A BID has been launched to retain graduate talent in the North-East and stem the brain drain from the region.

One of Durham University’s smallest, but oldest student bodies, St Chad’s College, is behind the Intern North-East Initiative (Intern:NE), which aims to persuade graduates life may not be greener automatically looking to London and the South-East as a first workplace.

Graduates of St Chad’s are said to be among the brightest and best in the country, regularly achieving among the highest proportion of first-class degrees of any college at Durham.

But, most years, their talent and energy is largely lost to the region as the vast majority leave the North-East after graduation to begin their careers, usually in the South-East.

College vice-principal and senior tutor, Dr Eleanor Spencer-Regan, who is leading the initiative, said a move to London or the South-East is the right decision for many departing graduates.

“But, we believe there are many great reasons to consider the North-East as a place to begin and build a career.”

She highlighted the fact the region is home to 4,800 creative, digital and technology companies, while the North-East software and technology market is worth nearly £2 billion and its digital and creative sector is among the fastest growing in the country.

“Many UK and international companies have bases in the North East including Nissan, Hitachi, Virgin Money, Sage Group, Bond Dickinson, and PwC.”

She also pointed to the benefits of more affordable house prices for buyers, being 30-per cent lower than the UK average, helping money to go further than many other parts of the country.

“Our new Intern:NE initiative aims to challenge the assumption that you can begin or progress your career only in the South-East by developing a new internship scheme with businesses and organisations in the North-East.

Intern:NE will seek students willing to undertake internships and do work experience with regional employers.

Companies considering taking part in the scheme can contact Dr Spencer-Regan, via chads.seniortutor@durham.ac.uk, on Twitter: @StChadsDurham, or by ringing 0191-334 3345.