Funded Projects

"RISE supported us through the recruitment process from start to end which has yielded fantastic results for us."

- Matthew Wilding, Chief Operating Officer, Marjolo


Gradconsult has worked with numerous funding bodies since its inception in 2012, using funding to deliver innovative and impactful employability and recruitment projects. We have delivered successful projects funded by the European Union (ERDF and ESF), the Office for Students (OfS) and local authorities, often with multiple university and employer stakeholders.

We are well-versed in working with complex reporting and governance structures and adapting project delivery to ensure success in changing external circumstances.

As well as acting as a trusted delivery partner, Gradconsult actively seeks potential funding to deliver innovative projects that meet labour market needs and improves graduate employability and regional economic growth. We specialise in regional graduate retention programmes but are always seeking new funded opportunities to connect educators, employers and early career talent.

To bring this to life, here are some examples of smaller and larger pieces of work we have undertaken using funding

We have worked on multiple funded projects, but here are a few to give you a taster...


RISE is delivered in partnership by Sheffield Hallam University, the University of Sheffield and Sheffield City Council. The project is receiving up to £684,132 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.

RISE is a successful a business engagement and support scheme, aiming to help SMEs in the Sheffield City Region to attract graduate talent. Gradconsult has delivered the RISE programme since 2013 and has been the only private sector delivery partner since 2019. During that time, RISE has supported some 400 SMEs recruit over 600 graduates.

Not only is RISE helping retain talented graduates within the city region, an independent assessment found the scheme delivered significant increased productivity and innovation benefits, with a return of £14 for every £1 invested and a £7.7million boost to the regional economy.


LCR Grad Scheme

Part-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF), the LCR Grad Scheme ensures businesses have streamlined access to graduates residing in the LCR, from all universities. Led by the University of Liverpool, Gradconsult has designed and delivered a six-month graduate development programme and scheme induction.

By carrying out extensive research, we ensured we had a good understanding of the SME base, the economic/regional benefits of connecting the two to aid regional recovery post-pandemic and how this aligns to the local industrial strategy for the region, and the skills needs of the graduates. We worked closely with all stakeholders to ensure their needs were identified, incorporated and met.

Using information gathered in the research and consultation stages, four guiding principles for the design of the learning and development programme were identified:


  1. By SMEs, for SMEs: The competencies and skills developed through the programme have been identified through in-depth research with SMEs in the LCR. A full competency framework is available for SMEs to use to complement their own training and development.
  2. LCR at its heart: The programme has been designed to reflect areas of strategic importance highlighted in the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Corporate Plan 2021-2024.
  3. Real return on investment: The programme is designed to help LCR Grads accelerate their progression, develop their business acumen and networks, and help them apply their skills successfully in their roles.
  4. Building connections: The programme connects graduates from different SMEs to work together to solve common business challenges, helping them develop their professional and social networks in the city region.


Transformation West Midlands – ‘Get Hired’

Transformation West Midlands (TWM) is an Office for Students’ (OfS) funded project that aims to boost job opportunities for local students and graduates in the West Midlands region who face wider challenges to securing graduate level employment.

Delivered by a partnership of three university careers services from the University of Birmingham (UoB), Newman University and University College Birmingham (UCB), the project is aimed at:

  • Final year undergraduates from the West Midlands region.
  • Recent alumni (up to two years after graduation) who are either currently underemployed (not in graduate-level employment) or unemployed seeking a graduate job.
  • Those who are from the West Midlands region.

Led by the University of Birmingham, the Transformation West Midlands project team commissioned Gradconsult to support the design and delivery of a three-day 'Get Hired' programme to provide students and graduates without a positive destination with direct access to employers in the local region who are actively recruiting for graduate-level roles.

To develop understanding of the graduate labour market in the West Midlands, we conducted research into key sectors, salaries and available opportunities and threaded the knowledge throughout the programme.

It was critical that the acknowledge barriers to gaining graduate-level employment faced by participants – many of whom were from Black, Asian and minority ethnic background, disabled or from lower socio-economic backgrounds – in a way that did not downplay the challenges they face, nor cause participants to feel ‘othered’.