Smart companies are focusing on internal training schemes to develop and mentor graduate employees.
The challenge of attracting the right people in a highly competitive recruitment market is leading many organisations to consider developing their own talent from within. While formal graduate programmes are nothing new in larger organisations, such schemes are becoming more common at smaller companies.
Recruitment firm Fastnet, which has offices in Cork and Dublin, has been successful at developing its own talent rather than hiring from competitors over the past 15 or 20 years, according to managing partner Niamh O’Driscoll. She said a formal graduate programme that brings people into the company at a very early stage was the next logical step.
The first two graduates- one with a psychology degree and the other with a biochemistry background- have been taken on for the two year rotational programme. After six months getting to grips with all aspects of Fastnet’s business, the new hires will work in the talent acquisition division, focused initially on quality and laboratory, and then on engineering.
“We have a very specific methodology and core values”, said O’ Driscoll. “The programme allows us to instil our values from the beginning and will help ensure there is a consistent pipeline of quality talent coming up”.
Portuguese pharmaceutical company Hovione, which has a contract manufacturing site in Cork that employs more than 200 people, has also been looking at innovative ways of developing talent.
“We’re quite a small company so we’re not going to have a huge internal mentoring or graduate recruitment programme” said human resources director Mary Hennessy. “We’ve tried to align with international programmes where we can facilitate one or two graduates.”
INOV Contacto, is an EU-funded scheme that enables young Portuguese’s workers to work abroad for six months as interns in multinational companies. In Hovione’s case, the candidates typically have a master’s degree or a PHD in chemistry.
“At the end of the placement it’s up to us if we want to offer a full-time position” said Hennessy. “Both of the participants so far have stayed with us and relocated to Cork as process engineers”.
The company also participates in the Ibec Global Graduates Programme, taking on two people through this route each year. The 12 month programme involves six months working with the Cork team and six months based in one of the other Hovione sites in Lisbon, New Jersey or Macau. The company has gone on to hire six graduates through this programme.