Keele University programme set to commence its 100th Digital Advisor project
Linked to the University’s new Digital Society Institute, the 100th Digital Advisor project is due to get underway this month.
Launched in May 2022, the programme provides local SME businesses with the opportunity to engage with talented Keele students and graduates, employed as advisors, to work on bespoke projects designed to build digital capacity and capabilities. Part-funded through a suite of funders including the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), there is no cost to eligible organisations.
Offering an array of digital skills from social media support and market trend analysis to website development, the Digital Advisor team, including Business Engagement Manager Philippa Richardson and Programme Manager Alice Whitehouse, work to match an advisor to each organisation’s bespoke project, ensuring that, on completion of their 40-hour duration, the business is in a stronger digital position.
Ashfields Leather benefitted from the additional resource that the Digital Advisors project provided. Third year Marketing and Business Management student Alicia reviewed the company’s website, implementing several changes to improve user experience and collated a report exploring how to maximise e-commerce opportunities
Rob Ashfield, owner of Ashfields Leather, said: “The Digital Advisor project is a fantastic opportunity to work with talented people who can analyse and advise in an area where you need help and support.
“It was a pleasure working with Alicia and I am really impressed and very grateful for the analysis work, help and advice she has given me. It was something that, as a sole trader, I was struggling to find the time and resource to complete.”
Alicia said: “The project enabled me to enhance multiple skills, putting the theory and learnings gained throughout my degree into practice in a workplace. I was able to offer fresh ideas and contribute to discussions around improving the businesses online presence.”
Fellow Staffordshire business, Rockholt Acquisitions, also benefitted from the knowledge and skills of another talented student, second year Computer Science and Mathematics student, Immanuel, to develop an app to improve the enquiry process for engineers working on-site, taking it to a launch-ready stage.
Simon Chorley, Director of the industrial automation solutions provider, said: “We have been very impressed with the level of Keele undergraduate talent. So much so that we have kept our Digital Advisor Immanuel on as our IT Co-ordinator.
“The 40-hour model was ideal to engage with and the project has had a valuable impact on our business.”
Philippa Richardson said, “All businesses strive on talent, and this is what our Keele community generates.
“We have seen the 40 hours give valuable contributions in many different work areas, and the hours be utilised by businesses to assess the need for new job roles within the organisation.
“It offers a chance to trial new ideas and develop existing ones, all without longer term commitment. Reaching the 100 mark shows that we can deliver projects successfully to local SMEs with our clean and simple processes.”
Available exclusively to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) based in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire, get in touch to find out how the Digital Advisor project could increase your digital capacity keele.ac.uk/digitalbusiness
Innovation Centre 7 and its associated programmes are part-funded through a suite of funders including the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) (as part of the England 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) Growth Programme), the Research England Development Fund, and UK Government funding through the Getting Building Fund.
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