By Maximilian Clarke

The UK’s small businesses are struggling to find talent at a time when graduate unemployment nears record levels.

UK graduates are missing obvious opportunities, with only one in five graduates proactively seeking jobs with small firms, and only one in ten using social media to find employment.

Further research into graduate recruitment and possibilities for why SMEs (small to mid-sized enterprises) struggle to find fresh talent, has been identified by Iconnyx, UK SME and Managed Services provider.

“The issues for both ‘top talent’ graduates and growing SMEs alike are frustrating in that there is no obvious forum for the two to connect and ‘sell’ to each other,” said Tim Walker, Iconnyx’ managing director. “Universities need to alert their talent to the opportunities that exist in UK small to medium businesses as well as channels for reaching them. It’s frustrating to see that high-growth companies typically lose out on the best of graduate talent for these reasons. Universities should invite SMEs and networks like LinkedIn into the student community far earlier.”

In response, Duncan Cheatle, the founder of The Supper Club – a club for Britain’s most successful entrepreneurs has launched the Rise To Challenge, a 6-week competition for students and graduates to learn practical business skills and gain valuable insight into running a business. The challenge offers unique prizes: one-off internships (for example shadowing a CEO), jobs and training. Iconnyx has already sponsored five internships for 2012, where graduates can work directly alongside the management team with visibility of sales, marketing and technical support operations.

“There is nothing more exciting or eye-opening than the chance to start out your career working alongside founders and CEOs,” said Duncan Cheatle. “UK SMEs are not reaching their fair share of top university talent. Rise To is a platform for graduates and SMEs to bring the very best to one another.”

“The issues for both ‘top talent’ graduates and growing SMEs alike are frustrating in that there is no obvious forum for the two to connect and ‘sell’ to each other,” said Tim Walker, managing director. “Universities need to alert their talent to the opportunities that exist in UK small to medium businesses as well as channels for reaching them. It’s frustrating to see that high-growth companies typically lose out on the best of graduate talent for these reasons. Universities should invite SMEs and networks like LinkedIn into the student community far earlier.”

In response, Duncan Cheatle, the founder of The Supper Club – a club for Britain’s most successful entrepreneurs has launched the Rise To Challenge, a 6-week competition for students and graduates to learn practical business skills and gain valuable insight into running a business. The challenge offers unique prizes: one-off internships (for example shadowing a CEO), jobs and training. Iconnyx has already sponsored five internships for 2012, where graduates can work directly alongside the management team with visibility of sales, marketing and technical support operations.

“There is nothing more exciting or eye-opening than the chance to start out your career working alongside founders and CEOs,” said Duncan Cheatle. “UK SMEs are not reaching their fair share of top university talent. Rise To is a platform for graduates and SMEs to bring the very best to one another.”

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