GRADUATE job-seekers can now get extra help from a Manchester Metropolitan University scheme called TalentPlus. Summer leavers* are being invited to enrol on a free three-week course to sharpen their job hunting skills and improve their personal employability. On completion, they are matched to an employer in a paid or unpaid work placement for up to six months, or offered help to start their own business. An application hotline is now open on 0161 247 2166, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or come to our Open Day on June 24. Expenses and benefits MMU has teamed up with business support consultancy Blue Orchid** to develop 500 skilled graduates to fit the recruitment needs of small and large employers in the North West. Unpaid placements would be up to eight weeks and candidates would be eligible for travel expenses and Job Seekers Allowance. To qualify for a placement, candidates must return to MMU for a three-week course which covers interview techniques, self-assertiveness, time-management, presentation skills and enterprise. "In six sessions we aim to give each graduate a realistic grasp of their strengths and weaknesses and to enable them to see themselves from an employer's point of view," says the University's Dominic Martinez. Self-belief "Graduates have high levels of knowledge but they also need to believe in themselves in what is a highly-competitive jobs market this year. "This scheme is designed to build self-esteem and confidence which are key to landing a job." Research shows that employers who are not recruiting to full-time posts this summer, are still interested in keeping tabs on talented graduates, through placements and work experience. "The hope and expectation is that once our graduates show their worth to their host company, those 'temporary' placements will turn into permanent appointments," added Martinez. Candidates should be ready to enrol on the first course beginning June 29. For fuller details of TalentPlus, please contact Dominic Martinez 0161 247 1977 email@example.com or Lorraine Cox-Tregale on 0161 247 2231 firstname.lastname@example.org * Not only summer 2009 graduates may apply, the scheme is open to any graduate from the past few years. **Blue Orchid is a Manchester-based business support and start-up consultancy, which has helped more than 3,400 companies upskill, retrain, raise productivity and improve overall performance, and helped start 510 businesses. It has delivered £2.1 million of government funded programmes to businesses and individuals, and runs accredited NVQ units level 2 to 5.