Using creativity to educate

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UWE Bristol has announced the dropping of the BAME acronym. Work like this looks at supporting not only the learning and assessment of students but the re-enforcement of UWE’s commitment to a fairer and more just learning environment, where everybody is recognised as an individual with different support needs.

Alongside this agenda, several Level 2 Bristol Business School students have been working to create engaging online campaigns to raise awareness of racism in football. English football has been at the forefront of the fight against racism in sport, with recent and ongoing events that have tainted the sport from the World Cup, right down to grassroots football.

Every day, news stories are serving to remind us all that this isn’t something that happens occasionally, but is in fact endemic in the systems of sport that we are all part of. Our Level 2 students were tasked with educating themselves, having open discussions with peers, and using their creative marketing skills to develop a social media campaign that could affect behaviour change.

The focus for the students working on this assignment was to firstly educate themselves by researching the experiences of Black footballers, understanding what the key issues were and then moving on to establish how they could connect with the footballing audience in order to educate and affect behaviour.

This led to some really challenging and open discussions in the classroom between both White and Black students. I recall a student asking his peer ‘well, what is it actually like being Black and being here, in this room and you’re the only one’. It became evident that not only was this learning space developing our Marketing students’ knowledge of digital marketing, but it was also engaging them in discussions they possibly would not have had.

Our hope is that by creating more challenging assessments, based on real and very palpable issues that are usually avoided, educators can start to get students to see other perspectives, learn about the lived experiences of others and ultimately, educate themselves.

UWE Bristol alum awarded MBE

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Marketing expert Denise O’Leary, founder of Purpol Marketing, has been awarded an MBE for services to the construction sector in the New Year’s Honours List. Denise studied BA Business Administration at UWE Bristol followed by MA Marketing, graduating in 2004. She is also currently involved with UWE as a Help To Grow: Management mentor helping SME’s drive change within their business.

Denise, who lives in Chippenham, has had to keep tight-lipped about the award for several weeks. 

“I am honoured and humbled to be recognised with the award of an MBE in the 2022 New Year’s Honours list – made exceptionally special as it is the Platinum Jubilee year of Her Majesty The Queen.

“When the letter came through I couldn’t believe it, it didn’t seem real. Today I’m so thrilled to be counted among so many wonderful people who have been honoured for their work throughout our society to make our lives better.” 

Denise received the honour for the work she has done to demystify the world of construction and marketing. It’s a sector which is heavily male-dominated and where the value of marketing is often underestimated. 

As construction specialist, Denise is trusted with confidential company information and company survival can depend on the winning outcome; Denise’s marketing and bid writing skills have literally saved companies. 

 “I am so delighted that I can put into words how great construction companies can be, so they can win contracts to secure their futures. With social value and local supply chains now high on the agenda, messaging within bids is so important,” she said.

Since 2014, Denise has worked tirelessly with ambitious and forward-thinking companies to help them embrace intelligent marketing through strategic planning and consistent delivery of ethical and clear marketing messages. 

Dan Barfoot of CMD Recruitment commented “We have developed a strong working relationship. Denise is really in tune with us, putting into words and images what we actually deliver to our clients.”  

She has also supported many business owners and directors in the writing and successful submissions of tenders to win work through complex procurement processes. 

This has meant construction companies she’s supported have obtained millions of pounds of work on projects funded by central government and other large corporations. She has a high profile in construction and has been a keynote speaker at the Big 5 Building and Construction Expo in Dubai several times as well as UK Construction Week. Denise is a respected international ‘Women in Construction’ ambassador, speaking at events on why women should consider construction as a career.

“We have worked with Denise on a number of high value project bids and have found her professionalism and industry knowledge invaluable.” said Shaun Tew, of Tew Bros.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank you – your bid writing has almost certainly saved our company. You are part of our family,” said Neil Griffiths, of WB Griffiths and Sons.

During the pandemic, Denise took the lead nationally in embracing the Kickstart programme launched by the Government – she was the first business owner in the UK to take on 50 Kickstarters at once to help young people take the first steps in their careers. To date she has supported 166 young people in this way. 

As a business woman, Denise is well known across the UK and overseas for her work. She’s published a best-selling book  “WINNER – How to win Business Awards” published by Panoma Press.

She has multiple awards including 13 international Stevie Awards for marketing and entrepreneurship from 2021-2019, and her company was voted ‘World’s Favourite Marketing Agency’ in 2020. Last year she was also named among the Top 100 Female Entrepreneurs by F:Entrepreneur.

Denise commented “I would like to thank all the amazing people I have worked with and my family for their incredible support.  This honour is in recognition of all the people who have been part of my journey, and I am so emotional and thankful of this amazing accolade.”

To find out more about Denise and her company Purpol Marketing visit https://www.purpolmarketing.co.uk

BBS | BLS Online Christmas Fair 2021

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Welcome to the 2021 Bristol Business School | Bristol Law School online Christmas fair.

After the success of our virtual fair last year, we have decided to keep up the tradition and encourage everyone to shop small and local. Luckily, this year we are able to also hold our in-person Christmas fair in the Bristol Business School Atrium on Thursday 9 December 11:00 – 15:00 so please do pop down if you are able.

For those who can’t, we have a fantastic range of products on offer in our online brochure with stalls from UWE Bristol students, staff, and businesses in the local community.

All you need to do now is view the stalls below and click the links to shop. We hope you enjoy.

If you have any questions please email fbl.news@uwe.ac.uk. Thank you to everyone who has been involved in this year’s online fair.

UWE Bristol houses UK’s first on-campus aeroponic grow system for student business

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A vertical farming system, set up on Frenchay campus using aeroponic technology to grow and supply micro herbs and baby leaf plants, is the first of its kind to be located at a UK university. The system is being used by student venture Greener Greens Co, which Jamie Taylor founded as part of his Team Entrepreneurship degree.

The 40ft container farm, supplied by LettusGrow, provides 24m2 of growing area and houses a four-tiered vertical grow-bed. The growing process uses a software that automates LED lighting, temperature and water vapour. Nutrients are delivered to the plants via atomisers that spray an organic, nutrient-dense fog onto exposed roots (a technique called ‘aeroponics’).

Greener Greens’ plants are to include petit arugula, pea shoots, coriander, basil, pak choy and other small sprouting plants like micro broccoli, which take 11-30 days to reach full height. During this time, cycle pH levels, humidity and organic nutrient levels are automatically regulated.

Jamie Taylor said: “Nature is seasonal, but in this container farm we create our own climate to produce seasonal produce all year round. This is a really innovative system that uses no soil, no pesticides, with crop yields using 95 per cent less water and 99% less space compared to conventional land-based farming.”

The entrepreneur said Greener Greens’ ethos is to have a lower carbon footprint compared to other suppliers and, by providing a growth area close to the point of need, reduce food transportation miles. It is also reducing a reliance on single unit plastic by using re-usable containers to transport the plants.

Team Entrepreneurship is a degree that helps students set up a business as a team. Jamie said: “All this has only been achievable thanks to the University. Key support from UWE Bristol’s enterprise, estates, environmental and sustainability, and catering teams has been crucial in working out how to run the business and how to introduce Greener Greens produce into the university’s supply chain.”

The system is set to produce some 200kg of pea shoots per month, as this plant variety has a short grow cycle of just 12 days. Initially the vegetables will supply the University and other local customers. The enterprise then plans to set up further containers, supplying the super yacht business. “Head chefs on board need high quality produce fast so we have an opportunity to reduce carbon footprint in this industry by setting up a container in the South of France.

“Many existing suppliers to that industry use pesticides and the produce is sometimes flown over 5000 miles to Nice, which leaves a large carbon footprint.”

Greener Greens is also building a geo-temporal inventory app that will allow its customers to see what is growing in which container, so they can place orders and receive fresher produce faster. The app will also allow chefs, for the first time ever, to specify the size and shape of their salads and garnishes in-app and create bespoke garnishes.

Jamie and his Greener Greens system set up on Frenchay campus was featured in yesterday evening’s edition of the BBC’s Countryfile, available to view on iPlayer (from 29:51).

Ten perks of being a UWE Bristol alumni

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So, you’ve graduated, hurrah! This isn’t goodbye, though. You are now part of our active network of more than 310,000 professional alumni. We have dedicated alumni and careers teams who are on hand to help you make the most of your degree and continue to grow in the working world. We’ve put together ten perks of being a member of the UWE Bristol alumni community.

1. Trailblazer Programme

Offered exclusively to UWE Bristol alumni, our Trailblazer Programme gives you a chance to build on your leadership, innovation and business skills whilst networking with other UWE alum. The programme aims to maximise personal impact, boost effectiveness and develop leadership styles.

Taking part in Trailblazer enables you to take advantage of your lifelong connection to our expertise and community. You will also gain access to a growing and vibrant community of Trailblazers with future networking events.

2. Discounted access to Postgraduate study and Executive Education Programmes

As a UWE Bristol alum, you can access our Postgraduate education courses at a 25% discount. In addition, you can browse our range of Executive Education courses and enjoy a 15% discount on the full price of our programmes. Give yourself the edge in a competitive jobs market by upskilling yourself and take the opportunity to learn something new.

3. Alumni Connect

You may have already made use of this online mentoring and connection tool (exclusive to UWE Bristol) as a student, but if not – it’s not too late to start! Alumni Connect is our free site linking students, new graduates and alumni around the world. You can use it to find UWE Bristol alumni in different industries and reach out to them for advice and tips.

4. Access to free Careers support up to 3 years after Graduation

That’s right! You can speak to a member of UWE Bristol’s Careers Coaching team for free and get personalised, impartial advice and guidance to help you start planning your future. You’re also able to attend our employer events (these are all run virtually in 2021-2022, so it’s even easier to join in). You have free access for life to our cloud-based Career Resources via the Career Toolkit to help you find vacancies, write a CV, practice aptitude tests as well as get interview tips. No one expects you to have your future all wrapped up once you graduate – together we can help you make that first step.

5. Access to desk space and business support from our University Enterprise Zone

If you have a business idea you would like to put into action, Launch Space, part of our University Enterprise Zone, can help you do just that. We’ll give you free business support and expert advice for up to 12 months so you can focus on achieving great things. We also have a small number of bursaries available for eligible entrepreneurs.

Launch Space is open to graduate-led, or early stage, businesses with high-growth potential. We’re looking for those that are working on products and services across key themes:

  • Health and life science
  • Advanced engineering
  • Digital futures
  • Sustainability and climate change

6. Alumni Membership to Centre for Music

UWE Bristol Centre for Music offers alumni a hugely discounted membership (£40 for a year – yes, you read that right!), which enables you to participate in any of our professionally directed groups, plus free access our annual programme of Masterclasses and other special events. Unfortunately, we have to reserve the booking of our spaces and studios for current students only to make sure everyone still studying can use our facilities!

7. UWE Bristol Sport

As a UWE Bristol alum, you’ll get great prices at UWE Bristol Sport when you join as a member. Choose from the all-inclusive Active Card for £17.92 per month which includes full gym access, unlimited exercise classes, access to the MOVE programme and use of the squash courts. Or opt for Gym Only at just £180 per year/£15 per month. With no contract or joining fee, fantastic facilities, high-quality equipment and fully trained instructors, make UWE Bristol Sport your go-to fitness destination.

8. Free access to LinkedIn Learning

For up to a year after you complete your course, you’ll have access to LinkedIn Learning (previously lynda.com). For those who haven’t used it before, it’s an incredible resource of training videos and resources to learn anything from leadership and management skills to Google Analytics and Photoshop. It usually costs £25 a month, so take advantage of it while it’s free!

9. Free access to BlackBullion

As a UWE Bristol graduate, you will continue to have access to the great financial education platform BlackBullion. BlackBullion offers modules and articles on all areas relating to money so you can be confident you have all the up to date info you need as you transition from student to graduate. Topics include repaying student loans, postgraduate funding, tax, investment, mortgages and much, much more! Don’t forget to make the most of this fantastic resource. Access lasts while you still have your UWE Bristol email address (about a year after your course finishes).

10. Free access to Kooth online services

UWE Bristol alumni can continue to access Kooth student for up to a year after they complete their course. You’ll have access to free online counselling, articles, forums and discussions on the site.

Student Spotlight: Charlie

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As part of our Business and Law Student Spotlight 2021, we spoke to recent UWE Bristol Marketing graduate, Charlie Mills, about her journey at UWE Bristol and finishing University during a pandemic.

What has been your biggest achievement during your time at UWE Bristol?

“Getting through third year during the pandemic! I’ve also got a job starting which will be working at a HR company with the Digital Marketing team which is really exciting and was a great feeling to have something secured.

Also, getting a Deans Award Certificate of Excellence for every year of study has been such an honour and so rewarding.”

What did you find challenging about University?

“My first year was rocky. I did a Foundation Year in Business and Law and found the first term really hard, so for anyone struggling when joining University it definitely gets better! I ended up making such a close group of friends on my course and had lots of fun.

I also took advantage of doing a Placement Year which was a great way to set me up for my future career and get a years’ worth of experience in Marketing before Graduating.

I have really enjoyed creating great personal and professional relationships at UWE as this is what really drives me. It is so nice to know that my lecturers are routing for me both during my time at UWE and afterwards.”

What advice would you give to new students?

“If you don’t love University straight away, and you think everyone around you is, do not panic, you are not alone! Often, people aren’t having as much fun as it looks and transitioning from school to university is hard and a massive change. You might not find your best group of friends instantly, but people change and grow so much over the 3 years you will find your people. Get stuck in with as much as you possibly can, whether it’s a sport, society, student ambassador programme etc. as you’ll meet so many like-minded people and you never know what opportunities might arise.

If you have the opportunity to do a placement or year-abroad, definitely do it. If this isn’t for you then try and make the most of the long summer holidays and take part in work experience and internships.”

Student spotlight: Placement special

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As part of our Business and Law student spotlight 2021, we spoke to three students about their placements and what this means for their futures.

Jack’s placement

  • Where: Old Mill Financial Planning, working with the private client team as a Client Service Associate
  • When: July 2021
  • Programme: Banking and Finance
Jack Tierney portrait

“It was a relief to secure a placement within my desired industry and with a firm that has such a great reputation. I am looking forward to gaining a full year of industry experience within financial services and making good connections to build a solid network for when I graduate. The hands-on experience I will gain will help me significantly when I pursue professional qualifications.

My main tips for others wanting to do a placement are; firstly, don’t get disheartened if you get rejected, file the email away and keep on applying. I think I must have been rejected over 50 times before I got this one. Secondly, use any family connection that you can, this may be in the form of a family friend working in the industry or previously worked. Arrange a phone call or a coffee to pick their brains as well as a CV review to gain industry-specific knowledge. Lastly, all you are looking for is to get a face-to-face interview! Once you are there, you can build rapport with the hiring manager. Remember, all it takes is one application per day.”

Stefano’s placement

  • Where: Hargreaves Lansdown
  • When: July 2019 to July 2020
  • Programme: Accounting and Finance
Stefano Chiavelli portrait

“My placement year has been an incredible opportunity to work in a great firm, surrounded by brilliant individuals whilst establishing great connections both in and out of work.

I have gained so much during this year including commercial awareness, improved professionalism, an enhanced CV, broadened my network of like-minded individuals and dealt with the inevitable challenges that come as a result of working at an FTSE 100 company.

My advice to others would be to start early! Do your research and look beyond the company’s website for information. Be passionate about the firm’s mission and vision and prove that you are an asset to them.

“It always seems impossible until it’s done” – Nelson Mandela. We as students often struggle to believe in ourselves, in our own capabilities and tend to focus on what could go wrong… as opposed to what could go right! Thus, I thought this quote might inspire someone to take a leap of faith and work at your goals relentlessly, as though you truly deserve that place/job/role.”

Tom’s placement

  • Where: Microsoft, working within their Consulting services as an Account Delivery Executive
  • When: July 2021
  • Programme: Business Management and Economics
Thomas Carter portrait

“I am extremely excited to be doing my placement at such an innovative and dynamic company. I am hoping this placement will allow me to expand my network and gain customer-facing experience and technical skills.

I wanted to do a placement to firstly gain work experience that is valuable when looking for a job but also to identify whether the tech industry is the right path for me when I graduate.

My advice to others who are wanting to do a placement is to really focus on tailoring your application to the specific company you’re applying to. Do your research, be confident and don’t be afraid to ask questions.”

Light up your Lockdown

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During the Covid-19 lockdown, four Business and Events Management students ran a virtual event aimed at raising money for a charity whilst also raising people’s spirits during a tough time. As part of their programme, they were tasked with running an event within the ‘Staging and Evaluating Events’ module, however, this time it was slightly different in that no physical events were allowed to happen and everything had gone online.

Emma, Imogen, Hannah and Maddison worked together to produce their event ‘Light up your Lockdown’ and decided that they wanted to make this a fundraising event as they wanted to support charities struggling through the pandemic. St. Michael’s Hospice (North Hampshire) was the charity chosen as Imogen and Maddison are both from the area and wanted to support the amazing work the charity does for the community, such as supporting many patients and their families in their final stages of life.

The students were tasked with hosting the event with no budget, which was tough, however, they managed to pull it off and ran a hugely successful event. It consisted of a cocktail masterclass, origami workshop, bingo and a charity raffle. The students said that they had wanted to put a different spin on the typical lockdown events they had been seeing, with virtual zoom quizzes being heavily exhausted. This paid off and they had fantastic attendance and raised £1,257 in total.

“I have had to learn to work in new ways and think outside of the box. For example, if COVID had not have happened I don’t know if we would’ve come up with the event ideas that we did – creating something unique to engage people and thinking outside of the box.”

Imogen Aylward

Student Spotlight: Carmen

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As part of our Business and Law Student Spotlight 2021, we spoke to Business and HR Management student, Elena Carmen Ceesay, about her journey so far at UWE Bristol. Carmen is a mature student and has recently returned to education to help her get her dream job.

What has been your biggest achievement over the past year?

“My greatest achievement is successfully passing all my exams despite all the challenges! My confidence has definitely improved and I have learnt new things that I can now apply to every aspect of my life.”

What has been your biggest challenge over the past year?

“The last year has been really challenging, not only due to the pandemic but also due to personal circumstances. I am a mature student and a working mum. It has been a struggle with childcare for my two-year-old undiagnosed autistic daughter, and I have particularly struggled with time management. It was inspiring to me to receive such good results in my first year at university and this has given me the confidence to go into my second year.

I also had doubts about fitting in with my classmates due to an age gap, however, in our team working assignments my experience benefited the whole team and we worked really well together to complete various projects.”

What advice would you give to new students or those looking into Higher Education?

“Never be scared to always improve yourself, no matter what age you are! Returning as a mature student I was worried I wouldn’t fit in, I wouldn’t have time to do what is needed and that it wouldn’t benefit me – but all those thoughts are now gone.

I would also advise new students to plan their time well and ensure that they work on assignments from the beginning of the module and not last minute. Engaging with the reading list is also important, it is there to help you, so take advantage of that list already put together for you.”

Sophie’s placement journey at MHI

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As part of his role on the Business and Management advisory board here at UWE Bristol, MHI CEO Paul Brown advocates for getting students ready for SME employment once they enter the working world. In 2019, MHI introduced the ‘MHI placement student scheme’, offering UWE students the opportunity to join the team for a year of industry experience.

We caught up with Sophie Cottrell, a Business and Marketing student on placement at MHI for the past 10 months.

How have you found adjusting from student life to working life? What have you enjoyed?

“Initially it was a challenge. The days felt long as I was adjusting to a full working day as opposed to the odd one-hour lecture. And as for student nights out, Covid has worked in my favour as I haven’t missed out on any which made the adjustment easier! I have really enjoyed having a routine. I now find that I fit so much into my days, enjoying keeping busy and feeling productive. I hope to carry this mindset into my final year of University.”

Which has been your favourite department to work in?

“This is a difficult question, as I have benefitted so much from working in different departments. It has really consolidated my knowledge of the business. But also, because I’m afraid I might offend the “marketing boys” when I say my favourite department has been Client Services. I enjoyed the process of following a job through from start to finish. I found the role challenging, with most tasks being completely new to me, but that made it even more interesting!”

What advice would you give to the next placement student?

“My advice for life is to always remember that every day is an opportunity to start afresh. If you find yourself having a challenging day, just remember that the following one comes with a fresh slate.”

What are your plans post-university?

“I’m hoping to complete a ski season in France for the winter after I graduate. I was debating doing one before Uni but thought I better at least learn to cook and look after myself before I host a chalet! I’ve been lucky enough to ski since I was 6 and love the entire experience. The feeling, the views, and the overall lifestyle. My plans are then to focus on securing a job. But for now, I would like a few more experiences before things get too serious in the world of work.”

“I’d like to thank everyone at MHI for their continued support, and I look forward to seeing how much more I can learn in my final 2 months.”

This article was originally posted on the MHI newsletter.

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