Northside Glass recruited IT graduate Dean Hornibrook for a two-year placement as part of the GradStart programme. Photo: Clare Keogh

LEO: Attract top graduates

Cork’s Local Enterprise Office (LEO) is encouraging Leeside businesses to avail of a new programme designed to attract top graduate talent by paying half of their salary.

The GradStart programme offers financial support to eligible, Cork city-based LEO client companies employing a minimum of five staff. Through the programme, one graduate can be hired for a two-year period by companies operating within the manufacturing or internationally traded service sectors.

LEO Cork City Business Advisor, Anthony Russell, said the financial supports being offered are designed to enable SMEs to hire top graduate talent and develop a talent pipeline.

“This Enterprise Ireland funded initiative is a very practical support for companies,” he said.

Roles in any discipline other than direct sales and direct marketing positions are eligible for the programme and graduates must have graduated within the past four years.

Recruiting companies must also define the project aligned to their growth plan for each graduate to complete during the placement.

Graduates must be assigned an in-company mentor to support their development during the placement period.

LEO Cork City can pay up to €15,000 per year on a maximum allowable salary of €30,000 per year or 50 per cent of individual graduate salary costs, whichever is lesser.

Cork manufacturing company Northside Glass was successful in applying for the GradStart programme last year.

They recruited IT graduate Dean Hornibrook for a two-year placement commencing last January.

Commenting on the programme, Mr Hornibrook said it had been mutually beneficial to both him and his employer.

He said: “The GradStart programme allowed a business that traditionally would not have invested in technology to give me an opportunity. It has been invaluable to me personally and I could not endorse the programme enough.

“It has enabled me to work in a sector in which I can make a positive impact to how the company operates while also providing mentorship, training and hands on experience of business operations.”

Claire Hanifin, Northside Glass, Financial Controller added: “GradStart has been a fantastic opportunity for our business. It enabled us to offer a competitive salary to recruit skilled graduate talent, which in turn has meant we’ve been able to develop our online presence and the IT side of the business.”

Applications for GradStart funding can be made throughout the year and all enquiries should be directed to Anthony Russell, Business Advisor, LEO Cork City at or by calling 021-4961828.

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