Attracting, developing and retaining the talents of the region's university graduates and postgraduates is a central part of Sci-Tech Daresbury's vision.
Bringing together the brightest minds in the North West with Sci-Tech Daresbury's wealth of high-growth companies offers a multitude of benefits – opening up fantastic career opportunities to students, whilst enriching businesses of all sizes on the Sci-Tech Daresbury campus.
This exceptional nurturing of next generation expertise also helps to ensure a sustainable future for science and technology in the region, stimulate the North West economy and bolster the Northern Powerhouse.
Sci-Tech Daresbury is focused on delivering thousands of high-value jobs over the next 20 years by enabling science and technology companies on campus to readily access the talent and skills necessary to accelerate their growth and scale up. Two years ago this led to the campus establishing its Talent and Skills strategy, RADAR, to help Sci-Tech Daresbury companies attract, develop and retain the talent they need to meet their growth aspirations.
In practice this means helping employers develop close relationships with education and training providers, so they can readily tap into the talent they need when they need it. It also entails developing the management expertise and systems to implement training programmes and career development plans to develop and retain this talent.
The relationship that Sci-Tech Daresbury has facilitated between fast growing digital health company ORCHA and the University of Liverpool, is the perfect example of this approach in action.
ORCHA – the Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Applications – is based at Vanguard House at the campus and has grown from an innovative health concept to the world leader in health and care app assessments, in just six years. With a mission to drive standards and help NHS and care organisations across the world to capitalise on the power digital health apps have to offer, ORCHA is experiencing a boom in demand and, as a result, is on a major, global recruitment drive for over 100 roles.
With support from the University of Liverpool’s dedicated Employer Connections Consultant, Paul Cullinan, ORCHA has been able to build a mutually beneficial relationship with the University– enabling it to source the talent it needs on its own doorstep and to offer exciting opportunities to Liverpool graduates.
"We recognised in the early stages of growing our business that we could benefit enormously from making connections with regional universities," says Anita Owen, ORCHA’s Head of Operations.
"The University of Liverpool is one of the UK's leading research-intensive higher education institutions. The calibre of its graduates is outstanding, and we needed a way to tap into that. We also wanted to highlight to students that world-class career opportunities were available right here, in the North West, at ORCHA and Sci-Tech Daresbury.
"Paul understood and shared our mission from the outset. His passion for raising awareness of opportunities at the Sci-Tech Daresbury campus is clear to see, as is his desire to help stem the migration of regional talent. The relationship Paul has nurtured with the University of Liverpool and Sci-Tech Daresbury meant we had a number of in-roads to the student population and could easily engage with them. Paul and his team acted like an on-site recruitment consultancy, helping to identify the strongest graduate candidates for us but with none of the cost that is usually attached to such services."
To date, the relationship between ORCHA and the University of Liverpool – with the support of Paul – has resulted in four ORCHA internships for University of Liverpool graduates.
One of the interns has since been promoted to a Business Analyst position, demonstrating ORCHA's proactive approach to career development.
"Regular dialogue with Paul was both informative, helpful and engaging which made the recruitment process really easy to follow," says Anita.
"The calibre of graduates Paul presented to me was of a high standard and resulted in some amazing talent joining the business.
"Paul also invited me to present at a University of Liverpool careers fair - a really interactive session where I spoke about working at ORCHA and one of our interns talked students through a day in the life of a Digital Health Assessor. We continue to be supported by Paul as we seek to source more candidates and our experience of dealing with him, the university as well as the wider Sci-Tech Daresbury team is very positive."
The success of the ORCHA/University of Liverpool relationship isn't just down to his involvement, says Paul: "When businesses play their part alongside us, they soon reap dividends in terms of attracting and retaining top talent.
"Anita and the team at ORCHA were very open to suggestions in terms of the best ways to engage with University of Liverpool students. They were more than willing to come to campus and get involved with career opportunity awareness-raising activities. We worked with them to help identify the most suitable candidates for their rapid-growth business and, on the other side of the coin, we helped support students through the recruitment process, to successfully secure opportunities."
Perhaps the most effective way of illustrating the success of Sci-Tech Daresbury's collaborative approach to helping companies to attract, develop and retain talent, is through the words of the graduate recruits themselves.
Leyla Sollitt, a University of Liverpool graduate joined ORCHA in 2020 as a result of the University’s recruitment support and has already progressed to the role of Senior Digital Health Assessor.
"Once I was made aware of the really interesting opportunities available at ORCHA, I decided I wanted to work there, because I really wanted a job where I knew I was making a difference,” says Leyla. “Working at ORCHA is really fast paced and it’s really current. If I could sum up working at all ORCHA in one word I'd say 'varied'. It’s exactly the sort of career I wanted upon leaving university, and I have to thank my University, ORCHA and Sci-Tech Daresbury for helping make that happen.”
With Paul working in conjunction with further campus employers to awaken more students to the career possibilities that exist in the Liverpool City Region at Sci-Tech Daresbury, there is no doubt that all parties are helping to create an unrivalled hub of science and technology excellence in the North West.