 204 4552 or     

The Postgraduate Internship Project is part financed by the West Midlands European Regional Development Fund. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the managing authority for the European Regional Development Fund Programme, which is one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs. For more information visit