What is the nature of your involvement with the University?
I started working with Stirling University about 10 years ago, two years in to my business as I needed additional staffing in the busy summer period. I have employed a range of students on either a full- or part-time basis, and some have moved onto jobs with larger businesses after being trained with me in digital marketing and e-commerce.
Why did you decide to start working with students?
It’s been good for me as a business to get younger digital savvy staff and for the students to be given their first break, to learn and to go on to bigger businesses, or in some cases to other SMEs or abroad, depending on their area of interest or their personal situation a few years later.
What kind of initiatives have you been involved in?
I have employed interns, US summer school placement students and part-time workers during the year. I have also been actively involved with the Management School in their business relationship evenings with groups of students discussing a topic allocated and steering them in the right direction. I also deliver guest lectures to students and have helped several students with dissertations using Labels4Kids as a case study.
Based on your involvement and experience of working with the University, what are the strengths of our students and graduates?
The students at Stirling University have a lot of language ability and are very proactive learners. They have a thirst for learning and can think on their feet but will also take instruction well. I have not had a student who I have had a problem with. In particular the masters students can come up with some very interesting strategic information for people who have not been in the real workforce full time.
How has working with students made a difference in your business?
I like to give young students the chance to learn and take their careers in directions they may not have thought would be possible initially. In many larger businesses you are stuck in one section with a lot of competition and little hands on time from senior management. In my business they have the chance to learn every area of a business and to decide what their favourite area is and perhaps move sideways. For my business it gives me initially flexibility of part time workers in busy period and the chance to check them out then later the opportunity to fit students into whichever roles come up within the business.
What advice would you give to other businesses that are considering working with Stirling Management School students?
Definitely talk to the Jobshop within the Career Development Centre. They can point you in the right direction for all the options available and will help you complete the necessary paperwork with guidance on what they need. A chance not to be sniffed at! I have hired students from other Universities in the past and they have also been good but the help I get from the Stirling University team is by far the best and we have built up a great relationship as I understand what they are looking for and they understand what I need.