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Businesses benefit from pioneering Newcastle Business School student consultancy service

20th July 2015

Businesses across the North East are reaping the benefits of pioneering work at Northumbria University, Newcastle, which sees students provide a free consultancy service to real companies.

Launching the project was seen as a bold move two years ago, with few other UK universities offering undergraduates the opportunity to work directly with business leaders.

However, the Undergraduate Consultancy Project run by Newcastle Business School, at Northumbria, has seen more than 100 students involved in the module as well as a string of successful solutions for companies across the region.

One of the organisations to have benefited directly from the project is the Dyspraxia Foundation, which is dedicated to increasing the understanding of the condition and raising public awareness.

The students at Newcastle Business School did a survey of employees at various organisations and discovered that dyspraxia was barely recognised as a disability and many employers did not take into consideration how it might affect their employees.

Elaine Tickner of the Dyspraxia Foundation said: “Dyspraxia is a really poorly understood disability. I saw there was a huge gap and wanted a consultancy to come up with some good ideas which the Business School students certainly did”.

“After a presentation by the students I was quite choked up. They had put a lot of work in and I was so pleased with the result. I wouldn’t have received anything better from a professional company.”

This client-facing approach is instead of a more traditional dissertation for the students and carries the same marks toward their degree.

It allows students with limited business experience to develop collaborative and productive working relationships with colleagues, and deliver genuine solutions for real businesses. Students working on a client project are closely supervised by experienced staff from Newcastle Business School.

Newcastle Business School, Business Clinic Director Nigel Coates explained: “Practice-based learning is a key focus for us here at the business school as it can enhance the students’ learning experience and their job prospects when they graduate.

“It is the perfect mix of academic and professional experience to prepare students for employment.

“The students, who are bright, eager and innovative, can offer something completely different to what a company might get from an internal team.

“We want to help businesses grow so they become strong, sustainable and long-lasting businesses. We’re open for business.”

The clinic-based learning experience has a strong employability focus to enhance career prospects for the students.

Projects have been undertaken for SMEs, some very large companies as well as not-for-profit organisations.

Projects have included developing and designing prototype e-commerce websites and user interfaces, along with developing strategies to enter new markets, increasing visitors to a tourist attraction, creating a service of real value for the organisation involved. 

For more information regarding Northumbria University’s Business courses, visit https://www.northumbria.ac.uk/ 

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