Tuesday, 05 January 2021 10:07

Talent Exchange attracts hundreds of local businesses

from left to right - Third year Management with Marketing student who is on a placement with Talent Exchange, Emily Bishop (l), and project manager for Talent Exchange, Yvonne Cook (r).

Hundreds of small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) across the North-east of Scotland have signed up to a unique work experience scheme.

More than 230 of the region’s SMEs have engaged with Talent Exchange, a new initiative which provides opportunities to access the skills and knowledge of Robert Gordon University (RGU) students in ways that are tailored to the specific needs of an organisation.

Following its launch in September 2014, Talent Exchange has worked with a total of 237 businesses from across 25 different sectors ranging from oil and gas, property and recruitment to healthcare, tourism and hospitality.

The initiative, which was established with funding from the Scottish Funding Council, currently has 175 student work experiences underway in SMEs for RGU’s 2015/2016 academic year where students from a range of disciplines are selected for either one-off challenges, short-term projects and placements of varying lengths.

Yvonne Cook, Project Manager for Talent Exchange who is based at RGU, says: “The demand from businesses looking to engage with Talent Exchange has been fantastic and is testament to the needs of SMEs to flexibly tap into the skills and knowledge of RGU students.

“SMEs often don’t have the resources or the expertise to solve a specific business need so the initiative is able to help by providing easy and tailored access to the talent of RGU students who bring specialist skills and a fresh perspective.”

The initiative, which is partnering with SCDI, FSB Scotland and the Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce, is aimed at organisations looking for help with a specific business challenge such as website development, events, design, photography, corporate social responsibility policy, IT solutions, finance, business development, research or marketing.

“RGU is a distinctive university for employability and has an established track record in industry engagement and so understands the specific needs of businesses,” adds Yvonne.

“79% of the companies working with us have engaged with RGU for the first time so we have been able to provide RGU students with new opportunities to put their learning into action and develop their soft skills in ways that are tailored to specific business projects.”

Braemar Castle in Aberdeenshire is one of the businesses which has recently engaged with Talent Exchange as it was looking for help with a marketing strategy.

Laura McMeekan, Castle Manager of the locally run 17th century visitor attraction, said: “Our student completed a thorough review of the last five seasons of the marketing of Braemar Castle, and created a marketing plan for 2016 which we are starting to implement and are already seeing positive results.

“The student did a fantastic job and helped us to get a handle on where we need to focus our marketing efforts, which is of great value for a small organisation as it is important to know where is best to focus our energy.

“We’ve had a great experience working with Talent Exchange and it’s fantastic to hear how popular it’s been as it’s really having a positive impact on the local economy by helping the region’s small business community grow and flourish.”

Yvonne adds: “The success of Talent Exchange and the boost it’s providing to local businesses is contributing to the role RGU plays in helping the region’s development by working in partnership with private, public and voluntary organisations.”

Talent Exchange is currently seeking work experience opportunities for students across a range of disciplines including IT, media and PR, management, project management, photography and research.

For more information on Talent Exchange, visit www.rgu.ac.uk/talentexchange or to talk to a member of the project team about a work experience opportunity email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 01224 262046.


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