Small firms will be able to interact directly with students in their field through a new service offered by a city university.

Birmingham City University will launch a new website in the spring allowing businesses to log in and access CVs and details of young people who might be able to help.

Professor Paul Forster from BCU’s business school is part of the project which aims to increase interaction with SMEs, including offering advice and access to funding.

Prof Forster said: “An SME can come into the site, enter in their area of services and that will bring up the details of students, with their audiovisual CVs.

“This fits in with our Passport To Practice which helps businesses, and in particular SMEs, to partner with students.

“Businesses are always asking about experience, so the students will have Passport To Practice IDs showing their competencies.”

The Passport to Practice is a record of success e-portfolio where students show evidence of how they have engaged with real life business related situations to improve their skills and confidence to enhance their employability.

Ahead of the push on small business, BCU conducted research among 300 SMEs in the region which found 78 per cent of firms felt confident about their business prospects over the next 12 months.

This has improved significantly, with 45 per cent saying they felt more confident than this time last year. It also found prospects for graduates are positive within SMEs, with 42 per cent having employed a graduate in the last 12 months.

Prof Forster said small businesses were going to drive the economy forward in the region.

He added: “BCU has its natural constituency in the West Midlands. The majority of our students come from the West Midlands and the majority stay.

“If you compare that with Birmingham or Aston it is a higher proportion.

“Recent government reports have highlighted that the UK economy was gaining more from SMEs than other businesses, and generally they have more impact on the economy.

“People have been fixated with the Unilevers and Cadbury Schweppes of this world.”