The World Cup: Sports tourism bringing Nations together?

By Carol Southall, Senior Lecturer, Staffordshire Business School

 

In recent years the phenomenon of sports tourism has grown in popularity, not least because of technological advances facilitating online ticket bookings and confirming event and venue scheduling. Sports tourism is certainly one of the fastest growing sectors of the global travel industry and refers to travelling to another destination, away from where the traveller normally lives and works, in order to observe or participate in a sporting event.

The Russia World Cup 2018 is an opportunity to bring people together from different nations across the world with a common interest…diversity, and of course football! Spread over 1,800 miles from Kaliningrad on the Baltic coast to Ekaterinburg at the foot of the Ural mountains, 12 stadiums across Russia will host the 64 matches that comprise the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, the largest venue and one of the newest, will hold the first game of the tournament on 14 June and also the final, 31 days later. England’s first match against Tunisia on Tuesday 18th June at the purpose-built Volgograd Arena, almost 600 miles south-east of Moscow, is likely to be a key draw for the thousands of football fans heading to Russia.

Covering over 17 million square kilometres, 11 time zones, and with a population of almost 147 million, Russia is the largest country in the World. With over 200 ethnicities and ethnic groups and more than 100 languages and dialects, plus 28 UNESCO World Heritage sites and several thousand museums, Russia is working hard to promote its tourism potential. Interestingly on the Russia Travel website, to which fans applying for a FAN ID are directed when they enquire about tourism opportunities during their stay in Russia, there is a reference to the ‘Miracles of Russia’ in the host towns and cities, and the fact that “all these have nothing to do with the habitual stereotypes of Russia”. This is evidently an ideal opportunity to debunk some myths surrounding perceptions of Russia as a destination.

Red Square, Moscow, Russia

Studies show that major events can be a positive force in bringing nations together and enhancing and strengthening national identity. Whether Russia needs to strengthen its national identity, or indeed which countries need to strengthen their national identity, is a moot point. What is clear is that any such tournament that brings the world together should only serve to strengthen national pride and identity and facilitate an element of cultural understanding.

As a traveller you often find that wherever you are in the world, the common language is football. You may not be able to hold a conversation in a native tongue beyond ‘hello’ and ‘thank-you’ but mention the relative merits of the better-known English football clubs and you can hold a conversation for the duration of a taxi ride.

Clearly participation in football, whether as a player or spectator, plays a major role in social and global cohesion, enhancing social capital. Football creates its own world order, deviating from the hegemonic power relations that characterise world politics. Conversely, the mutual respect and consideration that should be evident in all international sport tourism is sometimes overshadowed by political tensions, causing hostility where there should be empathy and understanding.

Since the selection of the host nation, 8 years ago, political tensions have certainly overshadowed the event. The BBC recently reported that England should wear black armbands during the World Cup to protest against the Russian regime, with a prominent MP suggesting that the FIFA tournament is a massive propaganda coup for Russia. Additionally the violent clashes between English and Russian football hooligans at Euro 2016 have led to concern of a repeat performance at the 2018 World Cup. Russia’s significant investment in the tournament, and the need to avoid any tarnishing of the event, has led to Russian hard-core supporters being contacted by police and officially warned to behave. Similarly local UK supporters have also been warned, and in some cases had their passports confiscated by police for the duration of the tournament.

The role and responsibility of football in the world is significant and its importance in social cohesion and nation building should not be underestimated. Conversely, we should also recognise the power of football to incite violence and xenophobia. Regardless of the political tensions that overshadow the tournament this year, it is hoped that the UK and international sports tourists travelling to Russia on their FAN IDs (a personalised spectator’s card – offering visa-free entry to Russia for supporter’s holding World Cup tickets) will take the opportunity and time to explore, experience and engage with Russia’s culture and people. Only then can there be any hope of the mutual respect and understanding that football has the power to facilitate.

Follow Carol on twitter @cdesouthall

FdA Visitor Attraction and Resort Management


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‘Made in Dagenham’

By June Dennis, Dean of Staffordshire Business School

In 1968, some 50 years ago, a group of women machinists at Ford Dagenham went on strike and campaigned to be recognised as skilled workers.  The women trained for 2 years as machinists but were paid just 85% of what male unskilled workers received.  Although they only achieved partial success – the women did not get upgraded but received an increase in pay to 92% of what a male cleaner would earn – this well publicised campaign was considered a major stepping stone in the establishment of the Equal Pay Act of 1970, now superseded by the Equality Act 2010.

I recall watching the film ‘Made in Dagenham’ about the Ford Dagenham workers some years ago whilst on holiday with my two daughters, then aged 15 and 12.  As we discussed the film afterwards, I realised even then that it was going to be one of those defining moments in their development.  It also gave me an opportunity to tell them of some of my experiences. For example, as a final year student at a job interview I was asked ‘shouldn’t you be warming your husband’s slippers by the fireplace rather than working here’.

Dr June Dennis - the new Dean of Staffordshire Business School

June Dennis – the new Dean of Staffordshire Business School

Later in my career, I recalled being told by a very well meaning male colleague that I hadn’t been given the role as link tutor for a partner in India because I had a young family and might not be able to cope with a couple of trips abroad.  I was also able to tell them about my parents being role models – both were nurses and on the similar pro-rata salaries for much of their careers, although, it was my mother who worked part-time and unsociable hours to fit around the family.  I started my own business and subsequently became a lecturer because I could not maintain an international marketing role with a young family.  Neither of my daughters had been aware that such discrimination had existed to such an extent nor that their aspirations might still be curtailed by social and workplace norms about gender roles.  Some seven years later, both are intelligent, articulate and confident women who are already role models to younger teenagers.

This year, around 10,000 organisations with more than 250 staff were required to publish data about their gender pay gap on a Government website.  The results, released in April 2018, showed that there are still stark differences in the amount women get paid compared to men and also in the proportion of women on higher incomes within organisations.  The median pay for women is nearly 10% lower than for men and some 78% of organisations pay men more than women overall.  Smaller organisations, with less formal pay structures may have even greater variances.

Some 50 years on, it is less likely that a woman will be paid less for the same job, although the recent revelations about the pay of BBC staff demonstrates that this still exists. However, some of the pay difference can be attributed to the fact that women are still more likely to take part-time and lower paid jobs which they can work around other commitments.  This may be by choice or by necessity.  Career breaks also have an impact on overall salary.  However, there are still many structural inequalities of opportunity and social barriers that hinder progression for those women who wish to progress.  Such barriers include expectation to attend early morning or ad hoc late meetings, ‘golf course’ business networking events, requirement for overseas travel when promoted and, more subtly, expectations from friends and family – I don’t recall any well-meaning friends questioning my husband about his family loyalties when he had to work away from home, for example….

Until societal views permit both men and women to choose whether they want to work full or part-time, progress up the ladder or not or take parental leave or not, then I suspect any legislation will have limited impact on these statistics.

Contact June at june.dennis@staffs.ac.uk 

 

Recent Trends in Microfinance

The term Microfinance is derived from the word microcredit which means “small credit” in simple terms. However, with the expansion of services from Microfinance Institutions (MFIs), different people, agencies, and institutions have defined Microfinance differently. Generally, microfinance is defined as the provision of financial and non-financial services from microfinance institutions to low-income households and small business who were excluded by commercial banks.

The term Microfinance now covers a wide range of product and services such as microloans, savings, insurance, and remittance. Some scholars believe that the first formal microcredit institution was “Grameen Bank”, which was established in 1976 in Bangladesh by Dr Muhammad Yunus, a Nobel peace prize winner in 2006.

The term Microfinance covers a wide range of product and services such as microloans and savings.

The institution was set up as a non-profit institution to provide small credit, especially to women in the rural part of Bangladesh because it was difficult for them to receive loans from commercial banks. Over time, Grameen Bank grew in popularity and customer base and more MFIs started to emerge following the Grameen Model.

What is the Grameen Model?

The Grameen Model was created by Grameen Bank of Bangladesh which has currently the widest replication in many developing countries across the world. In Grameen model Five unrelated, self-selected prospective borrowers are formed and required to make a savings deposit and payment on a loan at given period. The institution does not evaluate these loans as individual loans but as group loans and also leaves members to do most of the management and financial services.

First, two members of the group will receive the loan and then the group members determine the rotation of access to credit, and after timely repayments, an additional two members receive loans. If any member in a group fails to make an installment payment on time, then the borrower or group will be cut off from the future borrowing. However, if the borrower/group makes payment on time and in an orderly manner then bigger loans are granted in the future.

The Grameen model provides credit to the very poor in rural areas without requiring any collateral. The model also has low transaction costs and focuses on women. The Grameen Bank approach is currently being applied in many countries. A few of such countries are Bhutan, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Chile, Guinea, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Zambia Some developed countries like Canada, France, and the U.S., have also adopted a version where it is being used to help people become income generators.

Trends in Microfinance

Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) have had global influence and spread around the globe because microfinance has been regarded as one of the effective tools for fighting poverty. Initially, MFIs depended on donations, grants and government subsidies. However, in last decade, some microfinance institutions have realised that they might need to make a profit to provide continuous service, cover their administrative, financial and operational cost, and also budget for the future development without needing any government funds or donations.

In recent years, MFIs have been focusing slightly more on their financial side and as a result, the industry is moving towards profit-oriented MFI’s which means that these MFIs are applying market-based principles. This implies that we have had three stages of MFI’s since their conception which can be seen from the following figure.

Trends in Microfinance Institutions

Some of the first microfinance institutions to adopt the profit-orientated approach were Bank Rakayat Indonesia (BRI), K-Rep in Kenya, Mibanco in Peru, First Microfinance Bank (FMFB) in Pakistan, and CARD Rural Bank in the Philippines. Similarly, PRODEM, the leading Microfinance NGO in Bolivia, transformed into a financial bank called BancoSol.

In conclusion, although MFIs were established as non-profit institutions to provide social services, it seems that microfinance institutions are becoming more like profit-oriented institutions for various reasons.

Sanjib Sherpa (sanjib.sherpa@research.staffs.ac.uk) is currently undertaking his PhD study at Staffordshire University in the area of Microfinance under the supervision of Dr Tolu Olarewaju.

Preparing for Brexit: Economic forecasts versus wishful thinking

During the Referendum campaign, Michael Gove notoriously commented that the British public had “had enough of experts”, in particular of economic forecasters. This article explains a little about (i) economic forecasting and (ii) why economic forecasts may be useful even if they cannot be completely accurate.

Economic forecasting is like medical diagnosis. The economy and the human body are both complex systems that are still imperfectly understood. Your GP has to make a diagnosis on the basis of limited information: headache; flue; or meningitis? From the perspective of public health advice, the situation is no less difficult. For example, official advice on diet is much contested. Advice changes as new evidence becomes available.

When economists forecast or predict the impact of Brexit, they start with a diagnosis of the current “health” of the “patient”. Is the UK economy delicate or in rude health? Since experiencing the economic equivalent of a heart attack during the Global Financial Crisis of 2008-09, the UK has undergone stagnant productivity (and, hence, wages), low investment, record levels of household debt, public sector austerity, and now low growth during a world economic upturn. Economists diagnosing the patient along such lines would tend to recommend against administering a shock to the patient. However, economists, like doctors and medical researchers, differ in their diagnoses. Other economists might point to unprecedented levels of people in employment and conclude that the UK economy is more or less fit, and that Brexit is just the tonic needed to make it thrive.

Even when medical experts can give an accurate diagnosis (headache or a brain tumour), they will typically be unable to give a completely accurate prognosis (if the diagnosis is a brain tumour, does the patient have weeks, months or years to live?). There are too many unknowns. However, the well-trained and experienced medical expert may be able to give useful guidance. It is similar in economic diagnosis/prognosis (or, in economic terminology, analysis/forecasting). Government ministers confronted with politically inconvenient forecasts often dismiss them by pointing out that forecasts are predictions of the future, which is unknown. In any case, they often continue, economic forecasts are usually wrong. Yet, just as medical diagnosis and prognosis are useful for guiding treatment, so economic forecasts – even though not precisely accurate – can be useful for guiding government policy. For example, forecasts of economic growth enable the planning of government borrowing and/or tax changes to fund spending commitments. Such forecasts offer broad guidance on the future state of the economy and thus a rational basis for policy. In short, expert forecasts are the alternative to wishful thinking. As such, economic forecasts help to guard against astonishment and panic as the drivers of policy.

One reason why economic forecasts were so easily dismissed during the Referendum campaign – and subsequently – is that most forecasters failed to foresee the Global Financial Crisis. Unfortunately, for most – although by no means all – reputable economists, financial crisis was an “unknown unknown”. (In public health, a rough analogy would be failure in the early 1980s to predict the appearance and rapid spread of AIDS.) In contrast, forecasting the economic effects of Brexit – and now its more or less “hard”/”soft” variants – is to think about “known unknowns”. “Known”, because we know roughly what is coming; but “unknown”, because we cannot know its precise consequences. The consequences of Brexit are unknown and so must be estimated – in other words, forecast. In preparing businesses and government for Brexit, economic forecasts, if used within their limitations, have the potential to enrich understanding of likely threats and opportunities and thus improve preparations.

Disclosure: the author voted Remain, and would do so in future if given the opportunity.

Professor Geoff Pugh, Staffordshire Business School

Three Grassroots Organisations And Why The Future Of UK Esports Looks Bright – Jamie Wootton

Jamie Wootton is an esports blogger and enthusiast who started his blog, ‘Watch This Space’, in early 2018. Since then he has interviewed members of the UK esports scene including a photographer, Managing Director of an esports team and UK FIFA Commentator. Jamie also conducted an exclusive interview with Tom Deacon, former comedian and full-time desk host for Gfinity. Below is Jamie’s blog: ‘Three Grassroots Organisations And Why The Future Of UK Esports Looks Bright’

 

“Whilst it’s no secret that the UK esports scene has been lagging behind other nations in the majority of esports titles, the future is now looking bright for several reasons. Firstly, existing esports players and organisations are beginning to make a name for themselves. Recently, CS:GO player Smooya has joined Major Legends BIG, and exceL Esports had a quarter final finish at the EU Masters LOL tournament in Leicester; a tournament which featured some world renowned organisations and teams such as the Ninjas in Pyjamas and Origen. Secondly, a series of esports organisations have cropped up with the intention of promoting grassroots esports and helping improve the standard of play in the UK. The following article will explore three organisations that are helping the scene evolve including Gfinity’s Challenger Series; UKPL and Game’s Belong Arenas.

Gfinity Challenger Series

Gfinity’s Challenger Series has proved itself as being somewhat of a success. The subordinate league to the Elite Series supports competition in three different esports titles and showcases players who excel at their respective esport. Once the Challenger Series’ season is over, top gamers are drafted onto the esports teams that are part of Gfinity’s new franchised system. Although the league has elevated players to the next level of competition, the league faced some criticism at the beginning of its tenure. Some who were drafted into professional organisations were unhappy with their play time and disappointed at what little chance they had to prove themselves on the big stage. However, Kieran Holmes-Darby, exceL Esports’ owner, in a BBC3 interview, responded to this criticism by asking, “Why should it [the path into professional esports] be easy?” Despite some teething problems, talent drafted in through the Challenger Series have worked themselves to the top of their respective esports and proved themselves to be top tier professionals. Rannerz for instance, along with his team mate Zimme, managed to pick up the Gfinity Elite Series Season 3 trophy for their organisation AS Roma Esports Fnatic. Rannerz proved himself in the Challenger Series and was drafted in by one of the world’s most elite organisations and went the distance to demonstrate why he is the best.

UKPL

Inspired by ESEA’s RankS and created on the foundations of Faceit hubs, UKPL has become the proving ground for semi-professional, and professional, CS:GO players in the UK. It has provided them with a platform to rise through the ranks and progress to the globally recognised FPL, from which, many of today’s young Counter Strike professionals, such as Mousesports’ Ropz, have elevated their performance and made a place for themselves in pro scene. Despite its infancy, UKPL offers competitors prizes for placing in certain positions in their leagues and caters for upcoming talent, giving them a podium from which to get noticed and picked up by UK or international organisations. UKPL by nature is grassroots, however not the badly run and embarrassingly unorganised type of grassroots. On the contrary, the service is run by some of the scenes most experienced professionals and boasts having the likes of seasoned veteran MightyMax, Epsilon Esport’s very own coach Kieta and an industry leading observer in the form of Sliggy in the role of admins. The circuit’s 4 leagues offer their 4000+ members a chance to shine, progress and prove themselves to outside organisations.

GAME’s Belong Arenas

GAME’s Belong Arenas aren’t the first of their kind in the UK as similarly styled gaming centres and tournament venues have been around for decades now. However, having been there and experienced it first hand, I get the impression that they have nearly perfected the gaming centre experience. Although GAME itself is a nationwide chain and its Arenas follow suit and therefore would struggle to be classed as grassroots, I do believe its fair to say that the steps the business is taking are in the interest of grassroots esports and appear to have a focus on improving the scene. Due to there being 19 Belong Arenas across England, Scotland and Wales with each being backed by GAME, they can all compete against one another. By joining their local Arena’s “tribe”, players from any background can compete against other Arena’s “tribes”. Members of tribes take part in weekly events and community nights at local Arenas and, at the end of season, a grand final takes place. Recently, the grand final took place on a large stage at Insomnia 62 and saw tribes battling it out, each representing their region, for glory. Watching it live in person surrounded by roughly 100 other engaged spectators felt awesome, but I can’t begin to imagine what it must have felt like from the players perspective. It must have been so surreal. Whilst this sort of opportunity doesn’t provide teams and players with a contract or salary, it does provide a platform from which competitors can experience a professional competitors lifestyle and, as such, compete and prove themselves on big stages in front of hundreds.

So, to conclude, whether it’s the Challenger Series’ efforts to put players into a premier competition through a sound league and drafting system; UKPL’s determination to improve the UK CS:GO scene by providing an environment for UK players to play and shine amongst one another or even Game’s push to build a communally competitive spirit in their Belong Arenas by hosting community nights and regional tournaments, grassroots esports in the UK is looking like it’s on the up.”

Jamie Wootton, Esports Blogger 

Love esports? Why not study on our BA (Hons) Esports course, or if you already have a business, computing or digital related degree why not study on new our MA Esports course!

 

Does the use of social media within universities promote employability?

This blog discusses whether the inclusion of social media within university courses is supportive of higher education’s employability agenda, and if so how can it be assessed?

The Department for Education forecasts a professional and technical skill gap which will rank the UK in the lowest quartile of Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development countries by 2020.  The demand for graduates in the workplace remains high and is forecast to increase in the professional sector despite employers being dissatisfied with graduate employability skills, particularly in literacy, problem solving and work experience. The issues of graduate employability are further pronounced within the financial professional sector with nearly a third of employers requiring subject specific degrees. Conversely one fifth of graduates remain in long term nonprofessional employment.

So if the skill gap presents the largest challenge for Higher Education, how does the integration of social media within teaching help our students?

The increasing use of social media in all walks of life has clearly also impacted on the lives of academics and  students alike. The term ‘social media’ is often used to describe the variety of technology based platforms (online and offline) used to communicate and collaborate.  It is sometimes also used when discussing technology in general terms.

There is an assumed duty within higher education that students should be exposed to the technology which is in use in the workplace but this presents problems in that such technologies are cyclical and often become unpopular over time.  Given the planning timescale for course and module design within universities, it is therefore important that the teaching and assessment of social media should be generic in nature with the focus on the functionality and benefits of such technology.

In order to make an informed decision as to the arguments for the inclusion of social media for the assessment of students from an employability perspective, we need to understand the value of this medium to industry.  Communication, Collaboration, Problem Solving, Social interaction and networking are often regarded as work based competences which are highly valued by employers and therefore it is important that these are incorporated into the design of social media teaching and assessment, methods of testing, regardless of what technology is used.  In the modern workplace, the practical use and familiarly with technologies such as online conferencing and collaboration, webinars and Microsoft and Google packages is equally important and there is a case for assessing these skills alongside academic competences.

Although often impractical in large universities, a flexible course design to accommodate a variety of industry sectors will unquestionably benefit the student.  For example the successful launch of the BA (Hons) Esports degree at Staffordshire University has resulted in a tailored programme of study specifically including the use of social media for marketing and event design in the gaming sector

The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) adapts a real time problem based approach to their assessment to ensure that students have sufficient depth of knowledge to apply to real industry problems. The technology itself is inherently part of the assessed activity in that if students are not familiar with the technology then they will be unable to complete the assessment. This has the potential to be expanded through the use of social media itself as a method of assessment.

So the ultimate question is whether the use of technology is appropriate and beneficial both to the student and the employer.

Mark Wordley is Lecturer and Course Leader for the Accounting & Finance Courses at Staffordshire University and is responsible for work placements within the Business School.

Free training for over 50’s!

Have you got to that point in your life where you feel its time for a change, a new direction, new job or new career? Well self-employment can offer a more flexible form of working, that may allow older people to stay in work for longer. Age UK says that older workers are more likely to have a higher chance of success with over 70 per cent of these businesses lasting over five years.

Still not convinced, well one of our Silver Worker trainees is a lady who through illness had been unable to work for the latter part of last year. She says it made her think about where she was “after over 60 years on life`s highway” and where she wanted the next part of her journey to take her.

She signed up for the Silver Workers free business start up training and has now taken the next steps in achieving her goal. She said:

The Silver Workers project has been catalytic and came at just the right time to help me to look at what transferable skills and talents I have.  It started my development of ideas that could become a new business and build on my previous work and experience”.

 “I have been to three sessions so far and I have started to answer my own question, `who am I` by listening to other people in the group, speaking about my ideas and using the Silver Workers platform.  Even today I am still working with my ideas and as with any creative process there is a developing sense of where I am going but I don’t think I am fully there yet.”

 “this also helped me to understand not only my strengths but also areas that I need to work on.  My confidence is not always so good with networking and talking to people about myself and what I do, so albeit I shy away from this I know it is an area for development as I journey on with my business”

 “Thank you, Hazel, Tom and Marzena for helping me to understand that even being over 60 I can be creative and have something valuable to offer”

Staffordshire Business School have developed this project which includes face to face sessions and on-line support allowing people to work at the pace that suits them. This course will suit anyone looking to develop skills to either set up a business or looking to get back in to work The course can help to develop both the confidence, mind-set and skills in this area.

If you would like to participate in this free training, then please contact Hazel Squire at h.squire@staffs.ac.uk  or Marzena Rezska at Marzena.Rezska2@staffs.ac.uk

 

Work and well-being for the over 50s – Silver workers event 5th July

We have a free event on 5th July at Staffordshire University as part of the Silver Workers project to support over 50s looking to get back into work or start their own enterprise. There is still time to join the project.

A programme and registration can be found on this link

Speaker bios

Debbie Assinder – West Midlands Enterprise Champion

Debbie is a SFEDI/ILM Gold Accredited Business Adviser.  She has delivered business startup advice for 20 years +across the region becoming the Enterprise Champion for the West Midlands in 2015.

Debbie Assinder

Debbie Assinder

Highlights in her career include working on Birmingham City Council’s £4.2 million Enterprise Catalyst Programme, delivering on the PRIME (Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise) startup support programme for the 50+, working as an Associate for Birmingham Chamber of Commerce on their national Start and Grow programme and delivering on behalf of Barclay’s Bank their “Get Ready for Business” and “Let’s Start a Business”.

Currently contracted by Innovation Birmingham on their Serendip Digital Incubation programme. Also working with Enterprise Nation, extending early-stage support to the growing number of new owner/operated businesses across the UK. Delivering workshops and events as well as providing a much-needed campaigning voice for the startup business community.

Austin Knott – Walk the Moorlands

Austin Knott; after 32 years in local government and building on his experience as a local walk leader and hillwalking representative for the British Mountaineering Council, Austin has set up ‘Walk the Moorlands’ to share his love of the hills and moors in the south west Peak District and Staffordshire Moorlands.

Participant in the Silver Worker project and who is starting his own business Walk the Moorlands.

Participant in the Silver Worker project and who is starting his own business Walk the Moorlands.

Lesley Foulkes

Lesley Foulkes studied at Staffordshire University as a mature student.  Following successfully completing her post graduate diploma in Psychotherapeutic Counselling she worked as a Specialist Mentor at the university until December 2017 and is an accredited member of the British Association for Counsellors and Psychotherapists.

Lesley Foulkes is a participant in the Silver Workers project and is in the process of setting up her own business Counselling without Walls

Lesley Foulkes is a participant in the Silver Workers project and is in the process of setting up her own business Counselling without Walls

Rebecca Loo and Fiona Uschmann  – Catch the Dream

Rebecca Loo works as an NHS Occupational Therapist with children with disabilities in North Staffs. She is also a health activist, running local and national Orthotics Campaigns (www.orthoticscampaign.org.uk) which press for improvements in the provision of braces and specialist footwear for people with disabilities.

Rebecca Loo of Catch the Dream

Rebecca Loo of Catch the Dream

The daughter of a local business man and having seen the effects of the 1980’s and 1990’s recessions, she vowed never to enter business herself. That was until she heard of how Ebola had shattered the lives of villagers in Lungi Village in West Africa. In May 2017 she and Fiona Uschmann incorporated “Catch the Dream Community Interest Company” (www.catch-the-dream.co.uk). They have been on a steep learning curve ever since as they work with the villagers to help them regain their livelihoods and dignity.

Fiona Uschmann is a PA and HR Manager at a local secondary school in Stoke on Trent. She has been involved in the yearly immersion programmes to Sierra Leone over the past 11 years with groups of sixth formers.

Fiona Uschmann of Catch the Dream

Fiona Uschmann of Catch the Dream

When immersion was unable to take place because of the catastrophic effects of Ebola in West Africa, she decided that she wanted to do more. In May 2017, Fiona and Rebecca Loo started a Community Interest Company called Catch the Dream.  Catch the Dream CIC has been working in partnership with a rural community in Bo, Sierra Leone to help them recover from the loss of their agricultural livelihood by kickstarting their farms again after they were devastated from the Ebola outbreak.

Sandra Butterworth – Business Innovation Centre

Sandra Butterworth is Director of Innovation at the Business Innovation Centre in Staffordshire which was set up in 1995 to encourage and promote Innovation in the region.

Sandra Butterworth

Sandra Butterworth will be taking about support and funding for start up businesses

During her 20 years at the BIC, she has been the Champion for Innovation encouraging everyone connected with the BIC to embrace Innovation which she believes is the way forward for local businesses as statistics show that Innovative businesses outperform their competitors.

Sandra is a SFEDI qualified Business Advisor, Member of the Institute of Business Counselling and Institute of Leadership & Management and helps companies to identify, research, develop and market their innovations. Sandra organises and delivers the BICs Self Development workshops and events on Innovation.

Tony Bickley – Staffordshire University

Tony Is a Chartered Accountant who has been a Senior Lecturer at Staffordshire University since 2016.  He has an MBA and is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Tony Bickley

Tony Bickley

Prior to working at the University he previously held several managerial roles in the Financial Services industry following his early career in the Accounting profession.

His areas of teaching speciality are Financial Accounting, Taxation and Financial Services.He is a Silver worked himself – has a wife, four children, 3 grandchildren and 3 dogs!

Patricia Roberts 

Patricia has been working for North Staffordshire based Aspire Housing since 2016.  She has played a prevalent role in the development of a new Community Living Service and challenging the way people think, act and talk about Dementia. Patricia’s career spans some fifteen years in both the private and third sector which makes her well placed to meet challenges presented by current welfare reforms and an ageing population.

Patricia Roberts - Older Persons Strategy lead for Aspire Housing

Patricia Roberts – Older Persons Strategy lead for Aspire Housing

Caring by nature she is passionate about collaborating with partner organisations to ensure vulnerable customers are acknowledged and listened to. Volunteering for the Alzheimers Society as a Dementia Champion, she has helped over 500 people become dementia friends and is currently developing a network of champions within we are aspire.

Born and bred in Cambridge Patricia has a keen interest in local faith groups and encouraging people to fulfil their full potential. Patricia lives with her husband in Hill Ridware, and takes great delight in exploring the great outdoors especially if it raises money for the Alzheimer Society.

Hazel Squire

Hazel Squire is a senior lecturer at Staffordshire Business School. She is the award leader for undergraduate business courses and delivers on the `Silver worker` business start up training.

Hazel Squire

Hazel Squire

Having worked in the retail sector Hazel set up and ran her own business before returning to university as a mature student. She is currently undertaking a PHD looking to identify the barriers faced by older people thinking of  setting up their own business.

Contact details: h.squire@staffs.ac.uk Tel: 01782294985 Twitter @hazelsquire

Prof Jon Fairburn – Staffordshire University

Jon Fairburn is Professor of Sustainable Development at Staffordshire University. He teaches on the MSc Digital Marketing Management award and established the Business School twitter account @BusinessStaffs which has twice won best Business School account from Edurank.

Prof Jon Fairburn

Prof Jon Fairburn

He has previously worked on the SEE GREEN project (with senior citizens) as well as delivering on the Silver Workers project.

Sign up to the event for free on this link 

Follow the project on this twitter account @silver_workers

 

EU Strategic Partnership project

The Meghan Markle Effect

Some of us will view the nuptials of Prince Harry & Meghan Markle as an excuse to celebrate a royal event and share the day either watching on television, online or with friends & family. Others will prefer to save their energies for the FA Cup Final later in the afternoon. Whatever your views on the Royal Family, Meghan Markle is not only entering one of the most famous families in the world but also one of the most successful global brands. The Royal brand generates annually upwards of £1.8bn to the U.K. economy (Brand Finance 2017) and Meghan herself is expected to generate £150m for British fashion brands over the next year (Ibisworld 2018).

St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, the venue for the Royal Wedding

Yet the Royal brand is not just a twenty-first century invention. Previous generations of royals have used their brand to leverage value in some less orthodox ways. Queen Victoria is hailed as championing the Scottish Highlands as the romantic tourist destination of well-heeled Victorians of the nineteenth century. Prior to that George III, raised the profile of Brighton as the Regency destination of the eighteenth century. More recently the current Royal brand has adopted a more overtly commercial stance extending their franchise to include multiple product lines from tea towels & cushions, celebration china & visitor experiences to the royal palaces. However, it is the secondary brand associations that generate the most income. When the Duchess of Cambridge steps out in a new outfit, within minutes the product line can be sold out, due to the speed and interest on social media.

So what value will Meghan bring to this hugely successful global brand? Interestingly she brings to the brand something that many commentators of the wedding of the year have overlooked. Unlike her contemporaries & predecessors, past Duchesses and Princesses, she brings a highly successful acting career. With the ageing population in the UK, the Royal Family needs to reconnect with Generation Z (16-25 year olds), and Meghan may be the person to do this. A quick chat with members of this generation shows the chasm in comparison between Meghan and her royal contemporaries. Views such as Meghan’s successful career and her broader life experiences, her ethnicity and her obvious contemporary beauty connects her with this generation more strongly perhaps than her future sister-in-law. So this is her brand strength. She is strong articulate and intelligent. Unique and authentic.

So what are the dangers this Royal brand could face? One is over-exposure, which always devalues a premium brand. The other is over extension into excessive product lines and mass commercialisation and linked with this a lack of exclusivity and authenticity. If Meghan wants to become more than a fashion icon she will need to navigate these brand waters carefully.

Official Engagement Photo https://twitter.com/kensingtonroyal/status/943813005770395648

On Saturday Meghan will enter this world. She will step out in a wedding dress worth thousands of pounds and instantly Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp & Facebook will go into overdrive. Images of the first glimpse of the dress will go global across the digital stratosphere and Meghan will become one of the most talked about human beings on the planet. Whatever your view on the Royal Family, the firm is now a brand. Managing this Royal brand online and off will be a challenge, but with her experience in the commercial world of TV and media Meghan should be better placed than most to deal with this – we wish her and her future husband well, health and happiness and a full & meaningful life growing the Royal brand.

 

Vicky Roberts, Senior Lecturer in Staffordshire Business School

Consent to using cookies is “baked” in the GDPR

Recently, you may have noticed when you log onto a company’s website or an Application (App) like Google or Twitter, there are alerts that their terms and conditions have been revised, or their privacy policy has been updated. You might also be inundated with requests for your consent to the use of cookies when visiting their site (refer to the examples below).

Example 1: ”Cookies on JohnLewis.com

Source: www.johnlewis.com accessed 3 May 2018

These types of notices are likely due to the fact that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDRP), which was passed by the European Union in 2016 and is coming into effect on May 25, 2018.

Example 2 of www.Barbour.com/uk request for consent to using of cookies on their website

Source: https://www.barbour.com/uk accessed 3 May 2018

The GDPR is a new digital privacy regulation which standardizes different privacy legislation across the EU. It is a legally binding regulation. Ignoring it could lead to fines of 4% of a company’s global turnover, or fines up to £17.6 million (20 million Euros) whichever is higher.

Explicit and informed consent is now required if a company wants to collect any personal data about a European citizen. This is not just having individuals check a consent box on the company’s website. A company will have to inform individuals exactly where their data is going. As well, individuals always have the right to say “NO” to their data being collected, that is, a company can’t stop an individual from using its website just because the individual does not consent to the company’s collection of his or her personal data. In the past, individuals would likely agree to a trade-off, that is, you can collect my data if I can use your site or use your app. That has now changed.

The GDPR provides individuals with the right to access their own data that the company has collected and individuals also have the ability to request that their data be deleted. Companies will be limited in the amount of personal data they can collect to that which is actually needed for specified and legitimate purposes.

Example 3: www.Cadbury.co.uk’s “Accept the use of cookies”

Source: https://www.cadbury.co.uk accessed 3 May 2018

Interestingly, even if a company is based in Australia, for example, the rules of the GDPR apply to them if a European citizen visits the company’s website or uses the company’s apps. So companies will need to be compliant with the GDPR even if they are based outside of Europe.

There is also special protection for children’s personal data. Companies who offer online services to children may need to obtain a parent’s or guardian’s consent in order to collect the child’s data, unless the child is 16 or over (although this may be lowered to 13 years old in the U.K.).

GDPR Basics for Marketers:

  • Ask for consent every time you collect data from someone, including tracking cookies – if you do not get consent you cannot track or collect it. Develop a way to track consent.
  • If people supply personal data on your website, then you need to make sure you have a way to provide this data back to people if they ask for it.
  • You will need a way to delete data, if requested to do so.
  • You may need to put systems in place that can verify individuals’ ages and a method to obtain parental or guardian consent, if required.

*For more information on the GDPR, please see Information Commissioner’s Office website at: https://ico.org.uk/

*Be sure to obtain legal advice. This content is meant only for educational purposes

Fatimah Moran, Senior Lecturer at Staffordshire Business School

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