A MALVERN-based business which develops software for the air traffic control and rail industries is enjoying success with its graduate scheme.

Graffica has provided software systems and consultancy to the transport sector since 2000 and is based at the Enigma Business Park.

Co-director Mike Ballone first moved to the area to develop software for the Defence Research Agency, now QinetiQ.

By 2000, he and his business partner set up in Malvern to develop air traffic control simulation systems and have since diversified into rail.

Its customers include some of the largest stakeholders in the transport infrastructure sector, including Eurocontrol and Network Rail.

The company's 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 by addressing skills shortages.

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 an analysts programmer with the firm, his duties include software development specialising in airport air traffic control. The graduate scheme provides support to help him with his training.

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, 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.