- Course studied:
- Business Management
- Year of graduation:
Chris Austin is a champion of Stoke-on-Trent, having spent more than 12 years working for the city council and promoting the events, facilities, services and businesses on offer. He was offered the opportunity to help shape and develop a growing company by a former council colleague and now works as Business Development Director for Edenfield, a health and safety training and osteopathy firm.
“I believe Stoke-on-Trent needs to celebrate what it has – whether that is the world-class sport and leisure facilities, the international standard events that are attracted to the city or the skill and talent of those employed in local businesses like Edenfield,” Chris said.
Chris has lived in Stoke-on-Trent his entire life, attending Sandford Hill Primary School, Edensor High School, Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College and then Staffordshire University. He got a job at the council while at college and took a gap year after A Levels to progress within the authority. In 2007, he took the opportunity to study for a degree in Business Management while continuing to advance his career.
He explained: “I liked the idea of studying locally and working on my career at the same time. I looked at a number of local universities but Staffs seemed to tick all the boxes – it was close to home, the staff seemed welcoming, the academic facilities looked really good and the campuses had loads going on.
“I wanted to study something that was varied in content so I could have an understanding of the wider business environment. The course included marketing, HRM, operations management, finance/accounting, economics and more. It was also something that can be applied to every industry and sector, so I didn’t feel like it would push me into a certain profession.”
After graduating in 2010, Chris studied for a Masters in International Events Management in Manchester. He returned to Staffordshire University in 2013 to complete a CIM Professional Diploma in Marketing.
“Working full time and studying full time was very tough but my employer was really understanding and allowed me to work around my time on campus,” he recalled. “I was able to apply what I was learning at university and this was noticed quite quickly. My final role at the council was Events and Commercial Manager for the Leisure, Culture and Museums Service.
“I managed the major sports events programme and some of the city’s most well-known venues, as well as the marketing, business and commercial development for the service. Some of the events I was responsible for included the Tour of Britain professional cycle race, annual award ceremonies and PR launches, the 2015 UK Corporate Games and a host of regional, national and international events. One of the highlights was playing a significant role in the city’s successful bid to become the European City of Sport for 2016.”
At the end of 2016, Chris “felt it was time to move on” and joined Edenfield. He has also taken the role of Fractional Lecturer at MMU in Manchester, delivering a series of lectures on events management, marketing and related disciplines.
He said: “As Business Development Director at Edenfield, I’m lucky enough to have the freedom to get involved with all elements of the business, including strategy or a particular campaign, designing marketing collateral or training material, developing new products and content, talking to our clients about how we can help their business and staff or delivering training to one of our customers across the UK.
“Currently, our business works with clients in all industries and sectors throughout the UK – providing training and consultancy in a range of areas, including health and safety, first aid, catering and hospitality and customer service. We also have a State Registered Osteopath, so provide a number of occupational health services. Because of the eclectic mix of experience in the team and opportunities being explored, it’s an exciting time for us to see what’s next for the company.”
Profile correct as of October 2017