Manchester technology entrepreneur, Lawrence Jones, announced plans today to launch a graduate scheme that will accelerate growth at UKFast beyond its 25% target for the year and attract young talent to Manchester’s economy.
The CEO at the helm of cloud hosting company, UKFast, vowed to ‘step up’ and address the state of the graduate jobs market, recruiting 50 graduates this summer in the first stage of the scheme.
Jones will invest £4.5 million over two years, offering starting salaries of £19,000, rising to £30,000 with bonuses, and providing a purpose-built training facility for the company’s new recruits.
Jones said: “There’s a market of talented, energetic people in Britain looking for a step up, a break. It’s my duty as an entrepreneur with ambitions to expand massively, to give them the opportunity. It’s a win-win.
“Last week we celebrated with a barbecue at UKFast campus to mark the five-year anniversary of four of my best performers. I looked back at their journeys and considered how crucial they are to the development of this business. One sits on my board of directors, the others are senior managers and some of the best sales people in the team. They came to me as graduates looking for an opportunity to show what they were made of. They’ve thrived and they are incredibly successful. Why wouldn’t I want to recreate that success again?”
Developing the UKFast Academy launched in 2011, the firm’s latest recruitment project follows the appointment of Aaron Saxton as Director of Training.
Jones said: “Apprenticeship schemes don’t fit for graduates – they come out of university with a £40,000+ debt and who is going to help them out? It is time for us business owners to stand tall and find a business model that helps them. I don’t understand why businesses aren’t doing this already.
“This is not an apprenticeship or a typical graduate scheme, it’s a real training programme with real salaries and bonuses.”
The job role will include all aspects of the business as well as a stint within the UKFast sales team. Jones said: “Many people hear ‘sales’ as a dirty word but I don’t think that there is any better place within a business to learn how to represent the brand, how to build relationships and how to nurture the skills to be a great manager of the future.”
Jones believes the graduate scheme will allow the business to outperform its growth targets for 2013 of 25 per cent.
“We’ve looked at other cities for growth, but our heart lies in Manchester. Our business is growing so fast and we’re going to be a breeding ground for the best brains in the industry.”
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