Prof. Jon Fairburn

About Prof. Jon Fairburn

Professor of Sustainable Development. EU projects have been funded under INTERREG, GRUNDTVIG, FP7, ERASMUS, TRANSVERSALS

Stoke on Trent’s problem is not too many immigrants but too few!

Successful economies attract people whether they be countries, regions or cities. Diverse populations tend to be more tolerant, innovative, entrepreneurial and to have networks linking to elsewhere in the world, which benefit the economy. New people bring new cultural experiences whether that be events, art, food or celebrations.

The lack of diversity in the city even 15 years ago is clear from statistics. The 2001 census for Stoke on Trent saw the city population as 95% white and 96% UK born (the rest of Staffordshire was even more homogenous, for example Staffordshire Moorlands recorded 99.2 % white and 98.3% born in the UK).

The city has experienced a long term population decline in the post war period. The population of Stoke on Trent in 1951 was 275,115 and it has declined in every census up to and including the 2011 census which recorded 249,008 people. In comparison, the UK population grew from 41 million in 1951 to 63 million over the same time period tied to the post war boom in the economy. If Stoke on Trent had grown in population like the rest of the country it would now have a population of 453,000!

Currently the city population is estimated at 251,027 so for the first time in over 60 years Stoke on Trent has a growing population.

So what explains this current growth in Stoke on Trent? Throughout the 2000s three changes started to occur:

  1. Higher education expanded leading to an increase in all students including non-white students (often from other parts of the Midlands), international students and international staff at the two Universities.
  2. The coming of age of the Pakistani population that was the largest ethnic minority population (which even in 2001 only numbered 6,360 people).
  3. The inflow of population from Eastern Europe, which for Stoke was 3,080 people in the 2011 census.

Taken together the numbers are all low (both in absolute and percentage levels), especially compared to many other major urban areas in the UK. It is worth noting that here I have quoted numbers both foreign born and by non white ethnic group but it is worth remembering that many of these were born in the UK as well.

Therefore, the make-up of the population of the city has changed and the population is finally starting to grow though at very small levels.

Without immigrants our hospitals and care homes would struggle, our Universities would be smaller and some businesses would not be able to offer the services they do. The vacancy rate in the housing stock of the city has fallen and study after study shows that the immigrant population is a net contributor to the economy (not least because they are much less likely to claim benefits that the UK born population).

Some political parties like to blame these changes for the plight of the white working class in Stoke and elsewhere, but the reasons for economic weakness in the city are tied up with other factors.  Low skills levels, lack of investment, short term planning by government, offshoring of production, very low levels of business start up and changes in the world economy are much better explanations for the low wages and economic performance of the city than trying to blame immigrants. 

Some of these factors are staring to be tackled. For example the City was recently named the 2nd best place in the country to start up a business. The Ceramic Valley Project has set up sites across the city to attract businesses and this is already happening.

The City of Culture team is doing huge amounts of work talking to different groups, artists, businesses and others in the city to shape the bid and develop a positive image of the city.

As a city we need to attract investment and people – we need to present a positive and welcoming image to the outside world. An image that celebrates all the of people and communities of Stoke on Trent not just some of them.



  1. Population census Stoke 2011 – total pop 249,008 – white 220,712 all other ethnic groups 28,296
  2. Population census Stoke 2001 country of birth – total pop 249,008 born in UK 228,294 all other Europe 5,363 (of which Accession countries were 3,080) , Africa 2,805 , Middle East and Asia 10,897 America and Caribbean 731, Antarctica and Oceania 305

Having a bloomin’ good time at Dorothy Clive Garden

A blog by Dee Rahmat on her final year project for her BA Tourism Management award.  You can follow Dee on twitter @deerahmat

Globally, garden visiting is a popular activity. As there is a huge culture of garden visiting in the UK, I decided to do my final year Tourism project on Dorothy Clive Garden. Dorothy Clive Garden is an independent charitable garden located in Willoughbridge, Shropshire (near Market Drayton). It is ranked #1 in TripAdvisor for things to do in Market Drayton. Dorothy Clive Garden regularly organise events, workshops, and exhibitions. One such example is the 5th Annual Chilli Festival where they had over 1,200 guests over the weekendDorothy Clive GardensThe aim of my study is to increase footfall and enhance visitor experience while ensuring sustainability practices are still applied at Dorothy Clive Garden.  Data were collected through questionnaires from a sample size of over 150 visitors. Through the collated data, I will examine the interests and motivational factors of visitors in Dorothy Clive Garden in order to determine their visitors’ needs and expectation. The analysis will hopefully assist Dorothy Clive Garden to establish future development plans to enhance visitor experience.

Getting to work closely with Marcus who is curator of the garden, and Julia who is the marketing officer, from Dorothy Clive Garden have been a rewarding experience. They shared many useful statistics and research materials which helped me to develop the right survey questions. I enjoyed getting insights from professionals in the industry which helped my understanding of current trends and issues in garden tourism.

Dorothy Clive Gardens

To improve Dorothy Clive Garden, it is important to know who the visitors are, why they come and what they value. While conducting the questionnaires, I see a clear correlation between visitors’ satisfaction and the likelihood of repeat visits and word of mouth referrals. This experience has certainly developed my communication skills, as well as, my research and analytic skills. I hope to further develop and utilise the knowledge and skills obtained, as well as my prior work experience, in my future career with a role in tourist attraction development or destination marketing.

Dorothy Clive Gardens

Dee interviewing customers

Julia Roberts at Dorothy Clive said  ‘We were delighted to welcome Dee to the Dorothy Clive Garden as part of her final year tourism project. The study has enabled us to gain better understanding of the motivational factors as to why visitors come to the garden. We hope to continue to use the survey over the next 12 months to build up a strong visitor profile to determine and inform our future marketing strategy.  Thanks to Dee for all her professionalism and attention to detail, she has been a joy to work with.’

Julia Roberts (left and Dee Rahmat (right)

Julia Roberts (left and Dee Rahmat (right) a very successful collaboration

Prof Jon Fairburn said “All of our final year tourism students have to do an external project and many of them are in the area of market research and customer experience. It provides excellent training in some of the key skills needed in the tourism industry.”

Dorothy Clive Garden links  – website facebook

@dorothyclive twitter



Do you need help with digital marketing?

The MSc in Digital Marketing Management is one of our new awards to meet the changing demands of industry. Marketing is going through a fundamental change with ever more marketing carried out online – a major consequence of this is the incredibly detailed data that is generated which leads to data driven policy.

The marketing industry is booming, examples from our partners include, I-Prospects in Stafford who take on over 100 graduates every year, Synectics Solutions in Newcastle under Lyme, Don’t Panic who organise many digital award nights and conferences or alumni who have set up businesses such as Jill Quick, Dan Knowles or Louise Holland

To get our Masters students ready for the industry we have two modules:

  1. ‘The Management of a Digital Marketing Project’ – this module will prepare a tri-partite agreement between the student, the academic staff and the organisation as to the focus of the project, existing benchmark measures, what is to be achieved and how to make the project sustainable (so that it can continue after the student leaves).
  2. The Work Based Digital Marketing Project – a credit work experience (450 hours) to deliver the project with the organisation concerned.

The project can be in any type of organisation e.g. private sector, public sector, charity or a university. It is desirable but not essential for the work project activity to take place at the premises, or it could be a mix with some days in the company and some work off site.

We have built in flexibility to the work-placement so it could be that you would like a portfolio of tasks to be completed rather than just one main project. Examples could be – creation of a digital marketing strategy, audit and re-launch of social media, budget and investment plan for marketing, devising and implementing a training plan for existing staff.

As the module is part of the course then paid remuneration is not required. However, we would expect travel expenses and any other identified costs of the project to be paid – these can be discussed and agreed before the placement starts.

So if you are interested get in touch with Prof Jon Fairburn 01782 294094

Interested in Digital Marketing ? Then study with the best

Digital marketing, social media and analytics is a big industry which just keeps growing. There is a huge demand for graduates and post graduates in this area. We are already helping to meet this need a M.Sc Digital Marketing Management and from Sept 2017 we will be running a B.Sc in Digital Marketing Management.

Many of our students are already involved with carrying out social media for example on the Stone Food Festival.

Social media student

Tourism management and events management students help provide the social media for the Stone Food Festival

Our Business School twitter account @ BusinessStaffs has now been ranked no 1 for 3 months by Edurank for Business Schools across the world

Our facebook page was first in the top 10 and now 1st for the last two months

And we are developing our Instagram account which is in the Top 10 for Sept and Oct 2016

Our courses include credited work experience so come along to an Open Day or get in touch if you would like to know more.

BSc Digital Marketing Management

MSc Digital Marketing Management


Winning student teams at #GEW2016

Congratulations to everyone who took part in the All Day event and showed the resilience to stay until the end! This was a test of ideas, team working and the ability to keep going to get the job done. This is just one of the opportunities for students to bring information and ideas together from different topics and to apply what has been learnt on the courses.

Thanks to the other judges including Clair Hameed (Be Inspired), Sarah Holinshead (Stoke City Council Business team) and Sian Dunning RBES

First prize to Team Diversa – Pavrina Barring, Callie Gouveia, Kirsten Mills, Danielle Nugent, Sayyed Hashemi

First prize at GEW2016


Runners up prize – We’re the right tools for the job – Alex Cross, Charlene Barrett, Shannon Dean, Nelson Okoyomo and Hannah Seera

Runners - up at GEW 2016


Third Prize – Team Fiyah – Ismaeel Ahmed, Nisha Bansal, Davies Murtah

Third Prize


Thanks to Clair and her team for organising the All Dayer – see more of their Be Inspired Programme and opportunities for student and graduate businesses here. 

All photos by SO Visual a business started under the Be Inspired programme whilst at the University.

Global Entrepreneurship Week 2016 – All Dayer – Part 3

More teams

Business as Usual – Ellie Rough, Dave Petersen, Manisha Bansal, Kayal Aggarwal and Carl Ryan

Business as usual team

Entrepreneurial Gurus – Louise Chidlow @LouiseChidlow, Mikey-Lee Armitage @EventsArmitage, Libby Kirkland, Lorna Thomson, Nicola Clews and Amy Adams

Entrpreneurial Gurus

Team Fiyah – Davies Mutarah, Isnan Mahmood, Ismaeel Ahmed, Salma Mahmood and Georgia Lane

Team Fiyah

Getting advice from Stoke City Council Business team

Getting advice

All photos by So Visual – two graduates who started their business under the Be Inspired Scheme here at the University – great work Sam and Ollie!

Part 1

Part 2

Global Entrepreneurship Week 2016 – All Dayer – Part 2

More of the teams at #GEW2016 All Dayer – Business Ideas Generation

The Dream Team – Charmaine Oputeri @ctoputeri, Diana Mwiesu  @simplydiannan and Vionage Radzokota @vionage

The Dream Team

Team Diversa – Kallie Gouveia @KallieDGouveia, Danielle Nugent @daniellenugent1 and Kirsten Mills @HappyKirst

Team Diversa

Team Elite – Kristi Ong, Yang Rui Rui, Jiang Yi Wei Shiyalini and Jatupong Srakaew

Team Elite

Triple SSS – Tian Zhihan He Muxuan, He Haodong and Liv Chung Feng

Triple SSS

Support is being provided by Scott Grindley, Stoke City Council, and Emily Bell (one of our students on placement at Stoke City Council) and Danielle Boulton, Make it Stoke Staffs

Scott and Emily

All photos by So Visual – two graduates who started their business under the Be Inspired Scheme here at the University – great work Sam and Ollie!

Part 1 of GEW All Dayer

Part 3 here

Global Entrepreneurship Week 2016 – All Dayer – Part 1

In previous years we have carried out our award winning All Nighter Enterprise Challenge – this year we switched to an All Dayer Business Ideas Generation event, with Joy Marsden leading supported by the Be Inspired team, staff from the Business School and local organisations including Stoke City Council.

Joy starts the day


Here are some of the teams

Still Carol’s Favs including Kelly Jansen @KellyRJansen95, Ryan Harrison @RyanAHarrison94, Danielle Barnsley @barnsdanielle, Henry Greentree @henrygreentree, Yalin Lin and Xinquan Wang.

Carols fave's

Thinking hard with Chris’s Angels – Chris Thomas @Ctonetwotv, Alana Horne @AlanaHorne, Harriet Jackson and Natalie Rice.

Chris's Angels

We’re the right tools for the job – Alex Cross, Charlene Barret, Shannon Dean, Nelson Okoyomo @staffsbsociety and Hannah Seera

We're the right tools for the job

Some of the support team from Make it Stoke Staffs

Danielle Boulton Make it Stoke

and Mark Price, Stoke on Trent City Council.

Mark Price Stoke City Council

All photos by So Visual – two graduates who started their business under the Be Inspired Scheme here at the University – great work Sam and Ollie!

More in part 2

Part 3 here

Students will be researching at the Stone Food and Drink Festival

For the third year running final year students on Tourism Management and Events Management will be carrying out research at the Stone Food and Drink Festival from 30th Sept to 2nd October.

The festival is the premier food and drink festival in the county attracting over 15,000 visitors.

Tourism Management students will then go onto use these skills in their dissertation and Events Management students will use them for evaluating the events they have to organise as part of their course.This way the students get practical experience of a core skill in their industries and also an opportunity to network with parts of the industry.

Students will also involved in running the social media campaign in the run up and through the festival as well as a range of other roles.

nice one

Keep up to date with all our tourism and events news through our twitter feed @tourismsu

Courses on Tourism Management and Events Management


George’s Glory


Business Management student George Balshaw

Business Management student George Balshaw was victorious in raising almost £2000 for the Alzheimer’s Society this summer, following a gruelling 70.3 Iron Half Man at Cholmondeley Castle.

The Half Iron Man event consists of a 1.9km swim followed by a 90km bike ride and a 21km run to finish. George’s marathon of a challenge was undertaken partly to fulfil a personal goal but also to raise money and awareness for the Alzheimer’s Society.

A terminal condition which affects 850,000 people in the UK, with symptoms including memory loss, confusion and problems with speech and understanding, Alzheimer’s is a disease that George and his family have had to learn to understand and deal with.

“My Grandmother has been diagnosed with dementia for 3 years” George said, “She lives with my Granddad, who suffers with the consequences of the illness every hour of every day and night. The Alzheimer’s Society has released some strain and helped my Granddad by providing clubs for my Grandma to attend, thereby giving him some of his own time back. They have also helped him to understand the disease that he is dealing with” said George, “so I wanted to give something back and to raise awareness of this all-too-common heartache that families are burdened with.

George and his grandmother

I’ve been building up to the event since signing up in October; in April I completed the Paris marathon in 4 hours twenty two minutes as part of my training.”

George completed the triathlon in an impressive 5 hours and fifty seven minutes, a good hour quicker than he expected.  His training was ongoing whilst he was working on a placement year between the second and third year of his university course.