A new Business Clinic which has seen over 70 students work on bespoke projects for a diverse range of regional companies has been hailed a success.
The Business Clinic at Teesside University was officially launched earlier this year and has seen students matched with 16 private, public and third sector businesses to gain experience and come up with solutions to real world challenges.
Students spent three months working on projects for the likes of Harvey and Hugo, Cultures CIC and County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service.
Second year BA (Hons) Business Management students Amin Ngunga and brothers Kanidu and Shavindu Karunanaya worked with PD Ports looking at ways to streamline internal communications procedures at the company.
They carried out in-depth research and staff surveys and came up with the solution of creating a mobile app for staff communications.
Amin, 48, said: “We have all learnt a lot and this project has given us the courage and confidence to go into the business environment and put into practice what we are learning about during the degree course.
“We learn a lot of theory, but it does take time to go into a workplace and engage with employees. The Business Clinic is a fantastic way to bridge that gap – it has been a huge challenge, but extremely rewarding.”
Kirsten Donkin, PR and Communications Manager at PD Ports, said that out of the 1,250 workforce, only 800 have regular access to email, so to communicate effectively with all staff can be a challenge.
She added: “The students at Teesside University have been fantastic. They talked to staff about what they wanted and have come up with an effective solution that meets everybody’s needs.
“In Teesside, we have a world-leading university on our doorstep and this is exactly the kind of collaboration that should be happening – businesses and education working together to solve problems.”
Another project at the Business Clinic has seen students Natalie Woods, Stavrianna Chatzikou, Luke Pottage and Lou Anderson placed with County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service (CDDFRS) to help raise awareness and recruit more female firefighters.
CDDFRS decided to get involved in the Business Clinic after several senior members of staff completed a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) through Teesside University.
Area Manager Dominic Brown said: “We were all extremely impressed with Teesside University Business School and are delighted to be involved in the Business Clinic.”
Suzanne Withrington is Principal Lecturer (Enterprise and Business Engagement) and heads up the University’s Business Clinic.
She said: “We are delighted with the success of the Business Clinic and the feedback from both students and businesses has been overwhelmingly positive.
“At Teesside University we are committed to providing our students with real world working opportunities. The Business Clinic creates a professional environment where students can develop the skills to make them highly distinctive in the workplace whilst, at the same time, offering a bespoke service to businesses in the region.”