Heriot-Watt University and leading businesses from a range of sectors have formed a unique global collaboration which aims to drive economic recovery while addressing the challenges faced by this year’s graduates.

Students leaving higher education this summer will navigate an extremely difficult labour market. According to Prospects, the graduate jobs website, 28% of students leaving university have already had their job offers rescinded or delayed while many employers are yet to make decisions about recruitment for the remainder of 2020. Many SMEs have no possibility of recruiting in the current climate.

The new programme, named Future Made for Success 2020, is designed to help students start their careers in industry during this challenging time. It will help develop graduate business talent and allow industry to shape the workforce which will drive growth and economic recovery following the worldwide COVID-19 crisis.

Future Made for Success is the first step in Heriot-Watt’s ambitious recovery prospectus designed to support an inclusive economic recovery. The University’s education-led response places industry collaboration and partnerships at its core and uses its research strengths to develop the workforce of the future.

Future Made for Success includes a unique, virtual enterprise development programme and an enhanced package of careers support. Additionally, a series of industry sponsored scholarships, worth 30% of tuition fees, will allow students to consider 30 different MSc postgraduate courses building ‘in-demand’ skills in subjects including Data Science, Renewable Energy Engineering, A.I., Robotics and International Fashion Marketing.

Global businesses from the financial, energy and retail sectors have joined the programme in a bid to solve pressing business challenges, explore new opportunities and develop innovative solutions in collaboration with graduates. Despite the downturn, many businesses are committed to developing their talent pools and driving sustainable growth.

Dr Gill Murray, Deputy Principal for Enterprise and Business at Heriot-Watt University, said: “With a focus on talent and innovation as key drivers for recovery, the University aims to actively address post-Covid-19 socio-economic challenges and propel long-term sustainable growth.

“We are bringing together leading businesses and student talent from our global campuses to tackle the immediate challenges and opportunities faced in the post-COVID period. By collaborating across disciplines and connecting with highly respected industry partners, we have high hopes that the programme will deliver practical solutions with global impact.

“Our industry partners are ready to share valuable knowledge and expertise with our graduate attendees while benefiting from the creativity and innovative ideas that our students bring. The enterprise development programme will teach recent graduates about the commercial feasibility of solutions, develop their understanding of business operations, and enhance their knowledge of sales, intellectual property and finance. Through supporting and developing the future workforce, this collaboration is building the talent base which will help to support the economy during the current crisis and beyond.

“Heriot-Watt has a proud history of graduate employability and we are the leading university in Scotland for graduate salaries. As we face unprecedented times, we want to ensure we are offering our students the best possible chance of success in the challenging job market they will now enter. This programme reflects Heriot-Watt’s collaborative ethos and its approach to the practical application of our excellent research. We are particularly interested in attracting graduates from the fields of Business Management, Data Science, AI, Robotics, Software and Energy.”

Organisations already participating include Cisco, Schneider, Santander, LVMH, Dyson, Business in the Community, Filament and Dar Group.

Robyn Gilmour, Head of Marketing, Business Development and Communications, Dar UK, said: “This programme will help equip business leaders of the future with the skills and knowledge needed to drive innovation and growth following the global pandemic. It provides graduates with a coveted opportunity to present their work to companies and investors, while interacting closely with business, through receiving industry mentorship and tackling real world challenges, building valuable networks and making connections. Students will be better positioned than ever to drive forward their careers in industry.”

Heriot-Watt University has five global campuses including Edinburgh, Dubai and Malaysia with graduating students from a range of disciplines already signed up for the 2020 programme. Students from any Heriot-Watt campus can request to join the programme.

To find out more about the Future Made for Success Programme, including details about the industry scholarships available to postgraduate students, please visit https://www.hw.ac.uk/fmfs.htm.