Malvern specialist software company finds success with graduate scheme

A Malvern-based business which develops software for the Air Traffic Control and Rail Industries is enjoying success with its popular graduate scheme.

Graffica has provided software systems and consultancy to the transport sector since 2000 and are based on the Enigma Business Park off Sandy’s Road.

Co-director Mike Ballone first moved to the area to develop software systems for the Defence Research Agency, now QinetiQ. By 2000, he and his business partner set up in Malvern to develop Java based Air Traffic Control simulation systems and have now also diversified into the Rail sector. 

The company delivers innovative solutions to some of the largest stakeholders in the transport infrastructure sector, including EUROCONTROL and Network Rail. It work in partnership with customers to research, prototype and validate future systems and concepts, as well as implement operational systems.

Deciding to only employ graduates in the development teams, Mr Ballone stated that he enjoys developing young people and facilitating their career progression.

The graduates are employed through the Malvern Hills Graduate Grants Scheme run by Malvern Hill District Council. Running in partnership with several universities, it offers up to £2,000 towards the costs of recruiting an undergraduate or graduate.

The aim is to support the growth of small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) by addressing higher level skills shortages. It is open to all eligible SMEs in the district looking to recruit graduates for the first time or experiencing difficulties finding the right graduate for their needs.

Luke Joliffe, the firm’s fourth trainee, is a computer graduate who first met the firm in his first year when they presented their products at a Careers Fair at the University of Birmingham.

Now in a permanent role as an Analysts Programmer with the firm, Luke’s duties include Java software design development specialising in Airport Air Traffic Control. The graduate scheme provides ongoing support to help him with his induction and his ongoing training and development needs.

Mike Ballone, Co-Director at Graffica, said: “In addition to considering a graduate’s technical skills and ability to grow into a role, the most important aspect is ensuring that the candidate will fit in with the rest of the team and the company culture. 

“We always ensure our new graduates and apprentices are mentored by a senior member of staff. We are also keen to promote interaction with other junior members of staff in the work environment and socially.”

 David Chambers, Leader of Malvern Hills District Council and Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, said: “The Malvern Hills Graduate Grants Scheme has given many graduates the chance to receive valuable support and training to help them achieve their career goals and thrive in the workplace.

“Our priority is to retain young people in the area and give them access to the fantastic career opportunities available locally and Graffica is just another example of the brilliant businesses we have in the district.”

Graffica takes on graduates every year and will be looking for a new intake in September this year.

Visit www.graffica.co.uk or call 01684 567200 for more information.

Contact Christine Butler, Economic Development Officer at Malvern Hills District Council, on 01684 862183 or email christine.butler@malvernhills.gov.uk for more information on the Malvern Hills Graduate Grants Scheme.