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23.11.05
Graduate boosts print business

One of the South West's largest print firms is reaping the benefits of a scheme to employ graduates to improve business.

In November 2004 Jane Opie, a graduate of Plymouth University, was employed by Penryn-based Century Litho under the Unlocking Cornish Potential (UCP) scheme. UCP has received Objective One European Social Fund (ESF) investment to place graduates with businesses, subsidise wages and provide an expert mentor for up to 15 months. UCP is part of the Combined Universities in Cornwall initiative and is run by Cornwall College.

Jane's year contract ended on November 8th and she has been retained by Century Litho as their 'Commercial Manager'. "It is brilliant that we have actually got a scheme like Unlocking Cornish Potential down here," said Redruth-born Jane. "If it wasn't for UCP I would not have had this opportunity. I love Cornwall and the lifestyle but would decide to move away if I felt I was not progressing in my career."

Jane has become involved in a wide variety of tasks at Century Litho, which has about 100 employees and recently invested £1 million in a state-of-the-art printing press. Supported by mentor Raoul Humphreys, development director at Cornwall College, she initially became involved in estimating and production.

She also became involved in recruitment and now has the responsibility of drawing up shift schedules and leading the daily production meetings. Having carried out a post graduate course in marketing she drew up a plan for Century Litho which has already resulted in television and newspaper coverage and www.centuryprint.com being revamped.

Jane has now started a one year print management course run by Loughborough University. The post graduate course, which is partly paid for by UCP and by Century Litho, involves Jane attending Loughborough every two months and the remainder of the work will be carried out from Cornwall.

Century Litho managers have been so impressed by Jane and the UCP scheme that they have also taken on a second graduate under UCP, David Tedray. David Tayler, managing director of Century Litho, said: "We are delighted with the progress Jane has made during her time with us and by the fact that she has been able to contribute from such an early stage in that progression. We would certainly be pleased to consider additional applicants in the future."

Allyson Glover, UCP spokesperson, added: "Century Litho has gained real value from employing a graduate in their business and Jane has had a great development opportunity and been given a good deal of responsibility early on in her career. There are now 92 businesses in Cornwall who have participated in the UCP programme and 124 graduates employed."

For further information please contact Clare Morgan of the Objective One Communications Team on 01872 223439 or email: cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk.

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in the Unlocking Cornish Potential project through the European Social Fund (ESF).

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Editor's notes:

Century was founded in a Truro basement in 1975 with a small single colour press and a staff of only two. Now one of the largest employers in the area with more than 100 staff, the company produces a wide range of printed products from simple letterheads and business cards to high volume direct mail catalogues and complex bespoke brochures, with more than 200 clients in the tourism industry alone each year.

Unlocking Cornish Potential (UCP): UCP programmes place graduates with small and medium sized businesses in Cornwall and can last between six and 15 months. Investment in UCP through Objective One means that participating businesses receive 30% of the cost of taking on their graduate for the duration of the project. Graduates and their employers also receive support from an independent mentor, 70% of previous UCP graduates have been offered a permanent position with their host company at the end of the project. UCP was the first project launched by the Combined Universities in Cornwall (CUC) initiative to offer direct business support. It is managed by Cornwall College.

The Combined Universities in Cornwall is a partnership that combines the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, University College Falmouth, The Open University, The College of St Mark & St John, and the Peninsula Medical School, with Cornwall's Further Education colleges - Cornwall College, Truro College and Penwith College. The CUC initiative has been invested in by the Objective One Programme, the South West Regional Development Agency, Cornwall County Council and the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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