Helga Henry, on how we retain talented new graduates in Birmingham…

“When I arrived, to join a law firm in another recession many years ago, each trainee was given a thorough grounding in all aspects of our work, a “buddy” to show us where to buy lunch and an all-important organised pub crawl to welcome us to Brum. […] But if our new graduates are being shown exactly where they can go and drink, who is sharing with them the many exciting spaces and places in which they can go and think?”

“Given that the West Midlands in general, and Birmingham in particular, have a graduate retention level well below the national average, perhaps we could all do more to celebrate the arrival of those who have chosen to work here.”

Historically, it used to be that drinking and thinking spaces could be one and the same. Think of the coffee houses of London at the time of Pepys’ Diary, or the pub-crawling early life of the Royal Society, or the multitude of private London clubs in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Perhaps part of the problem is that the places where drinking and serious thinking occur simultaneously are few, and becoming fewer. I guess that was why I liked science-fiction fandom in my youth — SF fans have no problem draining the bar dry, while carrying on talking about interesting ideas and concepts.

* Previously on D’log: comments on the report Graduate Retention, Attraction and Employment Study 2008 : Key findings.