About Transformation West Midlands (TWM)

Supporting local students and graduates into higher skilled employment and building a diverse graduate talent pipeline for West Midlands employers.

""The University of Birmingham, Newman University and University College Birmingham (UCB) have won a grant from the Office for Students (OfS) to help boost job opportunities for local graduates in the West Midlands region, seeking work close to home, by choice or by circumstance. 

Nicola Dandridge

Chief Executive of the Office for Students

“Graduates should not have to move to London to get good jobs. It is essential that those who stay in their home towns and cities can enter high-skilled work and are not locked out of the graduate labour market.”

Introduction to TWM

Funds of £500K has been awarded to target locally domiciled students and graduates, particularly from black and minority ethnic groups and students/graduates with disabilities, who may face wider challenges to securing graduate level employment. 

Barriers prohibiting progression into higher level employment can include: a lack of professional networks and social capital to gain knowledge and quality work experience; family commitments impacting on time to plan their career; a lack of ‘just like me’ role models to gain inspiration and direction. Even barriers from recruitment and selection practices can hinder progress, leading to negative perceptions of self.

This project seeks to re-address the imbalance, creating a level playing field. So that all who seek local employment and need more personal support, have the help that’s required to think about, plan and reach their career goal.

Led by careers services at each partner university, we will be working with final year undergraduate students and alumni (up to 2 years after graduation with an undergraduate bachelor’s degree) who are either currently in part-time work, seeking a graduate level job or unemployed. We will also work closely with employers, supporting organisations and other stakeholders to build a stronger local eco-system of support, resulting in:

  • Work-ready, local graduates learning skills which fit local Industry needs
  • The creation of a new diverse talent pipeline sought by employers to help diversify their workforce, igniting new ideas and innovation to remain competitive and enter new markets.

TWM Project aims & objectives

Transforming the skills capabilities of local students and graduates to fill the region’s skills gaps

Transforming the skills capabilities of local students and graduates to fill the region’s skills gaps will be via testing the effectiveness of provision that transforms students’ work-readiness. Activity includes skills workshops, online development and work-based learning, to build transferrable soft skills and hard skills.

Transforming the employment outcomes of local students who reside in the West Midlands

Transforming the employment outcomes of local students who reside in the West Midlands will occur by testing a variety of provision. In addition to careers advisors, a progression coach can be accessed, supporting in particular, those who are most in need of support from identified under-represented groups to help spur progress. 

Transforming how Careers Services work with individuals from under-represented groups

Transforming the way careers services work with diverse local under-represented students and graduates will be through testing a series of interventions that aim to progress individuals into a highly skilled job requiring a degree or further study. The Careers team will test one to one personal coaching and a financial fund with c.85 individuals a year (at each institution), as well as work-based learning, mentoring, sector deep dives, skills workshops and reverse mentoring.  Measuring the effectiveness of those interventions will be through using learning gain methodology. 

Transforming the way employers recruit and run their recruitment practices.

Transforming the way employers recruit and run their recruitment practices will be by testing reverse mentoring. Our aim is to help influence change, utilising students’ and graduates’ experience, backgrounds, perceptions and ideas to modify practice, paving the way to a more inclusive and diverse future workforce that represents the region.

Focusing initially on one sector to make a difference, mangers in the Business, Professional, and Financial Services (BPFS) sector will be mentored by  teams of three (students/graduates) from winter 2020. 

Project Legacy

The learning gained as a result of the three year project, should positively affect the HE sector and how careers services can assist under-represented groups and employers more effectively, levelling the graduate job playing field. Personal stakeholder data revealing names will not be used in any reporting. Please refer to the Privacy Notice below.

Project timescales 

Transformation West Midlands runs from May 2019 – May 2022. 

Project team

This project is led by Careers Network at the University of Birmingham, the Careers Service at Newman University and Hired@UCB.  

Project Consortium members

Supported by:

  • Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP
  • Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce
  • BPS Birmingham
  • UpRising
  • Birmingham Business School

Background information to the Office for Students Challenge Fund

Further information regarding the Office for Students Challenge Fund, the reasoning behind the fund and the 15 institutions chosen, can be found on the Office for Students: No place like home press release. 

Privacy Notice

Privacy Statement - Transformation West Midlands 

Who are we?

The University of Birmingham, Newman University and University College Birmingham have won a grant from the Office for Students to help boost job opportunities for local graduates in the region.

The project is called ‘Transformation West Midlands’ and we will work closely with key employers in the region to help them recruit locally and diversify their workforce.

Key to the project is improving the employment outcomes of undergraduate final year students and graduates* from under-represented groups, particularly black and minority ethnic students/graduates and students/graduates with disabilities. Findings will help identify what triggers the progression of individuals most in need of support.

The University of Birmingham is the lead partner and will report to the Office for Students and inform the HE sector on the outcomes of this project.

A number of activities, online resources and information (e.g. skills development training; networks, mentoring, reverse mentoring and events across the West Midlands) will be available to you. This is to help raise your awareness of opportunity in sectors and locations. We will also pay particular attention to the Business, Professional and Financial Services Sector, which forecasts significant growth, enabling organisations to meet or work with you. 

What personal data are we collecting?

When you participate, you provide the project with your name, university, year of study, programme of study, student ID number, your postcode, gender, ethnicity, health/disability data and your engagement with the project, as well other information on the student record system. We will also collect your feedback e.g. through surveys, questionnaires and focus groups. This information will be held at your University and shared across the partner universities. 

How will we use it?

This project aims to develop your knowledge, confidence, skills/competencies so that you are better prepared for the workplace and for what local industry demands.  We will test a number of interventions/activities to create a stronger support network, with the goal of leading to higher level graduate employment or further study for those that live in the region.

We will use your personal data to:

  • Deliver additional services and facilities to you, related to careers which are part of the Transformation West Midlands Project and include the partner universities;
  • Communicate effectively with you including the distribution of relevant newsletters and invitations to take part in other careers related activities;
  • Evaluate, monitor and report on how students and recent graduates are accessing our services, plan for future courses and activities, and plan/provide help or reasonable adjustments.

What is the legal basis of the processing?

We consider the processing of your personal data for these purposes to be necessary for:

  • the performance of our contractual obligations with you;
  • the performance of tasks we carry out in the public interest;
  • the pursuit of the legitimate interests of the University or external organisations (e.g. to enable your access to external services).

We do not use your personal data to carry out any wholly automated decision-making that affects you. 

Who will your personal data be shared with?

The University of Birmingham, Newman University and University College Birmingham will share your personal data including your name, ID number, postcode, ethnicity, gender, disability and if applicable, conditions about the type programme you are enrolled on.  This will used to support the administration of this project.

Your personal information will also be shared with:

  • Providers of any external or collaborative learning and training placements or fieldwork opportunities (and we will explain to you what information is required, how and when this will be shared when we collect the data from you);
  • External collaborating organisations if you enter a programme (e.g. as part of work experience). We will explain to you what information is required, how and when this will be shared when we collect data from you;
  • ‘Transformation West Midlands’ project Steering Group members, where reports are required to inform of project progress against desirable outcomes. But information about you will be pseudonymised / anonymised to protect your privacy.

The external funder, Office for Students, will also receive some information about you. This will also be pseudonymised / anonymised to protect your privacy, as we will be reporting on numbers. 

Your rights

More information about how the University of Birmingham lead partner uses your personal data and your rights can be found on the University of Birmingham privacy notice page.

*Graduates - West Midlands graduates (from the region) who have studied at Newman University, UCB and University of Birmingham, graduating in the last two years with a bachelors degree; currently unemployed or underemployed. The West Midlands area includes Birmingham and Solihull, Black Country (Sandwell, Dudley, Walsall, Wolverhampton), Coventry and Warwickshire, Hereford and Worcestershire, Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, Staffordshire.


Professional Services