A ‘total life-changing experience’ at Staffordshire University

Visitor Attraction and Resort Managment student, Lewis, describes his experience of studying the unique course at Staffordshire University


Hello!

I’m Lew – or Lewis for long.

I’ll be honest, I’ve absolutely no clue how I’ll cram one of the most amazing and craziest experiences of my life into 500(ish) words, but I’ll give it a try!

Studying Visitor Attraction and Resort Management (VARM) was a total life-changing experience for me. I’d always subconsciously known that I’d work in theme parks somewhere down the line, but it’d never occurred to me until I was around 15 just how much was out there in terms of careers. They’ve always been really amazing places for me especially growing up. They bring out a real carefree happiness in everyone and that’s resonated with me for as long as I can remember.

Before university I was incredibly lacking in confidence in a whole host of ways, and I don’t mind sharing the fact that I was going through a very negative period of my life (don’t worry I’m not going to bore you with a sob story!) I really found my calling in the build up to uni and during it, and it’s been great to finally find exactly what it is I want to do in the long run, massively build my confidence and meet some fantastic people in the process.

Making lifelong friends at University was never an expectation for me, but the close nit nature of things made it so easy for all of us to get along and grow through things together – and without sounding like a walking-talking cliché, It’s really like one huge (crazy) family. I’ve been lucky enough to study and work alongside some absolutely amazing, passionate and genuine people and couldn’t be prouder to say I’ve been able to do that with them.

For me – Support in education is key. I’ve had times along the road where it felt as if teachers don’t care or don’t want to understand their students, but that couldn’t be further from the case with VARM. The ‘family’ feel of the course absolutely extends out to the lecturers who have never once stopped trying to push me and everyone else to get where they want to be.

Because of this course I’ve had some insane opportunities I never could’ve imagined, from being a Christmas Elf, spending Halloween in a spooky alien filled sewer, helping with website redesigns, conducting talks to school groups, managing social media, and even working with someone I really admire on an anniversary for my favourite rollercoaster– It’s been everything I wanted it to be and more.

Here are my few pieces of advice and bits I’ve learnt along the way :

– Showing you care goes a long way. Enthusiasm is never bad as long as you’ve got good intentions and truly want to do the right thing.

– Make friends, don’t ‘network’. Genuine connections are the best connections.

– Forcing yourself into uncomfortable situations is usually the best way to boost your confidence.

– Whatever it is, just do it. Stopping and thinking before doing something is great, but don’t let overthinking and worrying about what people might think get in the way of making yourself happy.

Thanks for reading my little bit.

Realistically no amount of words can sum up the feelings, experiences and funny stories I’ve got from this course, but hopefully I’ve done it some justice. I really can’t imagine my life without it.

(How are you supposed to end these sort of things?)

Lew

Applied Business Research: Small Brewers Relief

by Geoff Pugh, Professor of Applied Economics

Summary

Small breweries face a two-fold disadvantage in competition with larger breweries: (i) by their relative lack of scale economies in production; and (ii) by facing powerful buyers in the market for beer (e.g. national wholesalers and pub chains). Our contribution was to theorise and quantify the latter source of disadvantage – whereby powerful buyers can force down prices for the products of small breweries – as a “market access cost”. This new evidence contributed to HMT’s recent reform of Small Brewers’ Relief, which was designed to enable small breweries to compete in the market for beer by creating a more level playing field.

Introduction

For more than 20 years a group of Staffordshire colleagues have analysed business support measures for small breweries in cooperation with the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) and contributed to policy reviews conducted by HMT.[1] The contribution and demonstrable impact of this work on introducing Small Brewers’ Relief (resulting in the remission of up to 50% of excise duty to small breweries) in the 2002 Budget was submitted as an Impact Case Study for the Business and Management Unit of Assessment in REF2014. Impact on HMT’s recently completed review of Alcohol Taxation (2019-2021) continues the story. To date, the main developments and evidence of impact are as follows.

  1. HM Treasury’s Small Brewers Relief: Technical Consultation (January 2021) (henceforth HMT 2021a) cites our research at length, fully referencing two of our publications:[2] see Paragraph 3.11 and Footnote 3 (p.16); Paragraph 3.24. (p.19); and Paragraphs 3.31 – 3.36) (pp.21-22). Our research is accurately summarised and introduced as follows: “The review team considered academic research by John Wyld, Geoff Pugh and David Tyrrall on the impacts of SBR on the brewing industry. Treasury officials met with the authors to discuss their research in August 2019.”
  2. HM Treasury’s Small Brewers Relief: Technical Consultation Response (November 2021) (henceforth HMT 2021b) references the submission we made to HMT’s review, which developed the previous research referred to in HMT (2021a): “Along with feedback from brewers, the Government also received a paper from Geoff Pugh and David Tyrrall, the economists whose previous work on SBR was discussed in the technical consultation document. While produced independently, the paper was endorsed by SIBA and attached to their response” (HMT 2021b, ppp.10-11; see also p.26).
  3. The particular impact of the Staffordshire research on HMT’s revision of Small Brewers’ Relief was endorsed by SIBA. The nature of the impact was summed up in SIBA’s public response to the changes in Small Breweries’ Relief announced by HMT on November 2021: “It is welcome that the Treasury has listened to SIBA’s representations on behalf of small brewers, and the views of MPs from across the political divide, to increase the 50% threshold from the proposed 2,100 hectolitres to 2,500hl … our worst fears have been averted and the rate is more manageable than was proposed in the consultation.” SIBA responds to Treasury publication of Small Breweries’ Relief changes – SIBA – The Voice Of British Brewing, 30-11-2021). In turn, a direct link to our research was made both by HMT policy makers and by SIBA.
    1. In a letter made available to the Staffordshire research team, Kemi Badenoch, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, replied to a communication regarding SBR from Owen Thompson MP: “The new academic research referred to in your letter was recently brought to my attention, and I have asked my officials to consider it within the scope of our review of the SBR scheme”.
    2. In an email of November 30th 2021, Barry Watts, SIBA’s Head of Public Affairs and Policy, thanked the Staffordshire team, noting that “your research really helped to make the case to the Treasury and convinced them to alter course”.
  4. Additional evidence of impact is that I was contacted by Paul Hegarty, Honorary Secretary of the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Committee, to discuss wider issues “about the economics of the cask beer sector”.

The main contribution of our research was to demonstrate that small breweries face a two-fold disadvantage in competition with larger breweries: (i) by their relative lack of scale economies in production, which are well known, if not reliably quantified; and (ii) by facing powerful buyers in the market for beer (e.g. national wholesalers and pub chains).

Our contribution to the literature and to the policy debate was to theorise and quantify the latter source of disadvantage as a “market access cost”, an effect arising from goods market monopsony. This new evidence contributed to HMT’s decision to retain SBR, which benefitted all small breweries and their employees.

Although the precise impact of our research on HMT’s overall policy decision to retain SBR can be little more than conjectural – as one influence among many – the impact of our research on a particular feature of the reformed SBR can be precisely identified. This particular contribution – as attested to in Point 3 above – was to persuade HMT to “alter course” to retain the full SBR remission (50%) for all breweries producing up to 2500 hectolitres (hl) p.a. rather than up to the originally proposed 2100 hl (HMT, 2021a: Paragraph 1.4). This change will help to secure the future viability of almost 100 breweries employing more than 500 full-time and more than 200 part-time [3]. The importance of retaining the full SBR for these breweries is confirmed by the responses to the following question included in the 2019 SIBA Industry Survey: “How important is Small Breweries Relief to your ability to work and compete as a small business?” On a five-point Likert scale – from “Not important” to “Extremely important”, 86% responded “extremely important”.[4]


Professor Geoff Pugh – Linkedin Google Scholar

Geoff Pugh, Professor of Applied Economics
Geoff Pugh, Professor of Applied Economics

Footnotes


[1] The original Staffordshire team comprised Geoff Pugh, David Tyrrall and John Wyld. Geoff (still 0.5 FTE at Staffordshire) and David (now retired) have continued this long-standing project, in part as a scholarly memorial to our colleague and friend John Wyld who passed away in January 2021. In the most recent phase of our research, we have been joined by Dr Dragana Radicic, currently an Associate Professor at Lincoln University and a former Staffordshire PhD student.

[2] Pugh, G., Tyrrall, D. and Wyld, J. (2001). Will progressive beer duty really help UK small breweries? A case study in profit appropriation, Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol.8, No.4 (Winter) pp.311-338.

Wyld, J., Pugh, G. and Tyrrall, D. (2010). Evaluating the impact of progressive beer duty on small breweries: a case study of tax breaks to promote SMEs, Environment & Planning C: Government & Policy, Vol.28 (2) pp.225-40.

[3] This calculation is based on the most recent data available. In 2019, SIBA’s annual Industry Survey yielded a sample of 280 breweries, each reporting their current annual production of beer (in hl). Of these, 14 produced between 2100 hl and 2500 hl p.a. (5%), employing an average of 5.43 full-time and 2.23 part-time employees. In the same year, according to HMT (2021a: Annex A), there was a total of 1900 breweries in the UK. Hence, scaling up from the SIBA sample size to the population size (5% of 1900) yields 95 breweries producing between 2100 and 2500 hl p.a. which, when multiplied by the mean employment for the breweries in this production range, yields total employment of 516 full time and 212 part time. Of course, we cannot know how representative the SIBA survey is of all breweries. However, these indicative calculations suggest modest but not insignificant consequences of the decision to include breweries in the 2100 hl to 2500 hl range in the full rather than in the initially proposed reduced rate of SBR.

[4] 12 from the 14 breweries producing in the range 2100 to 2500 hl responded “Extremely important”, which scaled up from the sample (280) to the population (1900) gives 81 breweries (rounded) (86%).

Protecting The Magic With Linzi Ticehurst

Lucy Moseley, Visitor Attraction and Resort Management Student


On Friday the 26th of November 2021, Year 2 of the Visitor Attractions and Resort Management (VARM) students attended an in-person guest lecture with Linzi Ticehurst (Health and Safety Manager at Alton Towers Resort) on the importance of Safety in the workplace.  

Linzi has been working within Health and Safety at Alton Towers for 15 years as part of a close-knit team of 5 and worked on the ‘Protecting the Magic for Managers’ training with a collective team from numerous Merlin Entertainments UK Theme parks and Legoland Resorts. This interactive training session taught us that safety at Merlin is a whirlwind; it spans from rides, hotels, and restaurants, to the work-shops, contractors and events of every attraction.  As Linzi detailed the responsibilities of the HSE, EHO, and ORR at the park, she included relevant guidance documents and legislative works that must be abided by within each corner of every department – relevant to our own Law and Legislation module that we’re currently studying at Staffordshire University.

Safety should always be a moving target  – it is never complete.”

Linzi Ticehurst, 2021

During the session, the one-and-only Francis Jackson (Alton Towers Resort Operations Director) stopped by for a couple of minutes to offer a few words on the topic – “the ability to foresee; therein lies the challenge.” (Francis Jackson, 2021). Agreeing with what Francis has said, protecting our guests and staff is the primary focus of our safety department. The responsibilities lie not only in rectifying an incident, but to prepare and take away the hazard in order to maintain the magic for our guests.

I, myself (Lucy Moseley) have been a part of the Health and Safety team at Alton Towers for 2 months up to this publication and working close with the rides department as a fresh pair of eyes on the resort has been an incredible, and rare, opportunity. It is my responsibility to complete administrative work, inspect the rides on resort and bring forward solutions to any arising issues – it’s the kind of role where no two days are the same.

Finally, I would once again like to thank Linzi for taking the time to come and speak with us and share her knowledge on the significance of keeping safe at all times whilst working at the resort. The session that she provided was incredibly informative and well structured, so thank you, Linzi.


The FdA Visitor Attraction and Resort Management course is taught in partnership with Alton Towers Resort, part of the World renowned Merlin Group. It includes 20 weeks paid work experience, and the opportunity to top up to a BA (Hons) degree in your third year.

New Air Quality Guidelines from the World Health Organization

The World Health Organization has released new air quality guidelines (the first since 2005) which show that most people live in areas with poor air quality for one or more pollutants.

The new standards are the result of an enormous scietific review which has taken place over the last few years. The headline changes can be seen in Table 1 below

New Air quality stanards from WHO

I’m pleased to say I had a small part in the process attending a couple of international meetings to discuss and report on a systematic review that was carried out for WHO namely:

Fairburn, J.; Schüle, S.A.; Dreger, S.; Karla Hilz, L.; Bolte, G. Social Inequalities in Exposure to Ambient Air Pollution: A Systematic Review in the WHO European Region. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health201916, 3127. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16173127

The UK along with many other European countries had already been struggling to meet air quality standards agreed years ago with actions by the Commission against 18 member states.Of particular note are the new standards set for Nitrogen oxides and Particulates (PM2.5) which will be especially challenging.

The situation is already so bad in many UK cities that Clean Air Zones are either in place or being planned for many cities including Stoke on Trent, Bristol, Birmingham , and Manchester.

A large number of research programmes are examining ways to deal with this issue including Transitions Network (I chair the Advisory Board of this project), BioAirNet, Breathing City, CleanAirV, HEICCAM, and TAPAS.

The EU has already stated that they will be placing greater empahsis on the WHO standards and have recently opened a consultation on cleaner air.

Good practice exists particularly for some cities in continental Europe – the problem in the UK has long been a lack of political will to deal with the problem BUT radical measures will be needed to get the UK anywhere near to these standards and so reduce the 40,000 premature deaths due to air pollution which happen in the UK every year.

WHO Guidelines for air quality 2021

WHO AIR QUALITY GUIDELINES 2021

Resources

Air pollution data for every European country 1990-2019

Costs and health aspects of air pollution in the UK

State of Global Air and profiles for lots of countries

I maintain an air quality list on twitter here and you can follow me @profjonfairburn

You can read about some of my recent work with the World Health Organization here

Flying high with Drew

I started my journey at Staffordshire University studying a foundation degree in Visitor Attraction and Resort Management, a unique, bespoke course with Alton Towers Resort. I learnt a lot during my time studying at Staffordshire University, some standout modules for me were business development and hotel and hospitality. I was able to transfer knowledge learnt in the classroom to my placements at Alton Towers. While studying, and since I’ve graduated, I‘ve worked in a wide range of departments such as the Resort Box Office, Sea Life and Guest Excellence as well as working on large events such as Scarefest and Santa Sleepover. I loved working with customers and using my customer service skills to make sure guests had a magical visit at the Resort.

Once I completed my Foundation degree, I then decided to gain the full degree and studied for another year to gain a BA in Events Management. This was a step up and again a huge experience, with stand out memories such as when I got to plan and host my own virtual event to a live audience. We hosted the Staffordshire University Film Night, which streamed over Facebook and had a lot of viewers while raising money for our chosen charity Macmillan Cancer Support. Once I completed my full degree I started to apply for jobs. It has always been a dream to become a member of cabin crew. I used my academic and customer service skills from university and my placements to gain a place at the Ryanair training course. This was an intense training course which included both exams and practical training. After completing the training and becoming qualified to fly, I have now been to a wide range of destinations in Europe, and I really can’t wait to see where my future takes off now. This has been my dream for a long time, I am hugely proud to be flying with Ryanair, as well as being hugely grateful for the opportunities and experiences I have gained while working for Merlin Entertainments as well as studying with Staffordshire University.

Beth’s guide to Stoke and Staffordshire

By Beth Bairstow-Morris

Staffordshire University is my home university, and, in September, I’ll be heading into my third and final year of BA (Hons) Events Management. Having lived in Staffordshire for almost all my life, I’ve tried and tested the best places for students to eat, drink and visit, and I’m here to tell you all about them!

Let’s start with some on-campus student union run facilities and the two favourite hangouts for my uni friends and I: Ember Lounge and Squeeze Box. Ember Lounge serves classic pub food and drinks and is the perfect place to spend a break from studying or grab some food with friends after a day of lectures. Squeeze Box is my favourite place to head for a bite to eat in the morning, along with either a takeout coffee or one of their infamous freshly squeezed orange juices or smoothies!

Lots of individual shops as well as events and gardens to see at Trentham Gardens
Lots of individual shops as well as events and gardens to see at Trentham Gardens

Moving on, we have the lovely Trentham Estate, an important local attraction to mention for many reasons. Firstly, their Event Volunteer programme, if nobody has told you already, it won’t be long before your lecturers and industry pros are emphasising the importance of volunteering to gain experience ready for your placement and graduate job applications, whatever course you’re taking. Trentham have a fantastic volunteer programme and last year I successfully applied and have worked on several events including the Christmas Fairy Lights experience, the summer concerts and market research for Trentham Live 2022!

With so many events, restaurants and attractions on offer, Trentham Estate is a great place to head for a day or evening out with friends and a fantastic place to catch up with family when they come to visit. Who wouldn’t love a trip to the Monkey Forest to get away from assignments for a while!? There’s even a Premier Inn on site you can recommend to your parents so they don’t have to crash in your flat!

A few weeks back, I headed to The Crepe & Waffle House in the Shopping Village for a catchup with my Aunty, which certainly suited both our sweet tastes!

Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent are filled with arts and culture, so what better place to take you to next than the Cultural Quarter in Hanley? Piccadilly and the surrounding area are home to a variety of entertainment venues including The Regent Theatre, showcasing phenomenal touring productions, and The Sugarmill, a great place to head to for local music and small gigs, as well as some great restaurants and cafes like The Slamwich Club and The Quarter.

Most recently, I visited The Quarter for lunch with my friend. Their menu is split into a Daytime Menu and an Evening Menu and the range of options is HUGE, with traditional classics, all-day breakfast and brunch and even Mediterranean style platters! I ordered the egg and salmon sourdough from the all-day brunch menu and my friend had the battered cod with chunky chips from the selection of main dishes. (My friend said she was still dreaming of the battered cod days later!)

Just a little further along in the Cultural Quarter, you’ll find the Mitchell Arts Centre, a small local theatre with a Café-Bar and even a dance studio and meeting rooms to hire. As someone who’s heavily involved in the local amateur theatre scene, I’ve spent a LOT of time here: watching performances, taking part in performances and volunteering (yes, more volunteering!) as Marketing & Events Officer for Stoke Amateur Theatre Society.

Last but not least, it would be incredibly remiss of me to not mention the UK’s largest theme park, the Alton Towers Resort. Of course, this is a GREAT place to have right on your doorstep, whether that’s for a thrilliant day out with friends or for some fantastical escapism with the family when they visit. You can find some great student offers on admission here!

It’s also a great place to work as student, with plenty of seasonal opportunities on offer, particularly if you are studying Events Management or Visitor Attraction & Resort Management. I currently work as a Team Leader on the Guest Excellence Team and have gained invaluable experience and loved every minute of working at the Resort!

For Events in Autumn 2021 have a look at Jon Fairburn’s blog by clicking here


University wide clearing – 0800 590 830

Courses available in clearing at the Business School

Call our friendly team of Clearing experts on 0800 590 830 who are on hand to support you through the process, or sign up to one of our free events: www.staffs.ac.uk/clearing

Events for Autumn 2021 in Staffordshire

Here’s a pick of some of the great events available if you are joining us at Staffordshire University this Autumn. There’s also a list of venues and other information sources at the end for more events

Sept

3-5th Trentham Live featuring McFly, The Vamps and Alfie Boe at Trentham Gardens

7th Nick Cave and Warren Ellis at the Regent Theatre

11th Sept to 17th October British Ceramics Biennial , all things ceramics with events all over the city. The main location is the Good Yard just round the corner from the Stoke campus. (I wrote about the longer term plan for the Goods Yard here).

18th LOL Comedy Club at the Regent Theatre

18th and 19th Balloon Festival at Uttoxeter Racecourse

23rd The Vaccines at the Sugarmill

26th Potteries Arf Marathon get your running shoes on or just watch

October

1st Manic Street Preachers at Victoria Hall, Hanley

1st – 3rd Stone Food Festival (the best food festival in the region). Take a short train journey from Stoke to Stone or cycle along the canal path weather permitting.

4th Comedian Josh Widdicombe at the Regent Theatre

8th Scarefest at Alton Towers

8th – 9th Oktoberfest in Hanley Park right next to the Stoke campus

November

9-13th Derren Brown Showman at the Regent Theatre

22-23rd Love Cheese Live at the Staffordshire County Show Ground

23-24th Comedian Jimmy Carr at the Victoria Hall

26th Modfather Paul Weller at the Victoria Hall

Useful entertainment links

University wide clearing – 0800 590 830

Courses available in clearing at the Business School

Call our friendly team of Clearing experts on 0800 590 830 who are on hand to support you through the process, or sign up to one of our free events: http://orlo.uk/VJY7l

Just one of the many great events on this Autumn
Just one of the many great events on this Autumn

Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship


Dr Bharati Singh, Course Leader, Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship


The Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship course is not only about being an entrepreneur or setting up your own business but it is actually understanding how innovation and entrepreneurship should really be at the heart of any business decision. Successful businesses today are the ones who have been really innovative, they have fresh thinking with an entrepreneurial mindset. In today’s dynamic business setting, both small and large companies harness entrepreneurial streaks.  

Business photo created by rawpixel.com – www.freepik.com

Entrepreneurship and innovation play a very important role within businesses of all shapes and sizes. Employees are expected to think outside the box which can only happen if employees can think innovatively. Today’s world is rather dynamic with the speed of innovation becoming faster, a shorter product life cycle, ever-changing consumer taste, technological advancement, competitor threat, changing government and legal landscape and other external factors not in the control of businesses.

In the face of the current pandemic, it becomes ever so important to be aware of the surrounding economic conditions and the political climate. To explore the ethical and unethical anomalies in the contemporary global political and global economic systems. Such systems can provide both challenges and opportunities.  

Sustainability has become a buzz word today. It is not only about shareholders and profitability anymore. Consumers, suppliers, governments and many other stakeholders now question the practices of businesses. Companies are expected to run their businesses with a social responsibility. The triple bottom line (Elkington 2018); which translates to people, profit and planet, need to be considered.  

Social vector created by freepik – www.freepik.com

Creative Destruction (Schumpeter, 1942) has taken a different meaning altogether in todays business environment. We are in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution and ‘disruption’ is at the heart of it. Companies go through continuous organisational change and hence, have to assess how to leverage innovative business models to remain competitive.   

Of course, to innovate or have an entrepreneurial streak and to sustain a competitive edge, it is imperative for individuals and companies to have a strategy. Strategy is key in business planning and entrepreneurial success. 

Thus, to gauge global challenges and opportunities, understand about the social enterprise, develop an entrepreneurial mindset, to be creative and innovative, develop sustainable business practices, leverage change management and have a strategy to maintain competitive advantage, reading for a degree in Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship will enable students to hit the ground running. 


References: 

Elkington, J. (2018). 25 Years Ago I Coined the Phrase “Triple Bottom Line.” Here’s Why It’s Time to Rethink It. Harvard Business Review, June 25, 2018  

Schumpeter, J. 1942. Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy. New York: Harper & Bros.  

University Life as a Mature Student

Storm Barratt, Course Director, Staffordshire Business School


Most new students view their impending studies as a challenge, feeling nervous and excited in equal parts. For students leaving home for the first time or moving from the cocoon of sixth form and further education, the prospect of independence beckons and can be either a boon or a burden.

Everybody worries about fitting in but for the mature student, the thought that you might be a fair few years older than those fresh out of school with, in some cases, little or no academic background, only adds to the feelings of nervousness.

I was nervous about being older and not fitting in and the hardest part was fitting the work around my family. “ Ella, 36

“I always thought students were there for a jolly – but it’s harder than it looks. At first I did struggle a bit with essays but my tutors explained it to me and after that the whole university experience became enjoyable – the learning, the lecturers, interacting with younger people. Stephen, 66

I wish I had been braver and done this sooner. The hardest part of the course was how much technology I had to get to grips with. Kathy, 51

I attended Staffs Uni at the grand old age of 53 to study Accounting & Finance. I had had a few false starts with Higher Education earlier in my life when a young family, illness and money worries meant that it was nigh on impossible to continue with my studies but at 53 I figured it was now or never.

I chose a subject that I was interested in and with which I had a fair bit of experience, however my ultimate goal was to be a teacher. I opted for an accelerated degree programme as, like many mature students, taking three or four years out of my working life wasn’t feasible.

I admit, in spite of having the motivation to come to university, that on walking into a room full of young students on the first day, I did feel intimidated and for the first few days, it was like being on a different planet. However, the mature students naturally gravitated towards one another recognising common ground in life experience and it soon became clear that it was the perfect environment for us. Over the coming weeks and months, we laughed and cried together and supported each other through studying, building a bond of friendship which is still with us today.

I was one of the lucky ones in that I didn’t have children living at home (in fact my youngest son was at university at the same time), nor did I have to work full-time but the commitment of my peers who had young families to look after, working and studying, I was blown away by their dedication even when times got tough.

As the weeks moved on, in spite of a 35-year age difference, it became obvious that I could learn as much from the school-leavers as they could from me. Two particular students dragged me kicking and screaming through the Economics module by helping me in their spare time, and in return, I proofread their written assignments.

There are so many benefits to being a mature student. As one of our 2021 graduates, Anthony, explains

I came to University completely lacking in confidence but over the months my confidence grew, not only because of the friendships made but also the excellent support from the University – from academic tutors to library staff to well-being counsellors. I couldn’t have asked for more. I will be returning to Staffs to study for a Masters in Sep, something I didn’t even dare dream of when I first started.”

Yes, university study is hard and very challenging at times but the immense sense of pride when graduation finally beckons, particularly if it hasn’t been plain sailing, is a great feeling.

Graduates from my course have gone onto become teachers (higher education lecturers!!), accountants, business owners and more, so join us for an adventure of discovery – who knows where it might take you.

Finance and Business Enterprise

Dr Syed Zaidi, Course Leader, Finance and Business Enterprise


Our World is changing rapidly and becoming a global village. In this rapidly changing world, businesses have also evolved how they operate. The need for the employees who are ‘Jack of all trades’ has become a significant necessity for the businesses. Top management of businesses realises the importance of a dynamic workforce. The executives are aware that the rapidly changing business needs demand employees who can give them an edge due to their dynamic capabilities. In recent times this ‘Jack of all trades’ has been often regarded as an insult, but the full phrase isa jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one. It was a compliment. This perceived Jack of all trades was in reality, William Shakespeare. The continuously challenging business world has now begun to realise this, and now looking for multi-skilled, multi-talented employees.

Woman vector created by freepik – www.freepik.com

The higher education sector has also realised that the conventional approach of teaching and learning is becoming outdated. The students need to be trained and equipped with a range of skills to be able to succeed in the fast-moving challenging business environment.

The higher education sector should listen to the employers and tweak their way of teaching and learning. Staffordshire University has consulted a range of employers to understand the latest challenges and altered the teaching method and courses. The conventional approach to the delivery of full-time course of study comprising 15 weeks of student learning and assessment needs revision. The style of delivery needs to be updated in light of the employer demands. Staffordshire Business School has adopted the block teaching style to suit the dynamic business world. Block teaching is a style of teaching where lectures, seminars and learning are provided in intensive blocks. The university has adopted five-week blocks in which students will be studying one module with full concentration. This style of teaching offers deep-dive immersive learning. Block teaching focuses on individual skills and will develop your expertise as an independent learner and problem solver, preparing you for a fast-paced, focused career in finance and business.

Finance and accounting are no longer just about taxation and the management of financial capital. Finance and Business Enterprise will offer contemporary modules in the field of Accounting, Finance and Business enterprise. The course includes dynamic modules to understand the future of work, understanding the concept of Risk and Reward and the need to study the balance of power. The course also offers topics in sustainability accounting, corporate finance, audit and forensic accounting and financial narrative and reporting.  Looking forward to solving yesterday’s problems. Fintech and digitisation module will analyse how Financial Technology (FinTech) is revolutionising finance. The module will gain an appreciation for the role of digitisation in business by exploring concepts such as automation, artificial intelligence and data mining and the challenges and opportunities these concepts present. The award provides a deeper understanding of the crucial role of finance in organisational decision making and the pursuit of competitive advantage. The students will graduate with an entrepreneurial mindset and the contemporary financial and accounting skills required to survive and thrive in uncertain business environments.

With this award, students may find themselves pursuing a career as a Fintech Manager, Investment Analyst, Financial Manager, Finance Engineer, Data Analyst, Sustainable Wealth Manager, Trust officer, Financial Advisor, or Forensic Accountant.