As part of our Business and Law Student Spotlight 2022, we spoke to accounting graduate Hannah Carr about her journey so far at UWE Bristol. Hannah has just completed her third year and will be starting at Mazars as a Trainee Financial Planner in September.
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
“I’ve really enjoyed my time at UWE, especially the different experiences and activities that have been available throughout my degree. For example, I was able to work in the Business Advice Clinic, providing real external clients with advice and gaining valuable career experience that I could then reference in interviews and future roles.
I think my biggest achievement during the course has been to reach the shortlist for ‘Accountancy Graduate of the Year’ in the PQ Magazine Awards this year. I was honoured to be nominated and make the top five nationally, and for me it reflected my hard work but also the significant support and encouragement that the lecturers provided during the degree to push me to succeed and achieve more than I thought possible.”
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far?
“I think it would be to try everything and put yourself out there to get involved with as much as possible, even if it doesn’t seem 100% relevant to your degree or future career plans. For example, I was involved with the Peer Assisted Learning scheme and the Student Ambassador programme, and these roles gave me some invaluable experiences that were useful in interviews as well as my personal development.”
What has been the highlight of your UWE experience so far?
“It sounds a bit cliché, but I would say the people. I’ve met some amazing friends and some truly passionate lecturers who want to see you succeed and will push and encourage you to reach new heights. I’m so grateful for those I’ve met during my degree, and I’m definitely sad to be leaving now! But of course, excited for my new graduate role and the next chapter.”
For the last month, my team at UWE Bristol, the Stakeholder Engagement team, have had a guest with us on placement. This is part of an initiative set up by an amazing Community Interest Company called Women’s Work Lab.
Becky Ware has joined us and very quickly become a part of the team. I have seen her confidence grow, her enthusiasm spark new ideas and her creativity bring a fresh mind-set to challenges. Here she shares her story about the power of Women’s Work Lab, and the vital support provided by many organisations, like UWE, in offering work placements.
“Being a single stay-at-home mum, it is easy to fall into a routine, and that routine becomes a comfort that is hard to break out of.
I have been out of work for just over 9 years, in that time I had a second child, and an operation on my kidney which I had to wait a few years for.
I was trying to motivate myself into job hunting, but didn’t know where to start, having had such a large career break.
I was lucky that I had a social prescriber who texted me unexpectedly one day advising about The Women’s Work Lab (WWL), I had a look at their website, and read through all the information, a 12-week programme where they help you to get back into work sounded ideal.
I applied on a Saturday and was offered a place on the course on the following Tuesday, I had a bit of apprehension, would I be any good? Am I really the type of person that they help? Am I deserving of this? But I decided that I had to give it a go, I owed myself the chance to improve my life, and that of my kids.
The Thursday of that week I went for my first day, I arrived and waited in reception with a group of other mums, all in the same position as me, none of us knowing, really, what to expect.
The WWL course was insightful and run by a wonderful lady called Sally, she had the experience to really give us all some good advice. I’m currently only halfway through the course, the experience so far has been amazing, I’ve met some wonderful mums who are in the same position as me, and I hope we keep in touch following the end of the course.
Part of the course is a four-week work placement, I was so nervous to find out where I would be going, as were the other mums, but I was delighted to find out my placement would be at the UWE.
I’m now in my job placement, working in the FBL.
The staff in the FBL have been so incredibly welcoming, and happy to spend time with me, considering I’m not a permanent member of staff, and will only be here for 4 weeks, the amount of time and help they’ve given me has been nothing short of wonderful, their support has really helped my experience and I am so excited about looking for a job and getting back to work, I’m not sure how encouraged I would have been if I didn’t have this support.
I’ve got new experiences that will help me in my job search, even something as simple as using outlook again, and getting back into work friendly habits. The confidence this placement has given me is worth its weight in gold.
I’m so thankful to everyone in both the FBL and the WWL, without them I would probably still be at home trying to figure out the best pathway for me to return to work, and still be around for my children.
I cannot recommend the WWL course highly enough, I’m looking forward to finishing the course with some more classroom work, but I will also be very sad to leave my placement, I really feel like part of the team.”
Camilla Rigby is the Co-Founder and Joint CEO of Women’s Work Lab (WWL), a Community Interest Company with the stated aim to support under-represented women aged 25+ to fulfil their career potential and become work ready. The WWL aims to unlock potential and lay the foundations for a brighter future for the mums they work with. Outcomes for participants include new careers, positive role modelling for their families and communities and the creation of a vital support network. Camilla was virtually reintroduced to UWE when they were looking for a venue to host the Spring 2022 South Gloucestershire programme.
The mission of WWL is in line with UWE’s core values and as a UWE alumni, we were keen to support Camilla with her endeavours. Camilla studied Business Studies, completing in 2004.
“I enjoyed my time studying at UWE and today, as a regional hub for business, and an educational provider with enterprise, community and industry partnership at its heart, UWE seemed like the perfect place to inspire our participants.”
“Completing my Business Studies degree really opened my eyes to what the real world of work could look like. My year-long work placement provided an amazing springboard for my career and I managed to land my first job before I’d even graduated! I am still in touch with many friends from UWE days and it’s great to see how many have followed entrepreneurial pathways. ”
The WWL programme includes bespoke classroom training, 1-2-1 support, skills training, practical career support and a four-week work placement. During 2022, 90 women will be supported in this way across six programmes taking place in the local city/ region.
Before Co-Founding the WWL with Rachel Mostyn in 2019, Camilla had a 15 year career in senior communications roles for household brands including Dyson & OVO Energy. As a Mum to two boys aged 9 & 11 (one who is autistic), she understands first-hand the challenges that Mums can face trying to support her family alongside work.
“My inspiration in co-founding WWL came back in 2016 when I felt unable to juggle the pressures of work and a young family; I felt like a failure to be honest. I recognised at the same time the privilege I had and began to question how much harder it must be for women who don’t have a decent support network, or lots of work experience. I was fortunate enough to meet Rachel during this time of reflection and we began to research what was available for Mums that were unemployed and in receipt of state benefits. Turns out very little and so we set about co-designing the programme with Mums from across the City into what we have now. We’re proud to have worked with over 100 womens on their journeys back towards work, whilst building an amazing team of women who really connect and inspire the Mums we support.”
UWE has been proud to host this inspiring initiative and work with the local community to improve outcomes for mothers who have been challenged in some way in terms of securing work. This programme really aligns with our Strategy 2030 in boosting our economy and supporting the local and regional community, and has massive societal impact which is so rewarding and essential for continued growth and success.
“We feel as though this is just the beginning for the Women’s Work Lab. Having started in early 2020, covid has unsurprisingly hampered what we’ve been able to achieve. That said, in 2021 we know that 60% of the women we supported are now working; this is testament to their hard work and determination. It also shows why specialist employability support is so needed and it’s amazing to have the support of employers like UWE in helping these women to fulfil their potential.”
If you would be interested in finding out more about the work of WWL, you can find additional information via their website here.
We recently ran a series of guest lectures from experts in the FinTech and Financial Services industry for our MSc FinTech students. MSc FinTech is a course that equips students to address the pervasive impact of disruptive financial technologies. This programme is jointly run by Bristol Business School and The Department for Computer Science and Creative Technologies.
The aim of the guest lecture series was to give the students real insight into what it takes to start, run and grow a FinTech. From day one we wanted to ensure that understanding around the importance of compliance, risk and legal were understood. If our students go on to start their own ventures in the future, better that they understand these requirements from day one.
The series gave students an insight into the different types of technology and applications, helping them to imagine and innovate. This included Open Banking, AI, Blockchain, NFTs, Metaverse, Payments, Automated Investing and Cyber to name a few.
We also regularly share news articles from the world of FinTech and discuss the impact they might have on the future of finance. Four lucky students attended FinTech Talents event in London where they heard from headline speakers from across the world of FinTech and Financial Services.
Below is a summary of each of the guest speakers that came to campus to present to the students and what they discussed:
Julian is behind FinTech North and FinTech West, which make up part of the National FinTech Network. Julian discussed the UK fintech ecosystem and clusters and reflected on the Kalifa review. A government backed review into FinTech in the UK that identified Bristol and Bath as a fintech cluster.
Tim Hegarty – Founder of Blockchain Ventures Ltd / Early NFT pioneer
Tim discussed the history of blockchain and the early explorations into the new technology.
Creativity, design, advertising, marketing and NFTs.
Reid Derby – Director of Strategy at CyNam and Strategic Advisor on Innovation at Golden Valley Development
Golden Valley Development and the cyber tech ecosystem in Cheltenham and opportunities to develop a career in this sector.
“It was a fantastic experience to have delivered a guest lecture to the students of the Masters in Fintech at UWE.
The students were very engaged and interested in the topic of AI ethics, and the session sparked tough provoking and interesting conversations about the ethical considerations of technology and their impact on society”
Karin Rudolph – Collective Intelligence UK
“It was a pleasure being able to give a talk to the UWE Fintech Masters students. The audience was super engaged and asked loads of pertinent questions. They were really interested in both previous experiences and my views on how various areas of Fintech were developing. Overall, it was great to have such enthusiastic interest from an audience and to get their perspective as well on emerging trends. “
Blog from Berrbizne Urzelai, Team coach- Senior Lecturer, UWE Bristol and Scarlett Hagger, Project Support Officer, West of England Combined Authority.
On 16 March UWE Bristol hosted a Social Impact Hackathon – a start-up brainstorming event where UWE students from Team Entrepreneurship, Law, and Business and Management (some of them Enactus members too) worked with refugee and migrant entrepreneurs associated with the West of England Growth Hub and ACH to solve the problems they are facing in their entrepreneurial journey.
The day started with a social breakfast where all participants got to know a bit about each other. The event officially kicked off with an inspirational speech from Fuad Mahamed, the CEO of ACH and an International Ambassador for Bristol. Fuad came to the UK as a refugee from Somalia with no English, and went on to obtain a first-class degree in Engineering from Bath University followed by an MSc in Management from Lancaster Business School.
Setting up ACH in 2008 in order to support the resettlement of refugees like himself, he has built the organisation into one of the leading providers of integration support for excluded and marginalised people. It now spans across 3 cities, employs 65 people and works with 2500 individuals a year.
The Migrant Business Support (MBS) project started in January 2021 and offers enterprise support to third-country nationals through one-to-one sessions, workshops, mentoring and online training. As of April 2022, the project has supported over 200 refugees and migrants in the West Midlands and Southwest.
The MBS project differs from other mainstream business support as it has cross-culturally competent Business Advisers, training and workshops that are translated into different languages for different nationalities and has a ground-up approach from listening to their clients and tailoring the service to their needs, which in turn leads to a constantly evolving service.
The West of England Growth Hub provides tailored support, expert guidance and access to finance and support programmes to small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in the West of England. The Growth Hub offers a free and impartial service open to all businesses, from all sectors, helping businesses throughout Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.
In the morning the teams worked together in understanding the background of the refugees and what kind of problems they were facing, and then in deciding which issue they wanted to focus on. Having the client inside the team was an interesting experience.
The students supported a variety of projects and ventures, from a carwash business to graphic design or craft art… all at different stages of development.
The teams pitched their solutions to a panel that was formed by: • Shuai Qin: CRÈME, Aston Business School • Nigel Stone: TE UWE Mentor in Residence • Sebastian Crawshaw: TE UWE Mentor in Residence
They were all great and the panellists gave them very valuable feedback to guide them into the next steps of their projects. They really enjoyed the experience:
“So humbled to support such talented refugee in the ACH refugee Hackathon last week! It was an awesome experience, well done everyone! If only we could recognise and embrace immigrants’ skills and embrace them into our culture more. What a difference that would make to all of us.”
The event helped the participants develop skills and competencies such as team working, problem-solving, leadership, innovation, networking or building rapport and empathy. It was great to feel that energy in the room and how motivated everyone was on the task.
“It was such an insightful day. It was lovely to meet the refugees and to learn about their businesses and their talents and passions. They were truly inspirational with so much to offer and I learnt a lot from them too. I have kept in touch with M. and S. I am aiming to ask S. for some advice on graphic designs and calligraphy for one of my projects. I would like to go to the craft sale to see more of M’s beautiful work and to get to know M. and S. better and what goes on in their community. I look forward to getting to know everyone who took part and I am excited about the next steps. It was a really amazing day and we should definitely do more of these. Thank you for making it all run so smoothly.”
“I thought the event was excellent, was great to speak to people from different backgrounds and hear their experiences. It was also fun working with other students from other subjects. It was massively out of my normal comfort zone but I soon got on with everyone really well and enjoyed the day. I learnt that there are many barriers that refugees can face, the language barrier seemed to be a difficult one at times, but refugees have a lot to offer in a range of skills. I will be emailing M. what I created for her and follow up with further advice for her business. The contacts I made in the team will be useful in the future for further projects and ventures.”
Refugee entrepreneurs also found it useful and are taking some steps forward within their businesses:
“I learnt not to waste my time on things that will not develop my future… from here I began to reconsider my situation. I have enjoyed speaking with people with experience, from different fields. This is the first time that I feel that I have taken real advice from someone who does not know me… a good advice. My plan is to contact these suggested people and engage in 1:1 support.”
“It was a great event for me. I learned that I need to make a business plan first and know better my audience. The panel members gave us great advice. I learned a lot from them, it was very helpful as they have experience. I am not sure yet how I will carry on with all that feedback, but I am now working to reopen my Etsy shop.”
The event had a fantastic celebratory feel. It was not a competition but a celebration of what we can do together. Participants also got some certificates and a UWE digital badge thanks to Lynda Williams, Associate Director of Stakeholder Engagement. We are looking forward to continuing this partnership and supporting them during their journey.
We just planted the sheet and the magic happened! We have now shared the material created during the day and created a communication channel for the participants to continue to work together on these and other projects. We are looking forward to continuing this partnership and supporting them during their journey.
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.
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.
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.
Where: Old Mill Financial Planning, working with the private client team as a Client Service Associate
When: July 2021
Programme: Banking and Finance
“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.”
Where: Hargreaves Lansdown
When: July 2019 to July 2020
Programme: Accounting and Finance
“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.”
Where: Microsoft, working within their Consulting services as an Account Delivery Executive
When: July 2021
Programme: Business Management and Economics
“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.”
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.”
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.”