TO HELP fuel their growth ambitions, many Cornish businesses have created graduate opportunities with help from the Unlocking Potential graduate jobs team which, this April, is celebrating ten years of its graduate jobs service.
Successful entrepreneur Hannabeth Johnson, a Cornish graduate of Bath Spa University, knows how Unlocking Potential's help gave her the platform to make her career the success it is today.
Hannabeth was the first graduate employed with support from Unlocking Potential, and enthusiastically recalls how the team helped her to find a role that made the most of her university qualification and talent.
"Through Unlocking Potential, I got the job as marketing manager at what was then Mill Valley Coffee.
"My graduate role focused on a thorough marketing review and the rebranding of the company to what it is known as now – Origin Coffee. "Throughout my time with Origin, the Unlocking Potential team offered me loads of support and training, including a marketing course delivered at Cornwall College Camborne, and a mentor who supported both me and the business throughout my placement."
Hannabeth knows that the programme and resources provided by Unlocking Potential helped shape her career, and added to Origin's success too.
She said: "The graduate placement programme supported me and the business; it helped us grow together. Winning an award in 2006 from Unlocking Potential – for Best Marketing Impact – was completely unexpected at the time and a real boost to my career. It also acknowledged how a great business opportunity and the right graduate can deliver real business benefit."
Hannabeth then spent a year working as the sales manager at Roskilly's in St Keverne, before taking the plunge and starting her own business, The Porthleven Deli.
The knowledge and experience she gained through Unlocking Potential's support at the start of her career path was invaluable during her own start-up process.
"Unlocking Potential helped me to clarify my ideas and turn them into a solid business plan, which was particularly helpful when I went to talk to the bank," she said.
"The fact that I had all the relevant experience and training on my CV, and I knew how to evidence it, gave the bank more confidence to lend me the money to set up my own business."
Hannabeth is now working as the events co-ordinator for Porthleven Food and Music Festival and is excited about her next event on April 26.
"If I didn't have the support from Unlocking Potential originally, I'm not sure I'd be working where I am today.
"The skills, opportunity and confidence that I gained have lasted far beyond my original role, and I've been able to add to them while – through events like the Porthleven festival – helping other businesses thrive too."
Looking back, Hannabeth says: "Since my placement, Cornwall has changed quite a lot and I'm so pleased that there are now many more people starting and sustaining what are national businesses here.
"I still think that it was a big thing, particularly ten years ago, to start a UK-wide brand from Cornwall.
"It was made easier by having access to an experienced business mentor to help me push the business forward. Overall the total package was amazing.
"Ten years on I'd recommend it to anybody."
Unlocking Potential still helps Cornish businesses to create graduate careers and entrepreneurs to kick-start their business ideas, delivering great results for Cornwall. Now Unlocking Potential also has a team in Exeter, Grads for Growth, who support graduate placements across the rest of the South West.
If you are interested in benefiting from Unlocking Potential business start-up or graduate placement support, please call the team on 0845 600 3660 or visit unlocking-potential.co.uk