New Challenge Academy launched to boost skills

Students will be taking on real life business challenges as part of a new project at the University of Wolverhampton.

The Challenge Academy partners students with a regional business or organisation to work on a bite-sized project with support from academic experts.

Launched during the University’s Career Development Week, the Challenge Academy aims to give students additional skills to boost their CVs while enabling a business to benefit from staff and student expertise.

The project was piloted by the Faculty of Social Sciences with 100 students taking part in 10 challenges. Now the scheme is to be expanded across the University.

Dr Robert Harris, Principal Lecturer Postgraduate Employability, said: “The feedback from the pilot scheme was very positive, with students reporting the experience had given them more confidence in an interview situation. Two students even secured jobs and they felt that their success was due in part to being involved in Challenge Academy, so we’re really looking forward to opening this out across the University.

“The idea is that businesses or other organisations will come to us with a challenge, problem or opportunity and the students will provide short-term support. The business benefits from highly cost effective support from a specialist student under the supervision of academics or professional mentors, and the students’ employment prospects are enhanced at the same time – it’s a win-win.”

One of the companies that has already benefited from the partnership is Walsall-based Marlborough of England, formerly Marlborough World, which undertook a project focused on export marketing and decided to rename itself as a result.

Richard Taylor, Director, Marlborough of England, said: “We’re involved with the Challenge Academy as it gives students the opportunity to go that next step further. When students enter the world of work, they’ll find they need real world experiences and things that give them the extra edge to stand out from the crowd.

“University of Wolverhampton students have collaborated and worked with La Salle Institute in Troy, New York, America, previously on Challenge Academy live briefs and this partnership has transform our business – we changed our company name from Marlborough World to Marlborough of England, which has help expanded our business into the US Market.”

Further information

Pic: (L-R) Rob Harris - Principal Lecturer Postgraduate Employability at the University of Wolverhampton, Carl Jarvis – Senior Marketing Advisor, The Marketing Exchange, Claire Dowdall – Marketing Trainer, and Richard Taylor – Director, Marlborough of England.

For more information please contact the Media Relations Office on 01902 32 2736 or 01902 518647.

Date Issued: Monday, 20 February 2017

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