A WORCESTER IT firm has been taking advantage of a new graduate grant scheme to take on apprentices.

Titania, the award winning cyber security company based in Barbourne, has created its first industry placement for university students with help from a grant of £1,000 from the Worcester City Council Graduate Grant Scheme.

The scheme has been launched to combat the higher level skills shortage, which can often hamper business growth.

It is being run in partnership with the University of Worcester and Graduate Advantage and enables businesses to access free recruitment and grants of between £250 and- £1,000 towards salary costs for either a placement student, or a recent graduate.

The firm has recruited Glen Stimson, a second year computer science student, through the University of Worcester’s business school placement office.

Mr Stimson, aged 35, is retraining after spending five years in the British Army and 10 years working as an electrician.

He hopes that his placement year will give him a competitive edge in the workplace after he graduates.

Mr Stimson said: "Titania has offered me the opportunity to get experience in the area I’m interested in working in, when I finish my studies.

“I can apply what I’ve learnt at University to my work for them – and this placement will be invaluable for my final year studies.”

“We are a committed apprenticeship employer, but this is the first time that we’ve taken a university student on a placement,” says Vaughan Esprey, chief technical officer at Titania.

“Bringing young people and students into our business helps us to develop our talent pipeline – and supporting the next generation is also at the heart of our corporate values.”

Councillor Geoff Williams, vice chairman of the Worcester City Council’s place and economic development committee, said: "Attracting and retaining people with higher level skills to support the growth of local businesses is a real priority for the city council.

“Our new graduate grant scheme is designed to open the door to some of the fantastic careers on offer in Worcester businesses - as well helping local firms to access knowledgeable, skilled staff.”

Kat Jones, placement manager at the University of Worcester Business School, said: "Our students and graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills to contribute to business from day one.

“We know that students who do their placement year with a local business are more likely to stay in the area and are much more employable, having already experienced the rigours of a busy working environment."

For more information on eligibility and how to apply for the Worcester City Graduate Grant Scheme, email economy@worcester.gov.uk or call the economic development team on 01905 722181.