Sir Alex Ferguson backs GCU graduate scheme

3 June 2020‌

Our founding donor, Sir Alex Ferguson is backing a scheme to help GCU graduates get a foot on the career ladder in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Recognising this summer will be the hardest for new graduates for more than a generation, the GCU Foundation has launched MINT (Mentoring, Internships, Networking and Talks) in a bid to give its upcoming 5,000 graduates the best possible chance of securing employment.

In addition to Sir Alex, the scheme has been backed by other notable honorary graduates and alumni of GCU. Actor Martin Compston; Ann Gow, Deputy Chief Executive of Health Improvement Scotland, Mark Hogarth of Harris Tweed; and Douglas Dawson of Liberty Industries are just some of the leaders in their field to have already signed up to participate.

Under the mentoring arm of the scheme, graduates will be paired with a relevant captain of industry who will offer such support as tips on making their CV stand out, act as a sounding board, and offer advice on building confidence and industry connections.  More than 400 GCU alumni have so far volunteered to be a mentor.

The internship programme offers new graduates the opportunity to gain paid industry experience within an SME, voluntary organisation or a company where GCU alumni are employed.

Lasting between 2-6 months, internships will enable graduates to develop new skills and make an impact within an organisation by working on a defined project over a substantial period of time. 

Unlike many other internship programmes, participating graduates will receive the living wage, ensuring they are appropriately rewarded for their hard work.  The programme has been established with a £200k pot of philanthropic support from Sir Alex Ferguson and marks the launch of an appeal to raise funds to ensure as many new graduates as possible can benefit from the scheme.

Graduates can also join GCU’s online networking platform, GCU Connect, where they can link up with fellow graduates around the world, while a series of online talks from captains of industry will commence from September with insights into the impact of COVID-19 on their specific industry, what they think the future holds and advice for graduates looking to get into it.

Sir Alex Ferguson said: “I have always been a champion of providing opportunities to young people and through this initiative I hope to give new graduates a helping hand to boost their employability as they enter a particularly challenging job market.”

GCU Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Pamela Gillies CBE, said: “We are immensely proud of how our students adapted to the abrupt shift to online teaching this year.  In particular, the class of 2020, who continued their studies with outstanding determination and resilience in order to complete their degrees.  They have worked hard to gain the skills and qualities needed to go on to make a valuable contribution in their chosen fields and to society. However, they are graduating into an extremely uncertain and challenging job market.  Through initiatives such as the industry mentors and internships, we will continue to do all we can to support our graduates.  We are extremely grateful to Sir Alex Ferguson for his continued support of our students and this generous gift to establish our new Internships Fund.”

* The Mentoring Programme is now live.  All other aspects of the MINT programme will be promoted to our new graduates in July.  For more information contact the Alumni Team here.