European Regional Development Fund


For Businesses

We support businesses to grow by recruiting great graduates

Business image
Business image

What is RISE?

RISE is a business support programme aimed at supporting SMEs in the Sheffield City Region to recruit graduates. We help SMEs overcome the barriers faced in graduate recruitment, equipping them with the tools to become successful graduate employers. Since 2013 RISE has supported more than 400 regionally based SMEs successfully recruit over 500 graduates. Many of those businesses have gone on to report increases in turnover, productivity, innovation and growth as a result. Read more about their experiences of working with us on our testimonials page.

Who is involved?

The RISE programme is delivered in partnership by Sheffield City Council, Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Sheffield, and is part-funded by the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.

What support do you offer?

The programme helps you to save costs and time, as well as increasing your access to a wide pool of skilled graduates. The service is free of charge to businesses and a limited number of one-off small grants are available towards employment costs. Read our SME information sheet for more details and timings for the RISE recruitment process.  As part of the RISE package of support, you will also be allocated a dedicated Relationship Manager who will meet with you after 3 and 6 months into your graduates’ recruitment. Find out more about other services available to you via the RISE Relationship Manager.

For those businesses who are new to RISE, or used RISE once before, you will receive:

  • Help to articulate the skills your business needs, including drafting an advert, providing graduate-specific labour market advice and expertise
  • Advertisement of your role as part of a national targeted advertising campaign
  • Undertaking of candidate selection processes using application forms, technical tests, video interviews and assessment centres
  • Assistance in the logistics of setting up final interviews (to be conducted by you)
  • Sessions/training on best-practice recruitment, allowing us to transfer the know-how to recruit graduates in the future
  • A one-off grant for first-timers, to help you to offer a competitive starting salary
  • A dedicated SME Relationship Manager to support you with access to further business growth support and wider access into our local universities.

For those SMEs who have accessed the RISE scheme twice or more before, you will be supported through RISE Next Steps; an extension of our existing support package. You will receive the same upfront support, and promotion via national RISE platforms, with a dedicated SME Relationship Manager on-hand throughout the process to provide:

  • Guidance on the right candidate selection techniques for your role, including assessment tools and best practice to enable you to undertake the shortlisting and selection activities inhouse
  • Tools, guides and templates for the recruitment process including candidate attraction, screening and assessment to help us transfer the know-how to recruit graduates in the future
  • Continued support to help you access further business growth opportunities and wider access into our local universities.

Is my business eligible?

To be eligible your business must:

  • Be an SME based in the Sheffield City Region (Barnsley, Bassetlaw, Bolsover, Chesterfield, Derbyshire Dales, Doncaster, North-East Derbyshire, Rotherham, Sheffield)
  • Employ fewer than 250 people
  • Not already routinely employing graduates
  • Be looking to create new/additional graduate-level jobs

If you want to register your interest, access the support, or find out more about the scheme now, please just get in touch.

The RISE team have guided us throughout the recruitment process from helping develop a focused job description, develop in house interview techniques and questions, long listing and shortlisting candidates and providing assistance with feed back to unsuccessful applicants. The professional assistance and support we have received from the RISE team has made the recruitment process more efficient and enabled us to focus on the right candidate for the job.

Jason Drake, Director

RES Environmental Ltd

RISE has been instrumental in helping us to recruit talented graduates who want to work in the Sheffield City Region and as a direct result we have six capable graduates working in engineering and sales. The RISE team, including the two Sheffield universities, has a lot to offer local employers

Charles Turner, Managing Director

Durham Duplex

As a small business owner in the Sheffield City Region, the support of RISE was fundamental for recruiting and retaining a talented graduate, who joined our team of consultants and has now been with us for over a year. To any businesses looking to grow and recruit a highly-skilled workforce, I would highly recommend the RISE scheme

Marina Larios, Director

Inova Consultancy

At Moore Insight, our five RISE graduates have been delivering significant value across the different functions within our business. They are working in finance, marketing, business development, HR and operations and have brought fresh ideas, enthusiasm and a positive working attitude to our strong, existing company culture. Our involvement in the RISE scheme has been instrumental in helping us grow our company over the past 6 months, and we were provided with useful tools, advice and documentation to make the recruitment process run very smoothly.

Kate Hill, Business Development & Marketing Manager

Moore Insight