UWE Alumni Spotlight: Bristol Sport’s Growing UWE Alumni Contingent

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We caught up with some former UWE Bristol Faculty of Business and Law students who are operating within key roles at Bristol Sport – the organisation that encompasses Bristol City Football Club, Bristol Bears Rugby and Bristol Flyers Basketball, housed at Ashton Gate Stadium.

These alumni share how their UWE journey and experiences prepared them for their careers in the sport industry.

Jess Berry headshot

Name and role

Jess Berry, Head of Retail and Wholesale

UWE course studied

Business Studies

Current job role and responsibilities

“My role at Bristol Sport spans across the retail and wholesale departments for the group as a whole. The depth of my role means I can do be doing anything on a day to day basis, such as working with manufacturers to develop playing kits for rugby, football or basketball, to agreeing terms with couriers delivering our product, or attending photoshoots with players to get content for launches.

Retail is a very varied industry, but sports retail can often be hard as it can be affected by a lot of external factors, particularly on field performance. Having said that, there is a lot of scope for creativity within the job, bringing out new and exciting products to share with an engaged base of fans.

Broadly speaking my role consists of the strategy management of the retail department, ensuring revenue and profit targets are met, buying, overseeing both the bricks and mortar store as well as driving our e-commerce business. I also manage our wholesale department, which I am looking to develop over the next few years.”

How my UWE experience helped

“My course was a 4-year sandwich degree, in which I spent a year working as a recruitment consultant. I enjoyed the job, and although I didn’t feel like that industry was what I wanted to pursue, it gave me invaluable skills in how to work within a corporate environment. The sales training in particular meant I learnt key negotiation skills, and how to build lasting relationships, both of which help now with my buying, and with working with manufacturers.”

Steve Devereux headshot

Name and role

Steve Devereux, Commercial Manager – Bristol Flyers Basketball

UWE course studied

Business with Marketing

Current job role and responsibilities

“Managing, implementing and coordinating the day-to-day commercial and operational activities of Bristol Flyers Basketball Club.

My main areas of focus include:
Partnership management and activation; Commercial strategy; Commercial services co-ordination (ticketing, media, communications, retail, marketing etc.); Gameday management and delivery. Flyers are set to move to a new purpose built circa 3,000 capacity venue in the next few years (Ashton Gate Sports & Convention Centre), so I am currently focused on helping to build the commercial foundations to make this a successful transition.”

How my UWE experience helped

“Studying Business and Marketing at UWE provided knowledge and understanding of core concepts that underpin many of the activities undertaken as part of my role. However, it was my extra-curricular UWE activities that benefited me the most, specifically being president of the UWE Basketball society. This role gave me responsibility and a project relevant to my degree and future career path. We were given a budget, targets, the ability to create roles and the creative freedom to rebrand and raise the profile of the club digitally. Running this society was like running a small business and also led me to make the connections that helped me gain the job I have today.”

Rob Shotton headshot

Name and role

Rob Shotton, Commercial Account Executive/Partnership Activation Team

UWE course studied

Business and Management

Current job role and responsibilities

“At Bristol Sport, I work within the sponsorship activation team, where I ensure that all sponsors’ contractual obligations are met whilst always looking to go above and beyond the client expectation. Furthermore, I account manage over 25 main sponsors across the Bristol Sport group including national and international clients. I also work very closely with Premiership Rugby, the English Football League and their respective partners.

I work matchdays at Ashton Gate, welcoming match sponsors and ensuring that the commercial activities run smoothly. I am also responsible for ensuring that matchday assets such as the perimeter LED advertising are playing the correct content.

At Bristol Sport, we are very dedicated to changing lives through sport and inspiring the community with sporting success. To see sponsors and fans alike become engaged and passionate when it comes to sport is fantastic!”

How my UWE experience helped

“The ability to combine my University degree with a sandwich placement year was very beneficial for understanding the industry that I wanted to forge a career in. During my third year of Uni’, I secured a placement at Macclesfield Town Football Club where I worked in all departments, specifically within Commercial, Events, Media and Marketing and I was responsible for the transition of kit supplier, moving from Carbrini to Umbro. With the knowledge and business know-how gained at UWE, I was able to transfer these skills into getting the most out of my placement year.

In my final year, I was given the freedom to merge my studies with writing a dissertation on my chosen topic – Sponsorship in Sport and How it Benefits Both Parties. This is something that then helped me to understand the commercial world of sport in further detail before applying for jobs in that particular sector.”

Tom Kent headshot

Name and role

Tom Kent, Marketing Assistant

UWE course studied

Business Management with Marketing

Current job role and responsibilities

“Setting up campaign promotions including social media advertising and other paid advertising for product areas including ticketing, membership retail and hospitality. I also build and send weekly email campaigns across all the business areas (Bristol City, Bristol Bears, Bristol Flyers etc). I liaise with the internal design team & external printers to obtain departmental requirements and manage print deadlines.”

How my UWE experience helped

“My time at UWE helped me to understand the theory behind the practical requirements of my current job role. During my time at UWE, I was able to learn and understand the different areas of marketing, which I have since been able to put in to practice. This knowledge has proven to be crucial in my current job role. As well as the theoretical side of my studies in my third year at UWE I also partook in a placement year where I worked at a Bristol-based Marketing company. This year in industry was crucial for my professional development and is something I would highly recommend.”

BBS | BLS Virtual Christmas Fair

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Welcome to the Bristol Business School | Bristol Law School Christmas fair. This year we have had to take our usual Christmas fair held in the Bristol Business School Atrium online. But don’t worry, we still have a fantastic range of products on offer with representation from UWE Bristol students, staff and businesses in the local community.

All you need to do now is click the link below to view the stalls and links to shop, or download the PDF and get browsing! We hope you enjoy.

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

Team Entrepreneurship students tackle Global Business Challenges

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A group of 13 students on the BA (Business) Team Entrepreneurship programme at Bristol Business School have been selected to take part in the Global Business Challenge, a three-month experiential learning opportunity focused on solving real challenges for real businesses. Throughout the three-month programme, students will be working in cross-cultural teams with fellow entrepreneurial students from four different countries – the UK, Ecuador, the USA and Finland.

The Global Business Challenge has been co-created by six universities: UWE Team Academy, Aston Team Academy and Team Entrepreneurship at Bishop Grosseteste University in the UK; the University of Holy Spirit Specialties in Ecuador; Southern New Hampshire University in the United States and Proakatemia within Tampere University of Applied Sciences in Finland, the birthplace of the Team Academy methodology on which UWE Bristol’s Team Entrepreneurship programme is based.

Staff from across the six universities, which include Team Coaches and other academic staff specialising in entrepreneurship, have collaborated to provide a unique learning opportunity for their students, adopting the self-directed, team-based, experiential learning approach that is core to Team Academy degree programmes. Staff are supporting the learning of their students by taking on the role of Team Coach for one of the 10 cross-cultural teams that have been created.

The student teams meet virtually on a weekly basis to collectively ideate and problem solve around a specific business challenge from one of the five international businesses that are partners for the Global Business Challenge: the UK’s team profile company Belbin, First Republic Bank from the USA, business incubator ASAP Business in Ecuador, Canadian organic production supplier Organic4Greens and global translation and localisation specialists Lionbridge.

At the end of the programme the teams will present their solutions to their partner business, receiving invaluable feedback from the business professionals and identifying future opportunities to continue working together. The Global Business Challenge offers UWE Team Entrepreneurship students a unique opportunity to form meaningful connections with fellow students and business professionals on a global scale. This is the first international collaborative business challenge of this kind that has been established between the partner universities and the team of staff behind the programme are hosting regular virtual meetings to discuss further opportunities.

Within UWE Team Academy, the Global Business Challenge has been supported by Team Coaches Lauren Davies and Valtteri Melkko who are each coaching an international team, in addition to continuing to coach their own Team Company within the UWE Team Entrepreneurship programme. The Global Business Challenge is one of the many opportunities for UWE Team Entrepreneurship students to “learn by doing” and Valtteri and Lauren have been encouraging students to grasp this and the many other opportunities offered by the programme and beyond. Valtteri commented:

“It’s amazing to see how much growth and excitement it’s possible to see in our students when they are put to work in an international team in a challenge that is longer than a few days or weeks – they are full of energy.”

Valtteri Melkko

Reflecting on her experience of the Global Business Challenge so far, second-year Team Entrepreneurship student Natalie English said:

“Being part of the Global Business Challenge has allowed me to explore a new international team environment, a business challenge and working in an online space – all in one. Obviously, this hasn’t come without challenges, but having a coach means we are able to talk about these challenges in a safe environment. However, the most exciting elements for me so far have been putting my UWE course into practice and getting to see how those techniques are invaluable in any teamwork environment. Working with a real business, with a real challenge has opened my eyes to all the possibilities there are out there, as well as getting to network internationally!”

Natalie English

Team Entrepreneurship case study: Benjy Johnstone and Milkman Store

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We have spoken to several Team Entrepreneurship students who own start-up businesses about their experiences during the coronavirus pandemic. This case study is from Benjy Johnstone, founder of Milkman Store.

Milkman Store

Truthfully, the Milkman story began one night; sometime around three am while out with friends from university in Bristol – my beloved and cherished home town.

I have always been intrigued by architecture and home design: often finding myself gravitating towards interesting objects in friends’ houses, fascinated by why they were there and what they represented to that particular person.

And so the next morning – feeling slightly worse-for-wear – I began planning my venture. Soon I was doing hours of research online and creating scores of mood boards (for drawing was never my strong point). Smell has always been something I’ve been acutely aware of, and after a while, I began to realise I wanted to focus on scented products.

I started small, working on designing candles myself, trying to perfect even just one small batch; until finally, it was time to branch out. This is when I curated my first saleable product: our wonderful 001 Lis d’Ambre soy candle. And from that point on, I decided to make it the company’s mission to create high quality, design-conscious products.

Having the ability to design and curate the products myself whilst working with high-quality suppliers and new & exciting materials has given me an amazing platform to explore, design and discover new and exciting talent to work alongside.

The impact COVID-19 has had on how I run my business

Customer interaction and engagement has always played a big role in what we do, and there is a huge amount of emphasis within our small team to create genuine conversations with customers and suppliers.

During this period we have moved away from in-store sales and set up our website to manage sales online. This proved challenging, as we were tasked with generating sales and customers engagement purely from our social media channels. As we have moved forward, we have noticed that most of our sales are now coming through our new website – something we had hoped would be the final result!

What I’ve learnt

We knew that when this whole situation started that our sales were going to dip due to the closures of our stockist’s stores, so we made the decision to pull the trigger on designing our website and began introducing this to customers through our social media channels. We have learnt that it is crucial to be adaptable and flexible with your approach to business and actually, putting the time and thought into that adaptation ultimately pays off and pushes you forward. Building a website was something we had always hoped to do, but these circumstances meant we had to get on with it and I am really grateful that we did.

Are you feeling positive about the future of your business?

Yes, and no. I don’t think any self-respecting business owner can confidently say they were 100% set on their future and that everything was going to be plain sailing. The ever-changing landscape means that we have to be prepared for obstacles and change, but, and it’s a big but – I am confident in my team and the friends who have supported this journey so far and we are all very proud of the products that we have worked so incredibly hard to curate.

Visit the website here.

Updated Guidance on holding AGM’s under COVID-19 Restrictions

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Moon Executive Search, Faculty of Business and Law Advisory Board member, have published a blog outlining guidance on holding AGM’s under the restrictions of coronavirus. Originally posted on Moon Executive Search.

The Quoted Companies Alliance is a high-profile membership organisation that champions small to mid-sized quoted companies.

To enable their membership to address the practical challenges of holding an annual general meeting (AGM) during the COVID-19 pandemic, the QCA supported the production of guidance by The Chartered Governance Institute (ICSA) alongside a collection of legal firms, the Financial Reporting Council, the  Investment Association, and The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, who all reviewed and contributed to the guidance.


Businesses and organisations must continue to make the crucial decisions.

Vanessa Moon said: ‘This is a relationship that we greatly value, particularly as many of our clients are listed. We have found their resources to be extremely relevant and timely and we were delighted when Tim Ward their CEO shared this new guidance with us.’

Tim Ward, CEO of the QCA, said that: “The QCA has an impressive membership group and together we have strong collective influence – these are unprecedented times and at the forefront of our activity is our commitment and capacity to support our members. We are pleased to work with the ICSA and others collectively to produce this guidance on AGMs quickly to provide our members with information on how to navigate their regulatory obligations and make decisions needed to carry out their business.“


The Guidance outlines five options that companies can take:

1.       Adapt the basis on which they hold the AGM

2.       Delay convening the AGM, if notice has not yet been issued

3.       Postpone the AGM, if permitted under the articles of association

4.       Adjourn the AGM

5.       Conduct a hybrid AGM, if permitted under the articles of association

For more information, click here.            


The Stay at Home Measures make it harder to have an AGM but not impossible.

With the increasing impact of COVID-19, businesses are under pressure to transform to ‘the new normal’ but the AGM that is required by law cannot go ahead due to social distancing measures. At a time of great uncertainty, companies and their directors will need to focus on making the critical decisions that will enable them to get through the period with least disruption. One fully attended meeting would put the entire company and their families at risk.

However, chairing a quorate meeting may necessitate just ‘two director and/or employee shareholders of the company attending the meeting, with resolutions being passed by the proxy votes of those who have not been able to attend in person’.

The Stay at Home Measures make it harder to have an AGM but not impossible. Appropriate social distancing measures should be observed by the small number of attendees at a physical meeting and shaking hands is obviously off the table.

Whilst we must all take the utmost precaution in preventing the spread of COVID-19, businesses and organisations must continue to make the crucial decisions to survive and thrive in theses testing times.

For more information about how to safely conduct an AGM click here for the guidance from ICSA.


Quoted Companies Alliance
Quoted Companies Alliance

The QCA has also created a new COVID-19 hub (“The Lockdown Lowdown”) on its website to help QCA members. The Hub includes information on regulatory updates, government support schemes available for companies and the work the QCA is doing on behalf of its members. The Hub also bring together content from member advisory firms to help small and mid-sized quoted companies. Members can access the Hub here.

Quote from Tim Ward, who is the Chief Executive of the Quoted Companies Alliance since 2009.

“The QCA and our members are committed to playing our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We are proud of how our members have responded by innovating and adapting their business practices and continue to make the difficult decisions to ensure their companies are sustainable in the long term. The role of the QCA to support and act as the voice of small to mid-sized quoted companies is more important than ever and we are committed to doing everything possible to support our members through COVID-19.”

New Leadership Academy launched with Paradigm Norton

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UWE Bristol are working with employee owned and multi award winning financial planning firm Paradigm Norton to launch a ‘Leadership Academy’.

Designed to strategically invest in the leaders of the future, the Academy will see participants study modules in self-leadership, personal vision, succession, sustainability and legacy and conflict and confrontation. With a maximum of eight Paradigm Norton employees per academic year, the course demonstrates how the firm are investing in the future of their team and the wider business.   

Exclusively available to members of the Paradigm Norton team, the course will focus on management and leadership skills and spans across the normal academic year.

Those who complete the course will receive an accredited level seven certificate of leadership and management from UWE Bristol, as well as credits towards completing a further two years to achieve an MBA at the university.

Barry Horner, CEO of Paradigm Norton, said: “We have launched the Leadership Academy with UWE as a result of a desire to equip the future leaders of the business to lead with excellence. As an employee owned business, we wish to ensure that our ‘Partners’ have the required leadership skills that they need to help us grow and build the business over the coming decade. We have big ambitions and we will need leaders who can drive through change and help us stay current and relevant.”

Lynda Williams, Associate Director at UWE’s Bristol Business School and Bristol Law School, said; “Working in tandem with Paradigm Norton to bring this course to life has been fantastic, to be able to offer their team a sophisticated learning environment and a chance to build on their leadership skills is very exciting.”

Recently, Paradigm Norton was named the 22nd in the Top 100 Financial Adviser list by The Financial Times. The list provides a snapshot of the very best financial advice firms working in the UK today.

Bristol Business School in the top ten

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Bristol Business School has been voted as one of the top 10 business schools in the UK by over 9,000 students thanks to Student Crowd.

‘With the popularity of Business related degrees in the UK on the rise and showing no signs of slowing down, it’s more important than ever that Universities offer top class courses, facilities and career prospects’

It’s for this reason that they compiled a list of the best Business Schools in the UK as voted for by students themselves. They received a massive 9,300 unique reviews that went into forming this comprehensive list.

They say “Bristol Business School is one of the UK’s leading university business schools. Developing students in the art of leadership, collaboration and enterprise, students will be ready to start a successful career in business after graduation. With help building connections with industry professionals, Bristol Business School has a 95% employment rate.”

Votes were calculated using a number of categories from Campus and facilities to clubs and societies. Read more here.

Recognising hard work, dedication and commitment

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Paul Brown, CEO at MHI and UWE Bristol Business Management Advisory Board member, picked up the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Bristol Post Business Awards at the end of June 2019.

This prestigious award recognises hard work, dedication and commitment to Bristol, commending his passion for the local community and businesses. Previous winners include George Ferguson (first elected mayor of Bristol), Nick Park (Aardman Animations), Colin Skellett (CEO of Wessex Water) and Steve Lansdown and Peter Hargreaves (Hargreaves and Lansdown).

In an article by Bristol Post, it was said that ‘Paul is known by his colleagues as someone who uses his position and company to benefit the local community in everything that they embark on.’

During his time as an advisory board member for Business Management at UWE, Paul has advocated for a Triple Bottom Line and has had a huge impact. His other focus is ensuring these soon-to-be graduates are prepared for SME life when their time comes to enter the working world.

Paul also plays an active role in investing in and supporting Bristol-based start-ups, using his 26 years of experience to influence and guide them.

‘Humbled and honoured to be acknowledged for his services to Bristol over the last 26 years, the award is not something that Paul will take lightly – for he is an individual who truly cares, not only about Bristol and the South-West, but beyond too.’ – MHI news.

Congratulations Paul, you are a truly deserving winner and an asset to UWE Bristol.

Read about our Business Management Advisory Board or get in touch if you want to know more.

Top 5 tips to engage with your employees

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Interview with Dr Gareth Edwards, Associate Professor of Leadership Development

Gareth Edwards Headshot

Dr Gareth Edwards is an expert in dispersed leadership from a community perspective and leadership development.

Gareth recently chaired the ‘Unlocking Performance through Employee Engagement’ Conference at the Bristol Business School. The event was focused on harnessing people’s skills and resources to boost productivity and save costs. There was also a focus on creating and sustaining employee engagement during challenging times.

Here, Gareth gives us his top 5 tips for engaging with your employees:

1. Make sure that you have a two-way conversation with organisational colleagues. It’s not enough to just open a dialogue or enter into a consultation. Employees need to feel like they’ve been part of a meaningful conversation and that their ideas have been discussed and explored. The decisions need to be strategic but with input from employees at all levels.

2. Consider the links to your organisations history. Include in the engagement dialogue a commentary about the purpose of the organisation and how this ties into current strategy and planning. Some firms have an innate family feel, others less so, but there is always a way to connect back to the roots of a company and explore engagement through heritage.

3. Think about the links between leadership and engagement. Good practice would warrant elements of distributed leadership whereby you recognise and reward examples of teams leading themselves within the organisation. It’s important to let this happen organically and promote excellence positively.

4. There is definitely something to consider around the subject of culture. There is no ‘right’ culture but it’s vital to recognise the importance that some people attach to this. Think about your organisation’s culture, how people reflect on this and link best practice to core values and behaviours.

5. Most importantly, have fun! Employees work hard and that should be recognised and encouraged, alongside social activities and a family friendly ethos. Things such as Away Days should have strategic and planning focuses, but some time should equally be spent on social activities. Things can be too formulaic, so try to find the right balance.

If you’d like to read more about leadership and engagement read the CITB’s snapshot report on ‘Building engagement: Encouraging leadership in construction’.

Take advantage of degree apprenticeship SME funding with UWE Bristol

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15 May 2019 15:00 – 17:00

Register here

Are you interested in upskilling your workforce and does the cost of training seem a barrier to accessing local talent?

This event provides an opportunity to hear first-hand accounts from existing businesses who have apprentices at UWE, and how to make it work. In addition to this, we will be highlighting upcoming degree apprenticeships and further opportunities for your business to train your employees at degree level with the funding available.

UWE Bristol is the only university in the region with funding from the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) to support non-levy employers and has secured funding to support apprentices from Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).

David Barrett, Director of Apprenticeships at UWE Bristol, will welcome you to the event and alongside the Degree Apprenticeship Hub team will be able to help identify your training needs and suitable solutions.
Spaces are limited for this event, so please register below.

If you have any questions about this event or degree apprenticeships please feel free to contact Ellen Parkes.

We are looking forward to meeting you and beginning the degree apprenticeship partnership journey.

The event takes place in the University Enterprise Zone on Frenchay Campus from 15:00 – 17:00.

Register here