Professor Julian Beer, Deputy Vice Chancellor of Birmingham City University has welcomed the latest announcement by UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak, and has called for further Government investment in graduates and entrepreneurs to support a post-COVID economic recovery.

Professor Beer said:

“Overall, today’s announcement by the Chancellor comes as a welcome move; by his own admission, this is a first effort to which he may need to return to in order to refine.

“It is positive to see big numbers being thrown out by Sunak, however we’d like to see further support for graduates entering what is a considerably hostile jobs market within the Government’s short and long term economic recovery plans.

“There are, of course, potential opportunities for graduate placements to meet the skills gap as businesses begin to rebuild after the damage caused by Covid-19. But, there seems to be no specific mention of any eligible policy interventions today that apply to graduates.

“Given the talent pool of circa 65,000 students in the West Midlands graduating in September – with around 35,000 likely to stay in the region – there is huge potential for many sectors to benefit from University leavers through a Government-led initiative.

“Further interventions which would be welcomed include upskilling and retraining for furloughed staff and stimulus for entrepreneurialism to encourage businesses to start up or existing ones to pivot particularly during this challenging business period.

“Along with the push for this to be a ‘green recovery’ – although the investment announced so far is limited compared to European neighbours – we must ensure our workforce is multi-skilled, innovative and adaptive in order to tackle the economic challenges ahead.”