Creative Industries spotlight: Gary Topp, Executive Director, Arnolfini

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Photo by Lawrence Bury, 2020.

Gary Topp joined Arnolfini in 2019 as Executive Director. He has led the team at Arnolfini through the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns and the many challenges and opportunities this created for Arnolfini and the wider sector. In the blog below he talks about his career, the importance of creative spaces and his future plans for Arnolfini.  

Gary has a broad and successful career in the creative industries. He started his career as a visual arts curator in museums, which quickly developed into the management and leadership space from his late twenties. His work with organisations that blend large scale project management with high level policy gave him a unique insight into the way that the public, private and third sectors interweave and the need to understand this cultural work within a broader social and economic framework.

Gary has been Director or Chief Executive of a range of cultural organisations over the past 20 years in both the UK and Australia and has worked with governments leading cultural strategies at both regional and city level.

“Throughout all of these roles I have remained passionately committed to the visual arts and to the vital role that cultural institutions like Arnolfini play in the life of cities. And I always admired Arnolfini’s long and influential track record. I still come to work each day as a fan and advocate for the part we play in the city, region and wider cultural sector and feel very lucky that my combined skillset was the right one for Arnolfini when I joined in 2019.”

With Gary’s exciting career, it’s unsurprising he has many highlights including delivering large scale events such as the Indian international Film awards in 2007 or Birmingham Commonwealth Games handover ceremony in 2018. He’s also secured and delivered millions of pounds worth of projects and investments with many wonderful partners in a range of cities and places. However, the chance to lead and implement change at Arnolfini is a real highlight.

“I am hugely proud to have been allowed the chance to lead Arnolfini and re-establish it at the forefront of cultural venues in the UK. Since joining in early 2019 I have had many moments launching exhibitions, hosting talks and events, establishing our UWE Bristol relationship, surviving COVID lockdowns, building community partnerships and working every week with a talented and committed group of colleagues and this all feels like a career highlight.”

Gary is a huge believer in spaces like Arnolfini and believes that creative spaces make a hugely important contribution to where we live in many practical, social and emotional ways.

“We can talk about our role in the visitor economy, or in the many ways that creativity is vital for entrepreneurism across many industry sectors; or we can reflect on our role as a community space for learning or welcoming new refugees to the city; or for the way that we animate and support city centres and nightlife.

Our audiences and communities often tell us how we act as a place of joy and inspiration with the ability to use the powerful impact of art and culture to promote new ways of experiencing the world. All great towns and cities have strong cultural centres at their heart and those that don’t generally wish that they did!”

“The creative industries have proved enormously resilient in the face of many challenges over the last 25 years (since the term first came into general usage) and this is a testament to the talent and determination that characterises the hundreds of thousands of people that work in them. But if we also understand that this talent can achieve more- socially as well as economically- we need to keep creating the environment and support systems to release even more talent.

To do this we need to unlock talent wherever it is in our communities and develop pathways of education, skills development, business change and massive amounts of cultural curiosity and creative capability everywhere. Universities like UWE Bristol, and cultural venues like Arnolfini, can create amazing alliances to unleash all of this latent capability!”

UWE Bristol have a strong partnership with Arnolfini, working together under the branding of ARNOLFINI x UWE. The purpose of the “x” signifies that Arnolfini’s work is amplified by partnering with UWE Bristol, who share similar cultural, education and research agendas.

“Developing and delivering this partnership has been a key driver of my leadership at Arnolfini and it manifests itself in lots of different ways through a rolling set of projects. Each year we host the degree shows in our galleries, stage dozens of joint events and activities for public and students alike and we continue to develop research partnerships and student placements. This means that whilst Arnolfini remains an independent charity we have a strong and important relationship with UWE Bristol that brings lots of mutual benefits.”

This is a very exiting time for Arnolfini. Under Gary’s guidance, they have successful got through the pandemic and are now anticipating over 700,000 visitors this year.

 “Like every organisation we try to improve each week and we will continue to focus on broadening our community impact whilst also developing our work internationally.  

Our daily work with our communities matched to the international reach of our exhibitions and cultural programme is a huge amount of work for a very dedicated small team.

Arnolfini is a strong cultural brand as well as a big building in Bristol and we look forward to working with our partners to develop and extend our project portfolio in many new and interesting ways. Our relationship with UWE Bristol will, of course, be front and centre in those plans.”

Thank you to Gary for this interview. Find out what is happening at the Arnolfini.

Black History Month 2022: Business Focus

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Getting the show on the road

Image: Julian Mensah founder of Voltric. Photo credit BSWN 2022

As part of Black History Month 2022, we are spotlighting individuals working around the following themes:

  • Skills
  • Innovation
  • Research
  • Business

This week we are focusing on Business:

UWE Alumni and Green Skills speaker Julian Mensah is Founder of Electric vehicle (EV) subscription service Voltric, whose aim is to remove barriers to reducing car emissions, making it more practical, cost effective and efficient to access green sustainable transport.

Along with Co-founder Brent Oldfield, another UWE Alumni, Voltric has gone from a concept and two Renault vehicle three years ago to expecting a total fleet of over 200 by the end of December, with plans to expand this to 1000 cars on the road next year, including models from Tesla, Mercedes, Renault and MG.

The idea for Voltric came from the creation of a business plan for Julian’s MA in Marketing at UWE in 2018, he wrote about electric cars and the business around supporting the transition from internal combustion engines to electric vehicles. Redundancy from a Product Management position encouraged him to revisit the business plan, which had never been far from his mind. Following a meeting with his Marketing Lecturer and an introduction to UWE’s Team Entrepreneurship he met business partner Brent, a student on the course.

He has been involved as an inspirational speaker from the outset on Green Skills for Jobs and Entrepreneurship, a transformational programme delivered by UWE in partnership with Black South West Network and NatWest. Aimed at increasing accessibility, knowledge and awareness of opportunities in the Green Sector. The sessions have been such a success that Voltric will be welcoming three fully paid Interns into their business under the Green Skills programme this year, giving them valuable experience in green technology. 

“If I can inspire and encourage Black and minoritised young people to think about the opportunities around tech and where that can take them, that’s not only something that benefits them individually, it ultimately benefits the whole community.”

“And I love that on Green Skills we’re talking not only about business, but about sustainability as a whole, how we can live in a sustainable manner.”

“If I was going to give any advice to myself before starting on my business journey, it would be to celebrate the small wins along the way. My life is so busy, being involved with Green Skills and connecting with the young Learners has been so enjoyable. It’s different from my every day and has helped me to reflect on all the successes we’ve had so far at Voltric and those to come in the future.”

voltric.co.uk

Be a part of the next group of aspiring entrepreneurs at UWE Bristol’s Launch Space incubator

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UWE Bristol are on the hunt for the next innovative start-ups and aspiring entrepreneurs to join the high-impact start-up incubator programme.

Over the last 12 months, Launch Space has worked with more than 30 early-stage start-ups as they develop their ideas and grow their businesses. Many of these companies have already gone on to win grants, secure investment, and grow their team.

Based within the University Enterprise Zone (UEZ),  the University’s incubator programmes have to date supported more than 130 early-stage businesses. These businesses have raised £52m and created more than 300 new jobs.

Applications are open until the 17 October 2022 – Find out more and apply here.

What support do I get?

Up to 20 people will be selected for the free programme of support.

If successful with your application, you will be invited to attend an exciting induction day on site in October. You will meet your peers, say hello to the innovation team, and get your first introduction to the science and tech community at Future Space.

During your six months with Launch Space, you will have access to tailored one-to-one support, workshops, networking events, and regular advisor sessions to help bring your idea to life.

Working directly with experienced mentors, you can also gain access to a wide range of contacts, industries, and expertise as you get ready to launch your business.

Who can apply?

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

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

You might have a great idea you want to put into action, be in the early stages of developing your business, or need help to validate and develop your business further – either way, we are here to support your journey.

Find out more and apply here.

Why join Launch Space?

Launch Space is home to a wide range of businesses at various stages on the start-up journey, and you will be working alongside others who have a common goal of making their vision a success.

Award-winning mentor and Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Mark Corderoy, commented:“Launch Space is the perfect environment to create your start-up – a combination of community and one-to-one support, and a track record of success!”

Aimee Skinner works alongside Mark, overseeing the Launch Space programme and mentoring early-stage businesses. She said “The team has worked with hundreds of businesses over the last few years – the journey is rarely the same! That is why we take the time to work one-to-one with everyone, offering a truly bespoke experience”

Apply now.

Don’t just take it from us – hear what our members have to say

We caught up with the latest members of Launch Space to hear what they think.


Faiza Idris joined Launch Space in May of this year with her business, Fa Byoaqua. Fa Byoaqua is an innovative aquaponic farm which aims to alleviate food production concerns in locations with limited access to clean water.

“According to Forbes, 90% of start-up fails. To mitigate that risk, I decided to join Launch space to give my entrepreneurial journey and FA BYOAQUA ltd a good start by taking advantage of the resources available at launch space.

“Launch space has provided a safe environment where I can learn and grow as an entrepreneur. It enabled me to work with other like-minded entrepreneurs. A critical component of Launch space is its vast network of business experts, partners, and mentors such as Aimee and Mark that can assist my company in flourishing”


Morgan Edmondson is founder of Inchain – Inchain are hoping to help business avoid exposure of sensitive business data with their innovative blockchain solution.

“I joined Launch Space because I was captivated by the environment of entrepreneurs, mentors, and specialists within the program and the support that is offered.

“The support and navigation both technically and commercially through the team at Launch Space, alongside the great working environment have enabled Inchain to progress further and more efficiently day by day”

Gabriela Gomez has been working on her business, Open Labs, to tackle student mental health. Working one-to-one with Gabriela, the Launch Space team have supported Open Labs to apply for a variety of grant funding to help bring them one step closer to a working application.

“I joined the programme to turn my business idea into a reality with the help of mentors and the resources provided by Launch Space.

“Launch Space has allowed me to access invaluable start-up support by connecting me with mentors and an inspiring and supportive community of fellow entrepreneurs”

Organiko are creating universal, traceable, inclusive, and sustainable loungewear. Abbie Lifton, founder of Organiko, joined Launch Space to get support expanding the brand and exploring combined sensor technology.

“7,200 health and fitness facilities are highly populated by synthetic activewear, as 10,000 gym goers choose to abide by social norms, rather than consider traceability and whether their garment could assist in reaching their performance goals. Organiko is looking to change this.

“Launch Space has allowed us to work within a community of like-minded individuals, gain 1-2-1 support and have space for open discussion amongst peers in similar situations”

Rivern Macpherson is founder of Pair 2 Share, providing social and financial perks to restaurant owners and staff with an innovative meal swap solution.

“I began my entrepreneurial journey at Launch Space due to their ability to support me in growing my idea into a business through their fantastic community, mentorship, and facilities on offer.

“Since joining Launch Space, I have gained invaluable knowledge and experience on how to successfully manage a startup, and I am now ready to begin my first pitching round to investors”

If you would like to find out more or speak to the team, email launchspace@uwe.ac.uk

Academic Spotlight: Dr Harriet Shortt

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In this Academic Spotlight interview, we asked Dr Harriet Shortt, Associate Professor in Organisation Studies at UWE Bristol Business School, about her area of research.

Tell us about your background and your research interests?

I am interested in the spaces and places of work and how they make people feel, and how the material environment of work impacts the everyday lives of workers. I also use visual methods in my research, and I’m interested in how these approaches can tell us something more or help us understand something better, instead of simply asking people questions. Often visual research methods allow us to uncover emotional responses, rich in meaning. I also use visual methods, such as participant-led photography and projected drawing, in my teaching practice and on our Executive Education course ‘Personal Mastery in Leadership’.

Why do you think workspace is an important area of research?

Spatial change is important for lots of different reasons.It’s important from an organisational perspective because it’s their real estate and space is expensive, so organisations want to know they are using space effectively and economically. And it’s important from an individual perspective – we know that space impacts people’s sense of wellbeing, sense of identity, and sense of belonging. If organisations think about space carefully and really tune in to how it makes workers feel, it can have a direct impact on belonging, well-being, happiness, and ultimately productivity. We’re having big conversations now in society and workplaces about where we’re working and why, and how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted working practices.  Now is the time to be doing research and understanding why people like to work at home or in the office or somewhere in-between. It’s important that we empower workers to create their own spaces and have a voice in this ongoing conversation about workplace.

You’ve led projects with both public and private sector organisations. What is the most exciting or rewarding consultancy project you’ve worked on?

I think my PhD research will always be one of the best research projects I’ve led! I explored how hairdressers construct a sense of identity in relation to the material environment of work and worked with lots of hairdressers working in salons all over the UK. I think hairdressing salons are one of the most fascinating places in the world, full of social, cultural, and aesthetic meaning. In particular, the experience of liminal space emerged as being crucial to this project. For so long, spaces such as corridors, cupboards, toilets, and doorways have been overlooked and seen as transitory ‘non-places’, yet for the hairdressers, or perhaps any sort of worker in a public-facing, open-plan, fluid sort of space, these ‘non-places’ are important in relation to how they construct a sense of identity, how they seek friendship, and how they manage their emotions in the workplace. In this way, these were real sites of identity construction for these workers, and they weren’t ‘non-places’ at all – they are full of meaning.

Have the COVID lockdowns provided any interesting avenues for thinking about home and hybrid working?

Absolutely! This is something we should all be thinking about and talking about, because we’re not necessarily out of it yet and it has impacted such a huge part of the knowledge workforce. I don’t think we’ve had the chance to properly talk about it yet, but we should start to consult workers about how home working or hybrid working has been for them.  I feel lots of organisations have said ‘we don’t need our offices anymore’, or ‘if course we can all work from home now’ – there seems to be some wild decision making going on and really, we should be spending time asking the workforce how they feel about it? Asking questions, like how’s it been? What was it like for you? What did you learn about homeworking? And what do you want to bring back to the office? I don’t yet feel there is a shared understanding of what hybrid working actually is. Everyone’s interpretations are different and that’s ok, but organisationally we need to make better sense of what new working practices look like – it goes back to this idea of identity, belonging and a connection with our workplaces – this needs re-thinking post-Covid.

What projects are you currently working on?

I’m working a number of live research projects at the moment and writing up papers as outputs from research projects that I’ve just finished.

Two core projects I am part of are: 1) as part of a cross-faculty funded research project, I’m working on a project focussing on hybrid working with colleagues who work in public health at UWE. We’ve started gathering visual data that explores what hybrid working looks like for knowledge workers during Covid-19. And 2) as part of a British Academy of Management grant, I’m working with colleagues at UWE, Oxford Brookes and London Met who specialise in leadership and language, and I’m supporting the visual methods approach we are taking. We’re using visual methods to understand what inclusive leadership looks like and how this manifests across different cultures.

UWE Bristol celebrating world Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Day 2022 

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UWE Bristol are proud to work with many Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) across the region. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) account for up to 90% of businesses, 60% to 70% of employment, and they account for half of global GDP, according to the United Nations.  

To celebrate World MSME Day 2022 we are sharing some recent work and projects with MSMEs.  

In this short video, we highlight three SMEs we worked with as part of our Scale Up 4 Growth Scheme. In partnership with NatWest and Foot Anstey, we gave SMEs access to grant funding and business support to help them scale up. In the below video we hear from The Bristol Loaf, Wiper and True and 299 Lighting about how the funding has helped transform their business.  

Spotlight on Bristol 24/7  

Bristol 24/7 are one of many MSMEs we are supporting through our Skills for Clean Growth programme and our Digital Skills programme.  Below is some feedback from Meg Houghton-Gilmour, Community and Memberships Manager.

Tell us a bit about what you are doing as an organisation to support sustainability goals in the region? 

At Bristol24/7 we’re really proud to be in the process of recruiting a dedicated climate and sustainability editor. We are the first local media organisation to do so as far as we know, and we’ve created this role to engage conversation, inspire people to take action, hold authorities and companies to account and report on the positive work already ongoing in Bristol.  

This is alongside our work to become more sustainable as an organisation. We are currently working with Action Net Zero to assess our carbon footprint, from which we will set goals to minimise our impact on the planet.  

We believe that working together is the best way to tackle the climate crisis. One of the defining values of our Better Business network is sustainability and we share ideas, opportunities and resources with our business members at our quarterly meetings.  

What steps have you taken to ensure you have a diverse workforce to drive forward these aims? 

Diversity and inclusion are at the heart of all of Bristol24/7s plans. We recognise there are considerable barriers to working in journalism and we are aiming to level the playing field at every opportunity. We are continuously improving our recruitment process to make it welcoming and accessible to all those who are interested in working with us. We have redesigned our work experience programme and we are working to introduce a career ladder so that those who have their first taste of journalism with us are invited back for longer placements and interviews for entry level positions.  

We work with the most underrepresented areas of Bristol to train new journalists in our community reporters programme. Our entire team take part in setting our goals and strategy for the year ahead and every voice is heard; we believe this allows for more robust decision making and creativity which are essential when tackling problems such as the climate crisis.  

What support have you received from UWE Bristol, and how has it contributed to these aims? 

We’re extremely grateful to UWE Bristol for their support. Over the last 12 months, our team have benefitted from Digital Skills support and training which has informed our membership strategy. We now also have a stronger marketing strategy which helps us capitalise on the support from our community and grow our membership – the result of which is that we can offer more work experience placements, train more community reporters and work with charity partners. 

More recently, members of our team have also taken part in the Skills for Clean Growth workshops. We already feel more confident in addressing our own carbon output, and we look forward to attending more workshops as we set our new goals, induct our climate editor and take the next steps on our sustainability journey.  

What successes have you seen as a result of the above work? 

In the last year we have seen a 30% growth in our membership, which has provided us with the resource to grow our team, including interns from UWE Bristol, and increase our social impact work. 

Workshops for MSMEs 

Are you a Gloucestershire business looking to scale?​ 

Digital Scale-Up for your Business

Hosted in the Advanced Digital Academy at Gloucestershire College in Cheltenham on Monday 11 & Tuesday 12 July 2022.  

Find out more and register

Growth through Innovation workshop 

5 & 6 July 2022, 09:00 – 16:30 

Business Cyber Centre, Chippenham 

A practical workshop to support your business in creating, communicating and funding innovation, free to SMEs in the Swindon & Wiltshire area. 

Find out more and register

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships  

The Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) scheme is a UK-wide programme helping businesses to improve competitiveness and productivity. We embed a recent graduate within your business and give you access to our academic expertise to help you transform your business.  

View some of our KTP case studies

Green Skills for Jobs and Entrepreneurship  

We recently supported more than 70 young people to complete the first stage of a transformational ‘first of its kind’ green skills training programme. 

The programme aimed to provide access to green jobs, training and business opportunities to Black, Asian and minoritised young people (aged 18-28), and recent graduates living in Bristol, South Gloucestershire, North Somerset, Bath and North East Somerset. 

Get in touch  

We are always keen to work with MSMEs so please do get in touch to discuss how we can support you and your business uwebusiness@ac.uk  

Scale Up 4 Growth Gloucestershire – more workshops announced for 2022

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The Scale Up 4 Growth Gloucestershire (S4GG) programme has to date provided grant funding and training to 60 businesses in the Gloucestershire region.

Delivered in partnership between UWE Bristol, Gloucestershire College, and NatWest, and funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Scale Up 4 Growth supports businesses in Gloucestershire to grow, expand and scale. The aim of the programme is to enable businesses to develop their potential, create job opportunities, get ready to scale up and overcome barriers to growth.

The latest workshops will focus on supporting businesses to navigate the adoption of new digital technologies and increase opportunities for growth.

According to the United Nations impact report, digital technologies have developed faster than any other innovation, with social media now connecting almost 50% of the entire global population.

Over the last few years, we have changed the way we work, interact, and do business forever. Digital technologies are becoming more widespread, and the government recognises digital technologies as key to the Nation’s future prosperity. From social media and e-commerce to Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Cloud Computing, these technologies can change the way we live and work.

Businesses more than ever need to invest in digital solutions to improve performance, productivity, and flexibility. But this can be a difficult landscape to navigate – how do you make the right choices for your business? Do you have the skills you need in the team? And how do you keep your business and customer information safe in this new digital world?

The Scale Up 4 Growth team has recognised the increasing need for SMEs to become more digital savvy. From design thinking and digital adoption, to cyber security and funding, the “Digital Scale-up for Your Business” workshops will help business leaders wanting to understand new digital technologies, get hands on with design thinking methods, and consider the next steps for scaling.

“Such a wide-ranging and interesting day with a great mix of speakers; it was the ideal blend of practical hands-on information and out-of-the-box thinking.  I definitely felt that I left the workshop armed with the tools to take our business to the next level!”

 Previous Workshop Attendee.

It is a unique opportunity to get practical advice from leading experts in design thinking, digital transformation, and cyber security. The next workshop will take place at Gloucestershire College in July 2022.

The workshop takes place over the course of two days and is delivered by the S4GG partnership, consisting of the University of the West of England, Natwest and Gloucestershire College. Speakers include Salus Cyber, SPARCK, and Together Digital.

The agenda combines theory and practice and includes engaging sessions on strategies to closing skills gaps, making the right digital choices, cyber security, and funding readiness.

Ideal for SMEs based in Gloucestershire of all sizes – early-stage start-ups to established companies. You might be, for example, a consultancy, a technical product business, a retailer, or a software business. What you have in common is an interest in adopting new digital technologies into your business.


About Scale Up for Growth Gloucestershire: The scheme supports small or medium businesses in the Gloucestershire LEP region (Tewkesbury, Cheltenham, Gloucester, Forest of Dean, Stroud and Cotswolds) that are looking to grow. Funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), it offers eligible businesses access to grants, training, and expert support to enable them to achieve their full potential. For more information visit www.scaleup4growth.co.uk

About European Regional Development Fund: Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding

Registrations now open for Year Two of the Help to Grow: Management Programme 

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After a successful first year of the Help to Grow: Management training programme, registrations are now open for Year Two at UWE Bristol. 

Help to Grow: Management is a 12-week practical training programme for senior managers of small and medium enterprises that aims to help boost performance, resilience, and long-term growth of their businesses. Delivered through a blend of online and face-to-face learning, the course covers strategies for growth and innovation, leading high-performance teams, and digital adoption, as well as financial management and responsible business practices. 

Learners engage in regular peer group calls, have access to 10 hours of one-to-one mentor support, hear from guest speakers and have access to join other SME leaders through both local and national alumni networks. 

By the end of the programme, participants will develop a tailored business growth plan to help increase productivity and revenue and thus take their business to the next level.  

Help to Grow: Management is 90% subsidised by the government and costs just £750. Designed to be undertaken alongside full-time work, the twelve modules require 50 hours of commitment to timetabled activities.  

In our first year, UWE Bristol has guided over one hundred SME leaders through the programme, building on the university’s proven track record of supporting SMEs across the South-West. UWE Bristol has held the Small Business Charter since 2015 indicating a strong track record in working with, supporting and developing businesses. Those completing the programme have benefitted from the expertise of UWE module facilitators – Senior Lecturers at Bristol Business School who combine academic and real-life business experience. Additionally, learners have been supported throughout the course by a dedicated project support team enabling the smooth running of the programme and excellent pastoral care.  

UWE Bristol Help to Grow: Management Alumni, Robert Ogden of Renewable Exchange commented:  

“The programme gives you a very broad coverage of a lot of relevant business topics. For me personally, the mentoring sessions were a great way to take the entire course material, distil down what I found most relevant to Renewable Exchange and then turn these into actionable changes. Some of these changes can be fairly significant, for example, we’ve now opened an office in Germany which is our first international market. But, quite a lot of the changes that you might look to make are fairly small and quick improvements and just those marginable gains that improves the way the business functions and considers problems, and I found these to be really helpful for Renewable Exchange.  

If you’re looking for ways to grow your business, and if you go in with the right open-minded attitude and can commit the necessary time to learning and taking action off the back of it, then you’ve got a really great chance of getting some success out of your investment into the programme, so I would definitely recommend it.” 

UWE Bristol Programme Director, Dan Knox commented: 

“We at Bristol Business School are rightly proud of our long-standing commitment to regional businesses and communities, and especially pleased to have supported so many businesses on the Help to Grow: Management programme.  The depth and breadth of support that this programme offers is unrivalled nationally and really gives SME leaders the time, the space and the tools to step back from day-to-day operations in order to think strategically. We look forward to welcoming many more businesses to the programme in 2022-23 and to continuing to support our alumni to find the most appropriate ways for them to continue to grow and to engage with further opportunities in the regional and national business development ecosystem.”   

UWE Bristol are running courses across the South West, including Bristol, Devon, Somerset, Wiltshire and Cornwall through the academic year 2022-23.  

Find out more about courses available and book your place on our website or contact the team on helptogrow@uwe.ac.uk


Applications open for Partnership PhD scheme

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UWE Bristol has recently announced another application round of its successful Partnership PhD programme.

A Partnership PhD bridges the gap between external organisations and university. It enables an organisation to gain access to cutting-edge real-world research that can help transform it.

The Partnership establishes a relationship between an organisation and UWE Bristol, based on a specific project that is mutually beneficial.

Organisations have the opportunity to choose a relevant research area and gain access to cutting-edge research. The researcher will work extensively with the organisation to provide a tailored piece of research.

In turn, the researcher will gain an opportunity to pursue their research in a real-world setting, developing transferable and interdisciplinary skills whilst gaining cross-sector experience.

Over the past two years, the Graduate School, part of the Research, Business and Innovation team at UWE Bristol, has been developing the Partnership PhD scheme. Through it, UWE’s investment in Post Graduate Research has been matched by over £1.5m from 40+ partner organisations.

Future application deadlines

  • ​1 October
  • 1 January
  • 1 April
  • 1 July

Email uwebusiness@uwe.ac.uk to find out more.

Please find below full Partnership PhD guidance, costings, useful information and the flyer for businesses:

See below for our slides for businesses:

Email uwebusiness@uwe.ac.uk to find out more.

Time for SMEs in the West of England to seize the opportunities from the transition to net zero

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Calling SMEs across the West of England region – now is the time to plan for net zero with fully funded support from the Skills for Clean Growth programme.
 
The pace of change in the economy and legislative environment is accelerating as business leaders and politicians look to reach ambitious targets to reduce carbon intensity at a regional, national and international level. The West of England has gone beyond the commitments of central government with the ambition to reach net zero across the region by 2030.

At the same time, consumers, businesses and investors are growing in appetite for products and services that have a positive environmental impact and are driving decarbonisation.

By embracing low carbon practices, you will help position your business to prosper in this rapidly changing world.

Skills for Clean Growth will support you to grow your business in a sustainable way by upskilling your management team and employees to drive change and the adoption of low carbon practices.

Free expert support from the Skills for Clean Growth programme

The Skills for Clean Growth programme (part of the West of England’s Workforce for the Future Programme and being delivered by UWE Bristol and NatWest) is supporting SMEs to manage the risks and embrace the opportunities from the transition to net zero. Driven by the needs of businesses on the programme, training is focused on support that is immediately actionable.
 
SMEs are supported with analysing their skills needs & action planning before being given access to bespoke training, resources, and peer networks to help reach their targets.

Current workshops topics include Green Energy Procurement and Management, Measuring Carbon Emissions, and Behavioural Change, with new training and resources continually developed in response to the needs of businesses engaging with the programme.

Register now to start your clean growth journey .

“There is a climate emergency and everyone is going to have to do their bit to help build a greener future. As we change the way we make goods and retrofit our homes we will need a newly skilled workforce. That is of course also a significant opportunity to create high skilled, well paid, green jobs. I’m pleased to be able to offer this support so workers will get the skills they need to meet the demands of a greener economy.”
Dan Norris, Mayor, West of England Combined Authority

Launch event

Join us on Wednesday 25 May to find out about the programme and the opportunities available to businesses.

This event will bring together key stakeholders and SMEs on the programme, whilst providing an overview of the overall Workforce for the Future programme and the support available through Skills for Clean Growth. There will be several speaker slots from key partners, UWE Bristol academics and industry leaders with a green skills and low carbon focus.

This launch event is open to eligible SMEs on the Workforce for the Future programme. To be eligible for support, you must have a business presence in the West of England (Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset) and be a small or medium sized enterprise (SME). If you are eligible and new to the Workforce for the Future programme, please register your details here.

Develop your workforce in other areas through Workforce for the Future

Skills for Clean Growth is being delivered by UWE Bristol and NatWest as part of the West of England Combined Authorities Workforce for the Future programme, supporting SMEs with skills development across a range of future focused areas. Support is funded through the European Social Fund and is being delivered across a number of partners.

Find out about support available through Workforce for the Future.

Contact the team to find out more – cleangrowth@uwe.ac.uk or visit our website.

Lifelong Loan Entitlement scheme: SME Workshop

Posted on
  • Friday 25 March 2022
  • 10:00 – 12:00 GMT
  • Watershed, BS1

You are invited to a consultation workshop to explore future plans for the government to fund training and up-skilling of potential staff, as part of the levelling-up agenda.

The outcome of the workshop will be to inform a pilot run by UWE Bristol on the Lifelong Loan Entitlement scheme, influencing the terms and conditions which the government will put on the scheme in time for the nation-wide launch in 2025.

Topics for exploration:

  • Lifelong Loan entitlement – a government scheme that enables individuals to access University short courses, funded through the Student Loan Company.
  • Higher/Degree Apprenticeships – a mentoring system and funding mechanism for employees on certain professions, where they complete a degree part-time and obtain a separate professional qualification such as chartership.
  • Skills Bootcamps – short intense training courses aimed at giving potential employees the basic skills they need to join the labour market.
  • Education delivery methods – exploring the different types of education delivery and the opportunities and barriers that they may pose to employers. This includes day-release, block-release, evening classes, blended, hybrid and on-line.
  • Recruitment of people from low participation neighbourhoods and low participation demographics.
  • Green & Zero Carbon skills – the pilot for the Lifelong Loan Entitlement short courses will be on the subject of Zero Carbon buildings and sustainable development. So there will also be an opportunity to discuss the content of these, although this is not the main focus of the workshop.

Catering is provided and each participant will receive a sustainable gift for their time.

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