Heron Bros Ltd reaffirms its commitment to the Business in the Community’s Responsible Business Internship Programme.

The programme is supported by Belfast Harbour and aims to tackle graduate underemployment – graduates who are working in lower paid job(s) and not in a field for which they are qualified. So far, over 30 other leading organisations in Northern Ireland have signed up; a number that is growing each week.

It is a timely addition to the recruitment programmes on offer to graduates in Northern Ireland following recent reports from The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) that the majority of UK university graduates are working in jobs that do not require a degree. Its report stated that ‘overall, 58.8% of graduates are in jobs deemed to be non-graduate roles’ and is calling for a ‘national debate’ on how to generate more high-skilled jobs.

Roy Adair, Chair, Business in the Community and Chief Executive Belfast Harbour, explains: “It’s a Catch 22 situation. Working graduates are to be commended for their resilience and knuckling down, doing whatever they can to support themselves, however, as time progresses they are afraid to make the leap from having cash in their pocket to taking an opportunity which uses their talent and skills. It’s bad for them and it’s bad for business. We face a skills shortage, dare I say crisis. We need the people who are newly qualified to use their up-to-date knowledge and fresh ideas in our businesses, thus enhancing their own future and contributing to our economy.”

Grainne O’Kane, HR Manager at Heron Bros says,

“We are proud to support BITC’s graduate internship initiative. We recognise we have a responsibility to support the talented young people in our community. Our industry is already seeing the skills gap and so we are committed to taking a long-term and sustainable view to ensure a positive future for our own business.”

To find out more about what Heron Bros Ltd is doing to support the graduate internship initiative, contact Shauna Young by emailing shauna.young@heronbros.com.

To get involved or to find out what other organisations have signed up to the programme, visitwww.graduateinternshipsni.com or call Business in the Community’s Employability team on (028) 9046 0606.