Partnerships News

Determination and hard work earn Ashley his graduation with honours

September 2016

Ashley Cox, aged 24 from Wolverhampton, didn’t enjoy school and left with C and D GCSE grades. However, this year he proudly graduated from Staffordshire University with a BSc (Hons) Animal Science with Animal Behaviour, which he studied through our partnership with South Staffordshire College.

He explained: “I didn’t enjoy school and came out with a handful of Cs and Ds at GCSE – but I could have done a lot better. I just didn’t put the effort in, and I guess I had a bit of an attitude and didn’t get along with some of the teachers. Studying at South Staffordshire College was different.”

He continued: “I started on the level 1 course because I hadn’t passed my GCSE science – I had to start on the lowest level. However I did really well and soon went on to the level 2 then the level 3, achieving distinction* grades which are equivalent to A* grades at A Level. From there I went on to the Foundation degree in Animal Science with Animal Behaviour and then progressed to the one year top up course – so I’m graduating this year with a BSc (Hons) in Animal Science with Animal Behaviour.

Ashley studied the Foundation Degree course full-time over two years, followed by the BSc top-up which took one additional year to complete. Much like studying a degree on a university campus, it has taken him three years to complete his honours degree.

In addition to receiving lots of support from experienced lecturers and working alongside them in the animal zone, Ashley’s favourite part of the course was a ten day trip to South Africa, where he and his course-mates stayed in a nature reserve out in the bush.

We spoke to Ashley about how he felt when he left school a few years ago and now, about his impending graduation - he said: “Back then I never would have thought I would end up graduating with a degree. I never would have expected that I would be able to do this. But something in me made me go out on a limb to see if I could do it, and then I have just been really determined. I’m really proud of achieving top grades and proud of myself for the determination I have shown.”

Footballing Future

Adam, pictured with his family

29 September 2016

Adam Ridings, age 31 from Dukinfield, Greater Manchester graduated with a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PCET) which was made possible thanks to our partnership with Ashton Sixth Form College.

Dad of two Adam left school for a career in professional football playing at Rochdale AFC.

However, when he stopped playing at professional level he got involved with coaching and took a voluntary position managing local team Dukinfield FC, a position he still holds now, 10 years on. Just as he and his partner Vicky welcomed their first child, Adam decided to turn his back on his labouring job in order to achieve his ambition and build himself a career in football coaching and teaching instead.

He obtained a qualification in Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector (PTLLS) before enrolling on the Post Graduate Certificate in Education and Training (PCET) at Ashton Sixth Form College. This involved attending college three mornings per week as well as teaching sport at the college for five hours every week. He admits that going back into education and standing in front of a group of 16 year olds as their teacher were both daunting at first.

He said: “I’m not going to lie; it was difficult to make that decision to stop what I was doing, decide not to carry on in my current job of landscaping patios and driveways and earning the money that gave me. But with my first daughter on the way, I just felt that it was a case of now or never. I wanted to give it a try and make football and teaching my job, because that’s what I love. I struggled at first, I had been out of formal education for so long and I never thought I’d ever go back to it, but the others on the course were a really good bunch – always willing to help each other out, and the support and mentoring available from the tutors was just amazing.”

Adam revealed that being able to study at his local college was essential because of family commitments and would encourage anyone who is thinking of teaching to not hesitate.

The next stop for Adam is to get his UEFA B Football Coaching Licence and apply for Qualified Teacher Status so he is able to teach BTEC Sports qualifications, whilst also coaching in a football academy.

Paris Role for Doug

"If I had not been working towards this Foundation degree, I would not have been shortlisted for my current position."

17 August 2016

Doug Meney, age 50, graduated from Staffordshire University with a Foundation degree in Leadership and Management, which he studied at Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Training (CWT).

Doug currently works as the Director of Horticulture for the American Battle Monument Commission in Paris – an organisation that administers, operates and maintains 25 overseas commemorative American military cemeteries, and 24 national memorials around the world.
When he took on this new role last year Doug was half way through his studies towards a Foundation degree in Leadership and Management, requiring him to attend lessons every week in Coventry. Keen to continue and complete his qualification, Doug was able to continue ‘attending’ by skyping in from his Paris base to the weekly lessons, which ran from 2pm to 8pm. This allowed his classmates to see him on screen and enabled him to join in class discussions as if he was there.

He started his horticultural career as a garden labourer at a convalescent hospital at the age of 15. There, he was encouraged by his boss to study at night school before completing a HND in horticulture and progressing to a 25 year career with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission which saw him rise through the ranks from gardener to a sector supervisor.

Talking about his decision to return to higher education to study a management qualification, Doug says: “I have been in this career all my life and because I had come up through the ranks as a gardener to sector supervisor, I would say that before I studied this course I didn’t consider myself an ‘intelligent’ person. Studying is not something that comes naturally to me and it has taken a lot of commitment and determination, as well as a lot of support, understanding and tolerance from my family. I have a very supportive wife and three children aged 16, 12 and 10. When you work hard all day and then you’re spending 2 or 3 hours a night studying, it does involve compromise from your loved ones – something I never had to worry about when I studied at college in my 20s!”
However, this hard work and determination has paid off, helping to secure his new role in Paris. Doug explains: You get to a certain point in your career and then you find that more senior level job adverts require a business or management degree, or an MBA as standard. If I had not been working towards this Foundation degree, I would not have been shortlisted for my current position.
Doug is also seeing the benefits of his newly acquired knowledge in his day to day role: “I can now sit in senior level management meetings at ease, able to discuss and analyse financial information, look at strategy effectively, and make confident managerial decisions whether that involves staff, premises, resources or budgets. I know I am an equal at the meeting table and that makes the hard work worth it.

MA Interior Design for Vanessa

Venezuelan Vanessa studied by distance learning

16 August 2016

Venezuelan Vanessa Nunes Uribe, age 36, will graduate from Staffordshire University with an MA in Interior Design which she studied through distance learning at the National Design Academy.

Vanessa lives in London with her husband and has worked as a qualified architect for the last seven years, working at a private studio designing private residential and social interest projects. She also had her own studio and consulting firm, N&N ARQUITECTOS, with private clients in the fields of conceptualisation, design, quantity surveying, cost estimating and project execution.

Vanessa had always wanted to continue her studies to Master’s level. When she moved to Europe she saw it as an excellent opportunity to start looking for a Master’s and she felt that the Interior Design field was an ideal complement to her architectural background. 

She says: “The Master’s was both rewarding and demanding; to finish within the time frame I had to juggle between my private projects, house chores and studying. This involved a lot of time management and many extra hours and weekends behind the monitor.

However, distance learning worked very well for me and the fees were more affordable than going to a university to study full-time. Although distance learning means you don’t get face-to-face contact with your classmates, but the NDA makes every possible effort to encourage interaction via the VLS Community and Social Media. Moreover, I had 24/7 IT and Student Department support, and my tutor, Professor Anthony Rayworth, was always on call. I would like to thank him for all his constructive feedback, constant help, guidance and real interest during the Masters.”

Vanessa graduates with a distinction from the MA in Interior Design. She says: “I certainly feel proud of achieving a distinction grade in a Master’s in the UK, studying in a different language on a course which is recognised internationally. 

Since I finished the Master’s I have been running and designing private projects in London, Groningen (Holland) and Berlin.  In the short term my career plan is to find a full time job in a private studio based in London to learn the ropes and understand the dynamic of an Interior Design firm, which so far I believe it is different from that of Architectural firms. In the long term I want to open my own Interior Design Studio and develop my own brand.”

Mohamed Salim Patel

Mohammed Salim Patel at his graduation ceremony

16 August 2016

After leaving college, Mohamed enrolled at university to study Physics. However during the first year of the course he encountered personal issues that meant he was unable to complete the course.

He says: “When I dropped out of university I started working full-time in Currys, where I had been in part-time employment since I was 16. I was soon promoted to sales team manager, but I was keen to develop further and decided to enrol on a part-time Foundation degree with the Skills Company. This was ideal for me, because it was an evening outreach course in Wythenshawe, one day per week about half an hour’s drive from my home in Bolton.

He explains: “This allowed me to work full time and study, so I was able to carry on supporting my family financially. I changed jobs and started working at E:ON, where I have recently been promoted to the position of Business Analyst. My determination to learn and seek knowledge allowed me to be successful on the course and earn a promotion.”

Talking about the challenges of studying part-time, he says:  “At the start of the course I felt as though the course would be a ‘walk in the park’. ‘One day a week? Easy!’ I said to myself. I was proved wrong quite quickly when I was told to re-do my first piece of work. Looking back I’m glad that happened. It allowed me to re-assess and become more organised - take it more seriously.
The tutors were super friendly and willing to help and give advice. Due to having a relatively small class, the tutors were able to spend more quality time with individuals rather than feeling it was rushed. The classes were held in the evening, which allowed me to work during the day, then study and get home before teatime. The thing that appealed to me the most was the ability to carry on working full time and supporting my family whilst studying.”

Mohamed has now set his sights on achieving his next promotion to a managerial position. He says: “Studying this course has given me the key to open many doors, I have even thought about going into teaching!

I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved. I had been through some tough times, supporting family, balancing work life, university life and social life. Many of my friends finishing university at the age of 21 was a low feeling for me, but like they say: ‘Better late than never!’ I am proud to graduate at the age of 25 with a 2:1, especially with all my work and family commitments.”

Equine body work leads to Osteopathy degree

Lindsey Turner (right) with colleague Alixzanda Minnitt after they graduated from their B Ost Osteopathy

12 August 2016

Lindsey Turner, age 43, from Falkirk in Scotland, graduates with an honours degree in Osteopathy, thanks to a partnership between Staffordshire University and the College of Osteopaths.

She started her career in agriculture, studying at Aberdeen agricultural college before working on farms. Although she later tried working in office jobs, she found that she did not enjoy that kind of work and instead chose to combine her keen interest in horses with equine body work.

She says: “Working in equine body work eventually led to working on people too. I started at the bottom and worked my way up through diplomas to becoming a sports therapist. However due to the lack of industry regulation I decided to gain a degree qualification.
Osteopathy appealed to me because I wanted a good 'hands-on' system of healthcare involving knowledge, techniques and communication that empowered the patient, working with patients to understand their condition and improve their health. It felt to me that Osteopathy as a profession welcomed not only young students but encouraged mature students too, who can bring a wealth of previous life experience and skills to the job.”

Lindsey already has plans in place for her future as an Osteopath, working for two different practices. She is also considering continuing onto an MSc post graduate qualification. She says: “I have surprised myself because I have enjoyed the learning process so much that I don't want it to stop!!

University study is difficult part time - but it gives you an opportunity that otherwise is not optional for many of us - to finance yourself through continuing to work during your studies…. And this is what was ideal for me.”

She adds: “This was my first degree, but for others on the course some already had degrees (which is great as they all bring many skills with them) and were deciding on a career change. Strong family/friend support is vital, but you also gain many friends in your year group who help each other get through - almost like a second family. You learn lots about yourself and ultimately what you can be capable of.”

New direction for Cheryl

“The biggest benefit of learning through the University’s partnership with the National Design Academy was the time and flexibility it gave me." Cheryl is pictured with Anthony Rayworth, NDA's Director of Studies.

22 July 2015

A former hairdresser and salon owner from Oldham, Lancashire is celebrating a new career as an interior designer and a new business venture with her husband, after graduating with a BA Honours in Design for Outdoor Living, last week.
Cheryl Brierley-Duff is joining her husband at Hunter Interiors after studying for the qualification online with the National Design Academy in Partnership with Staffordshire University.

Chery, who was also named NDA Student of the Year, decided to move into interior design following the birth of her child, initially completing a diploma and then a Foundation degree in Interior Design. “I wanted another creative career path and interior design seemed like the obvious choice, so I sold my salon. I still get to work with clients but now I am changing spaces instead of appearances.”

Along with her husband, and business partner, Steve, she has been able to expand their existing kitchen business to enable them to offer a full interior design service to their clients.
Cheryl commented: “The biggest benefit of learning through the University’s partnership with the National Design Academy was the time and flexibility it gave me. I work and have a young family – the course was based online and I would never have been able to get my degree without it being run that way.

“It has been a challenge, but I loved going into the workshops and getting to meet the other students – it has given me a whole new career.”


A Design for Life

21 July 2015

Bradley Gibb already owns his own interiors shop but wanted to gain a qualification that was going to support his business.
Being able to fit his studies around his work was obviously very important to Bradley, 32 from Essex, which was why he decided to study for a BA Honours degree in Interior Design through Staffordshire University’s partnership with the National Design Academy.
Bradley explains, “I have always been more creative than academic, but studying for something I was really interested in made me more dedicated. It was a huge benefit being able to study from home because it meant that I could still work. I have been able to learn skills that I would never have been able to if I hadn’t done the course and it has certainly given me greater confidence in my own abilities.”

Bradley is now able to put these new skills to good use through his business, Poetic Design, based in Upminster, Essex.
“I am now focusing on taking private clients,” Bradley commented. “I will be pushing forward with new skills that I have gained like using CAD and 3d drawings.”


A rising star in design

21 July 2015

Having been educated in England from a young age, 30 year old Sean Cassar from Wardje in Malta had absolutely no hesitation in choosing a UK university with which to study for his BA Honours degree in Interior Design.
He chose the BA Hons in Interior Design at the National Design Academy, offered in partnership with Staffordshire University.

“I have always had a love of art” Sean explains. “Over time it has evolved into a love of interior design but the subject is not offered as a degree in Malta - so I started working as a designer and studied at the same time.”
Sean, who opened his own business, Design Hub Malta, nine months ago, praised the course for the way it is run, saying: “The information within the course and the topics covered were excellent. I really enjoyed the assignments we were given and there was a freedom of choice that I really enjoyed. It wasn’t too specific but at the same time not too general – it gave you enough room to express yourself and explore your niche.”

At the time of his graduation Sean was also being awarded Best Young Male Entrepreneur in Malta at the MBR Publications awards – although he was unable to attend in person due to attending the celebrations in Staffordshire.
Sean is now going on to complete a Masters degree and will continue to take his business from strength to strength.


A fresh start for Tracy

"The course has opened my eyes to so many things and so many different styles..."

21 July 2015

Tracy Smith, 45 from Cupar in Fife, decided to leave a career in hotel management behind her and try her hand at interior design and now she has completed an FdA in Interior Design at Staffordshire University through its partnership with the National Design Academy.

“Working in a hotel environment, I was surrounded by design on a daily basis,” she explains. “I would quite often work on events that would have an element of design to them and it really sparked my interest. The hotel I was working in was extended and we introduced some of Philippe Starck’s work to the building – it made me want to explore the idea further and look at the possibility of a career change.”

Battling with rheumatoid arthritis, Tracy chose to do her degree through Staffordshire University as she was able to study on a part-time basis from her home in Scotland.  “There were no part time courses in Interior Design on offer in Scotland so I decided to do a diploma first before moving on to a Foundation degree. I have learned so many new skills – 3D drawing and CAD are things I never thought I would get the hang of but I have. The course has opened my eyes to so many things and so many different styles – like the gothic revival style – it’s not something I ever thought I would like but now I love it.”

Tracy has now started her own business, Interiors by Tracy Smith, which will allow her greater flexibility to choose the work she wants to do and to fit in with her lifestyle.


UN engineer graduates from Staffordshire University

17th July 2015

An engineer for the UN was amongst the students graduating at Staffordshire University’s annual awards ceremonies at Trentham Estate last week.  50-year-old Dennis Bolo from Kenya travelled from his post in Iraq where he works on older buildings, modernising them and making them functional, to join the celebrations and graduate with a BA Honours in Interior Design.

Dennis, a former Major in the Kenyan army has completed his degree as part of the University’s partnership with the National Design Academy, studying largely online.
“It has been very challenging,” he commented. “Doing the job I do, there have been times when I have been unable to submit assignments due to political unrest around the area where I am based. I would not have been able to do it without the support of the NDA and the University. To be graduating with a First feels like a huge achievement.

“I now feel as though I am able to produce a much higher standard of work. I can use 3D drawings and CAD to create high quality designs – I am hoping to receive a promotion and I am due to start a Masters in Architecture and Project Management in September.”
Dennis credits his wife, Doris, with a lot of his success saying, “She is my inspiration. She has her own construction business and it is my hope to join her when I have retired from my role with the UN.”

Staffordshire University’s Director of Partnerships, Chris Slade, commented: “We are proud that our partnership with the National Design Academy provides such extensive opportunities for students all over the world through the flexibility of distance learning.”



Graduate’s new business is in fashion

"... Working on my business at the same time as studying has helped me focus on what I want to achieve."

16 July 2015

A 21-year-old student from Stafford has set up her own vintage clothing business using social media site, Instagram.
Emily Smith launched @skint_vintage following a project she was tasked with whilst studying for a Foundation Degree of Arts in Fashion Studies at Stafford College through its partnership with Staffordshire University.

Emily previously studied at Birmingham University, but found the flexibility and the locality of studying at Stafford was more appealing.
Emily commented: “I knew I didn’t want to move away from home again – it just hadn’t suited me. The course at Stafford looked fantastic, the lecturer has real industry experience and it is close to home.”

“The course has really helped me with my business,” she said. “But at the same time, my business has really supported what I have been learning on my course – the two have gone hand in hand. Working on my business at the same time as studying has helped me focus on what I want to achieve. I think it makes you feel more passionate about it.”

Emily, who selected the Business and Marketing pathway on her course, graduates from Staffordshire University in July, and is hoping to expand her business and create a website once she has completed her studies.
“The course has really solidified for me that this is the direction I want to take. I feel as though it has given me the capabilities to run and market my own business successfully.”
Emily now hopes to launch a website for Skint Vintage, which sells vintage clothing for under £20.


Joe takes his education to The Edge

15 July 2015

Joe Palmer has always loved the great outdoors – and now the Staffordshire University graduate can turn what has always been his passion into a successful career.

The 22 year old from Much Wenlock has been working and volunteering at The Edge Adventure Activities Centre, also in Much Wenlock, since he was 12 years old and with the support of his employer he has been able to complete a Foundation Degree (FdA) in Sports Development and Coaching through the University’s partnership with North Shropshire College.

“I studied for my A levels at sixth form but I didn’t really enjoy it,” Joe commented. “Afterwards, I started teaching skiing abroad (in Austria) and became aware that North Shropshire College was running these courses in sports coaching – it is something that I have always wanted to do but I was very conscious of work. I wanted to be able to support myself and fortunately the course allowed me to work and earn at the same time as studying.

“Shropshire is a very rural county,” he added, “so studying in this way was perfect for me. I have enjoyed it so much and have seen the benefits so much already that I have decided to enrol for a third year so I can achieve a full honours degree.”

Joe is hoping to complete a PGCE in the future and continue to work at The Edge.

“My employer has been hugely supportive during this time. I know that as a business they really want me to move on to doing more work with schools and I am hoping that my qualifications will help them to achieve this.”
The Edge Adventure Activities Centre Managing Director, Chris Hill commented: “We are immensely proud of how Joe is developing both as a learner and an instructor. He is a huge asset to the team and we are looking forward to seeing what new skills his training can bring to the business.”


Broadening Horizons

15 July 2015

George Wood is aiming for a career in conservation after graduating from Staffordshire University with a Foundation degree (FdSc) in Animal Science with Animal Behaviour this summer.

George, age 24 from Wolverhampton, studied for the qualification at South Staffordshire College’s Rodbaston campus. He says: “Until I joined this course I hadn’t really considered conservation as a career - but it has totally broadened my horizons in terms of a future job. I have since started volunteering with Staffordshire Wildlife Trust and I know now that this is the direction I want to take.”

George’s time on the course also inspired him and his course mates to raise money for the plight of the Rhinoceros in South Africa, after they visited the continent as part of their studies. During the trip, the group realised how close these animals are coming to extinction, with 1,200 fatal Rhino poachings in 2014 alone. Staff from the Mankwe Wildlife Reserve, where the students stayed, patrol that area to keep poachers at bay – the group aim to raise money in order to ensure these patrols continue.

George, along with friends Abbi Mackintosh and Ruth Howson, (pictured) will raise funds by climbing Mount Snowdon later this year and are also raising awareness through displays and information boards at the college.
Andrew Wootton, Lecturer in Animal Management at South Staffordshire College commented: “It is amazing what these students have achieved and all off their own backs. Their passion is inspiring. South Staffordshire College will fully support them as much as it possibly can.” 


Non-traditional route to BA for Christina

15 July 2015

23-year old Christina Gallimore from Burton is proof that taking a non-traditional route to a university education can be extremely rewarding.

After leaving school at 16 to become a childcare apprentice, Christina then progressed on to study for a Foundation degree (FdA) in Early Childhood Studies which she studied at Burton and South Derbyshire College, in partnership with Staffordshire University.

Christina has combined her studies with working at the College’s on-site nursery, where she will continue to work whilst studying a top-up course that will lead to the BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Studies.

She says: “I have always been interested in early years childcare from a young age - I suppose it started when I would babysit for friends and family. I have always loved looking after children and helping them to develop their skills.

“I didn’t do the best at school, achieving D and E grades in my core subjects. Whilst I was studying for my Level 2 apprenticeship I decided to retake GCSE English which I passed. I completed my NVQ Level 3 in a year and a half and I also won the Outstanding Apprentice of the Year award at college. Now I am going on to study for a BA - it just shows what you can achieve if you set your mind to it.

“Working at the nursery whilst I was studying was certainly hard work, but I found it really useful because I could take so much information from what I had been doing on a daily basis. I was even able to do some of my assignments based around working at the nursery, like helping to create a new book corner - it has proved to be really popular with the children.”


Black belt gets cap and gown

"...I only got a few GCSEs - I never thought that going on to do a degree would be an option for me."

14 July 2015

Jack Davies has been a keen Martial Artist for 13 years, and now thanks to graduating with a BA (Hons) degree in Sport Coaching and Development, he is able to teach his skills to his own students.

The 31-year-old from Oswestry has a black belt in kung fu and is also an accomplished kick boxer. He says: “When I was offered the opportunity to teach Martial Arts I jumped at the chance. It made me think more about going back into education and learning how to coach properly. It’s all very well having that knowledge yourself, but you need to be able to pass that on to your students.” Jack commented.
“I have never been very academic though,” he went on. “I was home educated at secondary school level and I only got a few GCSEs – I never thought that going on to do a degree would be an option for me.”

Jack completed a BTEC in Sports Fitness and a Foundation degree in Sports Development and Coaching, before going on to top up to a full degree at North Shropshire College through its partnership with Staffordshire University.

“Studying through the University’s partnership with my local college was vitally important to me. I have a young daughter and if I had needed to travel away to university I wouldn’t have seen much of her - I would not have been able to continue with my studies. The structure of the course was also very appealing – I was able to fit in as much as possible into full days which allowed me to balance my studies and my home life.” 

Jack’s new skills will allow him to offer more classes to larger numbers throughout Chirk and Welshpool – something that he is hoping to implement towards the end of this year.


Graduating against the odds

"Being able to complete my degree locally through the College was invaluable to me – it meant I was still able to work and earn as well as being around for my daughter."

14 July 2015

Returning to education has led to a new career and a new business for 39-year-old Julie Harper, who this week graduates with a Foundation degree (FdSc) in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice (Aromatherapy and Reflexology) from Staffordshire University, which she studied for at Shrewsbury College.

Julie, from Shrewsbury, suffers from dyspraxia and dyscalculia – meaning she has difficulty with multiple tasks, directions, spoken word and numbers. But Julie put all of her misgivings to one side and decided to take the plunge, enrolling on a course at Shrewsbury College. 
Julie commented: “I left school in 1991 with 2 GCSEs – one in English and one in Art. I struggled – not knowing what I wanted to do and just drifted from job to job, mainly in retail. I have always been a people person so I enjoyed roles where I was able to interact.”

Julie and her husband then set up their own business selling jewellery-making components, but this unfortunately went into administration in 2009.
“When the business ended I set up a market stall where I would teach people how to make jewellery – but then I caught pneumonia and everything changed.”
Julie found that she was unable to carry on working on her stall and whilst recuperating she began to re-evaluate what she wanted to do. This led to her enrolling at Shrewsbury College to study for a Diploma in Complementary Therapies, before being persuaded to continue on to the Foundation degree by her tutor.
 “Again, I had my misgivings and I wasn’t sure I could do it, but I went for it. It opened up a whole new world to me – it made me realise a side of myself I didn’t know existed. I now have my own practice which I run from home and in July I will be completing a course in Medical Acupuncture – a course that is only available to those with certain qualifications.

“Being able to complete my degree locally through the College was invaluable to me – it meant I was still able to work and earn as well as being around for my daughter. The College is only 10 minutes away from home so this was a huge advantage as well. It was also a seamless transition from my Level 3 course to my degree course – I felt more comfortable because I knew the people and I knew where everything was – it made it less daunting.”


Dale progresses to full Honours

14 July 2015

A Staffordshire University graduate has been using the skills he has developed whilst studying for a BA Honours Sport Coaching and Sport Development course to coach youngsters at his local primary school.
21-year-old Dale Lloyd from Oswestry, will graduate from Staffordshire University this summer with more than the BA (Hons) in Sport Coaching and Sport Development – he will also have a host of work experience under his belt gained along the way.

Dale has been working as a sports coach at a number of organisations including a local primary school, New College Telford, Ball Sports Coaching and the Dragons Academy and Development Centre in Llansantffraid, all whilst completing his qualification at North Shropshire College, in partnership with Staffordshire University.

Dale has completed his degree as a top-up progressing from a Foundation Degree (FdA) in Sports Development and Coaching. He comments: “I am a very ambitious individual and I have taken every available opportunity to help me achieve my end goal. Working with these various organisations has really helped me gain relevant experience.

“Working alongside studying was tricky but the course allowed me to fit my studies around my job, especially over the last 12 months whilst I have been doing my BA. If I had to miss a lecture the college were really supportive and made sure I was able to catch up.”

Dale now hopes to complete a PGCE with a view to teaching Physical Education at secondary level. He concludes: “Doing my degree at college was a great option for me as it was the only way I could work alongside my studies. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to explore higher education.”


Student Brings Archery to Spring Lambing Day

16 March 2015

A Walford and North Shropshire College (WNSC) student who is completing a Foundation Degree in Sports Development and Coaching (awarded by Staffordshire University), will be asking members of the public to help him with one part of his qualification at this year’s Spring Lambing Day. Joe Palmer will be running an archery range at Spring Lambing Day with the assistance of Scouts and Bowbrook Archers.

Joe Palmer commented ‘As a degree student, I have been tasked to run an event. I thought I would use my Outdoor Activity skills base and run an archery range. I felt that the event needed a purpose, so it has three aims; inspire people to try something new and even take the sport up; raise money for Shrewsbury Scouts and Help for Heroes and make it happen without spending a penny, organising the event has required lots of borrowing, asking favours and good people.’

Louise Gregory, Lecturer in Sports Development and Coaching, commented ‘I am delighted that Joe has chosen archery for Spring Lambing Day, with a dual aim of increasing participation levels within archery and helping to raise money for a worthy charity. Through taking part in such events it allows the students to gain valuable experience outside the classroom and link theory to practice. In addition based on the work of Joe and the pre-event feedback, which is really positive, the event is set to be a huge success.’

Spring Lambing Day takes place on Sunday 22nd March, for more information or to purchase tickets, please ring WNSC’s Oswestry Campus Reception on 01691 688000 or Walford Campus Reception on 01939 262100 or visit

For more information on the Foundation Degree in Sports Development and Coaching at WNSC, please call the College Admissions Team on 01691 688080.


Lisa graduates to new business venture

6th August 2014

A young student from Newcastle-under-Lyme is celebrating a successful start to her business after graduating from Staffordshire University in July.

Lisa Malkin, age 21 from Porthill, has been accepted onto the University’s SPEED business start-up scheme, which will see her gain up to £6,000 in funding for her new craft business, Bobbin Robin, in the process.

Lisa started her business as a student on the Foundation degree in Contemporary Art Practice at Newcastle-under-Lyme College, which is delivered in partnership with Staffordshire University.

As part of her course she completed a business plan for Bobbin Robin, successfully securing funding from the University’s SPEED start up scheme, which provides successful graduate entrepreneurs with financial support and advice to develop and grow creative businesses.

Lisa said: “Bobbin Robin is already in operation and I’m selling products through the town centre based, Newcastle College shop, ‘Made Here’, and at local craft fairs and online.  I’ve also been given a mentor alongside the grant, which will be invaluable to the success of the business.”

She added: “The grant will give the business a huge boost and mean that I can invest in things like advertising and marketing, which lead to company growth.”

Bobbin Robin specialises in personalised hand sewn crafts ranging from children's toys to homeware and gifts.

Lisa is currently developing the Bobbin Robin brand, website and product range. She also plans to expand the business by holding creative workshops for local people in the Staffordshire area.

She says: “My aim with Bobbin Robin is to fill the craft shaped hole in people's hearts with personally designed, original gifts.”

More information about Lisa's business, Bobbin Robin, can be found at:- 



Overseas and UK partnerships see University numbers boom

Chris Slade“We are proud to have been one of the first Universities in the country to develop this sort of partnership approach and even prouder that we are continuing to commit and invest in these partnerships in order to meet the needs of students who are choosing a different route to university success.” Chris Slade, Director of Partnerships

July 2014

The number of students studying Staffordshire University courses at partner institutions has grown by more than 59% worldwide.

In England, the number of students studying a Staffordshire University qualification at local and national education providers has almost trebled, from 1,600 students when the scheme first launched in 2000, to 4,500 students in 2014.

University programmes are now undertaken outside the UK in 20 partner colleges, universities and business schools in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. As a result, more than 16,500 international students are able to study for a Staffordshire University qualification in their home country.

A further partnership with HM Forces allows military personnel to study bespoke Foundation degrees, Honours degrees and Masters qualifications on a flexible basis while they are in active service.

The University associates the increase with a surge in demand for flexible study options, to which it has responded by providing a range of full-time, part-time and distance learning courses in subjects such as Education, Art, Design and Media, Business, IT, Management, Law, Computing and Engineering.

Students study a range of qualifications including Foundation degrees, HNCs, HNDs, honours degrees and post-graduate qualifications.

Chris Slade, Director of Partnerships at Staffordshire University, comments: “Whilst we do have thousands of students on-campus who come to us via the ‘traditional route’ – straight from college or sixth form at the age of 18, we are also very well known for being responsive to the needs of students in the global community.”

Our partnership work is a testament to this and allows thousands of students to study a formal Staffordshire University qualification at their local college or educational provider; many students then choose to progress to further study here on campus afterwards.”

She adds: “We are proud to have been one of the first Universities in the country to develop this sort of partnership approach and even prouder that we are continuing to commit and invest in these partnerships in order to meet the needs of students who are choosing a different route to university success.”


International filmmakers graduate thanks to partnership with renowned film school

David Richardson".....The fact that I could study this course whilst being posted in the middle of a desert proves it can be done on a distance learning basis!” David Richardson, MA Film by Negotiated Learning


July 2014

A filmmaker who completed a Masters qualification on location in the Arabian Desert is amongst a host of students who graduated in July as part of a unique partnership between Staffordshire University and a worldwide independent film school.

The graduates have completed a Postgraduate Film degree with Raindance, an internationally renowned film school that has organised the Raindance International Film Festival for the last 21 years.

David Richardson, 48 from London, combined his studies for the MA in Film by Negotiated Learning with his full-time role as a Programme Director – much of which was spent working in the Saudi Arabia desert!

David says: “As you can imagine, this wasn’t without its challenges; research facilities were limited and elements of internet access are monitored and controlled by the government, so I wasn’t sure how I was going to get around these issues at first.”

However David still managed to complete his Masters due to the University’s flexible approach to study, which allows students to complete work via distance learning.

He explains: “Working in Saudi Arabia caused me to radically re-assess my study and research topics and, for a while, I even considered deferring completion of the degree until I returned to the UK.   However, I stuck with it and chose to focus on Middle Eastern film and the local industry, which included the restrictions on film and cinema in Saudi Arabia.”    

The staff at Staffordshire and Raindance were fantastic and helped me make the most of my experience by integrating it into my studies.  The fact that I could study this course whilst being posted in the middle of a desert proves it can be done on a distance learning basis!”
The University and Raindance have combined with the Independent Film Trust to offer a creative, flexible approach to studying an independent film degree. Students can choose to study full or part-time, online, via distance learning, or at Raindance’s London-based learning site.

Dr Astrid Herhoffer, Dean for the Faculty of Arts & Creative Technologies, said: “It is great to see how these Staffordshire University qualifications, delivered by Raindance and supported by colleagues in my Faculty, have taken off and are producing graduates who we proudly add to our list of highly skilled high profile alumni.”

There are currently 103 students on six continents who study by distance learning and international online groups, or in London based study groups. Students are offered a flexible choice of filmmaking subjects and are able to complete assignments based on their fields of interest.

Elliot Grove, Raindance founder, comments: “Our postgraduate film degree, offered in partnership with Staffordshire University and the Independent Film Trust, is the most flexible and unique in the world. Students can write their screenplay, make their movie, tap into Raindance’s knowledge and expertise and achieve an MA or MSc at the same time.

Chris Slade, Director of Partnerships at Staffordshire University, added: “We are delighted to be offering this innovative course as part of our ongoing drive to offer more choice in how students from all over the world can access a Staffordshire University qualification.”

For more information about the MA and MSc in Film by Negotiated Learning with Raindance and Staffordshire University, visit


New career – actor to film producer

Chris Mul"The course gave me all the industry skills, knowledge and connections I needed to set up my own production company..." Chris Mul, MA in Film by Negotiated Learning,

Christopher Mul, age 28 from Surrey, was working as an actor when he decided that his industry skills could be transferred to a career behind the camera. He chose to study a Masters in Film by Negotiated Learning awarded by Staffordshire University, which he successfully graduated from this year.

Chris said: “I wanted to explore the production side of the industry further so this seemed like the perfect course to do that. The lecturers have a wide base of industry experience to pass on to their students and the partnership with an industry-recognised film festival, Raindance, made me feel confident that the course would give me the right connections to kick-start my new career.”

He added: “The course provided me with a range of skills and went through the entire film making process, from conception to completion.  We also branched out into other aspects of film, such as how it is used in social media and marketing.”

Whilst on the course, Christopher set up his own film production company, Craven Street, with a fellow student and is currently producing short films, music videos and promotional materials for a range of creative and commercial projects.

He said: The course gave me all the industry skills, knowledge and connections I needed to set up my own production company; I’m now making a living doing something I really enjoy.”


Young Film Director graduates his Masters


Freelance director and screenwriter, Helier Bissell-Thomas age 23 from Jersey, graduated this month from a Masters in Film by Negotiated Learning, which is awarded by Staffordshire University and delivered by Raindance.

He is soon to release his first feature film ‘Kaufman’s Game’ a Noir/Thriller, inspired by the works of Franz Kafka, and is also currently running his own film production company ‘Ellipsis Films Ltd.’

He said: “The course allowed me to juggle my time between working on my first feature film and my studies. Whilst on the course, I have written produced, and directed my first independent ‘no budget’ feature length movie.”
He added: “Although this was a challenge, analysing academic film theory coupled with the knowledge of practical filmmaking that the course has given me has, without question, improved my filmmaking abilities and will be invaluable to my future.”

After a lifelong interest in cinema, Helier began working in filmmaking, both writing and directing, during his mid-teens and has been working in a freelance capacity, producing corporate training videos, short films, and promotional videos.

He decided to expand his knowledge and skills by studying for higher qualifications in the field.
He said: “The support from Elliot Grove and the team at Raindance has been really helpful, encouraging me to pursue more ambitious projects and giving me useful direction with my launch and film distribution strategy.”

Helier is now working on his second feature film, which is also inspired by the writings of Franz Kafka.


College Lecturer celebrates Masters graduation alongside her students

Jayne Littlehales and Graduates

July 2014

A Stafford College Fashion lecturer celebrated graduating from her Masters degree in Design Management alongside students she has taught on the Foundation degree in Fashion Studies.

Jayne Littlehales, age 33 from Newport, works as a full-time lecturer for Stafford College and decided to study the Masters degree, awarded by Staffordshire University, to refresh her skills. 
Jayne said: “The creative world is always evolving so, with this in mind, I decided to undertake a Masters in Design Management to ensure my knowledge is up to date. As a Course Leader I think it’s important to continually refresh my skills and keep on top of new developments so that my students are always being taught the latest industry practices.”

The graduation ceremony, held at the Trentham Estate, saw 65 students who have completed Foundation degrees in creative subjects at local colleges collect their awards.

Jayne said: “It will be fantastic to graduate alongside my students; we’ve all worked incredibly hard so the graduation ceremony is a way to recognise and celebrate everyone’s achievements.”

Jayne completed her Masters degree through a distance-learning course, which enabled her to complete the qualification whilst still working as a lecturer at the college.
She said: “Distance learning was great as you could work in your own time using the online resources but you could also contact lecturers for support and advice whenever you needed it. I found this a really flexible way to learn and I was able to fit my studies around working full-time and having a baby!”

Jayne is now looking forward to seeing her creativity develop as she continues in her current role at Stafford College.


Couple fashion better family future

Saul and Kirstin

Married couple, Kirstin and Saul Paddison from Stafford, graduated from Staffordshire University with the Foundation degree (FdA) in Fashion Studies at Stafford College this year.
The couple, who juggled their studies around raising six children, found that it was achievable to study whilst taking care of their family.

Saul said: We chose to study at our local college as it was easy to get to and we felt it was a smaller, friendlier environment. The course and lecturers were flexible and allowed us to work our studies around our hectic family life.”

As well as studying on the Foundation degree, Kirstin also studied functional skills in English and maths. As a result, she went on to take her GCSE maths exam this year.

She said: “I left school with very few formal qualifications but I have gained lots of skills throughout my life. Studying at college has allowed me to formalise these skills and it’s improved my confidence in all areas of my life.”

Kirstin added: “On the Foundation degree, we were taught real ‘on-the-job’ skills we need to work in the fashion industry, such as creating our own designs, manipulating patterns and moving darts. These new skills have opened up lots of new employment opportunities and got us thinking about our next steps.” 

The couple now plan to continue their studies at university and then start their own business.

Saul said: The course gave us the confidence to make changes in our life. Kirsten and I plan to start a business that we’re both passionate about, which will mean we’re both happy in our working life and will create a better future for our family.”


Graduate designs award winning future

Matt Gyde

A bakery manager turned fashion designer from Rugeley celebrated becoming a finalist in the Midlands Fashion Awards when he graduated from Staffordshire University this month.
30 year-old Matthew Gyde graduated with a Distinction from the Foundation degree (FdA) in Fashion Studies, which he studied at Stafford College.

He is one of just five finalists shortlisted for the ‘Best Emerging Fashion Designer of the Year’ category in the Midlands Fashion Awards, following his decision to return to education to study a new career path.

Before he enrolled on the course, Matthew was a full-time manager at a local Greggs store, but as he approached 30, he felt he needed to return to college to fulfil the creative side of his personality.

He has now launched his own fashion label featuring a collection of  one-off women’s wear pieces inspired by designers such as Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood, along with plans to launch a more affordable every day range.

Matthew comments: “My lecturer encouraged me to enter the competition as part of my course because it’s a good way to develop and experience how competitive the fashion industry is. Throughout the course I’ve been able to develop the skills I need to create couture catwalk pieces and gain knowledge and insight into the fashion industry.

He adds: “My lecturers were really supportive and always encouraged me to push my creativity boundaries. They have also given me advice and support to help me set up and run my own fashion label.”

Matthew’s newly-gained skills have earned him a place amongst the top five finalists shortlisted from hundreds who entered the annual Midlands Fashion Awards, which take place at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall later this autumn.

Matthew will present a collection of six garments in a catwalk show at the awards and his designs will be judged on their uniqueness, creativity and innovation.

For more information about Matthew Gyde couture fashion, you can visit his website


Continued success for innovative partnership

National Design Academy

Sixty students graduated from distance learning courses with Nottingham-based National Design Academy at Staffordshire University’s Award Ceremonies at the Trentham Estate, thanks to an innovative partnership with the University.

Graduates from across the globe have successfully achieved a range of creative Honours and Foundation degrees including Interior Design, Retail Design and Design for Outdoor Living.

The University, renowned for the success of its creative courses and international partnerships, teamed up with the NDA in 2007 and has seen many graduates go on to gain employment in the design industry.


Mum who returned to education is ‘inspirational leader’ says Ofsted

Sally Rowen

July 2014

A nursery manager from Codsall is celebrating a new job, a First class Honours degree, and being commended as an ‘inspirational leader’ by Ofsted, all thanks to returning to education five years ago.

Mum of two Sally Rowen, age 45, joined hundreds of other graduates at the Staffordshire University awards ceremonies in July, after achieving a First class award on the BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Studies.

Sally already worked in childcare when she first returned to education by enrolling on a Foundation degree in Early Childhood Studies at Stafford College, which is awarded by Staffordshire University. She has now completed a top-up year to achieve her Honours degree.

Last month Sally was praised by Ofsted inspectors during a visit to Eccleshall Pre School, where Sally had been manager for the last five and a half years. The pre school’s Ofsted report describes Sally as “an inspirational leader, who has a good ability to evaluate the provision, providing a clear view of how to drive forward improvements for the benefit of the children entrusted to their care.”

Sally has now moved into a new role in a larger nursery in Walsall, which will see her take on increased responsibility and will allow her to further develop her leadership skills.

Talking about her achievements, Sally says: “I found the courses to be very well structured, covering all aspects of my job and useful in helping to develop and grow the nursery where I worked.”

She said: “Time is always an issue when family life and work are combined with study, but we were always informed about deadlines and requirements for assessments well in advance allowing me to plan effectively.”

She added: “The tutors were approachable, helpful and constructive throughout the course and inspired me to do my very best.”

For more information on Foundation degree courses offered at local colleges and private education providers in partnership with Staffordshire University, visit the Partnerships course information web page.


Staffordshire University graduate opens nursery rated ‘good’ by Ofsted

Staffordshire University graduate and owner of ‘Little Einsteins’ nursery, Rifat Maqsood, has been awarded a ‘good’ rating in the nursery’s first Ofsted inspection.

Whilst in the final year of a Foundation degree in Early Childhood Studies, Rifat used her new knowledge and skills to start her own business and opened a private day nursery in Burton.

She said: The Foundation degree has taught me all I need to know about running a nursery.  The course covered the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework in detail and I’ve put this knowledge into practice, which has resulted in a highly effective learning environment for our children that was rated ‘good’ by Ofsted.”

She added: “In addition to our ‘good’ Ofsted rating, we also achieved a five star rating in food and hygiene, so we’re excelling in all areas.” 

Rifat enrolled on the Foundation degree, which is awarded by Staffordshire University, at Burton and South Derbyshire College after taking a career break to raise her family.  The qualification is designed for those working in an Early Years setting and promotes further career development in the Early Years field.

Rifat said: “I chose this course as it’s close to home and flexible in terms of how the modules are delivered. I found it ideal for combining running a business with studying; I actually fell pregnant in my final year so I was juggling starting up a new business, studying and getting ready for a new baby! It was certainly a challenge but my course tutors and classmates were always on hand to provide support and encouragement every step of the way.”

Staffordshire University offers a range of Foundation degrees at local further education colleges and private providers that offer a flexible approach to studying with a focus on developing skills and knowledge to meet the needs of employers.


Chamber partnership brings success for graduates

CWT-Graduates-with-Don-Doman“All of these students are senior managers, directors or business owners who are implementing the knowledge acquired in the workplace to help make their businesses even more successful.” Don Doman, Management Trainer, CWT

July 2014

A partnership between Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce and Staffordshire University has seen a group of managers, directors and company owners graduate at the University’s annual awards ceremony this month.

The group of 13 graduates range in age from their 30’s to 50’s and have studied their qualifications part-time with CWT, the training arm of the Chamber of Commerce for the Coventry and Warwickshire region.

Amongst the graduates were business owner Dayle Adams and former policeman Chris Alexander.

Chris, age 55, from Bedworth, completed a 32-year career as a police officer before becoming a Department Manager with Warwickshire Police. He first enrolled on a Foundation degree in leadership and management as he felt that he needed to undertake further training in order to do the job to the best of his ability.

He said: “I found that, although I had gained lots of skills in my role as a Police Officer, those skills were of a specialist nature and not easily transferred into my new management role; I started a professional qualification in Leadership and Management and progressed from there.”

Chris is now a Chartered Manager and this week he has graduated with a BA (Hons) in Business Management, after completing a year-long top up course to his previous Foundation degree.

Chris said: “My experience has given me a real thirst for knowledge and has had a positive impact on my working life. I recently secured a new job and the pay increase I’ve gained will pay for my degree within the first six months!”

He added: “Studying with CWT and Staffordshire University has been a life changing experience for me. It just goes to show, you’re never too old – go for it!”
Meanwhile entrepreneur Dayle Adams, from Leamington Spa, has graduated with a Foundation degree in Leadership and Management. Commenting on the impact that the course has had on her businesses, she says: “It took my first business seven years to reach an international market; my second business is being launched on an international scale. The fact that I have the skills and knowledge to do this instantly is testament to the impact the course has had on my business management skills.”

The partnership with Staffordshire University allows business professionals to undertake a Foundation degree in Leadership and Management and a top up year to a BA (Hons) in Business Management. All the graduates have studied through a combination of work-based assignment and lectures delivered locally in Coventry by CWT.

Don Doman, Management Trainer at CWT Chamber Training, said: “All of these students are senior managers, directors or business owners who are implementing the knowledge acquired in the workplace to help make their businesses even more successful.”

He added: “The personal and professional benefits associated with this work-based type of study, for students of all ages and work backgrounds, should never be underestimated.

We pride ourselves on providing a friendly and supportive learning environment, where lectures and tutorial groups are kept small and ensure our students get the most out of their study experience.”

For more details about these or other courses available at CWT in partnership with Staffordshire University, please visit the Partnerships course information web pages.


Graduate expands successful business

Sue Henson

Sue Henson, age 48 from Stratford-upon-Avon, graduated from the Foundation degree in Leadership and Management at Staffordshire University last week.
Sue was already successfully running her own business, Sunflowers Pre-School, when she started the FdA.

She said: “I started the course as my background is in childcare so I wanted to gain a deeper understanding of the business world. I wanted to understand more about key elements such as business development, finance, HR and marketing – the course has provided me with skills in all these areas.”
She added: “Not only have I gained knowledge and understanding, I’ve also gained the confidence to drive new ideas forward, develop and expand.”

Sue is currently very busy as she has just opened her second nursery, which she balances with a hectic family life as she has two children and is also a foster carer.
Sue said: “It’s hard to balance everything but the course is flexible and the lecturers are very supportive so it is manageable - I think my husband causes me the most work to be honest!”
She has enjoyed her studies and plans to complete a one-year top-up course to give her a BA (Hons) in Business Management.
She said: “I’m taking a year off studying to focus on the business but I plan to return to Staffordshire University and CWT to do the top-up course very soon.”


Students graduate from Spanish Business School with Staffordshire University


July 2014

This year, more students than ever before will graduate from Staffordshire University awards studied at the ESERP Business School in Madrid and Barcelona.

66 students from the international business school have successfully completed degrees in Business Management, Marketing Management and Tourism Management this year.

27 of these graduates travelled from Spain to collect their awards at the University’s annual awards event held at The Trentham Estate in July.

The degree qualifications, which are taught in English but studied in Spain, give students cultural experience and enhance international business opportunities.
Speaking before the ceremony Dawn Hiscock, the International Programmes Manager at ESERP, said: “It’s fantastic that we have so many students coming to the awards ceremony this year. All our students work incredibly hard and it will be wonderful to honour their achievements and celebrate with them.”

Staffordshire University has been working in partnership with ESERP for over 20 years to provide students with international business skills.

ESERP Business School is both nationally and internationally recognised as a leader in Business Education and has provided students with degree and masters level qualifications for over 30 years. It has campuses in Madrid, Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca.

Dawn Hiscock, who retires as the ESERP International Programmes Manager this year, said: “I am very proud to have been part of such a prestigious Business School and I’m looking forward to celebrating with this year’s students.”

To find out more about international partnerships at Staffordshire University, visit the International Partnerships webpage.



Degree prepares for career in tourism industry


Brother and sister, Rafael and Sofia Lascano Lemus from Argentina, recently graduated from the ESERP BA (Hons) Business Management, awarded by Staffordshire University.

The siblings, age 23 and 25 respectively, follow the steps of their older brother who had previously successfully completed the qualification in 2012.

In the words of Sofia: “Our brother had really enjoyed the course and found it beneficial when working in our international family business. My parents thought it would be a good way to develop our business skills and widen our opportunities.”
The ESERP courses, which are delivered in Barcelona and Madrid but taught in English, attract students from all over the globe. They focus on preparing students to face any obstacles and succeed in the industry. Both brother and sister started their studies in Barcelona but later decided to move to Madrid where they continued their education.

Rafael added: “We both want to go into the tourism industry, so international business competences are essential. As the course is taught in English, it also develops our language and communication skills, which are imperative to accomplish anything in this field.”

Sofia, who also has training in gastronomy, aims to go on to open her own bakery business and Rafael would like to make a career in the hotel industry.
Sofia remarked: “The tutors on the course have a clear understanding of what we want to achieve and help us to build the right capabilities to get to where we want to be. We both feel confident to take the next steps in our careers.”


Degree leads to internship in China

“The course provides the opportunity to study with a wide range of people from all over the world and develops core international business skills that open new doors in my career.” Fernanda Medina Mora, BA (Hons) Business Management

Fernanda Medina Mora, age 24 from Mexico City, graduated from ESERP Business School, after successfully completing her BA (Hons) Business Management awarded by Staffordshire University.
Fernanda already had a degree in Communications but she decided to study on the ESERP course to develop her international business skills.
She said: “The course provides the opportunity to study with a wide range of people from all over the world and develops core international business skills that open new doors in my career.”

The ESERP course awarded by Staffordshire University is delivered in Barcelona and Madrid. It is studied in Spain but taught in English and develops students’ worldwide business skills.

Fernanda said: “The course has given me more insight into what I want to achieve in my career. I’m now going to China to undertake an internship in Hotel Management where I’ll gain experience in key aspects of the business such as Customer Relations, HR and Marketing.”

She added: “The course has given me the experience and confidence to really push myself in my career and I feel ready to break into the international business world.”

University-level apprenticeships for BT employees

BT Graduates and Staff“The Foundation degree was developed in partnership with Staffordshire University and BT to ensure that BT staff and their Apprentices had a clear progression route into Higher Education.” Andy Greenhough, Director of Employer Engagement, Stoke-on-Trent College

July 2014

A unique partnership between British Telecom (BT) and Staffordshire University saw BT higher apprentices graduate with Foundation degrees in Information and Communication Technology at the recent Staffordshire University Graduation Ceremonies held at the Trentham Estate.

The graduates, who work for BT in a range of locations nationwide, have all studied their qualifications via distance learning, work based projects, and 3 week blocks of taught delivery.

Students from all over the country travel to Stoke-on-Trent College for three weeks of lectures and tutorials in order to achieve their FdSc, which is awarded by Staffordshire University.

Andy Greenhough, Director of employer engagement at Stoke-on-Trent College, commented: “The Foundation degree was developed in partnership with Staffordshire University and BT to ensure that BT staff and their Apprentices had a clear progression route into Higher Education.”

He added: “The programme has continually evolved to meet the skills and knowledge needed by the BT staff, to ensure that they can continue to progress in both their career and education.  Stoke-on-Trent College is very proud of the partnership and the on-going fantastic achievements of their students.”
Amanda Kirtley, Head of Apprenticeship Delivery at BT, added: "Having a bespoke qualification that is delivered in a flexible way helps us to provide training that is relevant to industry and meets the needs of our business and employees. The training programme has been utilised successfully in different locations and has had a positive impact on our learners."


Graduate continues to develop skills


Iain Gilbert, age 29 from Edinburgh, already had a degree in Computer Science and was working as a Computer Technician when he decided to build on his existing skills and study a Foundation degree in Information Communication Technology (FdSc ICT) awarded by Staffordshire University.

He said: “When I initially left university and entered the working world, I found I had lots of qualifications employers looked for but that I was lacking in experience. I found myself stuck in job roles that I was overqualified for, which was frustrating and meant I didn’t get job satisfaction.”

Iain undertook the Foundation degree in ICT, which is delivered by Stoke-on-Trent College in a unique partnership with British Telecom (BT), as part of his job as Database Administrator within the company.

He said: “Before I took a job at BT, Apple had also offered me a position but I decided to go with BT as I felt they invested more time and resources into developing their employees and that I would have more scope to move up within the company.”

Iain successfully graduated from his course this month but is continuing to invest his time and energy into developing his skills and career.

He added: “To become fully trained to a senior level in my job takes 10 years, so it’s a commitment from the company and a commitment from me – we work in partnership to improve our skills and continually develop the company.”


Career couple look forward to future with BT

Georgia Melbourne and James Collard

Career minded couple, Georgia Melbourne and James Collard, age 20 and 21 from Sheffield, both graduated from the Staffordshire University Foundation degree (FdSc) in Information Communication Technology at the ceremony held on 15th July 2014.

The FdSc, awarded by Staffordshire University, is delivered in partnership with British Telecom (BT) and Stoke-on-Trent College, and equips students with skills required in the BT workplace.

Georgia said: “I really enjoy working for BT as they are a company who invest in you and your future. The course is fantastic as we continually undertake projects that we can utilise within the workplace.”

James added: “The course was tailored to developing your skills and preparing you for a future in the company.”

Whilst on the course, Georgia and James had a daughter, Scarlett, who is now two years old.  The couple managed to balance work, family life and studying and have successfully completed their qualifications.

James said: “It’s not always easy trying to juggle everything but the teaching staff were very supportive and are committed to ensuring you achieve your full potential.”

Georgia added: “We’re currently planning a wedding, so things are busier than ever, but we’re really looking forward to our family’s future and our future within BT.”


Ambitious Sophie sets sights on management

Sophie Burton“I’m very career focused and I wanted to ‘earn and learn’ so combining employment and study was the perfect option for me.” Sue Henson, Foundation degree ICT

Ambitious Sophie Burton, age 21 from Tamworth, went to work for BT as an IP Exchange Specialist after successfully completing her A levels.

As part of her professional development, she recently graduated from the Foundation degree in Information Communication Technology (FdSc ICT) awarded by Staffordshire University. 

She said: “I’m very career focused and I wanted to ‘earn and learn’ so combining employment and study was the perfect option for me.”

The FdSc, which is delivered at Stoke-on-Trent College in partnership with BT, gives students the skills they need to succeed in their chosen area of the business.

Students benefit from working full-time, gaining on-the-job experience whilst studying for a degree level qualification that is relevant to their job role.

Sophie said: “Throughout the course I’ve developed in technical areas of ICT, such as networking and databases, whilst continuing to develop my overall business management skills, which is where my career focus lies. The course has been great as it’s helped me to understand how the technical areas relate to my job role.”

She added: “My experience on the Foundation degree has given me the confidence to undertake the role of team leader, even though I am the youngest person in my team! The business and technical skills I have acquired have helped me to develop and grow my professional capabilities, whilst aiding my colleagues and peers.”

Sophie now plans to work her way up within BT and has her sights set on becoming a Business Manager.

She said: “I like working for a company that invests time and resources into staff development. I feel that the skills I’ve gained have been invaluable in the workplace and add to an effective and successful business.”


WNSC Commonwealth Games

Four of the FdA Sports Development and Coaching second year students responsible for organising the WNSC Commonwealth Games. L-R: Dean Becker, Nikki Williams, Dale Lloyd, Ryan Stokes

18th February 2014

On Monday 10th March, six second year students studying the Staffordshire University Foundation Degree in Sports Development and Coaching will be organising and running the Walford and North Shropshire College (WNSC) Commonwealth Games. The six students will be assisted by the first year group as well as external partners such as the Outreach Team from the Army National Recruitment Centre, Oswestry Cricket Club and the Edge Adventure Activities Ltd.

There will be many sports and other activities taking place during the day including; Archery, FUTSAL, Sitting Volleyball, Short Tennis and Self-Defence.  Throughout the day, there will be a games room available with board games, darts, a Wii and XBox. Students will be fundraising for Sports Relief and the Air Ambulance at the Games which are open to all students at the Oswestry Campus of WNSC.

Nikki Williams, one of the students organising the Games, said ‘This day will aim to increase the participation levels in sport within the College and help raise money for charity. It’s been good to make links with the external partners; I’m really enjoying the course and would recommend it to anyone involved in sport.’

Course Lecturer, Louise Gregory, joined Nikki in saying ‘I am delighted that we have received support from some external partners who are offering their expertise on the day and based on the work of the students involved and pre-event feedback, which is really positive, the event should be a huge success and raise some money for two deserving charities.’

For more information about this award visit the Walford & North Shropshire College website.


Enriching Experience for Sporting Students

26th November 2013

Staffordshire University students, based at Walford and North Shropshire College (WNSC) have recently returned from a two day residential visit to Manchester.

The group, which included first and second year Higher Education students, are studying the Foundation Degree in Sports Development and Coaching, which is delivered at the Oswestry Campus, in partnership with Staffordshire University. 

They visited a number of sporting venues in Manchester to enrich their experience of the ‘Sporting Events Management’ unit of the degree.  Visits to the Etihad Stadium, Old Trafford Stadium and the National Cycling Centre were all scheduled.  The group received an unexpected bonus at their final destination when they got to see Team GB in training for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Foundation Degree Sport Lecturer at WNSC, Louise Gregory, commented, “These visits are an essential part of the Sports Development and Coaching course.  They allow students to gain valuable experience outside the classroom and gain an insight into the industry.  The students will use the information gained from the visit to enhance their assignments.  Then, in March next year, they will have to plan and manage their own sports events for the College, which will make use of what they have learnt during this experience.“

For more information about this Foundation Degree at WNSC, please visit the website at or telephone Dan Stevens, Head of Sport, on 01691 688084.


Foundation Degree student scores place on national team

7th November 2013

Carl Hurmson studying locally at Burton and South Derbyshire College has progressed onto the Staffordshire University validated Foundation Degree in Sports Development and Coaching and has been selected to become part of British Colleges Sport programme "Team Nineteen".

High school graduates receive prestigious scholarship awards from HRH the Duke of York for Staffordshire University awards

“The students felt very honoured to be awarded the scholarships and were particularly delighted to be presented to the Duke of York, who was interested in hearing their reasons for choosing to study for a UK approved degree."

Chris Slade, Director of Partnerships

30th September 2013

His Royal Highness the Duke of York attended a ceremony at Staffordshire University partner British University Vietnam (BUV) to present four scholarships to Vietnamese high school graduates.

The event in Hanoi, attended by Chris Slade, Director of Partnerships on September 24th awarded the much coveted ‘HRH Prince Andrew, The Duke Of York Scholarships’ to; Nguyen Duc Ha Trang from Chu Van An high school, Nguyen Mai Chi from Nguyen Tat Thanh high school, Nguyen Van Duong from Nguyen Trai high school of Hai Duong province and Ngo Hai Anh from Nguyen Van Huyen high school. Commenting on the awards Chris Slade said, “The students felt very honoured to be awarded the scholarships and were particularly delighted to be presented to the Duke of York, who was interested in hearing their reasons for choosing to study for a UK approved degree. The students had chosen BUV because they believed it would enhance their employability prospects, and the Duke said he would be following their progress with interest. He spoke about the importance of skills developed through HE study and was interested to learn how the partnership with Staffordshire University had developed.”  

The scholarship programme launched in October 2010 was designed to contribute to Vietnam’s development through providing prime higher education opportunities offered at BUV, the first British owned university in Vietnam.

President of BUV Sir Graeme Davies said, “British University Vietnam brings more educational opportunities to the students, who would like to pursue British Education and degrees at their home and in the most exciting market in the world – Asia. The meaningful HRH Prince Andrew scholarship is a very special opportunity for the best Vietnamese students to compete and gain these awards to become global students and leaders.”

At the same ceremony HRH the Duke of York announced the fields of study for the 2014 programme; BA (Hons) in International Business Management, BA (Hons) in Marketing Management, BA (Hons) Accounting and Finance and BA (Hons) Accounting and Business; all of which are Staffordshire University accredited awards delivered in partnership with the Faculty of Business, Education and Law. All Vietnamese high school graduates are eligible to apply and the selection criteria are based on the following; previous academic performance, relevant experience of involvement in community work and the potential to become leaders in the public sector, business and academia.

Vice Chancellor, Michael Gunn and the Dean of the Business School, Professor Susan Foreman are attending BUV’s graduation ceremony on Monday 30th September where approximately 22 students from various Staffordshire University accredited awards will be graduating. This ceremony will also be attended by Lord David Putnam in his role as Prime Ministerial Trade Envoy to Vietnam.


Reasons to be Cheerful

15th August 2013

Staffordshire University welcomed private provider National Design Academy (NDA) to the annual awards ceremonies at the Trentham Estate: the event was an extra special occasion as the NDA are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year.

The NDA, based in Nottingham was delighted to have their largest graduating cohort to date - 74 of their students from around the globe graduate in this landmark year across a range of awards. They welcomed distance learners from around the UK including; Glasgow, the Isle of Wight and Jersey and international students from Malta, Moscow and Dubai.

Sroor, Christine and Nicci below share their learning experiences at the National Design Academy and are just three of the many students that have graduated at the Staffordshire University awards ceremonies since the partnership began in 2007:



First Class celebration for Dubai distance learner

Dubai-based Christine Hudson, 51, is celebrating after achieving a First Class BA (Hons) in Interior Design, demonstrating that distance learning is a workable option for overseas students.
Christine decided to retrain after a varied and interesting career overseas, working for the Sultanate of Oman government and more recently as a teacher and teacher trainer in Dubai.  She enrolled on the Interior Design course validated and awarded by Staffordshire University, delivered by the National Design Academy via part-time online distance learning.

As a distance learner Christine’s experience of her second degree was very different to the first.  Christine explained “I loved the challenges within each module: the research, the sourcing of images and developing new skills. Studying interior design by distance learning raised eyebrows as it is not only a visual but tactile subject too.  Sending submissions by post was a concern initially hoping they would reach their destination and remain intact.  Using the NDA’s Virtual Learning Studios means that interaction between students and tutor is very much there but I can log off to avoid distractions.”

Christine decided she wanted experience in her new career and so combined her studying with hands-on work with a home furnishings company over a period of 5 months and an interior design company for 4 months. She also then worked for a small furniture company and experienced the supplier’s side of the business.
Christine is looking to use her degree and experience to set up her own business and has already nurtured the idea of being self-employed.


Design degree by distance learning

“The best thing was that I didn’t have to go away to study......I was excited to send my work to England and proud of what I had designed.”

Sroor Karim

Distance learner Sroor Karim of Dubai has graduated from Staffordshire University with a BA in Interior Design through the National Design Academy (NDA).

Having studied Interior Design for 3 years in Abu Dhabi, and then moving after her marriage, Sroor wanted to find an on-line course to enable her to complete her studies.  Through studying part-time, by distance learning and using a specially created Virtual Learning Studio, Sroor was able to access thousands of links to design information, communicate with her tutor and keep in touch with other students through the Student Forum.

Sroor explains why she enjoyed the course “The best thing was that I didn’t have to go away to study – but could stay at home and have time for my husband and family.”  The course consisted of three modules which included design and research projects.  Sroor says “I liked the on-line studio, where I particularly enjoyed the design project for a hotel.  I was excited to send my work to England and proud of what I had designed.”

Sroor is now considering continuing her studies, perhaps doing a Masters degree, and then looking to find a job within the design industry.


A first in Design for Outdoor Living

Graduating at Staffordshire University’s awards ceremonies at the Trentham Estate, Nicci Hutchings says she is “thrilled” to be the first student from the National Design Academy to graduate with a BA (Hons) in Design for Outdoor Living.

Nicci’s success shows how distance learning can lead to recognised higher education qualifications.  She explains “I needed something that was flexible as I was working full time as a project manager.  Whilst studying I had my daughter and I went into labour whilst working on my foundation assessment which needed to be in that day!”  Flexible studying fitted perfectly around her new family and now Nicci feels she couldn’t have studied any other way.  She says “I couldn’t have committed to going away on courses or days away – so the fact that I could fit my studies around my life really suited me.”

Having studied and gained her qualification Nicci says she knows her employment opportunities are much wider and is now considering whether to specialise in either interior or outdoor design.


Business boost for Complementary Therapies graduate Cathy

13th August 2013

After completing the Foundation degree in Complementary Therapies at partner institution Burton and South Derbyshire College in 2009, Cathy Fernie has now graduated from Staffordshire University with a BSc (Hons) in Complementary Therapies Studies.

When setting up her new business as a complementary therapist in 2010, Cathy used all the skills and knowledge she had acquired whilst studying. She was able to apply all these techniques to make a presentation at a prestigious ‘Dragons’ Den’ competition run by the Burton Mail and fronted by business woman and star of the BBC2 show, Deborah Meaden.  Cathy was extremely successful in the competition, winning the Business Accelerator prize.

Cathy says ‘With the support from my tutors I gained the confidence I needed to make the presentation. Winning the competition has launched my business and I’m now asked to do lots of talks at groups and charities.’

Winning the Local Business Accelerator prize has meant that Cathy has seen a rapid growth in her business, increasing the number of appointments she is able to offer to clients at her practice at the Natural Health Care Centre in Burton.
Cathy explained “I’m a ‘live in the moment’ person so I looked at each module individually, and did what I needed to do to achieve a pass for each assessment.” Cathy added to her qualifications in 2011 achieving a Certificate in CPD, Cognitive Behavioural Interventions, and talking about what she had enjoyed studying, said “I really liked the Cognitive Behaviour module as I could apply it to my own life. But, of course, getting my degree has been the best bit!”


Olympic torch maker shines

“The knowledge I have gained from this course has been amazing and so valuable.....the overwhelming feeling of pride and success on completion is worth every minute of hard work.”

Paul Miles

13th August 2013

After leaving school 27 years ago with no qualifications, Olympic torch maker Paul Miles, 43, has graduated from Staffordshire University with a Foundation degree in Leadership and Management.

Paul’s working career started in a dirty, hot foundry operating a 600 ton press but his work ethic and drive eventually brought him to his current job as Laser Manager at Premier Sheet Metal in Coventry, the company that made the Olympic torches for the London 2012 games.

Initially Paul, from Nuneaton, enrolled on the ILM Level 3 Diploma and admits that he was terrified by the prospect of studying for a degree. However, supported by his tutors, who assured him he had the ability to succeed, Paul went on to study the Foundation degree with Staffordshire University’s partner CWT (the training branch of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce). The assignment based course with no exams was ideal for Paul and he attended the CWT Chamber Training centre on a weekly basis, as well as producing work related assignments.

Paul has found the course extremely challenging but equally rewarding. During the Olympic torch project he was working up to 65 hours per week. With two children, a new baby arriving in the second year of the course, and managing his son’s football team, Paul certainly had a lot of demands on his time.

Talking about what his achievements have meant to him Paul commented “The knowledge I have gained from this course has been amazing and so valuable, it has helped me so much not just in work but in everyday life. It has been very hard work and time demanding, but the knowledge gained and the overwhelming feeling of pride and success on completion is worth every minute of hard work.”

Paul is now one month away from completion of the BA (Hons) top up award in Business Management.



BT benefit from graduates' success

13th August 2013

A successful partnership between Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent College and BT PLC saw a cohort of BT employees from around the UK graduate with a Foundation degree in Information and Communication Technology at the annual awards ceremonies at the Trentham Estate.

In a programme developed between the partners that enable students to combine their work role and study along with actual work-based projects that benefit both employee and employer, the following are just three promising graduates who are now looking forward to successful careers:


Promising future awaits Project Manager John

John Sitkowski, 21, a Project Manager at BT Global Networks Service based at London’s BT Tower, is currently a higher apprentice who has graduated from the Foundation degree in Information and Communication Technology at the Trentham Estate.  BT PLC offers apprentices the opportunity to work towards a university qualification whilst in employment, which is what attracted John to the role.

The work-based projects that John has undertaken for his studies have also been highly beneficial to his employers.
John says; “I have also been involved with internal projects that are in place to improve the way in which we work. I was assigned a project that had been worked on for 4 months with no progression. The task was to build a new system and create new processes in the way in which equipment was stored and distributed for projects.
I recruited a team of four, with various skills, and we created a database system and a structured work environment in store rooms. As part of the project, we completed stock takes of equipment, where we recorded over 1,200 pieces of equipment, worth over £2.2 million. Prior to project completion, the equipment value was unaccounted for. I held meetings and knowledge calls with around 50 attendees, including a session with my director and general manager, and received fantastic feedback.

Much of my success on this project was down to what I learnt whilst completing my foundation degree. Prior to starting my course, my Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) skills were basic, but through completing my foundation degree I have now become competent in using VBA, and the skills I picked up were pivotal in the delivery of the project”.
John works alongside several other apprentices who travelled from London to Staffordshire for each week long study block at Stoke-on-Trent College.  John explained how the apprentices formed a close knit group and supported each other through their course “We would share ideas and hold a study meeting, for an hour a week, where we could discuss revision and our experiences.” The support from his employers and tutors has also been important to John, who says; “All the tutors were very helpful and approachable.”

John believes that work-based study has been the perfect option for him and he is now looking at completing a top up degree.


BT Apprentice of the Year Nominee graduates!

Fred Butler, age 21, has combined his studies for the Foundation degree in Information and Communication Technology with work on BT’s flagship new TV channel, BT Sport.

As part of the work based projects he has completed for the Foundation degree, Fred has created the servers required for BT Sport as the company prepared to launch its first TV channels. He has also been nominated by the company as ‘Apprentice of the Year’.

Fred, originally from North Wales, had considered going straight to university from school. He chose instead to work for BT PLC because the company offered the opportunity to work towards a university qualification whilst in employment.

Fred is keen to continue to learn.  He says “One of the reasons I wanted to work for BT PLC was that I could both work and go to university. I feel that it is critical to have a qualification to move on with my career and I’ve enjoyed it so much I’m intending to go on and top up my qualification to a full degree.”

Travelling down to Staffordshire University partner Stoke-on-Trent College for one week each month, Fred studied with a group of his colleagues from BT.  Having successfully completed his Higher Apprenticeship in SSPL Virtual Server Deployment, Fred will take up his role fully in September.


Lewis applies learning in the workplace

“Definitely go for a Foundation degree. I am working and applying my learning in the workplace."

Lewis Whyman

A higher apprentice working in TV Media and Content for BT Global Networks Service, Lewis Whyman 21 from Dartford has graduated with a Foundation degree in Information and Communication Technology. He has used his studies to develop projects which directly benefit the company and its millions of customers.

He explains; “The project I did for my Foundation degree has allowed me to develop a web based tool to assist my team in TV Media & Content during network router upgrades. The web page I created to display the live network status greatly assists the team who are responsible for upgrading routers on the UK Terrestrial TV Network. The upgrade is a critical process which has the potential to affect thousands of customers at a time, so I’m really proud to have used my studies to enhance the process and the company’s services.”

Lewis chose not to take the traditional route into university as he didn’t think it was for him.  Instead he looked at the different apprenticeship schemes and decided to apply to BT.  He says; “An apprenticeship where my academic qualifications are funded by my employer has been a great way for me to progress – the experience is invaluable and I will not have any student debt! I now work in a highly specialist team working daily on routers and networks”.

His advice to anyone thinking about their career choice is; “Definitely go for a Foundation degree.  I am working and applying my learning in the workplace – it is all-round learning and there is a lot of support from other course members in the workplace including a buddy system. The varied mix of the course has been good; I prefer the technical modules but the business units have given me an understanding of business decisions and systems.”


Overseas partnership success as Austrian student graduates at Staffordshire

8th August 2013

Austrian student Magdalena Innauer is graduating with a BA (Hons) in Advertising & Brand Management from Staffordshire University and Vienna based partner Werbe Akademie.
The overseas partnership of Staffordshire University and Werbe Akademie has given Magdalena, 23, the depth of knowledge and understanding of brand management along with the opportunity to work on real business campaigns, which she believes will equip her for her chosen career in the advertising industry.
She explains “The mix makes the course very interesting, in Austria there is a lot of theory; we went to lessons from 9.30-5:00 every day. In England the course was a lot more creative and practical.”

Magdalena feels that whilst her studies in Vienna were theory based, it has been the hands-on creative element of the course which has been the most enjoyable.  Working with businesses on advertising campaigns was her favourite element of the course.
Having left school Magdalena took a year out of education to travel to Canada, where she was an au-pair.  She acknowledges that this helped her overcome the challenges of studying in a different language that many students face, but stresses that these are quickly overcome - and actually makes the course more fun!

Following her graduation Magdalena will be returning to Austria to establish her career working in an advertising agency in Vienna.


Figure skater graduates in Sports Development & Coaching

"Going to university was the best decision I ever made."

Darcy-Adele Lloyd

8th August 2013

Stafford College student Darcy-Adele Lloyd, age 20, from Penkridge, has graduated with a Foundation degree in Sports Development & Coaching at the Staffordshire University Awards Ceremonies held at the Trentham Estate in July.

Figure skater Darcy-Adele chose the Foundation degree delivered at Staffordshire University’s partner Stafford College because it allowed her to combine her studies with competition at senior level.  During the academic year Darcy-Adele competed in the British Figure Skating Championships and international competitions representing Great Britain. She also works as a part-time figure skating coach.

Darcy-Adele began skating at the age of 5. She says; “Going to university was the best decision I ever made. I found that the lecturers were really supportive and had a positive attitude to me pursuing my skating. The course slotted in very well with my sport as I arranged training sessions around the lectures and practical sessions.”

Darcy-Adele is now looking forward to progressing to the BA Honours degree in Sport Development and Coaching, following this she intends to become a Professional Figure Skater and tour worldwide in the skating shows.


A Staffordshire celebration with partner CDUT

L-R, Peiyao Xu, Lee Zhuang, Head of International Partnerships, Staffordshire University, Yuxin Li

5th August 2013

Staffordshire University was delighted to welcome graduates from our Chinese partner Chengdu University of Technology (CDUT) in the Sichuan province. Yuxin Li and Peiyao Xu both studied their final year of their degree here in Staffordshire and graduated at the Staffordshire University Awards Ceremonies at the Trentham Estate.

Yuxin, 22, a student from Shanghai, graduated with a BA in Marketing Management. She chose to study at Staffordshire University because she felt the course offered was exactly what she wanted.  She admits that although studying in a foreign language was a challenge, she has enjoyed the culture and life in the UK.

Yuxin explains how much she likes the different teaching style “In China classes are quiet or silent – here there is lots of discussion and talking.  I had to practice my academic writing skills as it’s totally different than in China. The thing I like best about the course is developing my language and communications skills.  I’m so glad I came to Staffordshire University, I’ve really enjoyed my life here!”

Before returning to China, Yuxin is going to study for her Masters in Hotel Management.

Peiyao, from Suzhou in China, says he chose to study at Staffordshire University because not only was the course the best one for him but also he liked Stoke on Trent!  He particularly liked the surrounding countryside.

Having studied for two years in China and then continuing his course at Staffordshire University, Peiyao has particularly enjoyed studying at the University saying “I liked the communication between student and lecturers, it is very different from the Chinese teaching style.  The lecturers in Britain take academic material and use interesting stories to get their point across.”

Following his graduation from Staffordshire University with a BA(Hons) in International Business Management, Peiyao is going on to study for a Masters in Project Management before returning to China.


University degree for retired police officer

1st August 2013

Following his retirement in 2007, Chris Alexander has graduated from Staffordshire University with a Foundation degree in Leadership and Management studied at CWT (the training branch of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce).

Chris, 54, had previously served for 30 years as an officer in the Warwickshire Police Force and had not returned to any formal education since he was a young police cadet.  However, he hadn’t left the Force for long when he decided to return to the police working as a civilian in a Department Manager role. 

He commented “I quickly realised that I was under skilled and that it was sink or swim. I looked into what I could study and it came as a complete surprise that I could get a qualification in Leadership and Management.”

Chris enjoyed his studies and went on to become a Chartered Manager in 2010 but he wanted to continue learning and take things to the next level.  A workshop led Chris to take this next step and study for a Foundation degree with Staffordshire University’s partner CWT. The assignment based course with work related content was ideal for Chris, who could draw on his experiences of 30 years in the police, as well as his current role.

Chris feels that the level of support he received from both CWT and Staffordshire University was “absolutely brilliant” and that the Foundation degree was the perfect route to gaining the qualification he wanted.  Chris has gone on to study the BA (Hons) Business Management top up degree which he hopes to complete by the end of the summer.


A ‘first class’ new career and a new baby for former railway engineer

“I’m over the moon to have achieved a first class degree..... but it’s all been worth it and I can’t wait to start my new role with Burton Albion."

Chris Prince

1st August 2013

Chris Prince, age 33, spent 11 years working as a railway engineer before redundancy led him to retrain for a career in sports development. He originally returned to education to study an Access course before progressing to study a Foundation degree in Sports Development and Coaching at Stafford College, an award that is delivered in partnership with Staffordshire University.

Now, after completing a one year top-up course at Staffordshire University and welcoming son Noah into his family in the same year, Chris is graduating with first class honours from the BA (Hons) in Sports Development & Coaching, with his proud partner Rachel and his son by his side.

A job as Community Officer with Burton Albion awaits Chris in August, following a 6 month placement at the club during his degree studies. The new role will allow Chris to develop the Over 50’s physical activity project he set up during his placement.

Speaking at his graduation, Chris said; “I’m over the moon to have achieved a first class degree. When Noah arrived it was a hard slog on the course – but it’s all been worth it and I can’t wait to start my new role with Burton Albion. It’s great to have Rachel and Noah with me at graduation to celebrate together.”

Having enjoyed his studies and achievements, Chris is now considering continuing his education by undertaking a Masters in Sports & Applied Exercise Psychology.


Teaching Assistant looks to further career

1st August 2013

After ten years of working as a teaching assistant (TA), Deborah Mahon, 32, was looking to further her career in education, which she thoroughly enjoys.  Having considered a number of different courses her cousin suggested the Staffordshire University Foundation degree in Education (Teaching Assistants).  Deborah thought that the course, which develops understanding of teaching and learning, working in education, and behaviour management, was perfect for her and enrolled.  Now she is celebrating her graduation from Staffordshire University’s partner, Birmingham Metropolitan College where she has studied.

Deborah combined her part-time studies whilst working as a TA, specialising in sport and food, in a mainstream secondary school.  Deborah explains “since leaving school I have worked whilst studying and enjoyed learning.”  It was when she underwent a challenging operation that her studies became difficult. However, Deborah felt that the support from her tutors and peer group was outstanding.

Deborah is looking forward to completing her top up degree with a view to doing a teacher training qualification in the future.


Celebration of European Success

"The relationship between ESERP and Staffordshire University has been developed over the last 20 years and we look forward to continuing this unique opportunity for students for many more years”.

Dawn Hiscock, International Programmes Manager, ESERP

1st August 2013

Staffordshire University welcomes partner ESERP Barcelona and students from Denmark and Greece to the annual Awards Ceremonies at the Trentham Estate. Students complete the final year of their studies at our partner institution in Spain.

Embracing the Spanish culture (not to mention the climate) whilst studying a British degree was one of the many reasons the students opted to complete their final year on the BA(Hons) Marketing Management and BA(Hons) Business Management awards at ESERP.

Dawn Hiscock, the International programmes Manager at ESERP commented “We are very proud of the opportunity we can offer our students to enhance their career possibilities with a Staffordshire University degree, studied in English but delivered in Spain with the added dimension of a European cultural experience and Spanish language. The relationship between ESERP and Staffordshire has been developed over the last 20 years and we look forward to continuing this unique opportunity for students for many more years”.

Aspiring entrepreneur and professional photographer Dan Abildskov from Denmark commented:  “Now that I have graduated I am eager to use my newly acquired skills and qualifications to set up my own company. I plan to combine my knowledge in media and marketing with my passion for photography”.


Darren’s Double Celebration

1st August 2013

Darren McCafferty, 40, from Bedworth, had a double celebration when he graduated from Staffordshire University with a Foundation degree in Leadership and Management.  He and his wife, Maria, celebrated their wedding anniversary after 14 years of marriage on the same day.

Darren, who has worked extensively in the public sector, hopes that the qualification will provide him with greater opportunities within the job market.  He commented; “Many of the jobs that I would like to progress into ask for a degree level education, something I did not have. The course was also an opportunity to learn and develop skills that would help me in my current role.”
Having left school at 16 Darren began his working life as a trainee, which gave him his first taste of further education. He has enjoyed studying throughout his working career gaining several qualifications including a BTEC and HNC but never the degree he wanted. Married with two young children, Darren faced the challenge of combining work, a family and studying.

The Leadership and Management course is validated by Staffordshire University in partnership with CWT, the training branch of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce. It is assignment based, which allowed Darren to relate his learning back to the workplace and provided a wider view that he felt, helped in assignments.
Darren particularly enjoyed the camaraderie with others on the course. He explained “My day consisted of going to work for at least 4 hours, then a 20 minute drive for classroom sessions which totalled over 6 hours, which is a long and tiring day, but other students were in the same position and so most of the time we still tried to make it fun and had a laugh which helped.”
Darren has continued with his studies and is on target to complete the BA (Hons) Business Management top up degree in August.  After that he plans to take a holiday with his family, see more of his friends and family and finally do all the things he’s been putting off for the last year due to assignments!


Dream becomes reality

1st August 2013

Mum of four Ishrat Nourine has realised her lifelong dream to study and has now graduated from Staffordshire University with a Foundation degree in Education (Teaching Assistants), studied at partner Ashton-under-Lyne College.

Ishrat left school in 1988, with 7 GCSEs. Although she dreamed of going on to further education, she felt that her culture meant this was not an option open to her.
When her youngest child started nursery Ishrat thought the time was right to take up her studies again - initially enrolling on courses to brush up her English and Maths and then taking GCSEs. This enabled Ishrat to get a job working as a teaching assistant at a school in Ashton, before embarking on the Foundation degree at Ashton-under-Lyne Sixth Form College, delivered in partnership with Staffordshire University.

As a single mum of four children, studying has been a challenge but Ishrat commented “My children have been so supportive by doing extra chores and they are really proud of my achievements. I’d like to be a role model to others – there are so many ways to learn and the lecturers have been so supportive.  I have to pinch myself about what I’ve achieved; my confidence levels have grown so much.”

Ishrat is keen to continue her studies and has applied for the top up year to work towards a full BA in Education.


Staffordshire University launches new China Centre

"The China Centre recognises the significance of China as an economic powerhouse and as the biggest student market in the world. This new office base in the dedicated higher education hub in Suzhou will support our existing operations in China and lead to more students studying for Staffordshire University awards."

Staffordshire University Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Gunn

30 October 2012

Staffordshire University today launches a new Centre to support its plans for global expansion and to offer help and support to partners and students alike.

SU China Centre will be located on the campus of partner institution GIST (Global Institute of Software Technology) in Suzhou where a number of Staffordshire University business and computing programmes are delivered on a franchise basis.

In its bid to recruit greater numbers of international students, Staffordshire University has revealed plans to open a number of dedicated overseas Centres over the next five years. The first of these, SU China Centre will:

  • Act as a focal point for over 2000 Chinese alumni of the University
  • Provide additional support to existing partners in China
  • Research and feedback to Staffordshire University on changing demand in China for UK HE programmes
  • Explore the market potential for more in-country delivery of Staffordshire University programmes in China
  • Support the delivery of the Staffordshire University Global Award which will see more students studying for their awards in two or more countries.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Gunn has travelled to Suzhou, a City west of Shanghai, to preside over the opening ceremony which will be attended by local Chinese government officials, Chinese partner institutions and a representative from the British Council.

He said: "Our international partnerships are crucial to the future success of Staffordshire University as they provide the opportunity for students in many countries in the world to study for Staffordshire University awards.

"The China Centre recognises the significance of China as an economic powerhouse and as the biggest student market in the world. This new office base in the dedicated higher education hub in Suzhou will support our existing operations in China and lead to more students studying for Staffordshire University awards."

In the last 12 months Staffordshire University have worked with GIST to validate a new award - BA(Hons) Accounting and Finance including a Foundation year - which will be recognised under the state system of Higher Education in China.

Commenting on the partnership, Katherine Poh, Executive director of GIST, said: "We very much value our relationship with Staffordshire University and are honoured that they have chosen the GIST campus as the location for their China Centre."

Professor Gunn will also be using the opening to announce the first President of Staffordshire University Chinese Alumni Association. Harry Liu studied for two degrees at Staffordshire University where he was also head of the Chinese Student Society. During his time in England, he completed a successful work placement at Staffordshire County Council before returning to China where he set up his own business, Education Center for Gifted Youth.

Professor Gunn added: "Having studied with us in England, Harry has proved himself to be a global citizen and a great ambassador for this University - embracing all the qualities of a Staffordshire graduate. We are absolutely delighted that he has agreed to continue this work in his home country as President of our Chinese Alumni Association."

Flying start for students

11th October 2012

High House, the University’s recently launched wallpaper collection has given Foundation degree students studying Contemporary Art Practice at Newcastle-under-Lyme College a flying start for their careers in design.

Lisa Mynett and Fran Massey successfully submitted designs in a competition to create heritage inspired wallpaper influenced by historic wallpaper discovered in the Ancient High House in Stafford.

The collection was launched at Tent London, which is a platform for innovative and contemporary design for interiors, where it generated a lot of interest and has been featured in YOU magazine.

At Tent London Lisa and Fran were kept busy talking to International agents who loved the designs and were fascinated by the background story about the development of the wallpapers.

Fran, who is studying the final year of the Foundation degree in Contemporary Art Practice, designed the Alcalthaea range in the Town Garden collection. She joined the course focusing on surface pattern and print making and has recently started to work with ceramics, which is an area she is keen to work on in future combining both three dimensional craft and surface pattern.

Lisa, who graduated in July and progressed on to the BA(Hons) Surface Pattern Design at Staffordshire University, designed the interesting Asteraceae panel concept, also in the Town Garden collection. Lisa says “I feel privileged taking part in the High House Wallpaper Project and very honoured at being chosen as a designer for the Town Garden Collection.”

Both Lisa and Fran have demonstrated how Foundation degrees enable students to be work ready in the current innovative market.

Profile: Lisa Mynett

Profile: Fran Massey

Staffordshire Sentinel article 




Foundation degree is stepping stone to career success

7 September 2012

BT employees Thomas Parker, Ryan Mosforth and James Harris are confident that their experience of the Foundation degree has helped them with their nominations for the National Apprenticeships competition.

The Foundation degree in Information Communication Technology for Business, which is delivered in partnership with Stoke on Trent College, is also helping them progress in their roles within the company.

Thomas, 21, said: “It was really good. We got lots of support from BT and our lecturers. What we’ve been learning at work has also been taken into our course modules.”

Ryan, 21, added: “The things we’ve learnt on the course we can also relate back to our work.”

James, 25, an applications support engineer, has gone one better and has used his work- based learning module to save his company thousands of pounds.

He said: “This involved a monitoring application developed from scratch covering web services and databases. This was recognised internally with a Blue Ribbon award - a scheme set up to save money and I accomplished  it.”

The apprentices are encouraged by BT to undertake volunteering and they will be playing a part at the Paralympics, picking up athletes from the airport.


Graduate Luke creates successful online tribute to Olympic hero

4 September 2012

Foundation degree graduate Luke Harvey, 21, has achieved worldwide media exposure with an online blog tribute to his Olympic hero Mo Farah, showing the track star running away from an array of pursuers including a crowd of brides in wedding dresses, a pack of zombies and even the Daleks!

Luke, who studied the Foundation degree in Contemporary Art Practice at South Staffordshire College and graduated this year described it as his tribute to a ‘true Olympic legend’. The blog has become very successful since Luke published it online and it has been featured in The Independent, The Mirror, The Metro, the Daily Mail and NBC’s Good Morning America.

Tutor Richard Pickup is understandably very proud of his achievements.



Mum swaps potteries industry for childcare and graduates alongside daughter

31 August 2012

A mother and daughter are keeping it in the family after graduating on the same day and with the same qualification.

Alison Molloy, 45 and daughter Demi Molloy, 21 supported each other through several years of study and are now celebrating their success together after each gained a BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Studies.

Having previously spent twenty years working in the potteries industry before being made redundant, the achievement was a great way for Alison to celebrate her successful transition from the potteries into a management career in the childcare sector.

Allison started working at Meadowside Nursery in Blurton after her redundancy in an effort to find enjoyment in a career she had always wanted to try. She enjoyed learning on the job and after completing an NVQ in Childcare, she progressed from Nursery Nurse, to Supervisor, and now works as a Deputy Manager at the Nursery.

Daughter Demi began volunteering at the nursery, working alongside her mother.  She said: “I always wanted to get into teaching but I was unable to do childcare at college.  After finishing my A-Levels, I applied for a PGCE but was unsuccessful so went through the clearing process and contacted Staffordshire University who invited me for an interview.”

Demi joined her mum, choosing to take the Early Childhood Studies course at Staffs University for 3 years full time.  Alison, meanwhile, studied a Foundation degree before enrolling on the two-year top-up to a BA (Hons), meaning that they were due to finish and graduate at the same time.

Alison said: “It has been difficult at times – as a part-time student it is hard to juggle family life, working full-time and meeting course deadlines - but friends and family have pulled me through it and supported me to continue and complete at every stage.”

“With me on the same course we were able to do it together and help each other through,” added Demi.  “Although it has been hard, having each other’s support has been great.”

Alison is now fully qualified and continues in her role as Deputy Manager at Meadowside, while Demi has just been accepted on to the Graduate Teaching Programme (GTP) – an exciting opportunity to undertake a school-based teacher training route.


Austrian students rate their UK study experience

31 August 2012

Austrian students Pia Rosentingl and Amara Hofman were among those graduating from Staffordshire University’s BA(Hons) in Advertising and Brand Management.

Both embarked on their studies in Vienna before completing their final year at Staffordshire University’s Stoke campus which they said had helped them develop “personally and professionally”.

Amara, 24, said the experience had given them the opportunity to be more creative and they had particularly benefited from their visits to agencies in London and New York. “It’s different to the Austrian way and we learnt a lot. I think it’s great as you are more involved with the teachers.”

Pia, 25, added: “I think it has given us an advantage as we have an insight into advertising in the UK. Also our graduation is not as fancy - you see this in the movies and it’s a fantastic experience. I would like to come back to England and earn some money.”


Teaching assistants graduate against all odds

31 August 2012

Teaching assistants Kate Buckley and Mark Harrison have had a rollercoaster ride since signing up to their degree studies three years ago.

For in addition to the usual study pressures, the couple have celebrated the birth of their son Jake and overcome a serious health problem in order to graduate this summer.

Undeterred, the couple who both work as higher level teaching assistants at St Luke's CE Primary, in Silverdale, are taking their studies a stage further and topping up their degree at Staffordshire University.

They enrolled on the Foundation degree in Early Childhood Studies at Newcastle College in 2009, through its partnership with the University.

Kate, aged 32, said: "When I signed up to the course I found out I was pregnant. Despite that, I didn’t have a day off.”

Although the pair took parenthood in their stride, their world was rocked when in March last year Mark suffered a near-fatal heart attack.

“It came completely out of the blue and if Kate hadn’t phoned for an ambulance when she did,  I wouldn’t be here now.” said Mark, 40. “I was off work for six months and off uni for three but I couldn’t wait to get back.”

Kate added: “We’ve loved it – we’ve made new friends, learnt new skills and I’m the first person in my family to get a degree!”


Different study approach leads to success for Kevin

23 August 2012

Kevin McNalter, from Dundee, didn’t enjoy his time at school and left education at the age of 16 determined to get a job rather than go to college or sixth form. He started work in a BT Call Centre and later became a Higher Apprentice, which gave him the opportunity to study for a Foundation degree in Customer Service and Contact Centre Management. As a result of undertaking the course, Kevin has enjoyed studying subjects relevant to his work and has received a promotion and progressed within the company as a result.

The Foundation degree in Customer Service and Contact Centre Management enables BT employees from all over the country to undertake a higher education qualification that underpins the work they do in their every day job. Students attend Stoke on Trent College for one week block sessions, and then complete coursework and assignments back at home, with the help of study leave provided by BT. This unique course is delivered by Stoke-on-Trent College and was developed with, and validated by, Staffordshire University.


Outstanding approach for Derwen College

23 August 2012

A team of teachers, learning support assistants, a care support worker and a restaurant manager all employed at Derwen College, are celebrating their graduation from the Diploma in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sectors (DTTLS) after successfully completing their course at Walford and North Shropshire College.

The broad range of roles of those undertaking the qualification represents Derwen College’s approach to staff development and mentoring, and their commitment to offering vocational learning experiences for their students. Located in Gobowen, North Shropshire, Derwen College is a specialist independent residential facility for young people with learning disabilities. The College’s focus on helping their students to develop employment and independent living skills means that students experience real work environments alongside staff in vocational areas such as hospitality and housekeeping, catering, retail, horticulture and offices, with many of these college facilities open to the public.  

Staff working in these areas and those who are care workers in the students’ accommodation, are expected to promote and exploit learning opportunities wherever and whenever they arise.  Significant numbers of staff who started in job roles such as cleaners, care workers, gardeners or waitresses have gone on to undertake the Diploma in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector award in order to combine their roles as cooks, care support assistants or restaurant managers with the role of a teacher in their area of expertise.

This culture of growing talent within the organisation is one of the many factors that have contributed towards an excellent reputation both locally and nationally.  This is reinforced by Ofsted who have recently judged the college to be ‘outstanding’. 

Gary Fulfils Mentor Ambition

23 August 2012

Gary, age 32 from Bournville, graduated with a Foundation degree in Education (Teaching Assistants) from Birmingham Metropolitan College and has gained a job as a learning mentor for young people who are at risk of exclusion from school. Gary is keen to take on a pastoral role supporting students with ADHD and Specific Learning Difficulties. He says; “I firmly believe that with the right support, and the right environment, these students can flourish.

Gary chose to enrol on the course because he has a young family to support and wanted a career to fit in with school hours and his family commitments. Talking about returning to study, he says; “It was a bit daunting at first, but studying part-time made it more manageable – it was easy to fit in 3 hours on a Thursday evening.” He added; “It also makes the fees more manageable and allows you to put in to practice the theory in the environment you work in.”


HEFCE Report Highlights Role of Further Education Colleges in Widening Participation in England

23 August 2012

A report published by HEFCE on 22nd August (‘Widening participation and non-continuation indicators for further education colleges: Overview of trends’, HEFCE 2012/20) shows for the first time patterns of widening participation and non-continuation of full-time higher education (HE) students in HEFCE-funded further education colleges (FECs), and finds that FECs are performing particularly strongly in widening access (Note 1).

HEFCE’s analysis is an important step in understanding the increasingly significant contribution that FECs are making to English higher education (Note 2).

The indicators for student participation and non-continuation in FECs have been developed in discussion with them. The indicators are intended to be as consistent as possible with the established indicators for higher education institutions (HEIs) to enable a coherent set of measures for publicly funded higher education (Notes 3 and 4). HEFCE’s report looks at rates of participation and retention at individual FECs as well as trends at sector level, and examines how these compare against sector-adjusted averages (Notes 5, 6 and 7).

HEFCE’s analysis shows that FECs performed strongly in terms of widening participation. Key findings are:

  • When compared with the sector-adjusted average for the sector as a whole, which takes into account the mix of students at the institutions, FECs performed better than expected by more than five percentage points.

  • Around one in five FECs performed significantly better than expected in their widening participation   indicator, with a higher proportion of young full-time students from low participation neighbourhoods than  might have been expected.

  • FECs also compare favourably to HEIs with respect to widening participation for young full-time first   degree entrants. Nearly a quarter (22.9 per cent) of all such entrants registered at FECs were from   neighbourhoods with low rates of participation in HE: this is more than double the rate (10.5 per cent) for  all such entrants registered at English HEIs.

 The non-continuation indicators consider both entrants to first degrees and to other undergraduate courses, where students on courses other than first degrees made up two-thirds of all undergraduate entrants (Note 9). Key findings are:

  • FECs as a sector performed slightly better than expected among other undergraduate students, with a  non-continuation rate of 19.5 per cent that was lower than the sector-adjusted average of 20.0 per cent  (i.e. with a smaller proportion of students becoming absent from HE than expected).

  • At the level of individual institutions, one in ten FECs performed significantly better in their non-continuation indicator for full-time other undergraduate students, with lower non-continuation rates   than expected.

  • Among first degree entrants at FECs, the non-continuation rate for the sector was slightly higher than   expected: 14.1 per cent of entrants did not continue in HE after their first year.

  • One in 40 FECs performed significantly better than their sector-adjusted average in their non-continuation indicator for full-time first degree students.

The report provides colleges with a means for understanding their own profiles in the context of the national picture (Note 8).

Download full report


A Bright Future for Holly

17 August 2012

Holly Soole, age 26, from Plymouth, graduated from Staffordshire University with a Foundation degree in Customer Service and Contact Centre Management, which she studied via distance learning at Stoke-on-Trent College as part of her training programme with BT.

Holly joined BT as an Agency worker nine years ago after completing her A Levels in French, German and Sociology. Although she enjoyed her studies, Holly felt apprehensive about the costs involved with full-time higher education and decided to start working full-time instead. After a short time as a temp in the customer service centre at BT, Holly was invited to join their Advanced Apprenticeship, which saw her complete a Level 3 NVQ in Customer Service over a two year period and combine her work with on-the-job training and assessment.  As she progressed, she started to undertake additional duties such as covering the Supervisor’s role and taking part in service improvement projects, reaching the semi-final of BT’s Challenge Cup.

Holly has continued to take on more senior responsibilities and progressed to the Foundation degree, which saw her travel to Stoke-on-Trent College for one week each month along with other BT Higher Apprentices throughout the country. Holly says; “Although it has been hard work and has involved lots of assignments and studying, I have felt able to take on more responsibilities and have a management career in my sights.” She added; “BT, as an employer, are very encouraging and give me a certain amount of study leave to complete the coursework. They are a really progressive company to work for and I have found it extremely rewarding to put what I learn on the Foundation degree into practice and see the results for colleagues and customers.”

During her time on the Foundation degree Holly spearheaded a project to increase Once Contact Resolution (OCR) across her call centre in Plymouth and as a result she was able to meet the CEO of BT Retail to discuss the project and its impact on organisational costs and customer service. She says; “Since I completed this project I have grown hugely as an individual. I have learnt so much in terms of time management and confidence. I have become an individual who has become a more enthusiastic, self-motivated, and hard working person. I have got a Professional attitude and always strive to achieve a very high standard in all tasks presented to me. I have now become a confident communicator and team player with the ability to learn quickly in demanding situations. This is all as a result of having to adapt and communicate with several teams across the company and not just within my office or my team.”

Holly concludes; “I believe I am now seen as a future leader within the company. “

The Foundation degree in Customer Service and Contact Centre Management is a unique partnership between Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent College, and BT. The course was developed specifically in response to BT’s requirements, being delivered by face-to-face and distance learning from Stoke-on-Trent College, and validated by Staffordshire University.


Uriel graduates with First Class Honours degree from overseas partner ESERP

30 July 2012

Uriel Eugenio Lascano Lemus, age 24, is combining his first trip to the UK with his graduation ceremony, thanks to a partnership which sees Universities around the world delivering Staffordshire University courses to students in their home country.

Uriel is originally from Argentina but moved to Spain with his family when he was younger. He has achieved a first class honours degree on the BA(Hons) in Business Management at the ESERP Business School in Barcelona. He says that the fact that the course was associated with Staffordshire University gave him a real competitive edge compared with other students at Universities in Spain.

Uriel commented; “The biggest advantage to doing this course was the different approach to study. Spain and Argentina both have similar approaches, but the way of studying at Staffordshire University was to really explore the theory and apply them to solve problems in a practical business context.

He adds; “Studying the course at ESERP means I met a lot of other foreign students, which I think gives you a better way of seeing the world and makes you a better person.”

Uriel travelled to the UK with his proud family, enjoying a whistle-stop tour of the UK’s cities and tourist attractions as part of his short trip. Uriel’s brother and sister are now planning to study similar Staffordshire University courses in Spain, so that they can emulate their brother’s success.

Uriel is pictured with his proud parents and Anni Hollings from Staffordshire University Business School.


Rebecca's Graduation is a Family Affair

30 July 2012

Rebecca Norcup, age 28, from Cheadle, graduated from Staffordshire University with a 2:1 honours degree in Education and a job at the prestigious JCB Academy.

Rebecca originally left sixth form with A Levels in English, Media Studies and Drama, but decided at the time that a University education wasn’t for her. She spent the next few years working in a number of roles, ranging from office work to waitressing. However she always harboured a desire to become a teacher; and in 2007 she started a new job as a Learning Support Assistant at Stoke-on-Trent College. A month into the job, she decided to enrol on the Foundation degree in Education (Teaching Assistants), which she went on to achieve over 3 years whilst combining her studies with her work as a Learning Support Assistant.

After completing the Foundation degree Rebecca then enrolled on the BA (Hons) Education Top-up course, and also moved to a new role as a Teaching Assistant at The JCB Academy. Rebecca now hopes to become a qualified Teacher through the Qualified Teacher Status programme at The JCB Academy and she feels that for her, combining practical classroom experience with students along with her degree qualification was the perfect mix.

Rebecca explains; “I always wanted to go into education as a career but I didn’t really consider pursuing it until I was nearing my mid-twenties. I think I just had a bit of growing-up and having fun to do, with jobs I didn’t really have to think about... and I think I just needed to find the right path to that goal of working in education.”

She added “I wanted to study and get relevant work experience at the same time, so I could apply what I was learning to the students I was working with. It really appealed to me and I could see straight away that the things I was writing up as part-of my studies were then being transferred to help the students – I was learning at the same time as they were learning. Not only did I understand the challenges, but I knew how to offer solutions and practical strategies.”

Speaking about her experience at Staffordshire University, Rebecca says; “The teaching has been absolutely brilliant and I couldn’t ask for any better support from my tutors. I’m finding that I actually miss studying and am seriously considering enrolling on the Masters course next.”

Rebecca’s graduation will be a family affair, as her sister Jessica, (age 26) and cousin, Anna King (age 44) are also graduating from Education courses at Staffordshire University on the same day.

Rebecca is pictured (left to right) with cousin Anna King and sister Jessica.


Lorraine celebrates graduating from part-time study at partner Ashton Sixth Form College

30 July 2012

Lorraine Walkden, age 48 from Mossley, has graduated from the Foundation degree in Education (Teaching Assistants) at Ashton Sixth Form College, in partnership with Staffordshire University.

Lorraine, who attended her graduation with husband Carl and daughter Lesley, had been working with children in a career spanning 28 years before she decided to take the plunge and return to study on a part-time basis. Lorraine works as a Higher Level Teaching Assistant in a primary school and aims to progress to a teaching role. She will now go on to study the BA (Hons) in Education Top-up course, followed by the PGCE.

She acknowledges that returning to study after a long gap was daunting at first, but says; “To anyone else out there considering bettering themselves, just do it. You will have feelings of doubt along the way, but it’s a great feeling to get through it, get to the other end, and celebrate your achievements on a day like today alongside all the other graduates.”


David Nieper Awards National Fashion Academy Competition Prize to Stafford Student

5 July 2012

Award-winning Stafford College student proves fashion is safe in young hands
– winning £750 and a fashion industry masterclass with David Nieper

Charlotte Fortescue, a 20 year old fashion student studying a Staffordshire University Foundation degree at Stafford College has won the David Nieper Fashion Academy competition – a national fashion design competition to find and award the very best young designers for their talents in designing for women aged 50 and above.

After showcasing her winning collection down the catwalk during Stafford College’s annual fashion show, Charlotte was presented with her award and a cheque for £750 by Christopher Nieper, managing director of David Nieper. 

This is the first time that Stafford College has welcomed a fashion company and leading industry figure to present an award in person as part of its fashion design celebrations.  As the overall winner of the competition, Charlotte will also enjoy a masterclass at David Nieper where she will gain valuable commercial experience within a real-life workplace. 

David Nieper’s MD, Christopher Nieper, said: “We were particularly impressed with Charlotte’s entry and had no hesitation in announcing her as this year’s winner.  Indeed, our own head fashion designer and competition judge, Julie Stone, said that her collection was perfectly designed to flatter the female figure with real elegance and class – all distinctive qualities of the David Nieper customer.  We look forward to welcoming Charlotte to Derbyshire to spend a little more time with us.”

Charlotte’s collection titled ‘Giusto’, was selected as the overall winner of the David Nieper award for its flair, sensitivity and mature understanding of the demands of the target market.  The collection included five garments aimed at fashionable and professional 50+ women and her entry was accompanied by a marketing strategy and plan to introduce and sell the collection direct to customers.

Jayne Clough, Course Leader from Stafford College concludes:  “Charlotte is a very talented and worthy winner and this award will act as a real springboard to her future fashion career.  As David Nieper is one of only a handful of fashion houses still designing and manufacturing all its clothing for women here in Britain, the masterclass will be a great eye-opener for Charlotte.”

The David Nieper Fashion Academy was launched in 2010 to provide vocational and business skills training to support and encourage the fashion industry of the future.  Offering practical experience in a live commercial environment, the company works closely with education and its local community to help answer the fashion industry’s SOS for skills and to nurture homegrown talent.

Former NULC Student Wins National Vocational Award

5 July 2012

A former student on one of Staffordshire University’s HND courses at Newcastle-under-Lyme College, was named the VQ Learner of the Year 2012 for England at an event held at the prestigious London venue, BAFTA on Wednesday 20th June.

Dave Hughes beat off competition from around the country to claim the award, which was presented to him by Business Secretary Vince Cable and former Education Secretary Lord Baker who is Chairman of independent education charity, the Edge Foundation, who created VQ Day.

On receiving his trophy, Dave said: "I'm absolutely over the moon to have been chosen as VQ Day Learner of the Year for England. This award means a lot to me - it represents my achievements and the hard work I've put in to complete my qualifications and get my own business off the ground. I'm the proof that vocational qualifications can help people go on to achieve great things, and I hope this award can help inspire others."

Dave's entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to supporting the careers of other young and upcoming designers impressed the judges. Achieving the highest triple distinction possible in his National Diploma in Art and Design at NULC, Dave went on to complete an HND in Graphic Design at the College before setting-up his own marketing and design agency, elloDave.

Aged just 24, he now employs a number of former Foundation degree students, giving those with similar aspirations and backgrounds invaluable work experience. For Dave the importance of continued learning is evident – he is currently fitting in his studies for a Masters in Design Management at Staffordshire University around running his business.


Visit from Senior CDUT Delegation

Delegates from a Chinese State University visited Staffordshire University this month as part of their on-going partnership.

Chengdu University of Technology (CDUT), located in Sichuan province, has been a Staffordshire University overseas partner since 2003, with the University collaborating with CDUT on their International Foundation Programme, as well as their BA (Hons) qualifications in Business Management (BA LSBM), International Business Management (BA IBM) and Marketing Management (BA MM).

Led by Prof. TAN Shumin, the Communist Party Secretary of CDUT, a delegation of 11 senior colleagues from CDUT was hosted by Chris Slade, Director of Partnerships, and Lee Zhuang, Director of International Partnerships. During the visit, a Memorandum of Agreement was signed between the two institutions.


Chris Slade, Director of Partnerships at Staffordshire University, said: “Every year between 30 and 40 students from CDUT come to complete their final year on campus at Staffordshire University. Last year, over half of those students achieved a 2.1 or above degree classification. For September 2012, this number is set to increase, with around 50 students applying to study their final year here with us.” She added; “The visit has been very beneficial to all parties and following discussions with a range of faculty staff as part of the visit, the delegates from CDUT identified a number of other key areas for curriculum development and course collaboration.”


Staffordshire University’s strong partnership with CDUT was developed by Overseas Education Investment Management, Ltd (OEIM) who also manage the collaborative provision on a daily basis. 


Staffordshire University Centre in Suzhou

This unique partnership between Staffordshire University and the Global Institute of Software Technology has seen an enhanced university branded presence within their campus in Suzhou, China.

The new Staffordshire University base will host the University Alumni Association in China, increasing visibility of the University brand as well as providing additional support to our existing collaborative and recruitment partners.

This will also give opportunities to explore the potential demand for additional Staffordshire University programmes to be delivered in China, drawing students from a range of countries who wish to study a UK degree in a fast changing country like China.

A formal launch will take place later in the year.

Creative students commissioned to produce Royal film

5 April 2012

Newcastle-under-Lyme College (NULC) has commissioned a group of its former creative students to produce a film documenting the College’s Royal visit from His Royal Highness the Duke of York.

Dave Hughes, Tom Pepper and Ben Pritchard all studied at the College’s state-of-the-art University Centre, where courses are validated by Staffordshire University.

Dave Hughes, former NULC student and Creative Director of elloDave said: “This is the first time any of us have worked on a Royal event but we’ve all really enjoyed the project. The day was fantastic and went by in a flash. It was very rewarding to be involved in such a high profile project.”

Dave, from Bagnall, completed the HND in Graphic Design at NULC before going on to set up his own graphic design agency, elloDave based in the Staffordshire Moorlands. The agency has been running for three years and employs a number of former NULC creative students.

Dave continued: “The College has been really supportive both whilst I was studying there and since leaving. The quality of the creative students at NULC is phenomenal and students continually progress in to successful careers in the industry.”

Tom, aged 22 from Newcastle, studied the Foundation degree (Fd) in Graphics and Digital Design and went on to become a freelance videographer after completing his studies at NULC. He has worked on projects for companies including North Face and Touborg.

Ben, aged 25 from Sandbach, also studied the Fd in Graphics and Digital Design. He is now in his final year of a degree in Graphic Communication at the University of Wolverhampton and also works part-time for elloDave as a Graphic Designer.

During his time at NULC, Ben was commended for his film work when he won ‘Best Film’ in the over 18’s category at the 2011 Stoke Your Fires Festival. He also met local Oscar-winner Pete Bebb, another former NULC student, at the NULC Heatwave Film Festival in 2011.

Lucy King, Head of Marketing and Communications at NULC said: “The College is committed to helping our students gain the experience they need to succeed in the workplace.

“We’re recognised nationally for the quality of our art and creative courses, so it seemed the obvious answer to employ former students when we were looking for someone to capture the day in film.”

During his tour of the College on Thursday 8 March, HRH the Duke of York visited the visual media studio in the College’s bespoke University Centre, where he chatted to a number of students currently studying Fd’s in Graphics and Digital Design and Digital Media Production.

The College offers a range of university-level courses in partnership with Staffordshire University. To find out more, email, call 01782 254254 or visit