Manufacturing consultancy benefits from fully-funded graduate

CIF loves Keele.  Already a tenant on Keele University Science and Innovation Park, the manufacturing consultancy has signed up to the Keele Research Innovation Support Programme (KRISP)*, receiving a fully-funded top-notch graduate as a result.  

As part of the programme, Economics and International Business graduate Rajan Sidhu investigated setting up a Customer Relationship Management system for CIF’s HR consulting arm, spending 100 hours in the firm.

CIF co-founder Colin Copeland was really pleased and found the process simplicity itself: “The University put forward three candidates for the project, and a streamlined process enabled us to pick the placement student or graduate we wanted.”

Colleague Lucy Robinson, HR Consultant and Coach, says that having a younger mind in play has helped them realise the significance of integrating with social media.  Lucy has no hesitation in recommending Rajan: “He did a great job and we’re delighted how well he fitted into the working environment and contributed right away.”

Founded in 2001 and re-formed through a buy-out in 2011 by Colin and co-director Graham Kennett, CIF provides specialised engineering consultancy backed by HR follow-through when clients need to recruit or make people changes.  Clients span the aerospace, automotive, ceramics, metals, food, built environment and materials sectors.  Colin is keen to stress their uniquely straight-forward approach to consultancy.  “One day we’ll be in overalls on the shop floor, the next in suits presenting to city investors,” he says, adding: “We work with bucket loads of common sense, and don’t do acronyms or management twaddle.”

Colin sees the relationship with Keele as mutual, and puts something back when the company leads a business simulation for students at Keele Management School.  “It’s all about relationships,” he says, “and you never know how one thing might lead to another.”

Steve Hargreaves, Business Engagement Manager at Keele University, said: “It was great to see Rajan's progress in this project.  We have a robust application process so we ensure employers can select the most appropriate and skilled students or graduates.  We have been delighted to support CIF and will be pleased to support any other SMEs within Staffordshire to tap into student and graduate talent.” 

ERDF logo Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent businesses can benefit from a range of specialist support and funding.  Interested companies should contact Keele University’s Business Gateway on 01782 733001 or

For further information about CIF, please visit their website:

‌*The KRISP project (ref: 32R16P00711) is part-funded from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds England Growth Programme 2014-2020.