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Champions rise to the challenge

They are offering their knowledge and expertise to help to improve commercial performance and graduate opportunities among local companies.

The eight Employer Partnership Fellows, all from the University of Bedfordshire, have a wealth of expertise in subjects ranging from computing and design to tourism and human resources. The university’s Knowledge Hub selected them to spread their department’s expertise into the wider business community.

Each ‘champion’ receives a bursary for their work, which includes collaborating with local businesses; seeking new commercial opportunities; helping to improve graduate employment prospects, and exploring innovative ideas.

Now in its fifth year, the Employer Partnership Fellows Scheme is backed by the Higher Education Innovation Fund. Veronica Rigby (pictured), the university’s knowledge transfer manager, said: “To date, the scheme has helped to facilitate relationships and collaboration with business at various levels ranging from informal knowledge sharing to strategic partnership working.

“The business community has responded very positively, hence the drive to expand the programme. It links directly to the university’s commitment to building links with the region’s businesses, boosting the local economy and giving firms to access quality graduates.”

The Fellows scheme was highlighted as an area of good practice at the university by the government’s standards watchdog the Quality Assurance Agency.

Examples of successes by previous Fellows under the scheme include the development of MediaCentric, a forum for the region’s cultural and creative industries, and Partners Connect, a series of employer-led seminars, business consultancy and graduate recruitment.

The new Fellows (pictured) are: Phillip Alford (travel, tourism and human resource management); Tim French (computing and information systems); Mike Scannell (strategy and human resource management); Raymond Tomin (media, art and design); Candan Ertubey (psychology); Fiaz Hussain (computing and information systems); Jim Hornsby (media, art and design); Rod Smith (strategy and human resource management).

To find out more about the Employers Fellows scheme, call 0800 328 5334
or email knowledge@beds.ac.uk.