SBS Events: Go Solo

This month, Suffolk Business School teamed up with PolicyBee Ltd to offer students the opportunity to explore careers as freelances and in self-employment.

We were excited to welcome a great range of organisations to UCS who were on hand of offer practical and helpful advice to students who are thinking about going freelance after graduation (or even during their studies). Ensors, Larking Gowen, Ashtons Legal, Eastern Enterprise Hub, Menta, and Browser Media were among those involved.


This event was the first of it’s kind at UCS. As Suzanne Nolan, Lecturer in Employment Development, said:

“Freelancing is a growing trend, so it makes sense that our students want to find out more about what could be a rewarding career choice for many of them. UCS students are serious about their futures, so we are glad to be able to offer them exactly the help and support they asked for in the student survey.”


PolicyBee worked with the Suffolk Business School at UCS to survey students about their opinions on becoming self-employed, and the support they wanted to receive at the Go Solo event. They found that 75% of UCS students surveyed were interested in becoming self-employed in the future. Nearly 90% of UCS students wanted the opportunity to speak with people who are self-employed, and over 85% of students wanted advice on the legal requirements involved in setting up their own business.

Working alongside PolicyBee and UCS to help organise and facilitate the event was Events Management student, Natasha Hook. Natasha is using the experience as part of her work-based learning module for her degree. Not only that, but she hopes the opportunities offered from the event will help with her ambitions to start her own business after graduation. Good luck Natasha!

You can read Suzanne’s ‘5 Tips to Go Solo’ here.


EU Referendum and Business: PM Visits UCS

We were delighted to welcome Prime Minister David Cameron onto UCS Ipswich campus yesterday, along with a host of local school students, UCS students, and staff.

The Prime Minister laid out the arguments to vote to stay in the EU at the upcoming referendum on Thursday 23 June, 2016. The three core points – economy, security, and strength – were brought home with key examples, including negotiating trade agreements with developing countries, the sharing of security information and deportation, and the ability to stand alongside a 500 million strong consumer group.

We were lucky enough to have three academic representatives of the Suffolk Business School in attendance – interim Head of School Professor Noel Smith, Deputy Head of School Dr Will Thomas, and Lecturer in Employment Development Suzanne Nolan. Below are their views on the event and referendum:

Professor Noel Smith on cooperation and culture:

While I’m very concerned about what is happening to the NHS and welfare state under his watch, I think the Prime Minister has got it right on Europe, and it was good to hear him put the positive case for Europe. It is important to be reminded that the EU was developed in response to global conflict – the Second World War. With global tensions mounting again, it seems rash and short-sighted to want be isolate ourselves.

Putting the positive case is important, but I would have liked a more robust critique of the Leave camp. Given that Euro-sceptic sentiment is often driven by concerns about migration, I would have liked to have asked whether leaving Europe would make the UK a less tolerant society?

Dr Will Thomas on trade and business:

From a trade point of the view the arguments in favour of EU membership seem clear. EU trade is responsible for almost 40% of our exports and 55% of our imports making it by far the single most important trading area for our businesses. Exit of the EU would bring tremendous uncertainty about the nature of future relationships with this trading block. In time, renegotiated agreements may allow for a degree of free-trade but this will come at a cost (the ‘membership fee’ for joining the European Economic Area). Our businesses will also have to abide by rules set in the EU but without a say in the way in which they are created or in their scope. Whilst it may be possible to negotiate suitable solutions to these issues, as things stand there is too much uncertainty to support withdrawal.

Suzanne Nolan on graduates and employability:

The EU is committed to developing the 2020 vision, including the aims for ‘smart, sustainable, inclusive growth’ through improved coordination of national and European policy. There are European-wide targets for improving access to Higher Education, and graduate employability that include the ‘New Skills for New Jobs’ initiative for better skills upgrading, anticipation and matching. In the UK, the skills gap among graduates and non-graduates is under constant scrutiny, and many feel it has grown in recent years. Remaining in the EU will not only allow greater cross-cultural access to education, but encourages the sharing of research into wider trends in the skills gap and support in closing this gap.

Suffolk Inside Out Conference

A great press release for our upcoming conference:

A desire to showcase all that Suffolk has to offer and a rise in the ‘staycation’ market trend has inspired students at University Campus Suffolk (UCS) to create a new concept in business networking events during ‘English Tourism Week’.


‘Suffolk Inside Out’ is the brainchild of five enterprising students studying a degree in Event, Business and Tourism Management. The team intends to build upon the success of the ‘Suffolk Unlocked’ conference that took place in March 2015 with the support of VisitSuffolk and a range of partners.

One of a series of annual events ‘Suffolk Inside Out’ is planned to take place on Friday 11 March 2016 at Trinity Park Conference Centre, Ipswich. The vision of the project is to celebrate the wealth of business opportunities in the county of Suffolk, with a focus on the county’s thriving tourism industry and how trends such as ‘staycations’ have contributed to local success stories.

According to the World Travel Market Industry report 2015, the UK was named in the top three holiday destinations for 2015 and remains in the top three for consumers considering holidays in 2016. Barclays Business stated that the: “…thriving staycation economy is boosting small businesses around the country”, and estimated £22.5billion is spent on UK staycations every year. The research suggests that three quarters of UK adults (77%) have been on, or are planning a UK staycation. VisitEngland reported that British consumers took 18.3million holiday trips in England from January to June 2015 – up by 2% year-on-year – and expenditure increased by 6% to £4.4billion.


Laura Locke, Senior Lecturer and Course Leader of the programme at University Campus Suffolk says “The growing tourism economy within Suffolk along with the growth in ‘staycation’ holidays nationally, provide a wealth of small to medium enterprises in the county leading to many business opportunities. These businesses include accommodation providers, event venues, leisure and hospitality businesses, cultural arts and heritage organisations alongside many agricultural businesses that have diversified to provide visitor attractions and food tourism. The challenge to support and sustain these industries, in a difficult economic environment, provides the focus for the ‘Suffolk Inside Out’ event on Friday 11 March.”

Suffolk Inside Out team

The academic team of the BA (Hons) Event and Tourism Management programme have worked to develop the annual business-to-business event project since 2006, and are delighted that Trinity Park Events and White Space Design alongside Affinity PR and Ipswich Town and Waterfront have once again offered their valuable support for this year’s project.

Laura adds “Live projects such as this and others that are developed in partnership with Suffolk businesses mean that our students gain very valuable experience to support their high quality employability skills. Collaborative learning experiences contribute to the success of the course which achieved 100% satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2014/15.”

Kesha Allen, a student on the Event and Business Management degree and project team member of ‘Suffolk Inside Out’ says “Being a part of the student team providing a platform for Suffolk’s tourism business’s to network is a real privilege. ‘Suffolk Inside Out’ will bring tourism business’s together to showcase sustainable growth opportunities within the sector and how trends such as ‘staycations’ influence continuity and impact the tourism market. We hope it’ll be a must-attend event this spring!”

For more information on ‘Suffolk Inside Out’, and for opportunities to become involved in the event on Friday 11 March 2016, please contact: