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Talent Exchange program builds on SME networks

Energy industry’s small businesses boosted by new work experience scheme in Aberdeen.
Talent Exchange program builds on SME networks

A unique work experience scheme targeting the North Sea energy industry’s small and medium sized businesses is underway in Aberdeen.

The sector’s small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) can now engage with Talent Exchange, a new initiative which provides opportunities to access the skills and knowledge of Robert Gordon University (RGU) students in ways that are tailored to the specific needs of an organization.

Established with funding from the Scottish Funding Council, Talent Exchange is designed to offer flexible ways of working with a business including one-off challenges, short-term projects and placements of varying lengths.

The initiative, which is partnering with SCDI, FSB Scotland and the Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce, is aimed at organizations looking for help with a specific business challenge such as process or product design, website improvement, an event, e-learning development and corporate social responsibility policy.

 “Talent Exchange is a new initiative which aims to make it easy for SMEs to engage with RGU and to provide valuable work related experience opportunities for students which are tailored to the specific needs of a business,” said Yvonne Cook, project manager for Talent Exchange who is based at RGU. “SMEs which have a specific business challenge ranging from marketing to IT to analysis, and either lack resources, time or expertise to solve it, now have the opportunity to flexibly access a pool of new talent which can bring specialist skills and fresh perspectives.”

A number of SMEs have already engaged with Talent Exchange including well control training specialist, Aberdeen Drilling School, which was looking for expertise in graphics and design.

 “We were looking for additional expertise in graphic design with specialist knowledge in the technology that would enable us to produce our desired training material and so we thought that engaging with students who are currently studying the subject would be a good solution – and it was,” said Phil Burge, chief operating officer at Aberdeen Drilling School. “We took on two students who were fantastic and exceeded our expectations. They were very skilled and worked on their projects autonomously with very little guidance, and were able to bring new ideas which further allowed us to expand the scope of the different projects we were working on.”

 “We were so impressed with the students’ contribution to the company that we placed an advert on the RGU website to recruit a full time Graphic Designer from the same course and we were very lucky to employ a graduate who has been a great contributor to the company,” added Burge.

Image: Third year Management with Marketing student who is on a placement with Talent Exchange, Emily Bishop (l), and project manager for Talent Exchange, Yvonne Cook (r)/Robert Gordon University

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