Companies Must Justify School-Leavers Recruitment Schemes

Employers who are increasingly opening their graduate recruitment programmes up to school-leavers, must make sure they have good business reasons for doing so, a discussion panel at the Association of Graduate Recruiters agreed yesterday.

The conference, which is currently being held in Cardiff, is seeing representatives of the UK’s biggest stakeholders in graduate recruitment assemble to discuss the trends and issues facing them. 

The president of the Association of Graduate Career Advisory Services (AGCAS), Anne-Marie Martin, said that it is crucial that accepting school-leavers on to graduate scheme benefits both the recruit and the recruiter.

She explained, “In an age when we realised that we cannot afford higher education and we cannot afford to fund from the public purse, organisations need to make sure they are entering school leavers’ programmes for business reasons.”

She said that school-leavers and graduates had a fundamental difference in thinking styles and she feared that the creativity and analytical skills of graduates could be a major loss to some organisations. 

PricewaterhouseCoopers representative, Sonja Stockton, agreed that it was crucial for firms to show caution, but said that her company had benefited immeasurably from its ‘HEADstart’ school-leavers programme, which accepted 90 A-level students this year – a rise of a third from last year.  

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