A £365,000 taxpayer-subsidised scheme which has placed 130 graduates in small firms has seen a five-fold return on the investment, it is claimed.
Sheffield City Council chiefs say the RISE intern scheme has pumped £5.71 in the local economy for every £1 invested.
The figures come from Ekosgen, an independent economic research consultancy hired by the council, which examined the first 50 RISE graduates. It found 85 per cent were given a permanent job and they generated an extra £1.34m for the city economy.
The scheme aims to help bosses in small firms find recruits. It also pays £1,000 wages and comes with six months of mentoring.
In total 130 RISE graduates are working in 104 firms. A further 55 will be placed in SMEs this year.
Coun Leigh Bramall, Sheffield City Council deputy leader, said: “This Sheffield-born initiative is a viable solution to the ‘brain drain’ to London.
“Yorkshire is the only region outside of London that is bucking this trend currently, but in 2012 a survey found that three quarters of our Sheffield City Region businesses did not employ graduates and did not intend to over the coming three years.
“Ensuring there is a higher proportion of graduate-level jobs in Sheffield is key to securing business growth and economic stability and working with university partners and the business community we are tackling this challenge head on.”
RISE is a collaboration between Creative Sheffield, the council’s economic development arm - Sheffield Hallam University, The University of Sheffield and the private sector.
Eadon Consulting, based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Rotherham, has taken four RISERS and employed three.
Boss James Hill said: “We operate within a very specialist field and as such recruitment has always been a challenge. Internships, much like apprenticeships, enable us to train the next generation of engineers so that knowledge is advanced rather than exchanged. It bridges the gap between academia and working practice.”