Suffolk Young Enterprise finals

By David Collins, Suffolk Business School

In my last blog which was, I acknowledge, quite some time ago I was looking forward to a family break. I have now returned – however reluctantly – from my trip to France. Indeed since this welcome break I have been to France, Belgium, Holland and North Norfolk!

I had intended to prepare a blog posting last week but a very crowded diary prevented this. Last Thursday, you see, I acted as the Chair of a University validation panel and in the evening I was privileged to attend the Suffolk Young Enterprise Awards, which was hosted by the University of Suffolk.

This event is the culmination of a process which sees groups of students prepare business plans designed to bring a product to the marketplace. At last week’s event the students reported on what they had done and on what they had learned and, perhaps most importantly, what they had earned through this process since this is no abstract exercise. In this regard it is perhaps worth conceding that I bought two ‘spinners’ for my kids from the team representing East Bergholt.

Aside from indulging myself in a bit of retail therapy I also took the opportunity to remind the students of the benefits of a degree education that will make them ‘career –ready’. In addition I took a moment to remind their teachers of the need to ensure their own continuing development. Teachers you see need to be ‘ahead of the game’ because they must prepare their students for a market that is always six years away! Given the complexities associated with leading a school I was pleased to be able to inform the teachers (and parents) who were present that we offer a range of postgraduate, MBA and MSc, programmes that have been designed to prepare participants for future senior management and executive positions.

The highlight of the evening was of course the prize-giving. I was invited to award a number of prizes on behalf of the judging committee and was pleased to accept. If I’m I really don’t enjoy having my photograph taken and would normally look for some way to wriggle out of this obligation. But I was pleased to set aside my normal reticence on this occasion for I was genuinely impressed by what the students had achieved. Indeed I found myself humbled by the quality of the presentations that they delivered last Thursday evening. In fact I am pretty well convinced that I could not do at 20 what the students last week had achieved in their middle teens!

Given these performance I do hope that I was successful in my attempts to persuade the students and their parents that they should continue their studies at the University of Suffolk.

Creative careers event at University helps Suffolk students find their future

Suffolk students are invited to explore the exciting range of creative career choices available to them across the region at #mediadiscovery 2017, an interactive event hosted by Genesis PR, University of Suffolk and a wide range of local employers on Monday 27 February at the University’s Waterfront building.

Open to students aged 16 and above, the event will feature a variety of hands-on sessions from exhibitors within the creative media industry. #mediadiscovery is for anyone considering a career in PR, social or digital media, broadcasting, newspaper publishing, graphic design, photography, film production and more.

Exhibitors at the event include Genesis PR, East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star publisher Archant; Trinity Park Events, Yellobelly, Fred. Olsen, Sanctuary Personnel, Summer Isle Films, James Fletcher Photographer, Ginger Nut Media, Simple By Designs and the Public Relations & Communications Association (PRCA). University of Suffolk will also exhibit its range of degree programmes.

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Genesis PR and University of Suffolk launch #mediadiscovery2017. Left to right: University of Suffolk Event Management Student Emily Rowling; Suzanne Nolan, Lecturer in Employment Development at the University of Suffolk, Penny Arbuthnot, Director at Genesis PR; Ellie Brown, apprentice at Genesis PR; and Laura Locke, Event & Tourism Management Course Leader and Senior Lecturer at the University of Suffolk. 

Leading Suffolk PR agency Genesis PR is working with the University of Suffolk to host #mediadiscovery as part of the firm’s pro-bono community commitment. University of Suffolk Event Management student Emily Rowling has joined Genesis PR on work placement to help plan and organise the careers showcase alongside Genesis’ PR apprentice Ellie Brown. Both are gaining valuable, first-hand experience of what it’s like to work in the PR industry.

Genesis PR director Penny Arbuthnot, said: “Following the success of the pilot #mediadiscovery, we are once again hosting the creative careers showcase with University of Suffolk to raise awareness of the huge variety of jobs available in the PR, media and creative industries.

“Here in Suffolk and the wider East of England region, there has been a strong growth in creative employment opportunities, demonstrating that students don’t have to go to the big cities to find success, with Ellie and Emily both shining examples.”

Laura Locke, Senior Lecturer University of Suffolk’s Business School added: “The #mediadiscovery2017 event offers exciting opportunities for our students at the University of Suffolk and from our partner schools to engage with business and consider the opportunities for their career development. As Course Leader of the BA Hons Event and Tourism Management programme, we are delighted to partner with Genesis PR, who have supported the programme for a number of years.”

#mediadiscovery will be held in the University of Suffolk’s Waterfront Building on Monday 27 February, from 2-4pm. For more information and to book your place visit the event page here.

Another message from Professor David Collins

In my previous blog I made no fewer than three reading recommendations and yet confessed that I did not actually take up reading seriously until I was around 16. I should probably take a moment to expand upon this revelation…

It’s true I did not actually take up reading seriously until I was around sixteen. How had I spent my time prior to that? Well I had been playing soldiers (my father and all my uncles had seen action in World War II), playing football (poorly), playing basketball (with a little more flair, but if you ever meet me, you will see that this was not going to go anywhere). I had also been watching television.

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All this ceased abruptly when I was sixteen. My family moved from Kilmarnock to a very small town called Newmilns and my father returned our old rented television (yes people rented televisions in those days!) and simply refused to buy a replacement. So I guess you are now thinking that this is the part of the story where I say… ‘And at this point, having been denied easy access to the mind-numbing so-called entertainment that is television I turned to reading, quickly devoured all the classics, and in so doing took the first steps on a path that would lead me to an academic career.’

Well I’m sorry to disappoint you, but this is not how the story goes. Truthfully I was miserable. My friends now lived miles away and the things that I would normally do to keep me occupied on a winter’s evening (watching television and road-running) were now no longer options (the roads in our little town were not lit). And in any case, the narrative of my transformation from viewer to reader fails because I had decided that I would like to become an academic two years previously!

So how did a boy from a working-class community, with no previous exposure to University study let alone academic careers, come to this decision aged fourteen? Well, the example set by some good teachers plainly helped. But the truth, as far as I am concerned, is that watching television improved my education. Watching really good television programmes had fuelled my curiosity, and it had begun to teach me that you could educate and entertain. Indeed television had taught me that education was pretty much impossible in the absence of an engaging narrative. It’s probably not surprising therefore that much of my research on the practices and processes of managing has focused upon storytelling.

So what’s my point? I guess what I’m trying to say is that if you feel that your background and biography somehow disqualify you from higher education, think again. I transitioned fairly quickly from not reading books to writing my own and there’s no reason why you can’t so the same.

The University of Suffolk is committed to supporting students from all backgrounds succeed in their chosen careers. Explore our range of degrees here. Professor David Collins is the Head of the Suffolk Business School, which offers undergraduate degrees in:

  • BA (Hons) Accounting and Financial Management
  • BA (Hons) Business Management
  • BA (Hons) Event Management
  • BA (Hons) Event Management and Tourism Management
  • BA (Hons) Tourism Management

We also offer postgraduate qualifications in:

  • Master of Business Administration (MBA)
  • MSc Business and Management
  • PgD Human Resource Management
  • MSc Human Resource Management