A drive to recruit more female firefighters is just one of the exciting projects Teesside University students will be working on as part of the brand new Business Clinic.
The Business Clinic was officially launched earlier this month and matches students with businesses to work on real world projects.
In total, 70 second year BA (Hons) Business Management students have been placed with 16 private, public and third sector businesses, including PD Ports, Harvey and Hugo and Cultures CIC.
They will spend three months working on bespoke projects, but it is up to the students and businesses involved to plan the workload and divide their time accordingly to suit the individual requirements of each project.
Natalie Woods, Stavrianna Chatzikou, Luke Pottage and Lou Anderson have been placed with County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service (CDDFRS) and have been tasked with a project 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.
“The task we have set for the students is a massive challenge which is facing the fire service nationally – we want to recruit more female firefighters, get them interested and get them applying. We want to banish some of the stereotypes around this being a profession for men.
“All the students will be working extremely hard but it is a mutually beneficial partnership and we will all be getting something out of it.”
Lou is a mature student and can’t wait to get started in the Business Clinic.
She added: “It is a really exciting project and hopefully we can make a significant contribution.
“I have had 35 years of work experience but got to the stage where I thought I needed a degree in order to progress further. I have loved every minute of Teesside University so far and am just embracing all of the opportunities that come my way.”
Suzanne Withrington is Principal Lecturer (Enterprise and Business Engagement) and heads up the University’s Business Clinic.
She said: “All of the businesses have a relationship with the University and have separate problems or challenges which they would like the students to work on.
“The Business Clinic fits perfectly with the ethos of the University in that it mirrors our commitment to provide students with real world working opportunities. It brings what they have learnt to life and allows them to engage with businesses who could be their employers in the future.
“It also gives them confidence and the chance to work on a piece of research to help support a local business.”
Professor Jane Turner, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Enterprise and Business Engagement) at Teesside University, added: “We are delighted to launch the Business Clinic and are extremely confident that it will enhance the employability of our students by developing the skills and behaviours that make them highly distinctive in the marketplace.
“Employers stress the need to recruit graduates with industry experience and the Business Clinic is a perfect vehicle to enable that. The clinic also supports the businesses in the region, a commitment that we take very seriously as a university of practice, recognising our key contribution to the economic prosperity of the region.”