Parting Words and Pathways: Learnings and Signing Off at Staffordshire Forensic Partnership (Placement report)

by Zainab Mansoor on the MSc Digital Marketing Management

As my internship journey with Staffordshire Forensic Partnership draws to a close, I stand at the crossroads of discovery and reflection. In this blog post, I invite you to join me in revisiting the pivotal moments, invaluable lessons, and transformative growth that have defined my time here.

The Journey Began in June!

Clueless, anxious, and a bit ecstatic, my journey at the Staffordshire Forensic Partnership started in June 2023. The three initial feelings were just the tip of the iceberg of what I felt because I always wanted to over-achieve in life. This aspiration has allowed me to push boundaries, overestimate my goals, and eventually strike success in the past. But this time, it was different. I was accompanied by highly professional and trained staff members who helped me pave realistic, timely, achievable, and specific goals. I learned that while confidence is necessary, overconfidence in any workplace can lead to problems. But more on that later!

Planning what I wanted to achieve and do in the placement for my first learning. It was the first step towards realizing that planning is helpful in every facet of life. It helps you strategize, contemplate, and manifest. I was deployed in the company’s social media department and was in charge of generating organic leads. Organic and developing are two intimidating words; how would I have known what people would want to read and/or like?

However, this is where the fun part began. I began to research, conducted a thorough competitive analysis, evaluated strategies, and drafted my version of a testing strategy. Slowly, I began to test my content on different channels; one of my favorites was the mighty LinkedIn. I started by visiting different conferences and workshops, posting blog articles on topics like CSI and the latest forensic trends and interviews with Academics, Police and Students. While the pieces managed to gain traction, the over-arching goal of achieving more kept pushing me to try new ideas.

The growth phase (Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome)

As with all great digital marketers, there is not a one-size-fits-all strategy. Especially in the digital space. There is always a need for improvisation, and this is where I learned the role of content curation during my placement. After creating my blogs, I realized my LinkedIn audience greatly appreciates video-based content. I decided on the idea of creating podcasts with Staffordshire Alumni who were employed in the forensics field. The idea of podcasts was solid because people habitually scroll or listen. This passive content consumption is widespread because it is effortless and allows people to do their work without distraction. It’s like being on social media yet working at the same time.

In the next stage, I could loop in two additional guests after reaching out to different guests and explaining my agenda. I launched the podcasts in their basic formats through audio files, and they garnered an overwhelming response from the community. Not only engagements, but I was also able to grow the organic follower count on LinkedIn. This is where I learned that I had overcome the plateau of engagement, likes, and page reach. Initially, I struggled with Word Press but then when you have the right support, you are always able to get pass through it.

I learned how to do specifications on the website. Working with Police, Academics and to top that in the field of Forensics, it was not easy as you know nothing about the subject. But eventually with time, I learned about the field through different workshops and conferences. I also visited Staffordshire Police Headquarters with an opportunity to meet with their Communications team. I sat with each one of them to know their respective roles and to have all the motivation and inspiration of how do they manager their respective job roles and responsibilities.

Visit to Staffordshire Police Headquarters – Zainab in the fore ground

Bidding a hard farewell

At the end of this placement, I would be remiss if I did not say that I have a whole new perspective on digital marketing. My advice to all future digital marketers is based on different tiers. Tier 1 starts with understanding your audience and who you are primarily reaching; this is very important. Without your audience, you’re just shooting arrows in the dark, which might land, but who’s to know where. Tier 2 involves understanding the audience’s pain points and creating personalized content. This personalization consists of following social media trends or posting enough content to become one.

Pro tip: I suggest pumping lots of content if you’re managing a relatively new page. A suitable method for this is to create a content calendar that allows you to plan ahead. It enables you to estimate the type of posts, maintain diversity, and reach those hungry people.

The last tier involves content monitoring and improvisations at the very best. Content monitoring will help you evaluate the performance of every post, helping you make intelligent decisions.

As I bid farewell to this beautiful place, I only wish to see the page flourish and carry on the foundation to build into a social media giant.

Staffordshire Forensics Partnership – Linked In Twitter Website

Read about another successful Digital marketing placement here – Middleport Pottery

Find out more about the course here MSc Digital Marketing Management which is currently recruiting for a Jan 2024 start.

Staffordshire University Digital Expo 24th October 2023

Organizers Fay Hutchinson (Careers) and Prof Jon Fairburn

Digital marketing is booming in the UK, a reflection of the UK being the largest ecommerce economy in Europe (2.5 times larger than Germany). The UK also has the highest population share that buy goods online at 87%.

Many digital marketing firms are expanding overseas and there is tough competition to secure workers.

The Expo will include the following:

  • Stands and exhibits
  • Guest talks from academics on a range of digital marketing topics
  • Panels of experts
  • A chance to hear about our courses, especially the work placement elements
  • Insights from local digital marketing companies
  • Talks from a past student on their work placements

If you are a business or organisation that wishes to exhibit (free), give a talk on a topic, take part in a panel or talk about the opportunities you have then please sign up on this link asap. This opportunity is open to any organisation that uses digital marketing (not just digital marketing companies). Talks should aim for between 10-20 mins.


3-6pm Tues 24th October

Catalyst Building, Leek Road, Staffordshire University, Stoke on Trent ST4 2DF


3.15 ’AI and Social Media Marketing’’ with Dr Joe Hazzam

3.35 ‘Working on Digital Marketing at Middleport Pottery’ with Tselmeg Bat-Erdene (who completed her placement at the pottery) and Louise Bartley (Marketing and Comms Manager for Middleport Pottery

4.00 ‘Network branding in SME’S’ with Vicky Roberts

4.20  Panel discussion ‘Trends and developments in digital marketing’ with Craig Holdcroft, Vicky Roberts and Paul Dobson

4.50 Developing the marketing plan for a research institute with Stella Godwin (who completed her placement at the institute) – will include details of this year’s opportunity for a placement

5.10    Using Generative AI with SME’s (the basics of  getting going) with  Craig Holdcroft

5.30 Work placements on the MSc Digital Marketing Management by Prof Jon Fairburn – for businesses or organisations that would like to know more about hosting a work-placement

Courses and training

At Staffordshire University we offer undergraduate, post graduate and professional courses in Digital Marketing

Placements and live briefs

Example of a recent digital marketing placement at Middleport Pottery

Examples of other digital marketing placements


Paul Dobson – Award Leader for the MSc in Digital Marketing Management

Dr Joe Hazzam – Award Leader for the BA Digital and Social Media Marketing

Kat Mitchell – Award leader for the CIM diploma in Digital Marketing

Craig Holdcroft – Digital marketing

Vicky Roberts – Branding

David Cook – Value creation and branding

Jon Fairburn – Work placements

Any comments or questions please email Fay Hutchinson (logistics) or Jon Fairburn (content)

Follow us on social media Linkedin, Twitter or Facebook

Exploring the role of AI in Research

by Gary McNally (Research Training Manger, RIIS) and Prof Jon Fairburn (Business School)

This is the first in a series of blogs where we will look at the use of Artificial Intelligence in universities, businesses and society.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has advanced significantly in recent years, offering both opportunities and challenges for the research community. We would like to kickstart a conversation about how AI tools like ChatGPT are affecting the landscape of academic research, and how Staffordshire University researchers can avoid being left behind. It is very likely that within a couple of years the use of tools like ChatGPT will be as common to academics as the use of word processors and email.

The Promise and Pitfalls of AI in Research

While AI platforms like ChatGPT have sparked a range of reactions from excitement to skepticism, their application in research has been problematic. Early iterations of these tools have been criticized for the unreliability of their sources and their tendency to “hallucinate” facts.

However, recent improvements in AI technology have begun to mitigate these issues. Some AI models and sites are now capable of identifying research funding opportunities, drafting project briefs, assisting in grant application writing, and even conducting literature reviews with credible sources.

The Competitive Edge in Adoption

Researchers adopting these AI-assisted methodologies are potentially at an advantage, poised to outperform their peers in terms of productivity and efficiency. We know that researchers at other institutions are already incorporating AI tools into their research workflows. We can only assume the same is happening at Staffordshire, but we simply don’t know who, or how.

Next steps at Staffordshire University

The potential for AI in research is huge, but its effective implementation raises important questions for our academic community. To explore these issues, you can join the MS Team – Artificial Intelligence at Staffordshire University (open to all staff and PGRs) with which we will co-ordinate meetings, discussion, resources etc.

We’re sure these conversations are already happening across the University. For those interested in developing this further, or who would like to join the conversation, please contact Professor Jon Fairburn ( or Gary McNally (


General resources

On LinkedIn By Learning there is an excellent and very practical course – How to Research and Write Using Generative AI Tools by Dave Birss – don’t be misled by the title this course is of use to anyone who wants to learn to use ChatGPT

Dave Birss has his own website including a free spreadsheet of prompts you can download

A you tube film of signing up and then 10 common prompts to use in ChatGPT to get started

Fifty different uses for ChatGPT


Youtube – 6 AI tools you’ll actually use for research (excellent quick guide to 6 ai’s) and this by the same author is also good AI-Enhanced Academic Writing: A Step-By-Step Guide for Writing in Half the Time


Guidelines for the use of artificial intelligence in University contexts – on a Creative Commons licence so easy to adapt and share

Student uses cases for AI – guidelines for academics using it in teaching

Mollick, Ethan & Mollick, Lilach (2023) Using AI to Implement Effective Teaching Strategies in Classrooms: Give Strategies, including. Prompts University of Pennsylvania

Ethan Mollick’s main blog – lots of articles on here

How to Use AI to Do Stuff: An Opinionated Guide – a good review of the different AI tools (summer 2023) , just note things are moving fast in the field

Examples from business and society

Case Study: Enhanced Customer Service Through AI at Octopus Energy including this key quote “Octopus Energy reported that customer emails answered by the AI achieved an 80% satisfaction rate, significantly higher than the 65% achieved by human workers. Additionally, the AI system greatly improved productivity by handling a considerable portion of customer email inquiries.” Note The Times (8/5/23) reported that the AI was now doing the job of 250 employees.

Software company uses ChatGPT to cut coding down from weeks to day

This is a government case study of an SME that used Defence and Security Accelerator funding to develop what it calls an “ethical” AI application that analyses human behaviour, ostensibly to help spot and safeguard victims of human trafficking.

This is a government case study on a Proof of Concept in the NHS, that uses AI to identify patients at risk of a long stay at hospital, helping to improve interventions and patient outcomes.

Using AI to speed up diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease

For gamers – this demonstrates how the wider games modding community are implementing Chat GPT and AI Voice generation to transform Skyrim (one of the most popular role playing games of the past 20 years)

Hints and Tips for New Students at Staffordshire University

Starting university can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. For new students at Staffordshire University, here are some helpful hints and tips to navigate your way through your academic journey and make the most of your time at this dynamic institution:

1. Familiarize Yourself with the Campus

  • Staffordshire University Campus Map
  • Take a campus tour to locate key buildings, libraries, and student support services.
  • Learn about the facilities available, such as study spaces and computer labs.

2. Get Your Student ID

3. Explore the Student Union

4. Academic Support

  • Utilize the Academic Skills Hub for study resources and workshops.
  • Seek assistance from academic advisors and tutors when needed.

5. Library Resources

  • Discover the extensive library resources available, including e-books, journals, and study spaces.
  • Learn about referencing and citation guidelines.

6. IT Services

  • Familiarize yourself with IT services, including Wi-Fi access and software.
  • Install necessary software on your devices.

7. Time Management

  • Develop effective time management skills to balance your studies and personal life.
  • Consider using apps like Trello or Todoist for task organization.

8. Stay Healthy

Hanley Park has lots of facilities

9. Financial Management

10. Career Services

11. Explore Staffordshire

  • Take breaks from your studies to explore the beautiful county of Staffordshire.
  • Visit local attractions like Trentham Gardens and Alton Towers

12. Useful Apps and websites

13. Seek Help When Needed

  • Don’t hesitate to reach out to student support services for assistance with personal, academic, or mental health concerns.

Starting university is an exciting journey filled with opportunities for personal and academic growth. By following these hints and tips, you’ll be well-prepared to make the most of your time at Staffordshire University and create lasting memories during your academic adventure.

Remember, you’re not alone—there’s a supportive community waiting to welcome you to Staffordshire University!

A guide to food and drink in Shelton

by Walter Vundla (international student)


PAK FOODS is a supermarket that offers a variety of international products. It first opened in 1989 as a convenience store under the name Pricewise in Lenton, Nottingham and then changed to PAK FOODS in 1996.  

The Stoke-on-Trent, Shelton branch opened in 2007. The organisation offers ethnic, hard-to-find and great tasting foods (, 2023). The products are at an affordable price as the concept of value is important to the consumers and the organisation. The store is located at 50 Stoke Road, Shelton, ST24 2QX. The store is opened Monday to Saturday from 08:30am to 20:00pm and from 11:00am to 17:00pm on Sundays.  

Pak Foods on the Stoke Road – fresh veg, meat and lots more

Product Range 

Meat and Poultry  

PAK Foods sell quality fresh meat and poultry and has had excellent prices for at least 10 years. PAK Foods offers 100% Halal meat and poultry and believes in quality, value, and an exceptional customer service. All the meat suppliers are carefully chosen, and local suppliers are chosen wherever possible. PAK Foods also offer marinated chicken and other selected meats ready for either barbecues or making a tasty meal.  

 Fruit and Vegetables  

All the fruits and vegetables are delivered daily to ensure quality and its freshness. PAK Foods prides itself at having a vast range that are rarely found in other supermarkets. Fruits like sweet Pakistani mangoes, Greek watermelon, Mirabelle plum, India cactus figs, yellow dragon fruits and many others. Vegetables like, kale, spinach, cabbage, lettuce, yellow pumpkin, green pumpkin, okra, chilli, and other products. PAK Foods is always on the lookout for some ways to improve on its local suppliers.  

World Foods 

PAK Foods has food ingredients to cover most of the worlds famous recipes. Herbs, spices, and sauces to bring the recipes to life and the taste that the consumers may need. A fantastic range of Asian, African, Europeans and Mediterranean to choose from depending on a consumer taste. Other world foods include, Basmati and Tilda rice, Iwisa maize meal.  

Hair products 

PAK Foods also has hair products suitable for all types of hair.  

Contact details 

Telephone – 01782 749555 

Instagram – @pakfoods_official   Facebook – @PAK FOODS     

Website –  Email –  


Chaiiwala is food and drink restaurant that offers a variety of cuisines. However, it is known for its Karak Chaii tea that has made the brand to be known globally. The organisation was found in 1927 on the streets of New Delhi. It has 100 years of history and tradition (, 2023). Chaiiwala has over 50 stores across the UK (United Kingdom) and has potential to expand. The organisation is on its way to become a global brand with franchise opportunities around the world (, 2023).  

Chaiiwala differentiate itself through not compromising on quality and service. The committed has enabled the organisation to become a brand and be one of the fastest growing businesses. The Stoke-on-Trent branch is in Shelton, 119 College Road, ST4 2EE. The store is open Monday to Friday from 08:30am to 00:00am and Saturday and Sunday from 09:00 to 00:00am. Consumers can order food and get them delivered to their home.  

Chaiiwala Menu  

Hot Drinks  

Karak Chaii – it is a well brewed strong tea. Can be served in regular or large. It is gluten free and suitable for vegetarians.  

Pink Chaii – it is a creamy, milky pink tea with aromatic spices.  

Mint Tea – black tea with fresh mint leaves.  

English Tea – the everyday cup with a splash of milk.  

Cold Drinks  

Mango Falooda – mango milkshake with ice cream.  

Limbu Pani – a cloudy refreshing lemon drink. 

Iced Karak Chaii – strong brewed tea with ice and caramel  

Iced Karak Coffee – Milky coffee with ice and caramel  

All Day Breakfast 

Desi Breakfast – Masala omelette with masala beans, daal or chana with your choice of two classic rotis/parathas/toast and a karak chaii or karak coffee.  

English-Ish Breakfast – masala omelette with masala beans, two lamb bacon rasher, two sausages, and two slices of toast.  

Omelette Wrap – Fresh masala omelette wrapped in a classic roti.  

Shakshuka – Soft running eggs in tomato and onion curry, served with flaky paratha perfect for dipping.  

The menu has a variety of other foods and dessert that consumers can enjoy. Street food like vegetarian kebab roll, masala chips, Mumbai Mac ‘N’ Cheese. Meals can be served as vegan or vegetarian, depending on the consumer’s choice.  

Contact details  

Telephone – 01782 498749    Instagram – @chaiiwala   Facebook – @Chaiiwala Twitter – @chaiiwala 

Hawasana Afghan Cuisine  

Hawasana Afghan Cuisine is an online takeaway delivery service and a dine in restaurant that is based in Stoke-on-Trent. The restaurant’s mission is to bring value for money for money, services, and food, However, the restaurant is working on improving its services in Staffordshire.  

Hawasana offers a wide range of starters, kebabs, rice, drinks, desserts, biryani, and many other cuisines that may be of interests to consumers. The Stoke-on-Trent branch is based at 77 Stoke Road, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 2HQ. The restaurant opens Monday to Sunday from 14:00pm to 23:00pm.  

Hawasana Afghan menu  


Starters include Tandoori Mix Kebab, Lamb Tikka Kebab, Chicken Tika Kebab, Koffta Kebab, Bolani and many others to choose from.  


Qabuli Pilau – A mixture of lamb or chicken, rice, sultanas, and carrots which are cooked in a steamed dish to give it a special flavour and taste.  

Qurma Pilau – Boiled rice steamed with a touch of oil and cumin to give a delicious taste, served with any qurma dish.  

Pacha Pilau Special – this dish is served with pilau and fresh salad.  

Afghan Traditional  

8 Pcs Mantoo – steamed pasta filled with mince, onion, and herbs, served with special sauce.  

Shorba – lamb, potato, and carrot soup. A simple and tasty dish Afghan Shorba served with naan bread.  

Half Kg Lamb Karahi – Slowly cooked in our special spice, fresh tomatoes, green chilli, garlic served with fresh naan bread.  

One Kg Chicken Karahi – Slowly cooked in our special spice, fresh tomatoes, green chilli, garlic served with fresh naan bread. 

One Kg Lamb Kahari – Slowly cooked in our special spice, fresh tomatoes, green chilli, garlic served with fresh naan bread. 

Kebabs (in Afghan style)  

Choppan Kebab (on the bone), Lamb tikka kebab, koffta kebab, chicken garlic and pepper kebab, tandoori mix kebab and 5-piece lamb chop. this is link to the restaurant menu.  

Contact details  

Facebook – @Hawasana Afghan Cuisine Telephone – 01782911141 

Here’s a detailed review of Hawasana by Moorlands Eater (the best food blogger in the area) – note it is from 2019 so prices have probably changed a bit

Rice N 3 

Rice N 3 is a restaurant based in Stoke-on-Trent that sells Indian street food. Rice N 3 strive to improve their services and quality so that they can provide an exceptional customer experience. Consumers can order their food online and be delivered to their homes. This is a new development to make consumers to order and get their food delivered. Rice N 3 also offers affordable prices. 

The restaurant is in Shelton, 78 Ashford Street, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 2EN. It is a walking distance from the campus and from the train station. It is opened Monday to Saturday from 12:00pm to 22:00pm and closed on Sundays. 

Rice N 3 menu  

Rice N 3 – rice and any three of the curries freshly cooked (lamb on bone, chicken on bone with spinach, tarka Dall, mixed vegetable jalfrezi, keema and peas and boneless chicken Kahari.  

Desi thug munch box – Comes on naan bread, 2 Seekh kebabs, 2 meat samosas, chips, sizzling chicken tikka and donner, salad and sauce of your choice and two drinks.  

Fully Loaded fries – can choose from any combination of your choice.  

Authentic biryani – can choose from meat samosas, vegetable samosas, kebab chaat, keema biryani, vegetable pakora portion. this link will take you to the FOODHUB where they can see the menu. 

Contact details  

Telephone – 01782911323  Facebook @Rice N 3   Instagram @rice_n_3 

Other Places on Campus 

The Catalyst kitchen – it is in the Catalyst building and it offers hot drinks, salads, soup, shakes and smoothies, jacket potatoes, etc.  

In the Catalyst Building, Leek Road campus

Verve – it is in LRV, opposite the Catalyst building. It offers a wide range of foods and alcoholic beverages as well.  

The Verve on Leek Road Campus – student union

Ember lounge – it is next to the Student Union building in College Road.  

Ember Lounge, Stoke Road campus

Pavilion – it is in College Road. It offers burritos and wraps.   

Pavilion on College Road

Squeeze Box, College Road drinks and snacks

Squeeze Box, College Road campus

Sweet and Spice – It is a takeaway shop based 128 Boughey Road, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 2BB.  

Sweet and Spice – Leek Road

Empowering Enterprises in Stoke-on-Trent: Groundwork’s Sustainable Ventures

by Groundwork West Midlands

In an era where environmental consciousness and business success go hand in hand, Groundwork West Midlands ‘Sustainable Ventures’ project provides free support to businesses and community organisations who are stepping up to the sustainability challenge. Embracing eco-friendly practices not only mitigates their carbon footprint, but also reduces running costs and enhances competitiveness and resilience.

Groundwork’s Sustainable Ventures project aims to inform organisations on the most viable solutions available to them. Delving into the realm of ‘Sustainable Ventures’, we can see how energy audits, training, and actionable decarbonisation plans empower organisations to take positive steps towards a greener future.

Energy Audits: Illuminating the Path to Efficiency

Energy audits serve as the cornerstone of the Sustainable Ventures project. Audits involve assessing a business’s energy consumption patterns by identifying areas of wastage and inefficiency. By pinpointing energy-saving opportunities, organisations can achieve substantial cost reductions and reduce their carbon footprint simultaneously.

Every business has a unique set of energy demands and usage patterns. Conducting an ‘on-site’ energy audit tailors the energy-saving strategies to the specific needs of each organisation, making them more effective, relevant and achievable.

Energy reports provide a range of improvements that organisations can make. From simple, zero cost changes, to large-scale retrofit projects, all prioritised and costed to ensure that organisations have clear guidance to fold into their overall business strategy, to improve sustainability, reduce bills and lower carbon emissions.

Audits – a starting point for energy reduction and cost savings

Unlocking the Benefits

Beyond the environmental gains, organisations can reap financial rewards through reduced operating costs and improved resource management.

Decarbonisation plans form strategic roadmaps that guide organisations towards long-term sustainability. Plans outline a series of steps to reduce carbon emissions over time, which includes adopting renewable energy sources, transitioning to low-carbon technologies, and optimising supply chain operations. By committing to decarbonisation, enterprises position themselves as ESG responsible, attracting environmentally conscious customers and investors.

Groundwork, supported by Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce, will be hosting conferences every quarter to share success stories, provide training, and facilitate networking opportunities for organisations wishing to embrace more efficient ways of operating. This collaboration will foster knowledge exchange and will enable organisations to navigate the complexities of sustainable business practices more effectively.


The path to sustainable success for small and medium sized businesses is paved with energy audits, sustainability training, and decarbonisation plans. By identifying inefficiencies, fostering awareness, and committing to long-term emissions reduction, organisations can drive positive change while reaping numerous benefits.

As these ‘sustainable ventures’ become more mainstream, SMEs will lead by example, showing that businesses can thrive whilst being environmentally responsible. The time for action is now, and SMEs and Charities are well-positioned to shape a greener and more prosperous future for all.

How to Engage in the Project?


Delivered by Groundwork West Midlands

Partnered with Stoke-on-Trent Council

Funded by the UK Government (UK Shared Prosperity Fund/Levelling up)

Hanley Park: an oasis next to the Staffordshire University campus

by Walter Vundla (recent international student)

Hanley Park is one of Stoke-on-Trent’s heritage parks, it is close to the university and you can walk through it to the city centre. The park underwent a multi-million-pound restoration after a successful bid for £4.5 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the National Lottery Community Fund in 2015 (, 2023). The restored facilities include public art sculptures, lake and fountains, boathouse, pavilion and floodlit sports zone for football tennis, basketball, and hockey.

Lots of all weather pitches in the Park for football, tennis, basketball, and cricket

The park is found in Shelton, Cleveland Road, Stoke-on-Trent, ST1 4DX. It is within a 10 minute walking distance from the Stoke-on-Trent train station. It is a 5-minute walk from the university campus on College and Leek Road. There are two car parks near the park for the public’s convenience, named Hanley Park Northern Car Park, The Parkway and Hanley Park Southern Car Park, Ridgway Road. Then there is Cannon PI car park which is about 13 minutes’ walk to the park.

Sports Zone

Hanley Park sports zone include artificial football pitch, four tennis courts, basket court and cricket wickets with nets. On every Saturday at 9am, Vitality parkrun holds a 5km run where anyone can register and take part.

Every Sunday morning, there is a group of people that meet up and play football. They play from 9am till around 12pm. Anyone is welcome to join as the group is very welcoming.

Community Hub

The community hub is open Monday to Thursday from 0830am to 1500pm. However, open day vary due to the weather. The community hub supplies activities for both children and adults.

Community hub

Hanley Vitality Parkrun

It is a friendly, free and fun 5km community event that participants can walk, jog, run or volunteer to help to ensure that the event is a success every week. It is free to join in, however, one will have to register before attending the event. Once registered with parkrun, a scannable barcode will be issued so that you can get results after the run. You can run without the barcode, but you will not be able to get your finish time sent over to your email.

The entire event is organised by volunteers. If one wants to volunteer at one of the events, they can email: to help. All help is acceptable as there are marshals to guide and encourage everyone that takes part. All the volunteers are friendly and welcoming to everyone. The participants are also friendly and encouraging as well. It is easy to network and make friends as everyone is friendly and willing to have a conversation.

Park Run in Hanley

Parkrun social media platforms

Facebook Parkrun UK – Twitter Parkrun UK Instagram Parkrun Youtube Parkrun

Art in the Park

Entrance to the park at the top of Boughey Road

A canal runs through Hanley Park and you can walk or cycle out of the city on it

There’s three play areas for different age children in the Park
Lots of play space

Rope pyramid and zip line also available

Facebook group for the Park

A successful digital marketing placement at Middleport Pottery

by Tselmeg Bat-Erdene (international student on the MSc in Digital Marketing Management)

One of the great opportunities Staffordshire University offers is an encouragement to develop practical skills. I, a postgraduate student of the MSc Digital Marketing Management, had the opportunity to test my skills at a workplace during my 4 month work placement module. With the help of our course lecturers, I had the chance to complete my work placement at Middleport Pottery, an industrial heritage site and one of the hidden gems in Stoke-on-Trent.

Main entrance to the site

Stoke-on-Trent is known to be an industrial area focusing on Pottery. Middleport Pottery, a Grade II* listed heritage site, stands out from any other visitor site as it is the UK’s last working Victorian pot bank, which is still operating in the original building of 130 years. Middleport Pottery is managed by Re-Form Heritage, an independent charity that specializes in the restoration and rejuvenation of heritage buildings at risk.

Working at Middleport Pottery has given me a chance to challenge various skill sets, such as beginner’s web development, data analysis, basic photography, and social media skills etc. In the first few weeks of starting my placement, I researched what our competitors are working on and how we can match up their levels of digital exposure. The Middleport Pottery website hasn’t been updated after the COVID-19 pandemic, therefore I have added new information, along with improving the SEO of each page and restructuring the layout of the website to be more user-friendly. Also, I have created and updated the former interactive map, which lacked information on the newly added part of the heritage tour, the Regeneration of Harper Street.

Several creative businesses are on the site

Middleport Pottery is not only a visitor attraction but also offers many services like venue hire, different activities and events happening every other weekend. It has allowed me to try different methods of promoting Middleport Pottery on social media. You can keep up with our events here or sign up to our newsletter here

Tselmeg is far right with the other volunteers and workers

Middleport Pottery has been and is a welcoming environment full of great colleagues, volunteers, and visitors. My work placement has been a great experience – working on new challenges every week with Middleport Pottery has allowed me to put into practice what I have learnt on the course. The warm welcome from the team has been a good motivation to achieve more during my placement.

It is my pleasure to give a big shout-out to Middleport Pottery, full of a unique experience for anyone to visit, enjoy the history and culture of Stoke-on-Trent, and enjoy a famous oatcake by the canal side.

Tselmeg Bat-Erdene

InstagramFacebookTwitter – for Middleport Pottery

International student Walter Vundla provides hints and tips for new students

by Walter Vundla (recent International student)

Having been born in Zimbabwe and moving to South Africa at an early age with my family to seek a better life, we faced a lot of adversity. Having to adapt to diverse cultures and getting used to different school syllabuses was a challenge. I was in grade 6 which is equivalent to Year 6. The teaching systems were completely different, languages were different (only one was similar which is Ndebele and Zulu) as South Africa has 11 official languages. I had to learn at least the basics of other languages to be able to communicate with other people which was a lesson I was determined to learn.  

Walter on graduation day

We then moved to the UK (United Kingdom) on a family reunion visa in 2014 August. It was around 1pm when we landed at Birmingham Airport and we were welcomed by cold rainy weather which I was not used to. We were then told that this was the summer!

It took some time to get used to the weather and to be honest, at times I still feel like I have not yet adapted to the weather yet. I only had about two weeks to enrol at college and one week to get ready to start a new academic journey in the UK. It was overwhelming. However, the four academic years I spent at college went by fast and soon I found myself applying for university. The first tip I would give to international student is to come prepared for the wet weather, especially towards the end of September to January.  

I knew I wanted to go to Staffordshire University and made sure that it was my first preference. I studied Business Management from 2018 to 2022 where I obtained a 2:1 (Upper second class) and was the first grandchild to graduate in my family. I received a lot of help throughout the academic years especially my last year with my dissertation. University resources and lectures were always available when I needed to use them or needed help. The second tip for the student is, make sure that you attend the sessions in the first few weeks of the academic year as the layout and introduction of the courses will be given out. These will also help you to meet the lecturers and get to know them as it will make it easier to ask for help.

The third tip is, attend all the Welcome Week activities, if possible. It is a chance to network with other students and make friends with people from different courses and backgrounds. Having diverse friendships can provide a deeper level of support to help with any challenges that one may face.  

In 2016 I joined Stafford Town FC where I spent at least five years playing as a semi professional football player. While at Stafford Town FC I was named the vice-captain of the team and later became captain. I was voted the management player of the year, we won a league cup and got promoted to the league above. I then stopped playing football to focus on my last year of university as I looking to obtain good grades. The fourth tip is, join student union as there are activities that one can partake in throughout the academic year.  

Walter played as semi pro whilst here

The fifth and final tip I would give is, make sure that all assignments are submitted on time and not left to the last minute. This will give you enough time to ask the lecturers to scan through the assignments and give you some feedback to point you to the right direction.

You might also be interested in these blogs

Advice from a Lecturer who was once an international student

Useful websites and social media for Stoke and Staffordshire

Find out more about our courses here

In-depth advice for International student think of studying at Staffordshire University


Useful websites and social media in Stoke on Trent & Staffordshire

by Jon Fairburn and Laura Allen

For new students coming to Staffordshire University (and more generally for those moving to the area for work) here is a guide to the most useful online sources

Clearing is open or phone 0800 590 830 if you are still looking for a course


Visit Stoke and Enjoy Staffordshire for attractions and events in the area, escape to the great outdoors in the Peak District – a shout out to the website for East Staffordshire tourism which is excellent

For Business students provides information on all the big projects being developed in the city. The student jobs recruitment agency on campus is Unitemps or if you need help with your CV then try our Careers service. A good news site especially for business news is the Daily Focus

For up to date news on jobs, events and funding opportunities in the area (especially useful for the creative students but also any student looking for opportunities)

The best food blog in the area is Moorlands Eater

We even have courses where you can work at Alton Towers as part of your course!

Entertainment and venue websites

Facebook pages and groups

Walk the Moorlands – for outdoor exercise and Stoke Music scene – for live music

There’s lots of What’s on pages and groups but this is probably the best one and it also covers Cheshire

Staffordshire Business School keep up to date with our latest news. Hanley Park is right next to the campus and has lots of facilities (all weather courts, basket ball, playgrounds) and events on (5K park run and others)

Lots of part-time/temp jobs suitable for students get posted on this page


To get up to speed with the latest events and great recommendations of what there is to do in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire, check out:

We Love Stoke – run by Steven and Kim who moved to Stoke-on-Trent and loved it! They share their adventures in experiencing what the city has to offer.

Stoke-on-Trent Bid highlights festivals, events and activities to get involved in, with a regular what’s on line up.

Enjoy Staffordshire shares exactly that – how to enjoy Staffordshire. Sometimes you’ll also find exclusive discounts.

Visit Stoke provides you with great days out for all ages.

Eat Stoke – if food and drink is your thing, you need to give this account a follow to support the very best of Stoke-on-Trent’s food and drink culture.


These Staffordshire-bred accounts are really on their game on TikTok, follow them to see what you could get up to in Staffordshire.

Staffordshire County Council

Peak Wildlife Park

Staffordshire University

Linkedin and Twitter

Staffordshire Business School Linked page and we are on twitter here @BusinessStaffs


#staffordshirehour twitter hour Weds 8-9pm