Jobs of the future

Written by Rachel Gowers, Associate Dean


By 2025 it’s estimated that we will lose over five million jobs to automation. Don’t worry though – jobs are getting more interesting with machines handling the more mundane tasks. Your time will be freed up from performing the repetitive tasks of the past so you can focus on more fun stuff like knowledge creation and innovation. Here are some of the jobs to look out for:

Data Analyst – Data analysts are in high demand across all sectors, such as finance, consulting, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, government and education. Data analysts translate numbers into plain English. Every business collects data, whether it’s sales figures, market research, logistics, or transportation costs. A data analyst’s job is to take that data and use it to help companies make better business decisions.

Forensic Accountant – As a forensic accountant, you’ll utilise your accountancy skills to investigate financial discrepancies and inaccuracies such as fraudulent activity, financial misrepresentation or misconduct and disputes. The role involves an integration of accounting, auditing and investigative skills. You will carry out meticulous investigations to uncover information, identify specific irregularities in financial documents and reports, quantify the exact losses and trace and recover illegitimate funds.

UX Analyst – User Experience (UX) roles involve delivering the best possible experience for the user of a website, with the aim of making the website as straightforward to use as possible. The term UX analyst arises as the role involves a lot of analysis of users’ behaviours and preferences in order to create the best experience for the user. As a UX analyst you will look at the content of websites, and also the design elements, such as colours and images. Within some companies you’ll focus on research skills and psychology, in others you’ll concentrate on design and in some you’ll fulfil a more technical IT role.

Content Creator – A content creator is someone who is responsible for the contribution of information to any media and most especially to digital media. They usually target a specific end-user/audience in specific contexts. Facebook hires thousands of content creators and editors every year to not only provide content but also to monitor what is happening on-line.

Talent Manager – A talent manager’s responsibilities include designing employee training programs, building succession plans and crafting an internal promotion process. To be successful in this role, you should have a solid understanding of full-cycle recruiting along with a strategic mind-set in order to develop a skilled workforce. Ultimately, you will build a talent pipeline that aligns with our hiring needs and business objectives.

Customer Experience Manager – Customer Experience Managers can be in any industry, here are responsibilities for a manager in the leisure and Theme Park Business. You’ll propose and implement strategies to constantly improve customer satisfaction and park development. Additionally, you may also oversee or take sole responsibility for the marketing of the park in order to generate business. You’ll be involved in all areas of the park, including rides, retail and food and beverages. Theme park managers may also be known as guest experience managers, rides and operations managers or attractions managers.

 

If you’re interested in a job of the future our Business and Accounting Degrees prepare you for these roles.

If you’re interested in a career in Leisure why not try the FdA in Visitor Attraction and Resort Management in partnership with Alton Towers.

A Recipe for Success

Written by Angela Lawrence, Senior Lecturer & Esports course leader


There’s an Autumn nip in the air, the Great British Bake Off has begun and the annual McMillan World’s Biggest Coffee Morning is just around the corner. Kenwood mixers are whirling into action in kitchens across the UK.

Meanwhile, bags are being packed, goodbyes said, and freshers are itching to begin their university life. Around the World lecturers are preparing to welcome their new students and planning for the academic year to come.

It strikes me that these two situations have something in common. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that all lecturers are good bakers (far from it!), but there is something vaguely familiar about the nurturing, caring principles of baking and lecturing; the desire for a good outcome and the commitment to working hard to achieve this.

Quality Ingredients

Ever tried baking a cake with less than quality ingredients – with a dodgy cooker and scales that don’t quite weigh correctly? The chances are your cakes won’t turn out to be as good as you would like them to be. Quality, fit-for-purpose equipment and excellent ingredients are needed to guarantee the bake that you are looking for.

When choosing a university to spend three or more years of their life at, prospective students similarly seek quality – high rankings in the league tables and TEF, good NSS scores, high levels of student satisfaction and committed, highly qualified academics. A quality university is needed to turn out a top-notch, highly qualified and work-ready graduate.

The Recipe

Even quality ingredients can’t ensure a perfect bake if the recipe is wrong. One too many eggs or not enough baking powder and the cake’s a flop.

The same balance needs to be considered within the course that a student selects. The onus is on academics to create a balanced mix of exciting learning content, activities, guest lecturers, trips and course materials to ensure that students learn exactly what they need to know. Miss out a vital ingredient and students will struggle to achieve success in their assessments.

The Temperature

Too hot an oven and your cake will burn. Too cool an oven and your cake won’t rise. Getting the temperature right is as important as having the correct recipe.

Lifelong friendships are made at university, so a good balance between studying and fun is needed. The correct work-play balance creates an environment in which students flourish – without the fun some students struggle with the pressure of study and can be tempted to drop out. Too much fun and grades may suffer. A good university seeks to provide exactly the right balance between social and study. Student Unions, personal tutors, pastoral care and student guidance teams are all there to support students in getting it right.

Decorations

Jam and cream fillings, a sprinkle of icing sugar here, a coating of chocolate there and your cake is more than a cake, it’s a thing of beauty. It’s those finishing touches that make your cake the one that everyone wants to take a bite out of.

Similarly, a degree is not enough. Employers are inundated with graduate applications for advertised vacancies, and applications that stand out are those where the candidate has more than just a degree. Work experience, success in student competitions, self-awareness, confidence, professional presentation, global awareness…these are many of the added extras that lead an employer to choose YOU over other applicants.

Staffordshire University has a recipe for success. A university that has risen to within the top 50 universities in the league tables, been awarded a silver in the TEF, achieved one of the highest graduate employability rates in the UK and provided a supportive and fun environment in which students flourish.

Would you like a taste of our recipe? Come and visit us at one of our Open Days to find out for yourself – we can promise you a delicious time.

Undergraduate courses

Postgraduate courses

Accounting and Finance achieve 98 per cent satisfaction in National Student Survey

Written by Karl McCormack, Course Leader in Accounting and Finance


We are proud to announce that the Staffordshire Business School’s suite of Accounting and Finance courses are in the top 5% of institutions for overall student satisfaction according to the recent National Student Survey results.

The suite of courses achieved 98% satisfaction in the overall quality of the courses, ranking 6th out of 107 institutions teaching Accounting and Finance. The two-year accelerated award achieved 100% overall satisfaction rating for the second year running.

The breakdown of key results for the suit of courses is as follows (all rankings are out of 107 institutions teaching Accounting and Finance):

  • Staff are good at explaining things – 98%
  • Staff have made the subject interesting – 90%
  • The course is intellectually stimulating – 98% (3rd)
  • I have received sufficient advice and guidance in relation to my course – 93% (3rd)
  • I have been able to contact staff when I needed to – 93%
  • I have been able to access course specific resources when I need to – 98%
  • The course is well organised and is running smoothly – 93% (9th)

Karl McCormack, Course Leader for the Accounting and Finance degrees, said:

“It is really good to see that our accounting students are having such a great experience on their course and at the university. Our strong personal tutoring programme, staff enthusiasm and promotion of the Staffordshire Graduate attributes all play a crucial role in these results. It must not be forgotten though that the dedication of staff, both academic and support, shapes the overall experience.”

Dean of the Staffordshire Business School, June Dennis, added:

“These results are testament to the great work that our Accountancy and Finance team does in producing a fantastic student experience. To be in the top 10 in the UK is a real achievement.”

More information on our Accounting and Finance courses.

Thinking of joining us? Find out more about our courses in clearing

Five things you didn’t know about Staffordshire Business School!

Written by Rachel Gowers, Associate Dean Recruitment


1.    We are one of the leading Business Schools in the world for Social Media. We’ve won the Edurank ‘Best Twitter Performance’ award twice in the Business School category (beating Harvard into second place) and we’ve also come in the top 20 Business School blogs in the Top 20 Business Education Blogs And Websites To Follow in 2018

2.    Our Marketing Management course includes exemptions from The Chartered Institute of Marketing and also Google Garage Exams, covering SEO, PPC and loads of other practical skills so you can start to build your own digital marketing campaign straight away.

3.    The Events Management Degree is a top ten course* according to The Complete University Guide League Tables 2019. We’ve also added some new modules this year like ‘experiential marketing’ and ‘managing the visitor experience’ which mean you get out and about straight away and start working with companies to design their systems.  You’ll also get to go on an overseas residential in your second year – last year we went to Iceland.


4.   
Business degrees are the same wherever you go – right? Wrong! Our Business Degree covers topics you won’t find anywhere else, we worked with employers to come up with them.  You’ll study Business Agility, Big Data, Authentic leadership and Customer Experience Strategy (CX) – don’t know what these are? Google them – these are vital topics for 21st Century leaders.

5.    Accounting and Finance degrees at Staffordshire Business School offer more than just a degree.  You will also gain exemptions from three professional bodies meaning you can fast-track to professional qualifications when you’ve finished you’re degree. Plus we were ranked 1st for ‘Students Satisfied with Teaching’ in the Guardian League Tables 2018.

As if five wasn’t enough, did you know we are the first Business School in the UK to launch an Esports degree…don’t know what this is? Find out here.

*ranked 7th in the ‘Hospitality, Leisure, Recreation & Tourism’ category

Thinking of joining us? Find out more about our courses in clearing

 

Undergraduate courses

Postgraduate courses

BHS Death: Who is to Blame?

Image: The Herald, Scotland https://goo.gl/X59KeM

British Home Store (BHS) was born in 1928 with steady expansion growth and increasing competition with rival stores that bring excitements to the British workforce and customers. In pursuit of survival, BHS has undergone several successful surgical operations in the post-war era such as expansion across the UK, merging and franchising its brand. Many feared that BHS survival chances would diminish in 2000 when Sir Philip Green took charge of the company health affairs, but he dismissed the fears. However, sickness symptoms were confirmed in 2005 when BHS announced its losing customers to rivals. After several attempts to revive BHS, the health continued to deteriorate. This continued until 2015 when it was transferred to Dominic Chappell, unfortunately for BHS its health has gone beyond resuscitation. In 2016, the once healthy and competitive BHS was in coma without a chance of survival.

Losers

Although all BHS stakeholders were disappointed in the news of its death, this has different implications for different stakeholders. During its heyday, BHS had 163 stores, 11,000 British workforce that comprised direct and indirect staff, servicing 22,000 pensioners, tax-payer, and 1.2m British loyal customers. These were the biggest losers as the death of BHS significantly changed their way of life and in some cases, it threatened their survival as well.

Image: Drapers, https://goo.gl/vDGG41

Companies Act 2006

The Companies Act 2006 s830 specifies that companies should only distribute a dividend to the shareholders from the profit available or accumulated profits. This profit should be after deducting its accumulation losses. Also, Companies Act 2006 s172 specifies the duties of company’s directors to act in good faith with the aim of promoting the company’s success for all its members. In the case of BHS, members include all the stakeholders such as employees, pensioners, customers, suppliers, creditors, government, UK taxpayers, and shareholders.

Many commentators argued that Sir Philip Green and his family members along with other shareholders did not regard corporate governance or Companies Act 2006; and they made decisions on the BHS activities in their personal interest to the detriment of the other BHS members. Other commentators believed that The Green family and other shareholders enjoyed unfettered access in the heart of BHS; that was cleverly done with a complex company structure and inter-company transactions that include £422m dividend pay-out against £208m profit, £10m loan interest, £151m rent received from sales and lease-back, £250m management charges and £3m ground rent, all received from BHS. As a result, between 2000 and 2015, the pension fund has fallen from £5m surplus to 571m deficits and BHS survival and going concern was set on a slope.

Structure of Taveta Group (Controlled by the Green Family): Source from HC Committee Reports, https://goo.gl/reA7Er


International Standards on Auditing

The International Standards on Auditing (UK) specifies that the objective of the audit work on the financial statement is to give reasonable assurance. This assurance should be included in the auditor’s report to highlight whether the financial statement is free of error or fraud. Although, it is not a guarantee that material misstatement due to error and fraud will always be detected when audit work complies with ISA (UK). However, the ISA (UK) requires that auditor should exercise professional judgment in identifying and assessing the material risks in the financial statements. Auditors are required to design and perform audit procedures that are responsive to material risks, and to obtain appropriate, and sufficient evidence regarding the business activities from audit procedures upon which audit opinion will be formed. In this regard, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) audit design and procedures failed to detect or raise going concern issue during 2015 audit when BHS was sold for £1.

PwC Leeds firm audited BHS Group Ltd financial accounts for the 74 weeks to 29 August 2009 and since then they continued to audit BHS financial account till 2015. They are also the auditing firm for other Green Family companies such as Taveta Investment Limited and Taveta Investment (No.2) Limited, the parent companies of BHS. Commentators believe that this could have created threats to their objectivity due to possible close or personal relationship with the Green family and non-audit fee (audit fee ratio of up to 8:1). These threats include familiarity, intimidation, and self-interest as the audit firm and senior partner may not be necessarily sceptical and may be sympathetic towards the directors and employee with whom they have a relationship.

Image: Accountancy Age, https://goo.gl/ZVN1Yu

On the 13 June 2018, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) halted the over 30 years career of Steve Denison a senior partner with a 15-year ban and £325,000 fine. PwC accounting firm was fined £6.5m and FRC will be monitoring their practice over the next three years.

Blame

In my opinion, the directors of BHS acted unethically and with total disregard for the Companies Act 2006 and corporate governance in discharging their duties between 2000 and 2015. Considering the consequences of their actions, the innocent pensioners, direct and indirect employees and taxpayers will pick up the bill for the BHS pension deficit. It is unfortunate that those directors got away with just over £363m fines without a ban from serving as company directors in the future or possibly jail terms.

However, as much I would like to agree with  PwC that their failure could not have contributed to BHS death, from a professional viewpoint, they have the duty not only to advise the BHS board of directors, but the 2015 Audit Report should have explicitly raised going concern issues. This would have raised other stakeholder’s awareness as the Audit Report would have been available to the public through Company House.

Mayowa Akinbote ACCA, MA, PGCHP, FHEA, BSc.                                                Lecturer in Accounting and Finance                                                                        Staffordshire Business School

Undergraduate courses

Postgraduate courses

 

Second Report-ASAP meeting

The second national meeting of the Report ASAP took place on the 11th and 12th of April in Milan, Italy, hosted by our partner EUROCREA Merchant. All project partners were represented.

The meeting atmosphere was very friendly and collaborative, and everyone was highly motivated.

In this second meeting, the results of the first intellectual output “the Knowledge Gap Framework” was wrapped up. The results of the surveys conducted in the six participating countries (UK, Spain, Italy, Croatia, Bulgaria, and Greece) were presented and discussed.

Also, the foundations for intellectual output 2 “the Training Course and Trainer’s Guide” were set including setting the timeframes for the project’s milestones.

 The next meeting of the consortium will be at the beginning of November in Spain.

All this hard work was complemented by the Italian nice food, culture and hospitality.

For further information about the Report-ASAP project go to https://report-asapproject.eu.Logo

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.

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

Empowering SMEs through sustainability

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are key players in achieving sustainability. In the EU-27, 99% of companies are SMEs (with 250 or fewer employees) and they employ two thirds of European workers (EU, 2017). An individual SME may have small social, environmental and financial impact; collectively SMEs have a great impact. More than 70% of all pollution can be attributed to SMEs.

Graph showing the number of SMEs as a percentage of the total number of enterprises in EU countries

Graph showing the number of SMEs as a percentage of the total number of enterprises in EU countries

SMEs can benefit from sustainability by:

  • Strengthening relationships with stakeholders.
  • Demonstrating transparency.
  • Enhancing business value and
  • Securing their right from society to operate.
  • Achieving continuous improvement and innovation.
  • Attracting long term capital.
  • Strengthening risk awareness and management.
  • Improving regulatory compliance (e.g. greenhouse gas emission data).
  • Reducing the burden of environmental fines and taxation.

However, SMEs lack the knowledge regarding sustainability problems (i.e. what is sustainability, which process to follow, what are the potential benefits, etc.). Existing frameworks, standards and protocols to assist companies in adopting and implementing the sustainability practices are complex, especially for SMEs, since they are designed as “one size fits all” with large enterprises in mind. SMEs’ staff do not have the experience or tools to address sustainable issues and need to be educated and trained about sustainability principles if they are to take a proactive approach toward sustainability.

Report ASAP Project (Adoption of Sustainable Accounting Practices for Reporting), aims to help small and medium size business report on their sustainability by providing the necessary training and tools to adopt sustainable accounting and reporting practices in a cost-effective way. This project will provide the necessary training and tools for SMEs staff in six (6) countries: UK, Spain, Italy, Croatia, Bulgaria, and Greece.

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This project will develop a training course and an online tool, where SMEs can discover the most relevant sustainability reporting practices for them. Help us define the features and content of this tool by filling the online questionnaire available at https://report-asapproject.eu/.

If you would like to be invited to the training please remember to tick the relevant box at the end of the questionnaire. The outcome of this study will be available online as well. Feel free to send us any additional comment/question to the project leader Dr Souad Moufty at: souad.moufty@staffs.ac.uk.

Follow us on:

LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/company/18390375/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/reportasapproject/

Twitter: #reportasapproject

8 Trends To Keep Your Eyes On In 2018

1. Instagram Stories Drive Upcoming Instagram Trends

Instagram Stories is a big deal and they’re not going away. Daily viewers of Instagram Stories surpassed daily SnapChat viewers just one year after launch, and the growth isn’t stopping.

Instagram Stories was likely the biggest single change in the Instagram UX, and its marketing implications are huge.

A huge deal with Instagram Stories is this: accounts with over 10,000 followers can now add a link within the feature. Considering the fact that the only other place you can put a link on Instagram is just the one buried on your profile page, this is a huge deal, as it multiplies buying or inquiry opportunities by orders of magnitude.

Instagram Stories in particular will be relevant from a marketing perspective because, compared to other transitory video platforms, Instagram metrics are eminently trackable.

A final note on Instagram Stories: Their foundation is social media engagement gold. Video drastically outperforms all other forms of content on every test.

2. Influencer Marketing Makes Major Contributions to Social Media Engagement

Influencer marketing is big business — a billion dollar industry by some counts. There is an exhaustive list of micro-celebrities who earn six figure incomes. And this isn’t a fluke. Influencer marketing is uniquely keyed to exploit certain facts about a growing number of buyers.
As Millennials advance their careers, and Generation Z starts theirs, an enormous population’s purchasing power is increasing swiftly. These two groups — who, combined, literally comprise most of the world’s population — are uniquely influenced by this marketing method.

3. Generation Z to Decide Social Media Trends

We’ve mentioned Generation Z in both of the previous topics for good reason.

RetailDive had this to say about Generation Z and their associated social media trends:

“Gen Z is two- to three times more likely to be influenced by social media than by sales or discounts — the only generation to value social media over price when it comes to making purchase decisions…”

Furthermore, 81% report watching at least one hour of online video per day, or more, according to a study by Fluent, covered by AdWeek. Combine these facts and realize that droves of Generation Z will graduate college and/or start careers next year, and you start to see the powder keg.

4. Messaging Platforms Make Companies Accessible

 

What do you know about WeChat? They’re a wee little Chinese messaging company . . . errr, one that’s looking to cross 1 billion users this quarter. WeChat and WhatsApp are absolutely ubiquitous across either ocean, reaching across many different functions to dominate social media, direct messaging, and even purchasing and commerce.

Every year more and more buyers are Millennials and Gen Z, and fewer and fewer are older. In case you’re not aware of these people’s overwhelming preferences when it comes to talking to a company, we’ll illustrate in their native language:

top-social-media-trends-20185. Live Streaming Explodes

Live streaming isn’t about live streaming. At least not in the way we’re going to be talking about it. You’re going to see a lot more of it in 2018, and the people who do it well will be fully with the times and accelerating. Its prevalence will increase because it works.

But there’s something more at work here.

It’s actually about technology. We get better phones every year. Does that mean that we’re running the same apps better? Sometimes. But once the technological baseline of the average user has clearly moved up a notch, it becomes about making more robust apps that do more and fully take advantage of that new technology.

The smartphones of today are better than what we used to have by orders of magnitude. Furthermore, our data speeds are better, and are poised to make yet another insane leap in the next few years when 5G becomes the standard.

Live streaming is a medium or implementation of social technology that’s uniquely positioned to take advantage of hardware improvements for the next several years. The resolution of an image the size of a phone screen can only get so good before you have to zoom in to see a difference.

But better video processing across the board means all devices involved can handle more streaming at a better quality across more channels at the same time. This is such a huge change that it’s possibly unclear that anyone is even capable of fully understanding the ramifications.

6. Twitter is Going to Change

And they themselves might not even know how just yet.

Twitter has been slowly circling the drain, in some respects, for a long time now. 2017 pulled no punches with the social network, either. Twitter needs to make some big changes to stay relevant, as its growth is the slowest of all the major social media platforms.

7. Online Hangouts Become the Norm

Online hangouts go hand-in-hand with the live streaming trend, and with Generation Z. Consider Houseparty — an app for multiple friends to essentially FaceTime with each other in a group setting.

Houseparty made quite a wave in 2017 with rapid growth, and hit its stride well enough to inspire copycats, including perhaps an effort on the way coming from (no surprise here) Facebook.

The online hangouts trend is also going to intersect with VR. Sure, everyone promised everything this year with VR and AR, and all that ultimately came of it was two weeks of Pokemon GO.

But this year actually has the potential to be different. Many promising programs have another year of beta testing still left under their belts, but the technologies are improving in exciting ways. Once again, Facebook is at the epicentre, with Facebook Spaces.

8. Social Platforms See More Hardcore Moderation

The last year or so has forced the hand of several tech and social media titans to intervene and play a more active role in content moderation. Those manoeuvres, in retrospect, felt more like damage control than any sort of final solution.

We’re likely going to see companies revisit this in a more significant or longer-lasting way, and definitely more proactive than reactive.

As leveraging social media outlets for marketing first took flight, some were dubious of their staying power. The years since have changed sceptic’s into believers, and what’s on the forefront will clearly and easily amplify the channels’ relevance even further.

2018 is here… but were you prepared?

2018 social media trends predict that time on social media platforms will increase. This means you will need to improve your online presence in the year to come.

 

By Richard Holland – MSc Digital Marketing Student

 

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