What we learn becomes part of who we are

Tonia Barrett, Lecturer, Staffordshire Business School


Most students decide to go to University as they want to learn, experience university life, meet friends, improve chances in their career, and gain more independence. Our Foundation Degree in Visitor Attraction and Resort Management (VARM) students achieve all of this and so much more. They leave with memorable and life changing experiences, broader knowledge, in depth understanding, increased determination, the skills to overcome challenges, an improved level of responsibility and time management skills. Are these skills you want to improve? Are you ready for a new challenge? Fancy meeting friends that that overtime become family? What we learn becomes part of who we are, check us out.

Past and present VARMers who currently work at Alton Towers Resort. May 2021. [Department’s expedience include: – marketing, conference and banqueting, Scarefest, security and control, SeaLife, rides, product excellence, admission, finance, Food and Beverage, Health and safety, entertainments to name a few.]

I have the great pleasure to be part of a growing programme full of enthusiastic, energetic, innovative, creative, humorous, and imaginative learners. This educational experience isn’t going to be easy, but after 2 years of studying, and gaining employment at Alton Towers resort there will be no doubt in your mind that it will all be worth it. Our VARM course looks for quality over quantity, so you won’t be in a room with hundreds of other learners, just liked minded people like you. We don’t strive for perfection at every entrance gate, we train, teach, stretch, and individually challenge you to develop as for us we are looking for progression not perfection in both your academic studies and your employment experiences. While studying you will take part in debates, discussions, individual and group assessments, you will design your own Visitor Attraction business, you will investigate, read, research, and analyse current practices. This course is a unique and bespoke opportunity for you to grow personally and professional in a friendly orientated environment that is supportive and inclusive to all learners.  You will gain support from University specialists from a wide field of organisational areas to include Tourism, Events and Hospitality.

Tonia Barrett, dedicated lecturer, and author of the blog with Harry Peek who graduated VARM 2018 and then gradated with a Top up in June 2019.

The VARM adventure includes 10-weeks paid placement in the UK’s leading theme park, Alton Towers Resort. The greatest showman once wrote ‘The noblest art is to make others happy’ (P. T. Barnum) and through your employment opportunities in the resort you will find yourself engrossed in delivering outstanding customer service, you will be able to build your communication skills, problem solving techniques, teambuilding as well as your own personnel management skills. While on your rollercoaster adventure, you will have the opportunity to gain access in student lead meetings with the Senior Leadership Team at the resort as well other unique opportunities. The exposure to these career driven individuals, not only helps with the writing of your assessments but also helps with your own career, motivation, networking, and drive to achieve your own dreams.  

We are so much more than an educational establishment, we know through hard work, reflection, determination, motivation, and our support and guidance we can help turn your dreams into reality. As my favourite professor once said, ‘It’s not our abilities, but our choices that make us who we are.’ Dumbledore, Harry Potter.  Throughout the success of VARM, it has been evidenced that the more you put in, the more you get out. Read the testimonials below from current and previous students, and then ‘make the right choice’.

Year 1 students on placement May 2021. [Departments include: – rides areas, product excellence, retail, Food and Beverage, Human Resources, admissions, SeaLife, gardens, housekeeping, and water park.]

Testimonials

Matt. Street Performer/Dungeon Attraction Manager. Graduated from VARM June 2021, moving into BA Business Management in September 2021. ‘Staffordshire University has given me the freedom to independently gain skills and understanding of the leisure industry, supported by teaching of theories and processes which can be applied throughout my job robes at Alton Towers Resort.’


Cameron. Animal Information Host at Shark Bait Reef by Sea Life. Graduated VARM June 2021, Business Top Up planned for September 2021.

Varm has been Fun, Friends and Fulfilment in myself. I’ve gained independence whilst being at Staffs both in my studies and work life. Grateful for all the opportunities and have really pushed and developed myself.  A Clearer idea of where I want to work in the future thanks to the placements and working I’ve widened my network at Alton Towers.


Nick. Guest Relations Manager. Distinction achieved in Fda Visitor Attraction & Resort Management, graduated June 2020. Currently studying Business management BA top-up. ‘VARM provides students with the chance to learn, gain experience and make unforgettable memories. Personally for me delivering a wealth of knowledge, after six enticing placements around the resort.’


Harry. Retail Team Leader. Level 4 VARM student, progressing to level 5 in September 2021. “Throughout my first year on the VARM course at Staffordshire University I have gained skills within a professional, safe, academic environment which I have been able to display through my work placements at Alton Towers Resort



Student Placements

2nd placement for year 1 students in December 2019. Christmas event at Alton Towers Resort Hotel.
Tom, current student. Galactica’s ride area in the portal
VARM takeover in the product excellence team. VARM year 1s, 2s, BA top up students from Business and Events.

The ‘Fantabulous’ Francis Jackson

Deon Wong, Visitor Attraction and Resort Management Student


On Wednesday 24th March 2021, Year 1 & 2 Fda Visitor Attraction and Resort Management Students (VARM) attended a virtual Q&A with extra special guest Francis Jackson (Alton Towers Resorts Operations Director). The meeting enabled students to ask Francis on all things Alton Towers, specifically his journey, COVID impacts, new role and advice on how to be successful within the industry. I (Deon Wong), one of the VARM students, was given the opportunity to become the master of ceremonies and lead the Q&A.

Francis Jackson began the Q&A by giving us a brief background history into his experience, from working at Australia’s Falls Creek Ski Lifts as the Director of Snowsports to being the beloved Operations Director at Alton Towers. He has a solid belief in transferring his knowledge gained and sharing them with his team to make them bigger and better. Francis expressed his huge heart towards Alton Towers and how he enjoys the customer focus moments, where he has built relationships to improve the customer journey. He regrets not having time to be out there with the customers and staff due to his administrative role.

Moving into the 2021 season, ATR aims to deliver a ‘thrilliant’ season of celebrations and fun. With an increase in footfall, new safety regulations are introduced to adhere to the safety guidelines. Francis mentioned various new additions to accompany guests’ safety and capacity, from utilising the lawn space, new ride openings, temporary flat rides, and monorail adjustments. Maintaining a ‘fantabulous’ presentation and customer journey is a massive priority for Francis. From ensuring cigarettes and chewing gum are picked up to repainting areas. Francis states it’s all about the “pursuit of guest excellence for the guest journey “- (Francis Jackson, 2021).

Francis Jackson discussed his new role as general manager. With over 30 years of experience in the leisure industry, he’s driven to make the customer journey and experience better. He understands change is always good, as businesses can’t stay static. They have to adapt, change and constantly move forwards to progress. He’s a firm believer in achieving an outstanding organisation by refocusing on corporate social responsibility, diversity and inclusion. Within his new role as general manager, he’s accountable for all things COVID related, capacity and having the final say in difficult decisions.

Lastly, Francis Jackson passed on specific advice on how to be successful within the leisure industry. From knowing your product, listening to guest feedback and continuously pushing the product your offering to entice guests. One advice he advises is for people to be authentic and be true to themselves; once you divert and create a fake facade, issues will arise. It’s important to feel confident and ensure you have questions to ask, as It’s constantly a lesson of growth and development.

#ProudtToBeStaffs
#VARM
#LifelongLearning
#SeekingOpportunities
#FantabulousFrancisJackson
#Inspirational
#StayVARM
#VARMtastic

Need help with Digital Marketing in 2021? Opportunities from Staffordshire Business School

The pandemic has illustrated how important a good website, good ecomerce offer and good social media are to business. Those that already had these established have been able to keep taking orders and in many cases to pivot their business.

We are now offering again the opportunity for a student placement to assist you with your digital marketing needs. Have a look here at projects completed in 2020 to get an idea of what is possible.

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). This is carried out between January to March/April
  2. The Work Based Digital Marketing Project – a credit work experience (450 hours) to deliver the project with the organisation concerned. (April to August)

The project can be in any type of organisation e.g. private sector, public sector, charity or a university. It is essential for the work project activity to take place at the premises – many of the projects have been remotely delivered due to COVID.

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.

Below are some of the current students – either reach out to them directly or contact jon.fairburn@staffs.ac.uk

Jessica Bell

Jessica Bell
Jessica Bell – Ideally, I would like a placement within events or tourism, but I’m very flexible and I am open to offers.

I recently completed my bachelors degree in Tourism Management, in which I obtained a First Class honours. I am now studying a masters degree in Digital Marketing.

I am extremely enthusiastic about travelling and understanding different cultures around the world. I decided to take an internship during my gap year where I worked in a prestige country club in South Florida for 7 months and later I worked in a country club in Connecticut for the remaining 5 months. After I completed my degree my manager in Connecticut asked me to go back to work for them for another year in 2019. During my time in America I worked in the front of house as a bartender and server, I worked events, worked on the reception and worked in the office helping to plan events and create content for the clubs website. Aside from working in America, I also have voluntary experience working for the Stone Food and Drink Festival 2018, as well as becoming a student representative for my course. 

During my time at university I worked with a number of different softwares including SPSS, Excel, PowerPoint and I also obtained a Microsoft Office Specialist for Word in 2019. I also have experience working with small social media advertising campaigns to build a brand image

Overall I am strong team player, I have good work ethics and I’m a fast learner that can work independently as well as in a team if needed. Ideally, I would like a placement within events or tourism, but I’m very flexible and I am open to offers.

Further contact details can be found from my LinkedIn profile or email jessica.bell9107@gmail.com

Paige Sinclair

Paige Sinclair
Paige Sinclair

I have recently graduated with a 2:1 in BA (Hons.) Event Management. Previous to that I completed a National Vocational Qualification level 3 in Hospitality supervisor and leadership at Cardiff.

I am currently working as a team member at Staffordshire University Student Union bar. For my volunteer work, I had experience working with Channel 4 and at the Stone Food and Drink Festival.

Before this, I helped out at events that were hosted by the college which includes the chef forum and local MP conference, and at a hospitality competition. The skills that I have are customer service, good at solving problems, have a positive attutude to everything I do, good communication both written and oral, time-management, reliable, and confident talking to new people. I also have computer skills that include Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and confident in using social media. Additionally, I am opened minded and can adapt to new environments as well as willing to learn new things.

Linkedin here or email at paigesinclair97@hotmail.com

Verity Adams

Verity Adams
Verity Adams

In 2018 I graduated with a BSc (Hons) degree in Computer Science at Keele University. Whilst undertaking my degree, I worked as an IT Intern for a houseware distribution company. After graduation, I started working as a Junior Graphic Designer for Dee Set, a company that focuses on driving growth, market share and ROI to a large range of clients, such as ASDA, Tesco and Wilkinsons. I then quickly progressed into a more senior Graphic Designer role within a Digital Marketing company, BWAR Ltd. I opened my own Digital Marketing business ‘Yello Dog’ in December 2019. To assist me with running my business and further my knowledge and experience of Digital Marketing, I decided to apply for a MSc Digital Marketing Management Degree at Staffordshire University.

My work experience and qualifications have provided me with an extensive and broad skillset. My Computer Science degree has enabled me to understand the technicalities associated with building websites, computer software and assist with many digital trends of today. My role as a Graphic Designer has provided me with an understanding of brand identity, digital marketing and social media. Owning my own business has given me the opportunity to obtain and work with my own clients, identify ways of marketing my own business and manage my own projects and deadlines.

Linkedin profile and email me verity@yellodog.co.uk

Sruthy AB

Sruthy AB
Sruthy AB

I have graduated with 1st class BSc (Hons) Computer Science and 1st class MBA (Post-grad) degree in HRM and marketing specializations. Due to my keen interest and evolving technologies in Digital marketing and its immediate growth in a new dimension, I am pursuing my 2nd Master in digital marketing management with Staffordshire University.

I have  gained eight years of corporate experience internationally  with leading IT companies from leading markets such as Asia (India), Middle East (Dubai) and Europe (UK ) with wide range of expertise in the field of business technologies management, solutions automation (such as ERP/CRM/ED-Tech/E-learning solutions), SAAS model implementation, digital marketing management & content creation, performance analysis, brand management, SEO and corporate website management including email & online marketing, PR & CSR activities promotion and media management etc.

I am currently looking for a project with a reputed organisation that challenges me with my expertise & skills to excel in my career and helps me to gain further experience in digital marketing & management. Moreover, being multilinguistic I am always a great team player and I want to help organizations to grow in the new dimensions of digital marketing and experience its potential. Ideally, I would like a placement within IT sector, but would not mind if it’s an exceptional offer from other fields. Contact information – Sruthy AB | LinkedIn /Email Sruthyab@gmail.com

Sandra Decowska

Sandra Decowska
Sandra Decowska – bilingual in English and Polish

I have graduated with a BA (Hons) in Tourism Management at Staffordshire University with Upper Second (2:1) and I am now studying an MSc in Digital Marketing Management.

Bi-lingual – fluent in both Polish and English.

Recently, I have experience working as a Planning Distributor at TK Maxx Newcastle-under-Lyme. In this role I am working closely with the planning and distribution team. This role is office based within a very busy, fast-paced environment.

This has taught me a lot of transferable skills such as computing skills, implementation new team strategies, efficiently manage the office duties, dealing with administration, customers and suppliers.

My ideal placement if possible would be within the events, tourism or hospitality industry. However, I am willing to try anything new that may broaden my knowledge and skills.

If you would like to contact me, my details are:

Linkedin or email me sdec2977@gmail.com

Arnold Tembo

Arnold Tembo
Arnold Tembo

I have recently graduated with​ a BA (Hons) in Business Management. Having grown up in a small family business which sold food and beverages, I have been able to gain insider knowledge of how to run a business successfully. When studying Business Management at university I successfully created a business from scratch working within a small team.


I have previously worked as a Healthcare Assistant and much recently as a Call Handler at an urgent care centre. By working in these positions, I have learned to become a more compassionate person, as I show more kindness and empathy towards other people in my daily life.

I have a passion for Digital Marketing that is why I am pursuing a master’s degree in Digital Marketing Management. The master’s course has taught me how digital marketing strategies can be applied to a business and given me extensive knowledge on different marketing tools. For the last year I have been running a blog on Instagram and WordPress. This experience has made me efficient in creating content that connects with diverse audiences and have gained solid understanding of different media platforms.

I am a highly creative individual on the other hand I am extremely analytical, what separates me from a lot of people is my enormous desire to learn. I am looking for a placement in an organisation that will help me gain further experience and knowledge in Digital Marketing. If you would like to contact me, email me at : tembo.aj@outlook.com

If you wish to take a look at my blog, you can find It on Instagram: arnoldwrites_blog or if you want to take a look at my blog on WordPress: ARNOLD WRITES – BLOG (wordpress.com)

Niamh Beer

Nimah Beer
Niamh Beer – runs her own Etsy shop

I have a BA (Hons) English Literature (2-year fast track) where for my placement I worked with my own small Etsy Business and focused on the importance of Social Media in the online marketplace. Creating my Etsy shop enabled me to learn about SEO as well as the use of their marketing services as well as those which are provided by different social media platforms.

 My interest in the sector is within social media as I feel like I understand it well and have been a user for more than a decade. I have used my knowledge of Social Media to run a Twitter account for a small business a family member was starting and help with brand building. This was great experience for me as I was able to learn what went well and what could be improved on. I currently am applying the skills I am learning in my Digital Marketing Management MSc to my own Etsy shop which has seen great improvement. I am experienced in using analytics as well as identifying different demographics, I also have the ability to create Marketing Communications Plans and Global Digital Marketing strategies.

I am a quick learner and am always enthused to learn more in order to further my career. I am looking for a placement which can enable me to enhance my skills and can challenge me. Email me b010250h@student.staffs.ac.uk

Jack Dutton

Jack Dutton
Jack Dutton experienced in film and video

I currently have a BA Experimental Film Production (First class). My experience ranges from volunteer to paid work, as well for my own interest. My main skills lie in social media and videography, which I have an extensive knowledge of. I have a range of experience creating content whether it is for business or different groups. Primarily this is promotional materials, such as logos, business cards, and videos such as trailers or adverts.

I have a keen interest in Digital Marketing, specifically around content curation and social media management. I am currently undertaking an MSc in Digital Marketing Management. Before starting my course, I have worked with Staffordshire University to introduce prospective students to camera equipment and walkthrough the film courses at the university. In addition, I have worked with Stoke Council to go into schools to deliver presentations around anti-smoking, and then work with groups of students to produce these anti-smoking messages into short films. I also currently hold an FLT licence which I gained whilst working at B&Q .

At present I am looking for a project or work placement that helps me further my experience in digital marketing, in order to develop my skills and pursue a career in the future within the industry.

Contact information: – Email: jackadamdutton@gmail.com

James Gooch

James Gooch
James Gooch lots of expertise in sound production

I have recently completed my BSc (Hons) Sound Design in which I obtained a 2:1, this focussed on sound for visual media. I strengthened my skills in digital media, including sound for film, TV and games using tools such as Logic Pro X (Certified Pro), Pro tools ultimate and Adobe Audition and Premiere. I comprehensively studied music production and technology including use of industry standard hardware. Within this time I also improved my skills using Adobe Photoshop and completed my certification as an associate in visual design. I also obtained experience within Microsoft Office, namely Word, PowerPoint and Excel. I also have a lot of experience with virtual meeting rooms such as Microsoft teams.

Within my pursuit of an MSc in Digital Marketing Management I have gained skills and knowledge of content marketing, marketing strategy and planning, SEO, email marketing and social media marketing. I would love to further my experience in all of these aspects of digital marketing specifically SEM gaining hands on experience with PPC and other digital marketing tools.

I have recently been successful acquiring a digital marketing role within a B2B company in which I can further my knowledge and experience in social media, content curation/creation, SEO, website management, visual design and analytics. Within this role I am gaining experience with tools such as Zoho, WordPress and Google analytics.

My experience mostly consists of customer facing roles, this includes seasons abroad with PGL Travel in Spain and France, Customer team member at Coop (ongoing) as well Student Ambassador for Staffordshire University advocating the university on open days as well as with the Unibuddy chat service (ongoing).

Don’t hesitate to connect with me on my LinkedIn

If you would like to discuss how we can benefit each-other please contact me: Gooch.James@hotmail.co.uk

Digital marketing students deliver for business

The MSc in Digital Marketing Management was developed to deliver the technical, strategic and organisation skills for this industry. As such the course includes a substantial project with an external client and this work is credited as part of the award. Carrying out a project at the height of the pandemic was even more challenging than usual with everything needing to be done remotely and ongoing changes to adapt to the new situation – so Congratulations to the students below for these excellent projects.

If you are interested in enrolling for this September we are putting on virtual course information events – 3.00-4.00pm 1st September register here or
3.00 – 4.00pm 10th September register here

Eerik Beeton carried out a project for The Waterfront Gallery, in Milford Haven, West Wales. This has involved developing the ecommerce offer on the website, creating social media channels Facebook, Instagram and helping to recruit volunteers for the gallery.

Eerik Beeton who carried out a project at the Waterfront Gallery in  Milford haven, Pembrokeshire
Eerik Beeton who carried out a project at the Waterfront Gallery in Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire

Charlotte Cunningham created a completely new website for Simply Hygiene which is already on the first page of google search due to excellent SEO optimisation. She has also started her own digital marketing company, Sharkey’s Digital Marketing and has also accepted a position as the Marketing Manager for The Aston Care Home group and The Learning College in Stone.

Charlotte has a new marketing job with the Aston Care group in Stone
Charlotte has a new marketing job with the Aston Care group in Stone

Craig Holdcroft carried out a project for the Donna Louise Trust developing the website and social media. He has also started his own marketing business, Holdcroft Digital Marketing while at Staffordshire University, completing projects for a number of Micro and SME’s.

Craig Holdcroft
Craig Holdcroft is running his own agency and part-time lecturing for business and marketing.

Grace Thomson started a student peer blog for the Staffordshire University Careers Studio and this has now been incorporated into the main careers website for the University. The project included providing guidance and training for students across the different faculties in blog writing and social media. The blog has already achieved 23,000 reads in the short time it has been up.

Grace Thomson
Grace Thomson

Amber Mottershead carried out her project for Stone Cricket Club providing a new website and turbo charging the social media channels on twitter, instagram and facebook. She now has a new job as marketing and events executive at The Retrofit Academy

Amber is now the marketing and events executive for the Retrofit group
Amber is now the marketing and events executive for the Retrofit group

Here’s a short film

If you want to find out more about the course please contact

Paul Dobson (Course leader) or Kat Mitchell or Jon Fairburn

Sign up to our virtual course information event here – 3.00-4.00pm 1st September register here or 3.00 – 4.00pm 10th September register here

Need help with Digital Marketing in 2020?

The MSc in Digital Marketing Management is one of our 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, 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, 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). This is carried out between January to March/April
  2. The Work Based Digital Marketing Project – a credit work experience (450 hours) to deliver the project with the organisation concerned. (April to August)

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.

Below are profiles of some of the students on the course so reach out direct to them if you are interested or if you want to discuss it with a staff memebr contact Jon Fairburn 01782 294094 jon.fairburn@staffs.ac.uk

Alex Bedford

Alex Bedford
Alex Bedford

I have a lot of experience developing and leading teams to achieve results. This is proven through a history of achievement working with Active Lives Education, Cheshire Football Association, Birmingham County Football Association, Walsall Local Authority, Sported UK, Sports Across Staffordshire, and The Football Association.

I have a keen interest in Digital Marketing. I am pursuing a Master’s degree in Digital Marketing Management.  I have experience in creating and managing marketing and communication strategies and also have experience in website management, email and text marketing, social media management, content curation, and online paid advertising.

I currently run a business called Active Lives Education however am looking for a project that helps me gain further experience in digital marketing, to develop my skills and develop a career or business in this field.

Contact information – Linkedin profile email alex.bedford@activeliveseducation.co.uk mob 07468583274

Amber Mottershead

Amber Mottershead
Amber Mottershead

I hold a foundation degree of science in Film and Television Production and have recently graduated from my BA degree in Events Management (2 year fast track) which I gained a 2:1 in. I have a large work experience portfolio from volunteering to paid work. For 4 years I was a manager of a Children’s play centre then moving onto the cash manager of B&M. I now work as an Events Assistant at Moddershall Oaks. For my volunteer work I have experience of working for the likes of Channel 4, Woman of the Year and Stone Food and Drink Festival. I have also worked several corporate events such as the Hotel Marketing Conference and Land Rover.

I have skills within Web design, as well as using all social media platforms for brand building. I also have quite a good understanding with photoshop and other computer software that may be needed, I am a quick learner and can pick up things fairly quickly.

Ideally, I would like a placement within a sector that holds Events, but I would be open to offers. 

If you would like to follow my LinkedIn, this can be found at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/amber-mottershead-ba48b1166/ or email me Amber1210@live.co.uk

Or if you’d like to have a look at some of my volunteer work you can find this on Instagram: @amottevents 

Lewis Copeland

Lewis Copeland
Lewis Copeland

I have recently graduated from my BA Events Management (2 Year Accelerated) in which I achieved a first-class honours. I have previous work experience as a bar supervisor for three years as well as voluntary work experience with Channel 4, The Stone Food and Drink Festival as well as being a student representative for my course.

I currently work for The Student Hub at Staffordshire University as a Digital Marketing Ambassador. In this role I manage multiple platforms (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) as well as improving the overall engagement and reach of the platforms.

I am able to use social media platforms to build and uphold brand image. I have experience in using analytics to improve the reach of posts as well as identifying demographics which not be being reached and making steps to target them.

Ideally I would like a placement in tourism, events or hospitality but I am open to offers.

If you would like to connect with me, my LinkedIn is: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lewis-copeland-10268515b/  or Email me at: lewis_copeland@hotmail.com

Sophie Lawrence

Sophie Lawrence
Sophie Lawrence

I have recently graduated with a First-Class BA (Hons) Degree in Events Management and have now started studying MSc Digital Marketing Management. I have a large work experience portfolio from both paid and volunteer work. I have been a chef for the past three years at The Orange Tree Bar and Grill, I also hold a range of customer service skills which I have been able to develop by working at a bar and on a hotel reception. To broaden by experience in events management I have volunteered at numerous events such as Woman of the Year 2018, Stone Food and Drink Festival and The Royal Oak Gin festival.

I have skills in web design, brand building and analytics, I can also use all forms of social media and some computer software which may be required. I am a reliable team player who learns quickly, I enjoy expressing my creativity when carrying out jobs and ensuring all tasks are completed to the best of my ability.

If possible, I would like to find a placement within the events, tourism or hospitality sector although I am open to other opportunities.

Please find me on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/sophie-lawrence-05367414a/) or email me (sophielouiselawrence@gmail.com) if you are interested in my expertise.

Charlotte Gooding

Charlotte Gooding

I have recently graduated with a 2:1 in BA (Hons) Events Management and am now currently studying MSc Digital Marketing Management. I have a wide work experience portfolio varying from paid work to voluntary. Over the last three years I have been a bar staff member for Stonegate pubs working for Walkabout until it closed down in April this year and now Yates Newcastle-under-Lyme. Within my role at Yates I tend to work on the bar and occasionally the kitchen, but recently I have taken on the role to be more involved in the social media for the business. To help to widen my knowledge of events and volunteers I volunteered for the Stone Food and Drink Festival in 2017/18. 

My main stills revolve around social media and helping to design promotional material. I am a reliable person with work ethic and put all my effort into anything that I do.

My ideal placement if possible would be within the events, tourism or hospitality industry. However, I am willing to try anything new that may broaden my knowledge and skills 

Please find me on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/charlotte-gooding-66867314a/) or email me (charlottegooding@live.co.uk) if you would like to contact me.

Aaron Shaw

Aaron Shaw

I recently graduated from Staffordshire University with a 2:1 BA (Hons) degree in Business management and I’m now studying an MSc in Digital Marketing Management. I am a team leader at the Staffordshire University Students’ Union. This role requires excellent communication skills, the ability to delegate tasks to the team I am managing and making sure the venue (LRV and Verve) is running as smoothly as possible. This has taught me a multitude of transferable skills within customer service as I have developed my interpersonal and leadership skills. This is reflected within my dedication to the Staffordshire Stallions American Football as a team player and a defensive captain.

I’m currently looking for a digital marketing placement for my work based digital marketing project. This will give me a chance to utilise the skills and knowledge that I have learnt within my masters and apply it to a professional environment. Any opportunity to be able to get this experience would enable me to further my employability.

My degree has given me an insight into a variety of different aspects within Business Management. This has given me fundamental knowledge on topics that also relate to the MSc in Digital Marketing Management. I have extended my academic skills and abilities by studying into a specialised area of Business.  An MSc has enabled me to have a greater understanding of analytics, search engine optimisation and the ability to design a global digital marketing strategy.

If you would like to contact me, my details are;

LinkedIn – linkedin.com/in/aaron-shaw-ba20a3150

Email – aaronjamesshaw1994@hotmail.co.uk

Leah Mahon

Leah Mahon

I have graduated with a BA (Hons) Journalism and I am now studying my MSc in Digital Marketing Management. Throughout university, I worked as a venue member for Staffordshire University’s Student’s Union in front and back of house customer service roles and as a Student Ambassador. These roles have instilled me with strong interpersonal skills and self-organisation through working in these multifaceted positions.

I have experience working as a Trainee Journalist at The Sentinel newspaper and Staffs Live, where I was responsible for researching and writing feature and news content for print and online publication. I utilised my qualifications in Reporting and Shorthand at 100WPM from the National Council of Training for Journalists, ensuring accuracy and time management.

I am an experienced CRM Marketing Assistant, where I was responsible for curating content for email marketing campaigns and market research. Studying Digital Marketing has developed my knowledge within integral marketing theories, brand development and content curation/SEO. I am now implementing this in the creation of my own lifestyle blog, The Wordsmith.

I am interested in opportunities in the content marketing sector, and I am open to writing diverse content in an array of industries.

My contact details are:

LinkedIn   –    https://www.linkedin.com/in/leah-mahon-b15627121/

Email       –    leah_mahon@outlook.com

Grace Hague

If you are a business owner and you are looking for a driven, creative and hardworking individual that has a keen interest in digital marketing, SEO and business development…then look no further!

I am currently looking for a placement within an organisation that will help me gain further knowledge and experience in the digital marketing field.

I have recently graduated from Staffordshire University with a 2:1 in Tourism Management. My main interests lie in SEO, content curation, analytics and brand building through social media.

I have consolidated experience working in fast-paced environments, working in a team, customer engagement and I have the desire to learn and help businesses grow!

So, what are you waiting for? Get in touch via LinkedIn or email!

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/grace-hague-12846b10a/

Email: Grace_Hague@mail.com

A Recipe for Success

Written by Angela Lawrence, Associate Dean at Staffordshire business school


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 gold 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

Does the use of social media within universities promote employability?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Using Digital to Build Your CV

If you’re anything like me, you would have read enough tips on CV building to write your own novel. But what do we really learn? How do we know that the document we’ve just spent four hours putting together is even going to get a second look from our dream company? We don’t. But if we do know what tools are available to build a great CV, maybe we’d one step closer to the dream.

Example of Canva Free Resume Template

Gone are the days that a CV format consists of a black and white document with Times New Roman font and maybe the odd line of bold. Employers want to get a glimpse of you from the first few seconds. So, my first tip, do not be afraid to be yourself and make the use of digital tools that are available.

Firstly, ask yourself which industry you are trying to enter, this is key to choosing the type of design for your CV as it has to be relevant. If you’re looking to build something a little more interesting that gives you the freedom to show some of your personality through colour and images, try Canva, a free online design tool. This has a range of templates with suggestions of content and layout, but also allows you to amend any settings to your personal taste.

On the other hand, you may be looking for a professional CV with a moving edge. Video CV’s are increasingly common particularly in the creative and also sporting sectors due to the nature of the roles. Software such as Windows Movie Maker, Apple iMovie or something more sophisticated like Adobe Premier Pro are great for editing your own footage.

Credit: powtoon.com

Finally, and this is exciting, how about creating your own animated video of a day in the life of you? Powtoon is a free online tool that allows you to create a cartoon character and tell a story of your education, experiences and skills through video. Powtoon is YouTube certified and has recently become partnered with HubSpot, meaning it’s great not only for personal development but for work related projects too. It is a simple to use, flexible tool that allows you to create approachable content and particularly for a CV, include a visualisation of a persons skills and knowledge.

A CV doesn’t have to be a chore, take the opportunity that digital has given us to explore creative ways to present yourself as a professional.

Author: Kathryn Taylor, MSc Digital Marketing Management Student

Digital Marketing Assessor at Total People Ltd

A time to have fun (and some research) at the World of Wedgwood Christmas Market

Christmas is a time that brings so much love and joy to friends, family and loved ones, so why not visit the World of Wedgwood Magical Christmas Market for festive treats and Christmas gifts.

 The event runs from the 7-10th of December.

The Christmas Market Fayre will consist of over 50 stalls selling hand crafted products and locally sourced and produced fine foods for festive treats and Christmas gifts, located in the Courtyard and the Darwin Suite. There will also be music and entertainment, along with Christmas lunches in the contemporary restaurant and a festive afternoon tea in the Wedgwood Tea Room.

In addition to the Christmas market, visitors can also enjoy the Wedgwood Museum or take a tour of the Wedgwood factory, where they can put their skills to the test in the creative studio by having a spin on the potter’s wheel or designing a unique Wedgwood plate.

The World of Wedgwood is situated in Barlaston in Stoke-on-Trent. It is not far from junction 14 (north) and junction 15 (south) which makes life a lot easier for tourists travelling from the motorway . The Christmas Market Fayre has free entry and there is also free parking available on the venue.

About me

My name is Charmaine Oputeri and I am a final year student studying Tourism Management at Staffordshire University.

I am doing my final year project on the World of Wedgwood’s Christmas Market Fayre. The aim of my project is to establish the customer profile and to broadly evaluate the marketing aspects of World of Wedgwood. This is vital to my project as it will enable me to understand what attracts people to visit the World of Wedgwood and how it can be improved for future visitors.

Data collection will be conducted by asking the visitors  at the Christmas Market Fayre to fill out a survey. This survey consists of various questions about the customer experience e.g. what they enjoyed the most about the Christmas Market and what they would like to see improved in the future.

I hope to pursue a career within the Tourism industry as l enjoy working with people. This final year project will enable to reach this goal because it is going to teach me interpersonal skills, good communication skills and lastly, it will enable me to use my own initiative.

Social media

World of Wedgwood on facebook 

World of Wedgwood on Instagram

@WorldofWedgwood on twitter

Charmaine Oputeri on twitter

Charmaine Octuperi on Instagram

 

Graduating with an award and a digital marketing business

By Andrew Dobson

My MSc in Digital Marketing Management at Staffordshire University includes the module ‘Managing a Digital Marketing Project’. This normally involves working with a company to create and implement a digital marketing strategy. I asked to take a different approach to the project and decided to create my own digital marketing agency: Track Digital Marketing. This, I reasoned, would allow me to develop my marketing and web design skills and gain an income by working with small businesses in Staffordshire.

Although I had not previously studied marketing, I felt optimistic that the skills I learned on the course and my previous experience in teaching English would provide me with the background needed to excel at digital marketing. However, the business management side of the project was something that I found more daunting.

Fortunately, Be Inspired at Staffordshire University offered business support in the way of training, a business grant and a mentor. I’ll be honest, when interviewed for the scheme I was sceptical about how much help they would actually provide (apart from the business grant). However, the combination of business training from Be Inspired, project management assistance from Professor Jon Fairburn, and business startup and digital marketing advice from my mentor Matt Clayton (owner of Build A UK Business) has been hugely beneficial.

After the initial setup of Track Digital Marketing I was ready for small businesses to queue up and bombard my email address with pleads for me to help them market themselves online. However, it only just occurred to me that my competition was vastly experienced at online marketing and probably had teams of experts in every digital marketing field. Whilst my knowledge and practical experience gleaned from the course made me an all-round professional marketer, I could not compete with huge established companies for the top Google searches. This left me with targeting a particular niche (small businesses in Staffordshire) and old-fashioned networking.

Luckily, I found that business owners (now including myself) love nothing more than telling everyone within a half-mile radius about their business. This is how Brereton Timber and I found each other: a good ol’ chin wag over a garden fence. To be more specific, a fence panel supplied and fitted by Edward Taylor from Brereton Timber.

A happy customer

A happy customer

Edward and business partner Craig Wardle had an expanding fence supplying and fitting business –  amongst a variety of other services. However, their old website did not reflect their current success, and their marketing consisted mainly of a 13ft wooden bear with ‘Brereton Timber’ plastered on it.

After discussing Craig and Edward’s digital marketing options and painstakingly explaining ‘long-tail keywords’, we agreed to complete the following:

  • An internal digital marketing and website audit.
  • Competitive research into the marketing activities of their main competitors, both regional and national.
  • Customer research and marketing preferences.
  • A comprehensive search engine and mobile optimised e-commerce website.
  • Keyword research and content marketing to bring customers in and guide them towards sales.

Although we are still in the process of designing the website and creating content, since we started working Brereton Timber’s online sales for July are higher than the rest of the year combined. The new website has a professional image befitting their professional work, has improved search engine rankings, and perhaps most importantly is customer-friendly.

Craig and Edward have expressed their gratitude in their own way (by promising me a free Christmas Tree in December) and had this to say: “Honestly, we can’t believe the change Track Digital Marketing has made to our business. Customers are always saying how good the website looks and we know that Andy is available anytime we have a query or want to change something on our website.” Despite their online success, Brereton Timber refuses to capture the Brereton Bear who continues to terrorise locals on the A50 between Holmes Chapel and Brereton.

Andrew Dobson