Keeping new graduates local in Yorkshire

One of the biggest challenges for the North of England is creating skilled, interesting career paths to encourage young people to build their careers in the area, avoiding the so-called ‘brain drain’ to the south of the country.

The perceived lack of skilled and interesting roles for young people in the region can lead to local people feeling they need to move away to find a rewarding job, and this misconception is something that Yorkshire-based company Sewell Group is fighting against with their Project GATEway.

GATEway is an initiative that aims to help young people into the world of work through graduate programmes, apprenticeships, traineeships and work experience placements across their organisation. Sewell Group has a diverse collection of businesses in different sectors, from construction and facilities management, through to estates consultancy and software development, so it’s perfectly placed to offer opportunities not only in trades like plumbing and joinery, but also professional roles, such as quantity surveying and consulting.

The GATEway programme offers a mixture of real-world, hands-on experience and accredited training, providing the opportunity for tasters for those struggling to enter the world of work, to structured apprenticeship and graduate programmes that allow the brightest young talent to shine.

One of the first people to join the GATEway programme was Michael Boland (24), who is currently Product Lead at Sewell Group’s software business, Parallel. Parallel is a public private partnership, specialising in interactive mapping and data visualisation.

Michael joined the company as Graduate Developer early in 2022, after graduating from university with a first-class degree in computer science and wanted to find a scheme which would enable him to grow his technical and project management skills. After almost two years in a GATEway role, he was recently promoted to the role of Project Lead within Parallel.

“When I was looking for a role after graduating, I wanted to find a job that would allow me to grow and develop my skills, as well as feeling like I was making a difference,” he said. “The role with Parallel was perfect, because it gave me the chance to learn from more experienced software developers, as well as offering structured training in technical software and putting me through a formal management development programme. It’s really helped me understand what direction I want my career to go in, and now I’ve got the chance to repay that by helping mentor new staff.”

Following Michael’s promotion, his previous entry-level role has been filled by new Graduate Developer Matthew Page. Matthew (27) grew up in Hessle, and after studying for a Masters in neuroscientific research at the University of Hull, was looking for a job that would allow him to use his data analysis and programming skills. He says that the chance of a graduate role was a big factor when choosing to stay in the Humber region.

“When I saw the graduate role advertised for Parallel, I knew it was perfect for the skills I’d gained at university,” he said. “I thought I’d have to move away from the region to get into a graduate scheme, so finding an industry-leading, forward-thinking tech company offering such an opportunity right on my doorstep was brilliant.”

Parallel Chief Executive Claire Harrison believes that bringing graduates into the company revitalises the whole team.

“Our GATEway scheme is a great way to give people a way into their chosen industry, but it’s also beneficial for the company. Graduates bring new energy and fresh ideas to our team, as well as bringing an original perspective to some of our challenges.”

“Since taking on our first graduate, Michael, we’ve seen him flourish, and he’s really excelled in liaising with our clients, to the extent that we’ve created a new role to channel his skills. We’re looking forward to helping new graduate Matthew develop his skills and find his own path within the industry, and use his talents to help Parallel’s clients excel.”

Find out more about our GATEway programme and see our latest vacancies.