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Alumni Association Magazine Autumn 2015

REINVENTING THE CITY The graduate at the helm of Birmingham’s transformation

RADICAL THINKING Expert Imran Awan tackles radicalisation and extremism

JEWEL IN THE CROWN 125 years of the School of Jewellery


New beginnings

Alumni Association Magazine Birmingham City University University House 15 Bartholomew Row Birmingham B5 5JU T: +44 (0) 121 331 5506 E: W: Course information and guidance T: +44 (0) 121 331 5595 Switchboard T: +44 (0) 121 331 5000 EDITORIAL Editor: Helen Geary Contributors: David Aust, Sam Lambeth, Rachel Whitehouse, Jo Goldhawk Designer: Kat Warder Production Manager: Catherine Davis

Cover photograph: Grand Central

Aspire is produced by Birmingham City University Alumni Association. Unless otherwise indicated, copyright belongs to Birmingham City University. Reproduction in whole or in part of any material contained in Aspire is prohibited without prior written consent. The views expressed in this magazine do not necessarily represent the views of Birmingham City University. While all due care is taken regarding accuracy of information, no responsibility can be accepted for errors. Any guidance given does not constitute a legal opinion.


September this year marked a series of new beginnings. The month began with graduation, four wonderful days celebrating your success during which I was able to welcome 3,500 of you personally into our alumni community. You might think graduation signifies an end rather than a beginning, but of course the completion of your studies is only the end of a chapter as you move on to exciting new ventures. I look forward to staying in touch with the Class of 2015 as you embark on the next stage of your lives. We also recognised six new Alumni of the Year at this year’s ceremonies, including our first joint nomination for a husband and wife team in Craig and Rebecca Struthers. Alumni of the Year has gone from strength to strength since we launched the scheme in 2010. Not only am I personally impressed with the individual stories we uncover each year, but it helps shine a much-deserved spotlight on the quality of all of our graduates. We went from graduation almost straight into Welcome Week this year, another new beginning as we welcomed the next generation of future alumni to the University. This Welcome Week was the most energising one yet. In

particular, it was fantastic to see a huge turnout for the students’ Welcome Fair spread across Millennium Point, the new Curzon Building and out into Eastside Park. Our wonderful individual facilities are really beginning to feel like one big City Centre Campus now, especially as The Curzon Building is fully operational and really coming into its own. I spent part of the first weekend of Welcome Week personally welcoming our new students and meeting their families. The first few weeks can be daunting for new arrivals as they make the transition into university life and study. This summer we opened a new student enquiry service, ‘Ask’, which is doing a super job of supporting students with their queries. With the motto ‘Ask us anything’, they have already dealt with thousands of questions about everything from navigating student finance to looking after your health and wellbeing, from the details of course administration to simply finding your way around campus. With the service available online, on the phone and face to face, we are now able to offer a more comprehensive and joined up level of support than ever before.

Contents Autumn 2015

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REGULARS News 04 All the latest news from your University; awards, estate developments, alumni news and more.



Alumni Career Events — helping you if you are looking for work, starting a business or just interested in developing your skills. September also saw the opening of the much-anticipated Grand Central, a new beginning in one sense but also a milestone on an ongoing journey for the city. There is a real economic and cultural renaissance going on in Birmingham at the moment and our University has a major role to play by educating its workforce, developing its skills, finding solutions for businesses and serving the city in every way we can. I am sure that this year is marking a new beginning for many of you too, whether that’s in your work, your study or your personal life. I hope that your new ventures are successful, and I wish each and every one of you the very best for the year ahead.

Where are they now?

FEATURES 10 out of 10 for PR


Celebrating the 10th year in a row that a Birmingham City University student has won the CIPR Midlands Student of the Year award.

Alumni of the Year


Meet our latest Alumni of the Year, recognised at our graduation ceremonies in September, and find out how you can nominate for 2016!

Reinventing the city


We interview the graduate playing a key role in Birmingham’s transformation through his role as Major Links Project Manager for Birmingham City Council.

Jewel in the crown Professor Cliff Allan Vice-Chancellor


Catch up with other alumni — where they are and what they’re doing now.


Head of the School of Jewellery, Gaynor Andrews, talks to us about the past, present and future of the School as it celebrates 125 years.

Radical thinking


University expert Imran Awan tells us about the dangers, causes and possible solutions for tackling extremism and radicalisation.





Birmingham City University submitted planning applications in August for two more major additions to our estate. At City South Campus, a new £41 million building will house the relocated School of Education from 2017, as well as the new School of Life Sciences. The 10,500 sq m facility will enable the University to offer a wide range of new health, nutrition, biomedical science and sports courses, reinforcing our status as the region’s largest provider of qualified health and social care professionals to the NHS and producer of more teachers than any other institution in the West Midlands. At the City Centre Campus, meanwhile, the University will add significant new

Artist impression of the new building at the City Centre Campus

teaching and learning space next to The Curzon Building. The six-storey building, also scheduled to open in 2017, will accommodate around 3,000 students and staff in a range of new facilities, including extensive space for experimental and social learning. Professor Paul Hartley, Pro-ViceChancellor, said: “The University is playing a huge part in the transformation and regeneration of the Eastside of Birmingham through the rapidly expanding City Centre Campus. Alongside The Curzon Building welcoming students in September, and work getting under way on a superb new Birmingham Conservatoire, this is a thoroughly exciting time to be a part of the University.”

OPEN FOR BUSINESS The Curzon Building, the latest development in the University’s £250 million estate plan, welcomed its first students in September. The 24,300 sq m building houses the schools of Business, Law, Social Sciences and English, along with the ASK student support service and the University’s main library. Construction also saw the University restore a landmark Victorian pub, the Eagle and Ball, as a unique new home for the Students’ Union. The pub was built around 1840, and was known as The Moby Dick when it closed in 2007. After standing derelict for almost 10 years, the Grade II listed pub is now open not only to our students, but to the public too.



Council cabinet members gathered at the University in July for the launch of Academy Cube’s e-skills learning centre and UK National Office, which aims to tackle Europe’s shortage of STEM skills. Academy Cube, located at the University’s Centre for Enterprise Systems, is a career and online learning platform which offers an intelligent matching system, allowing STEM talent to identify and develop the skills and qualifications they require for specific roles in the workplace.

Birmingham Conservatoire has welcomed world renowned musician Julian Lloyd Webber as its new Principal. Professor Lloyd Webber, who took over from Professor David Saint in July, takes up the reins as the Conservatoire has emerged as the best UK conservatoire for student satisfaction. Scoring 91 per cent for overall satisfaction in the 2015 National Student Survey, it outperformed all other UK counterparts, including the Royal Colleges.

CEO of the Academy Cube, Bernd Böckenhoff, said: “With Birmingham City University, Academy Cube found the perfect partner to get talents into STEM jobs and address the lack of skilled labour in the UK and Ireland. Without co-operation like this, Europe will lack the experts it needs in the long-term to drive innovation.”

One of Professor Lloyd Webber’s first engagements was to join fellow University staff and partners to celebrate the start of building work on the Conservatoire’s £46 million new home. The building, the UK’s first new conservatoire in a generation, will open for teaching and performances in September 2017. Designed by Feilden Clegg Bradley studios, it will house

for the Conservatoire a 450-seat concert hall, recital hall, permanent jazz venue and 100 rehearsal spaces of various sizes. Located at the City Centre Campus, the new Conservatoire will be fully equipped for the digital age, and students will also have ready access to the University’s excellent existing media and production facilities. Professor Lloyd Webber said: “The opportunities that lie ahead for Birmingham Conservatoire are limitless. We will have an exceptional new home for making music as well as access to the University’s facilities and multi-genre expertise, ensuring our students leave with all the skills they need for today’s music industry.”





The University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Cliff Allan, was appointed to the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) in July, where he will back moves towards a combined authority able to drive economic growth across the West Midlands.

The Class of 2015 were joined by a special guest this September when retired mother of two Jennifer Tinsley finally donned her cap and gown to graduate more than 30 years after finishing her studies. Jennifer, 70, completed a Health Visiting course at Birmingham Polytechnic (now Birmingham City University) in 1984, but was unable to pick up her certificate when her husband was taken ill. Nearly 31 years later, after seeing her two daughters graduate, the former nurse decided she would like to relive her missed opportunity and finally attend a formal ceremony.


NEW CHORD Birmingham Conservatoire has launched an initiative to teach underprivileged children in South Africa via video conferencing. Named after the technique of playing a stringed instrument with the bow, Arco is a new international collaborative music project between Birmingham Conservatoire’s String Department and the Cape Gate MIAGI Centre for Music in Soweto, South Africa. Over the coming year, 24 students from MIAGI will take part in weekly instrument lessons, via video conferencing, from students and recent graduates of Birmingham Conservatoire. In addition to individual lessons, the masterclasses, workshops and performances taking place at Birmingham Conservatoire will be streamed live for the students at MIAGI and wider community to enjoy. The project then concludes with a music festival held at the Cape Gate Centre for Music in 2016.


Professor Cliff Allan, Vice-Chancellor, said: “To be given the opportunity to present Jennifer with her certificate after all this time is as pleasing as it is heart-warming.”

Professor Allan’s new role involves leading on GBSLEP’s strategy working across 12 sectors in the region, which include Digital and Creative, Low Carbon and Environmental Technologies, Education, and Life Sciences, all areas in which Birmingham City University has a particular focus.



Radio graduates from Birmingham City University’s School of Media walked away with a trio of awards at the 2015 New York Radio Festival’s International Radio Program Awards.

A University initiative in June proved to 12 and 13-year-old girls that engineering can be an enjoyable career for women, in a bid to address the fact that only six per cent of engineers in the UK are female.

James Bovill, PgDip Broadcast Journalism (2008), was awarded gold in the Best News Documentary category for his programme ‘The Birmingham Pub Bombings 40 Years On’. Made for BBC WM, the programme was broadcast in November last year on the 40th anniversary of the IRA attack.


Schoolgirls from across the Midlands gathered at the City Centre Campus

for a series of workshops and talks to celebrate National Women in Engineering Day. The Year 8 students participated in problem-solving challenges, creating solutions that could be applied in Nepal to safely transport tomatoes from the top of a mountain, across a river and to a market for selling.

Silver for the Best Student Radio Station went to Scratch, the University’s student radio station, already winners of the Midlands category of the 2014 UK Radio Academy’s Nations and Regions Awards. Completing the hat-trick, Emma Boyle, BA (Hons) Media and Communication (2014), won the bronze award in the Best Student Journalist category for her investigative documentary series ‘The Student Underworld’, two raw and uncompromising productions investigating the realities of student drinking and recreational drug taking.


What a HOOT

Mechanical Engineering students Suhayb Manzoor, Giovanni Forioni Bragaia, Shamul Hoque and Athos Graton Roman fought off competition from over 3,000 students from 23 UK universities to win the Engineering Without Borders Challenge 2015.

A Birmingham City University graduate helped designed one of the eye-catching owl statues installed around Birmingham this summer. Sue Guthrie, MA Fine Art (1996), designed the University-sponsered ‘Jewellery Owl’ displayed at Golden Square in the Jewellery Quarter.

The team impressed the judges with their water harvesting system, designed to collect moisture from fog and dew in the atmosphere, which could contribute to the provision of safe drinking water during dry seasons in areas of Nepal.

The Big Hoot, a city-wide project run by public art specialists Wild in Art in partnership with Birmingham Children’s Hospital, saw over 80 different owls installed in locations across the city. 7

ALUMNI CAREER EVENTS Our Alumni Career Events are a series of speaker sessions and workshops that support alumni who are looking for work, starting a business or just interested in developing their skills.


Is a portfolio career for you?


City Centre Campus 6 – 8pm


Many graduates decide to have multiple jobs upon graduation, and split their time between two or more part-time positions in order to pursue their creative ambition. Come and find out how to create a portfolio of roles and learn from others who have self-initiated their own projects and have successfully developed a portfolio career. WED

Achieving interview success


City Centre Campus 6 – 8pm


Job interviews — a barrier or an opportunity? Our Careers Service team will help you to navigate through the interview process and examine what employers are really looking for. The session will include practical preparation strategies, answering interview questions, and how to deal with nerves and sell yourself effectively. THURS

28 JAN

Becoming a BCU mentor City Centre Campus 6 – 8pm

This introductory session will give you an overview of the online and face-to-face mentoring schemes we run and how you can get involved. We will discuss how mentoring can help you to develop your skills and how these skills can be used to be an effective mentor. We’ll provide you with information about training and events that take place for our mentors throughout the year.


Updating your CV



City Centre Campus 6 – 8pm

Where can my health career take me?


City South Campus 6 – 8pm


Your CV is your marketing tool for selling yourself to potential employers — is yours working? Whether you have never written a CV before, or want some tips for updating your document and ensuring it is professional and effective, then this is the workshop for you!


16 FEB

Developing self-confidence City Centre Campus 6 – 8pm

Applying for large numbers of jobs and not hearing back can be a dispiriting experience. In this session we will start to look at how to develop your resilience while looking for roles and how to keep motivated and engaged, as well as alternative strategies that could pay off when looking for your ideal next role.


23 FEB


This practical workshop is aimed at health graduates or those interested in working in the health sector, with a chance to reflect on your career so far and explore the exciting range of options and opportunities for the future. Where will your career take you? Join us and find out!


21 APR

Stepping back to go forward City Centre Campus 6 – 8pm

Most graduates in the creative sector find a job through word of mouth. This workshop is designed to support you in thinking about your approach to finding a job and how to make use of all your support networks, including the contacts you made while at Birmingham City University.

Master’s applications, careers and skills


LinkedIn or Locked Out

City Centre Campus 6 – 8pm


City Centre Campus 6 – 8pm

Thinking of continuing your education journey? Want to go that extra mile to stand out from the crowd? In this session we will look at Master’s study as an option, including: • Why do a Master’s? • The skills you develop • Potential career options • Employers that look for postgraduate qualifications • Writing your Personal Statement


Do you have a professional online presence? Social networks are great for keeping in touch with your friends and family, but employers use them too. This workshop looks at how you can manage your professional online reputation and use social networks in your search for work. This workshop is for beginners as well as those who are looking for tips on how to boost their profile.

All Alumni Career Events are free for graduates, current and former staff, and students and include refreshments.

Book your place by emailing or telephone 0121 331 5506 8

10 out of 10 for PR When Media and Communication (Public Relations) graduate Thomas O’Connell received the prestigious Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) Midlands Student of the Year award earlier this year, it was not just a great achievement for him — it also marked the 10th year in a row that a Birmingham City University student has taken home the prize.

Thomas O’connell

winners who are now successfully carving out their careers in PR. Sarah Stevenson graduated from the course in 2010, and went on to work for Birmingham-based PR agency Seal, where she had previously undertaken work experience. After progressing from Junior Account Executive to Account Manager, working for a wide range of clients, she then moved to newly-formed agency Clarity, where she was able to shape the firm’s direction from the start. She is currently taking time out from her career to travel round Australia.

Tom impressed the judges with his campaign work for the testicular cancer charity Balls To Cancer. During Testicular Cancer Awareness Month in April, the charity was working hard to push awareness of cancer with its #RealityCheck campaign. Tom was part of the team working with TV reality stars to generate media coverage in The Sun, Daily Mail and OK! magazine. He said: “What sets the Birmingham City University Media and Communication degree course apart from the others is the confidence staff have in their students — the opportunity to devise and implement my own campaign with a real client is something that has truly impressed employers.” Tom is now working as an Account Executive for The Bright Consultancy in Birmingham and follows a succession of Birmingham City University graduates and CIPR Midlands Student of the Year

She said: “It was a really nice surprise and the evening itself was great as you got to see all the other winners and it was another chance to get an insight into the industry. “The course gave me an amazing grounding and I still refer back to what I learned all the time. Because I spent so much time gaining practical experience, I started in my job at Vodafone already feeling like an experienced professional.”

She said: “When I first visited Birmingham City University at an Open Day, meeting the staff and students sealed the deal. Everyone was so friendly, enthusiastic and dedicated to teaching you the skills and knowledge needed not just to get a degree at the end of it, but most importantly a job. “The teaching I received was outstanding. Nothing was ever too much for any tutor I had and there was always support in and outside of university times. I built up a good relationship with them and am still in contact with some of them today, helping each other out to keep industry practice and education closely linked.” Last year’s winner, Danielle Hudspith, was nominated for the award on the strength of her final year ‘live project’ — an awareness-raising campaign for a local mother and baby charity, with a particular focus on premature babies and difficult childbirths. She now works for Vodafone as a Corporate Communications Executive.

Sar ah Stevenson

Danielle Hudspith


ALUMNI of the

YEAR Birmingham City University Alumni of the Year recognises and celebrates the outstanding achievements of Birmingham City University graduates. Our alumni make a real difference across the globe in a variety of ways. Each year, the University names a number of Alumni of the Year in three categories: Enterprise and Innovation; Community Engagement and Leadership; and Excellence in Sport or the Arts. In September 2015, we recognised six graduates making their mark in all sorts of ways, from the watch industry to the death penalty.

Enterprise and Innovation

Enterprise and Innovation

Craig and Rebecca Struthers

Cal Henderson

MA Arts-Based Master’s Programme, 2014 MA History of Art and Design, 2012 During their time at the University, husband and wife Craig and Rebecca started their own watchmaking company, Struthers London, using traditional skills to create 21st century designs. They secured a prestigious contract with Morgan Motor Company to make bespoke watches, which gained commendations as Luxury Watch of the Year and Rising Star of the Year (WatchPro awards 2014). Less than a year after the release of their first watch, the duo were recognised as two of the leading figures in British horology at the WatchPro Hot 100 Awards. Regular appearances at trade fairs and exhibitions have helped to raise the profile of the University, the School of Jewellery and the Jewellery Quarter.

BSc (Hons) Software Engineering, 2002 Cal is Chief Technology Officer and cofounder of business communications app Slack, which has over one million active users and has been valued at nearly $3 billion. This marks the latest stage in an incredibly successful career — Cal also developed the online creative community B3ta and was the chief software architect for photo sharing site Flickr. Flickr was sold to tech giant Yahoo! in 2005, where Cal worked until 2009, when he left to found the company that built Slack — a platform for team communication. Slack creates a single, organised and searchable archive of information pulled from email, messaging and popular services like Twitter, Dropbox and Google Drive.


Excellence in Sport or the Arts

Community Engagement and Leadership

Community Engagement and Leadership

Martin John Callanan

Elshareef Ali Mohammed

Claire Johnson

BA (Hons) Visual Communication (Photography), 2003

LLM International Human Rights, 2013

Martin Callanan is a conceptual artist whose work focuses on ‘the individual’s place within systems’. His work has been exhibited and published internationally, and he has been awarded the prestigious Philip Leverhulme Prize in Visual Art for young academic researchers.

Elshareef is a lawyer and human rights practitioner who has attracted widespread acclaim for his work to protect human rights in his native Sudan. He spent a year working at the People’s Legal Aid Center in the capital Khartoum, where he represented, advised and defended victims of human rights violations.

He has undertaken residences in the UK, Spain, Germany and Latvia, and delivered talks in several universities and art galleries, including Tate Britain. Well-known works include ‘The Fundamental Units’, which used microscopes to magnify the world’s lowest denomination coins to a massive scale, and ‘Wars During My Lifetime’, which lists on newsprint all the wars that have taken place across the world since his birth. He recently became the Bank of England’s first-ever Artist in Residence.

He was part of the defence team who secured the release of Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman who was sentenced to death because of her Christian faith in May 2014. Elshareef is supporting a major joint programme between the University’s School of Law and the Sudanese Human Rights Initiative to promote freedom of religion in the country.

BSc (Hons) Speech and Language Therapy, 2010 Claire came to the University as a mature student to study Speech and Language Therapy. She then worked as a teaching assistant in a school for young people with learning difficulties and social, emotional and behavioural disorders, where she helped to raise awareness of speech, language and communication needs. This led to her becoming employed by the school as a Newly Qualified Therapist (NQT). Claire recognised the need to provide encouragement and resources for other newly-qualified practitioners, and created a group on Facebook to encourage networking and sharing of advice. She has been an active member of Giving Voice, a national campaign from the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists to raise awareness of speech, language and communication needs.

To read more in-depth interviews with this year’s winners, meet Alumni of the Year from previous years or to nominate alumni for 2016, go to



the city

Birmingham rarely stands still, with a number of exciting developments currently transforming its public spaces, transport infrastructure and retail offering. Birmingham City University graduate Ashley Innis is playing a key part in the transformation in his role as Major Projects Link Manager, including managing communications and engagement for Grand Central Birmingham which opened its doors in September. He spoke to David Aust about his role and the exciting prospects for his home city.


The long-awaited opening of the revamped New Street Station in September, with the attached Grand Central shopping development, brought the city’s first John Lewis department store and around 60 other premium fashion and lifestyle stores to the heart of Birmingham. Ashley’s role involved acting as a link between the council and other key stakeholders on the project, including Network Rail, contractors Mace, and all the shops and restaurants which took space in the development. He also jointly oversaw the pre-launch marketing-related activities, including PR, advertising and the development of the Grand Central website. Ashley came to Birmingham City University to study BA (Hons) International Business Management, graduating in 2003. Having worked for clothing chain Next during his time

on the course, including overseeing recruitment for the company’s new Bullring store, the opportunity came up to work for Birmingham City Council, initially in human resources and later as a Cabinet Support Officer, working directly with the political leadership of the authority. In 2012, he became Major Projects Link Manager where he co-ordinated the city council’s work with external bodies on schemes including New Street station, Grand Central, the redevelopment of Paradise Circus and the iCentrum business incubation centre, before moving to work solely on Grand Central last year. He said: “The course opened up a lot of opportunities and my aspiration was to go and work abroad — somewhat ironically I ended up working for my

local council, so it couldn’t have been further from what I first intended to do! At that time there were only about four universities doing that particular course, so my options were limited but I was more than happy to stay in Birmingham — I’m a Brummie, I’ve grown up here and I love the city, so the opportunity to learn at a local university was quite appealing. “While I was still at the University, I was working for Next, and when I finished my course there was an opportunity to work there in HR. Over the summer of 2003, the Bullring was opening so I actually led the recruitment for that store, which gave me some great real-life experience alongside the HR understanding from my degree, which helped me to get the job in the recruitment team at the council.” Ashley said that it was sometimes a challenge co-ordinating the range of


Reinventing the city stakeholders involved, all of whom wanted the project to succeed, but had their own priorities. With 60 new shops and restaurants coming to Grand Central, he said it was important that the breadth of the new retail offering was promoted, while from the council’s perspective a key priority was regeneration and job creation, with efforts put in place to ensure local people get opportunities to access jobs. He said reaction to the plans had been very positive as the PR campaign geared up to the launch. “For us it’s about how Grand Central enhances the existing retail offer in the city so a lot of the brands are new to Birmingham, or are opening standalone shops here for the first time. We’re not trying to compete with the Bullring, The Mailbox or the High Street — we think that it complements them, and for people who haven’t been to Birmingham for a number of years, there’s lots of things to do here — places like Thinktank, the Sealife Centre, and lots of hidden gems like the Jewellery Quarter — it’s about encouraging people to come here not just to shop and eat, but to spend a whole day in the city. “Our marketing strategy involved targeting areas outside of Birmingham as well — perhaps people who haven’t been into the city for some time, letting them know that there is a great offering here. I’m in London fairly often and people down there are excited about it and there was a lot of activity on Twitter and other social media, creating a real buzz around the launch.” Ashley said the Grand Central development was just one part of a much wider effort going on to bring the city into the 21st century and make it more attractive to visitors, investors and its own residents. Now that Grand Central has reached completion, work is already under way on a number of other major projects, including the Paradise scheme on the site of the former Central Library, Arena Central at the top of Broad Street, where the Central TV studios were previously located, and the Wholesale Markets site in Digbeth. 14

“I think Birmingham is already a wonderful city and, by the time we’ve finished, it’ll be fantastic but I don’t think we’ll stop.” Ashley Innis

“Paradise is the next major development and that will bring a number of Grade A office blocks to that area of the city. Arena Central will offer a leisure and office facility, and then the redevelopment of the area where the Wholesale Markets currently are will bring a kind of ‘family day out’ offering, which is something we don’t really have in the city at the moment. We’ve got HS2 coming to Curzon Street, a worldclass transport hub at New Street and the Metro extension coming down from Snow Hill, so the city is really starting to change. It’s changed a lot in the last 10 years from the inception of the Bullring to where we are now and over the next five or 10 years, this will continue. “The city centre masterplan which the leader set out a few years ago gives a really good approach to how we see the city centre moving over the next five to 10 years and you can now actually see all those pieces coming together like a jigsaw and it all makes sense because they interconnect with each other. It’s not just about getting office blocks up, it’s about making sure that public spaces are functional and appealing, that there’s access for pedestrians, cyclists and different modes of transport, and just ensuring these spaces we develop are sustainable and have a long-term aim. “I think Birmingham is already a wonderful city and, by the time we’ve finished, it’ll be fantastic but I don’t think we’ll stop — the key thing about a developing city is that you’re always

looking for improvements and making sure the city’s at the forefront of places people want to come to, live, invest and work in. I think sometimes we can get caught up trying to compete with the likes of Manchester but actually we don’t need to do that; people will go to both at different times for different reasons. There’s lots of companies, lots of people out there who want to be part of what Birmingham has to offer.” Ashley said that he was happy in his role and hoped to continue playing a role in the city’s development for some time to come. He said he still referred back to what he learned during his time at University, particularly when it came to dealing with businesses and individuals from different backgrounds. “I think I’ve got one of the best jobs in Birmingham at the moment — I’m involved in lots of major projects, working with a wide range of people. I may not be working internationally, but I regularly deal with companies, organisations and people from different countries and backgrounds, so just thinking back to the cultural diversity module I did at University and why people behave in certain ways in meetings or on conference calls, is really helpful.”

“People want to be part of what Birmingham has to offer” Ashley Innis

Jewel crown

in the

Celebrating 125 years of jewellery making This year has seen the 125th anniversary of the University’s School of Jewellery opening its doors as an exclusive training centre for Birmingham’s jewellery-making industry. Now one of the largest schools of its kind in the world, it has undergone extensive development since 1890, enabling our students to experience traditional methods through cutting-edge technology and become highly skilled craftspeople.


Early 1900s workshop


Jewel in the crown Events to mark the School’s 125th anniversary

“The School is only as good as its talented and dedicated staff who have proved their ability, year on year, to encourage our students and support their diverse ambitions.” Gaynor Andrews

November 9 – 13 Junk — from Rubbish to Gold — a performative installation project Atrium, School of Jewellery, Vittoria Street, Birmingham  rubbishtogold November 14 – December 20 Horology exhibition The Parkside Building, City Centre Campus B4 7BD

The School boasts a wealth of achievements, from commissions for the Princess Royal’s wedding in 1922 and King George V’s Silver Jubilee in 1935, to creating a torch for the 1948 Olympic Games and commemorative coin designs for London 2012. In 2014, Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall visited during a tour of the Jewellery Quarter and were presented with luxury fountain pens designed by awardwinning alumnus Jack Row. The School also offers the world’s only clock-making degree — the BA (Hons) Horology, led by top watchmaker Jeremy Hobbins. It has led to a unique partnership with luxury brand Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH) that supports students with placements and mentoring. The School of Jewellery has as much significance today as it did in 1890 when it was opened by the Birmingham Jewellery and Silversmiths’ Association in a factory building at 84 Vittoria Street. Still situated on the same site and having undergone extensive development and refurbishment, the School continues to


focus on excellence in education and training. By exploring the boundaries of the subject and engaging with research, the School offers a greater depth of career potential than ever before. Head of the School of Jewellery, Gaynor Andrews, studied BA (Hons) Jewellery Design herself at what was then Birmingham Polytechnic. After graduating, she was invited to undertake some part-time teaching at the School of Jewellery which later came together with the jewellery department from the University. Gaynor said: “The School has built an excellent reputation globally and is by far the most significant and comprehensive provider of jewellery education in the UK and Europe. Students know that they will have access to specialists in the field — experienced and talented lecturers, visiting tutors and technical staff — with facilities ranging from traditional processes to the latest technology attached to the Jewellery Industry Innovation Centre. “The history of the School over the past 125 years proudly boasts a wealth of successful graduates all over the world and has been instrumental in introducing high-quality outcomes using diverse materials and processes combined with excellent design.”

Gaynor recognises the importance of the School’s diverse student body, with students from around the world bringing their own unique perspectives to the art of jewellery making, with many of them attracted by the expertise of the School’s staff, who have extensive knowledge of both traditional manufacturing techniques and the latest technology. “The benefit of a diverse student population today is really important. We need to maximise the potential of knowledge and cultural exchange in order to guarantee a more sustainable and economically sound future for jewellery. Our approach to the subject, which crosses the boundaries of so many other forms of art, is just one of the reasons for our popularity, but keeping abreast of new technology is also an important factor. “The School is only as good as its talented and dedicated staff who have proved their ability, year on year, to encourage our students and support their diverse ambitions to achieve some outstanding profiles and positions, highquality craftsmanship, design excellence and immensely satisfying careers, which are in evidence all over the world.” Gaynor said the School also had an exciting future with plans for a new Technology Hub in the School to explore emerging techniques such as additive

manufacturing (also known as 3D printing), and securing additional space within Birmingham’s new Assay Office, which opens in 2016, to expand our gemmology provision and create new opportunities for collaboration between the two organisations. “Our aim is to maintain a truly global reputation, to maximise graduate employment through the development of diverse partnerships and collaborative practice. Creating new educational choices which provide the right balance of traditional skills, new technology and creative concepts will keep our subjects vibrant and exciting. This way we can secure our position as a centre of excellence capable of working towards the next milestone.

“New technology is exciting but cannot replace knowledge and skill”

“New technology is exciting and will create all manner of opportunities but cannot replace the knowledge and skill of a goldsmith or silversmith; it just enhances the possibilities. Investment in training, good-quality apprenticeship schemes and a refocus on skill development is what the industry needs to survive and is also the future of jewellery education. We need skilled practitioners to keep the companies flourishing and to teach the next generation of designer-makers.”

Les Curtis I remember clearly the day in late 1968 when I walked through the hallowed doors for my interview. I walked to the basement to be greeted by a man dressed in an old green sweater with a hole in one elbow; his glasses on at an angle. I took him to be the caretaker, but he said, “Hello lad, I’m the head. Come on, we’ll go to my office, we’ll have a chat. I’ve just been helping Harry unload the coke.” Such was my first experience of the School of Silversmithing and Jewellery, as it was then, and meeting the wonderful, generous, exceptional, brilliant teacher who was Ralph Baxendale, a truly lovely man. I learned a huge amount, in delightful surroundings and was taught in a truly encouraging, personal way. I made many lifelong friends, and was privileged to study under truly legendary staff such as ‘Bax’, Colin Toon, Cyril Shiner, Derek Birch, Stephen Fisher, Sid Perkins, Harry Brown and Ray Newey. The School provided me with a particularly rewarding career, which I look back on with warm memories.

Steve Fisher It really was like a family there and we had so much fun together — from the annual staff-student cricket match, to the end-of-year revue where the lecturers would dress up and sing and dance to entertain us. The surrounding area has changed a lot — I remember the sweet shop over the road which made its own toffee and we all used to rush there in the morning to get some before it sold out. There was a café nearby where they kept taking out pillars and even the base of the chimney so they could fit more people in — it took 30 years but one day the building collapsed and it was a miracle no-one was hurt.

Brooch by Rebecca Wilkes

When a full-time role became available, Bax asked if I was going to apply. I said I hadn’t really thought about it so he said he’d give me a lift home and we’d have a chat. I got in the car, and he said he’d drive me round and wouldn’t let me out until I said yes! I loved every day of my working life there; it’s a very special place.


Radical thinking With the Government’s Prevent strategy and counter-terrorism acts providing mixed results, how can we prevent young people from being enticed into extremism and radicalisation? And how can we create a more positive approach to combating it? Sam Lambeth spoke to Birmingham City University expert Imran Awan about the dangers, causes and possible solutions for a global concern.

Imran is Senior Lecturer in Criminology and Deputy Director of the Centre for Applied Criminology. He has been researching radicalisation and extremism for over a decade, working with families who had been affected by it and examining policies and laws which can be used to prevent it. He has conducted a recent national study concerning young people’s feelings towards Syria, as well as discussing major terrorism-related issues on BBC Midlands Today, Channel 4 News, ITV Central News and Al Jazeera English. A recent event in the University’s City Talks series of public lectures, focused on the theme of extremism and human rights, saw Imran and a panel of experts discuss how better to understand how young people are being seduced into such illegal activity, as well as looking at how higher education institutions and the Government can work together to stop it. But why are young people drawn into radicalisation? Contrary to popular belief, it is not always because of the person’s faith. “A lot of extremists are not ideologically religious,” Imran said. “For example, the recent Tunisia attacks were from someone who was very secular in his beliefs. It is more often than not that those tempted into radicalisation are so because of a sense of social unrest and outrage. “Sometimes, people who get involved with radicalisation are pure fantasists,” he said. “They have run-of-the-mill jobs and are looking for a thrill and something exciting in their lives.” With social media a constant in most young people’s everyday lives, Imran believes terrorism groups such as ISIS are using it as a way of entrancing these bored youths. “When new radicalists


arrive, photos are posted online of young people holding AK-47s, and it’s very much a case of glamorisation and making it look cool,” he said. “ISIS’s recent One Billion Campaign on YouTube projected ISIS as the new ‘rock stars’ of global jihad, encouraging frustrated young people to come and join them. “I think we need to have a debate on providing a safe space for young people to express their opinions,” Imran added. “If they’re not finding this space, they will go online and could be groomed by potential radicalisers. So we need to examine all of the factors, look at why people go into radicalisation and offer grassroots support.” The internet can, and has, been used as a method for good, too, and Imran believes it can play a significant role in derailing possible terrorist activity. “Flooding the internet with positive messages will prove very significant in helping the cause,” he said. “Imams Online has been very successful in engaging with younger audiences, as has Upstanding Neighbourhoods, which creates social media campaigns that have successfully countered ISIS propaganda.” A number of methods to try and counter radicalism have been tried, one of them being the Prevent strategy, in which police, the State and other institutions try to stop people flying out and engaging in terrorist activity. However, Imran believes the strategy has had mixed results. “To some degree, it has been successful in stemming the flow of young people flying to Syria and other countries,” he said. “But the overall process has been disappointing.” The Government’s strategy tries to stop non-violent extremists before they succumb to illegal activity, but Imran

thinks the new Counter-Terrorism and Security Act, and Prevent as a whole, need to be completely re-evaluated. “The Act puts a real onus on institutions to look for radicalism, but it causes people to fear freedom of speech,” he said. “The new Government has gone down the line of public sector workers having responsibilities in spotting radicalisation, but they’ve neglected the grassroots approach, as well as ignoring far-right extremism, which is still a very common foe. “In my view, we need to have a complete rethink on the Prevent policy and process, even changing the name to something positive like ‘Engaged’, where we can make communities feel less alienated and marginalised, and abandon the slightly toxic atmosphere Prevent has instilled.” Imran believes a way to improve the outcomes of radicalisation is to adopt an approach used by countries such as Denmark, in which efforts are made to rehabilitate returning extremists. “I think we need to have a serious conversation about whether it could work,” he said. “For example, if they have returned from Syria, rather than removing their citizenship and imposing a jail sentence, can we reintegrate them into society and give them that sense of identity and belonging?” Reintegration could also include mentoring younger people, offering them key insight and support. “Their voices could be so powerful to anyone tempted into radicalisation,” Imran said. “Often soldiers return and tell me a horrific account, and that it was not what they had been led to believe. And having those voices in schools and colleges could prove vital.”

“The Prevent Act puts a real onus on institutions to look for radicalism, but it causes people to fear freedom of speech”

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Share your post-university experiences with your classmates, friends and fellow alumni


Certificate in Education (Geography and Art), 1968 I am a writer and artist using the ‘non de plume’ Stig Tomas. My portfolio and website are under the name of Artiesart. www.artiesart. com. I write for both children and adults. My latest novel, published in 2015, revolves around my years in teacher training in the 1960s. At that time the campus for teacher training was based in Westbourne Road. It would be great to be in touch with anyone who trained with me.


City and Guilds Fine Jewellery, 1974 Don’t know if this is the sort of thing that people would be interested in. Being retired is great. Just completed a Vespa ride with 8 friends from Cape Town home to Johannesburg. 8 days, 2700 kilometres. Rode up the Garden Route. Cape Town to Hermanus, did a little whale watching, on to Mossel Bay, there’s a 500 year old Milkwood Tree there that the Portuguese sailors used as a post box. They would leave a letter hanging from the tree in an old shoe, when the next ship stopped for fresh water they would take the letter back to Europe. From Mossel Bay through Knysna and Plettenberg Bay and on to the Tsitsikamma National Park. From Tsitsikamma on along the south coast through Port Alfred and Port Elizabeth to East London, then inland to Barkley Pass in the old Transki, a climb of 2000 meters, into the mist and


snow. Then on to Himeville on the edge of Lesotho, at the bottom of the Sani Pass. Next day into the Drakensburg Mountains. We stopped at the spot where Winston Churchill was captured by the Boers in 1899. Went past the Spion Kop battle site in the Natal Midlands, and then home. We had rain, snow, icy fog and then the heat of Natal and the Old Transvaal. Never a dull moment.


BSc (Hons) Town and Country Planning, 1974 Spent the year working in the Mekong region, Solomon Islands and Sulawesi. In the Mekong it was the preparation of an Urban Development Strategy for countries sharing the various economic corridors. In Solomon Islands it was to review the National Infrastructure Investment Plan, and in Sulawesi a prefeasibility study for the city of Palu for urban improvements along the waterfront.


BA Economics, 1976 My book, Emerging Technologies for Emerging Markets, has just been released by Springer New York.


HND Business Studies, 1983 Living in Cornwall with my husband and two kids. Oldest off to uni this year. After leaving uni I worked at BRMB then joined the civil service and headed to London for 15 very happy years. Moved to Cornwall to be by the sea! I’m head of communications at a hospital.


BA (Hons) Cello, 1989 Pursuing an eclectic freelance career playing the cello. Principal cellist in Brecknock Sinfonia and St Woolos Players, member of Castalia String Quartet, Radnor Improvisers and half of the widely acclaimed BeresfordHammond duo.


BA (Hons) Business Studies, 1991 On leaving Birmingham Polytechnic I worked at NatWest, before training to become a chartered accountant and licensed insolvency practitioner. I’m now a director with AlixPartners mainly working with trustees of defined benefit pension schemes. I had a great time at the Poly and regularly meet up with lifelong friends I made there. I am proud to say that my degree has contributed greatly to my career.


BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering, 1997 Many greetings to all alumni!


BSc (Hons) Combined Health, 1997 Oddly enough I got a new job four years ago on a tropical island, in the Gulf of Thailand! Who would have thought that my original degree would lead me (via more study) to work in such a location! You never know where you will end up.


BSc (Hons) Combined Health Studies, 1999 During my time with the Uni I was part of a student exchange program with the University of Alberta, Canada. It was an amazing and life-changing experience. Not only was I able to study in a foreign country, I met my now husband and emigrated to Canada in 2003. We have 2 children and I am a Canadian citizen. My degree has led me into various roles including sexual health outreach for youth, human rights consultant and program support analyst for an offender management program called the Priority Prolific Offender Program with the Albertan government. I am currently working on secondment as an Advocate for the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate for Alberta - providing advocacy for children and youth in care.


BA (Hons) Accountancy, 2000 I am now back in Hong Kong for good. Currently work as a Senior Accountant for Xinhua News Media Holdings Limited.


BMus (Hons) Music, 2001 Oliver Waterer was appointed Organist and Master of the Choristers at St David’s Cathedral in Pembrokeshire, Wales in 2013. He is responsible for the maintenance and development of the cathedral’s musical ministry, at the heart of which are

the daily services sung by the cathedral choirs. Under his direction the Cathedral Choir has broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and 4 performed with the King’s Singers, British Sinfonietta, and has premiered new works by Giles Swayne, Paul Edwards and Robert Walker. As Artistic Director of St Davids Cathedral Festival and conductor of the Festival Chorus he has conducted Mozart’s Requiem, Haydn’s Nelson Mass and Handel’s Dixit Dominus. In January 2014 he was invited to become Conductor and Music Director of Côr Dyfed Choir with whom he has performed Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s Magnificat, Fauré’s Requiem and most recently as part of Fishguard International Music Festival 2015, Brahms’ Requiem.


BA (Hons) Textile Design, 2002 I’m currently teaching Art at The Earl’s High School in Halesowen.


BSc (Hons) Business Information Technology, 2002 Completed an MBA after graduating. Then studied for an MS Sports Management from Niagara University in Lewiston, NY. Currently Director Sports at the University of Lahore, an institution of over 66 sports and 26,000 students.


LLB (Hons) Law, 2002 I went on to do a masters at the University of Birmingham and I have been a qualified solicitor since 2010.

CHER BENG BENJAMIN LOW BA (Hons) Multimedia Art, 2003

Completed MBA (Marketing) and recently joined Chartered Management Institute as a Fellow.


MSc Integrated Counselling and Psychotherapy, 2004 It has taken a long time; however, I have finally got on the right road to utilising my degree as part of my journey into Chaplaincy, within the NHS. I went on to Newman University and am working towards ordination as a Chaplain.


MSc Audit Management and Consultancy, 2004 I am Accountant in public practice and there is tremendous progress in my practice in Nigeria. BCU is a University I cannot forget in my life.


DipHe Adult Nursing, 2005 After qualifying and working at Selly Oak Hospital for a short time I emigrated to New Zealand where I have been for the past 10 years. I work on a busy 40 bed surgical ward and really enjoy my job. Nursing here is pretty much the same as I work in a public hospital. I would love to know where some of my classmates are now.


PGCE Primary Education, 2005 I would be interested to hear from anyone who remembers the fantastic time we had during our stay at the University of Aix-enProvence.


I have recently been appointed Senior Lecturer in Professional Studies (Music Tuition) at Leeds College of Music.


DipHE Adult Nursing, 2007 Hi everyone, hope you are all loving life as nurses. I’m now training as a nurse practitioner at Heartlands ED after 5 years at the Children’s Hospital in AandE and 2 years in adult AandE in Cardiff. Safe to say that’s where my heart and passion is.


BSc (Hons) Computer Aided Design, 2007 I have recently submitted and presented a research paper to the 14th International Conference on Sustainable Energy Technologies SET 2015. Under the title “JIC Green Initiative Project (GIP)” I presented as the main author on behalf of a group of researchers from Jubail Industrial College.


DipHE Adult Nursing, 2007 I moved from Birmingham Heartlands Hospital and from Birmingham. I relocated to Cambridge, specifically Papworth Everard; I started work at the specialist cardiothoracic hospital, where I gained a catalogue of experience and skills. I stayed there for approximately seven years. I have recently chosen to work in the private sector for Bupa for one of their nursing homes as a clinical educator and a clinical services manager.


PgDip Media Enterprise, 2008 In 2014 I was awarded a silver medal and the trophy for the best children’s short story in the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission’s annual creative writing competition. In 2015 I was awarded 2 bronze medals for submissions in the adult categories of the same competition.


Since I graduated, I started working as a Senior Credit controller for a year and a half. I was promoted to Facilities Finance Project Co coordinator for two years. I moved to a new role in a different company as a Project Accountant and Master Data Lead where I stayed for four years. I was offered another opportunity as a Data Management Manager at AstraZeneca where I currently work.

JEREMY VAN DEN BERGH BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering, 2009

Hi everyone! I am currently working for Heathrow as a Project Manager. I am responsible for £53m worth of rail asset replacement works at the airport. These works are closely linked to the 3rd runway bid as well as Crossrail.


BA (Hons) English Literature, 2009 Since graduating University in 2009, I have been putting my English degree to good use, doing the thing I love most in the world: writing. I can currently be

found writing about film and horror movies for a variety of publications most notably Starburst Magazine,, and WhatCulture. My pieces on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Killer Klowns From Outer Space and The Stuff have been published as wee booklets to accompany the fancy Blu-ray editions of the films themselves, and I continue to run my own little blog in-between big jobs. As a jobbing writer, I’m always available for hire or a cheeky natter about anything film. Don’t talk to me about Twilight though.

MOHAMMED ADNAN BA (Hons) Media and Communication, 2009

Hi, I am now an Assistant Producer in the television industry, having worked on BBC’s Dragons’ Den, BBC’s Junior Doctors, BBC’s Junior Paramedics, Channel 4’s Wedding Town and on Sky’s Desi Rascals, amongst others. Studying Media and Communication at BCU inspired me to work in the industry.


BA (Hons) Marketing, 2009 Dear alumni, it’s been 6 eventful years since my graduation from BCU. After graduation I moved to Vienna with the aim of learning German, and seeing a bit more of the world Status: Completed. Within a few months I had found employment in the market leading price comparison company in the DACH region (Geizhals) and launched them into the UK into a niche market of computer hardware ( After 3.5 years I left Geizhals

to move to Beiersdorf, to become the Head of Digital Media for Central and Eastern Europe (15 markets in total) for the brands NIVEA and Labello. Now 2.5 years later I am moving back to the UK to take over as the Head of Digital Marketing for the UK&I plus Northern Europe. I am looking forward to the challenge as a lot has changed in the region since I last lived there! As of October 2015 I will be in my new office in Birmingham, so if anyone wants to connect, you can find me on LinkedIn.

MADHUSUDAN ANSURI KANNABIRAN MSc Data Networks and Security, 2009

Hi Chas/Mike/all, I completed data networks and security in the year 2009. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone for the support and motivation provided by the staff and trainers from Millennium Point. I am working as a Technical lead in a reputed company, thanks to the skills and knowledge imparted to me by BCU. I am married now and have a two year old baby girl and have dreams to send her to the same BCU campus once she grows up :) Thank you again to all the staff.


DipHE Operating Department Practice, 2009 These last few months have actually been rather eventful. Last week I bought my own three bedroomed house and also got promoted to Cpl in the British army as an operating department practitioner. I have also recently returned from Sierra Leone where I was using my skills learnt at BCU to tackle the Ebola


Class notes crisis. Expecting a medal presentation in the very near future.

 2010s CHRIS O’CONNOR PGCE, 2010

I have been a teacher for 5 years but have just become a special educational needs advisory teacher for Sandwell City Council! Wonderful job and wonderful people!


BA (Hons) Media and Communication, 2010 Since completing my degree at BCU, in December 2012 I returned home to America. One year later, my fiancé (a Birmingham/Brummie!) moved across to this side of the pond as well and we married at City Hall in Manhattan in November. We both now live and work in the NYC area and are enjoying exploring and having new adventures together. It’s been exciting to begin a new life in the states but we have amazing memories of our start in Birmingham and we try to visit the Midlands once a year, revisiting old haunts and testing out new ones.


BA (Hons) Business and Human Resource Management, 2010 I now work for a multimillion construction and civil engineering company called Gill Group Ltd as a HR Administrator.


DipHE Nursing, 2011 NHS England 2014/15 Flu fighter champion — Stuart Young, Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust Stuart became a prolific tweeter during Sandwell’s campaign, even tweeting Jeremy Hunt to confirm the Secretary of State had had his jab! Stuart was presented with his award by the editor of Nursing Times, Jenni Middleton.


BROOKE MARY BRANT BA (Hons) Primary Education with Qualified Teacher Status, 2011

After completing the course in 2011, I walked straight into the most amazing job, teaching Year 6 at a local primary school. The environment, staff and pupils are all wonderful. Four years on and I’ve moved on to teaching Year 2 and started my role as school literacy co-ordinator. I married my soulmate last year and we’re in the process of buying our first home together. Loving where life is taking me! Thank you BCU!


BA (Hons) Media and Communication (Television), 2011 Having spent the last 3 years working for 2 of the biggest post houses in Soho (ENVY and The Farm) I am now embarking on a freelance career as an assistant editor on documentaries. My first posting is for Blast Films on the new series of 999: What’s Your Emergency which starts shooting October 2015. This is an exciting move as I will be working a lot closer with the editors to help create the stories you see on TV.


MA Textiles, Fashion and Surface Design, 2011 It always feels good to hear from the university and submit a class note. I have recently completed one year of my job with a private school. I am teaching A level Art and Design, a subject validated by the CIE Cambridge University examinations. Apart from working here, I have also completed my book which is based on my UK experience and my life which will soon be published online and in printed version as well. I really miss my University experience and the people there, and I always try to share my images and experience with my students here. My best wishes to all the alumni and university personnel. Always looking forward to hearing from you. Love and best wishes always.

SUPRABHA RANGANATH MSc Data Networks and Security, 2011

I worked as an IT Support Engineer in Westfield Sports Car LTD, UK. I was happy when Mak Sharma offered me a job at BCU in Sep 2013 as a Technical Demonstrator for undergraduate students for a short time. I joined NHS Birmingham as a IT support engineer and worked on routers, switches and Wi-Fi which helped me in my Master’s dissertation on VoIP. I assisted my Network Manager to build the DR room, in my home town Bangalore I worked at Accenture as Cloud Network Design Engineer working on CLOUD technologies, designing the network with NEXUS switches, Firewall, ASR and LoadBalancer. I am travelling to Australia for a Client’s project. I enjoyed working as first line support, teaching and now as a senior network design engineer :)


MSc Logistics and Supply Chain Management, 2012 I am so happy to have received this update from BCU. Was just talking during dinner with my parents about this year spent at BCU which was fantastic and such a great experience from a professional and personal aspect. I started my professional career before the end of my Master’s at Birmingham. My first employer was the well-known multinational Reckitt Benckiser which is one of the leaders in the FMCG Sector. I have started there as forecast and demand planner in retail and have then passed into the Pharma sector. After having led many projects and passed three years within the company I decided to opt for a new challenge and apply for forecast and demand planner team leader. I am now working at Jacobs Douwe Egberts which is a leading company in the coffee sector. I am actually reaching my fourth year of work as forecast and demand planner. I am developing a smartphone application parallel to my current work.


MA Criminology,2012 Hi, since my graduation I have stayed employed in HMPS. I have furthered my qualifications with a management qualification strangely named ‘Aspire’. This qualification is to carry on as a manager. I would like to progress to another department within the civil service and use my skills and qualifications in a more productive way, maybe National Crime Agency?


BA (Hons) Textile Design (Retail Management), 2013 Having recently left my last position at American Eagle Outfitters as a VM, I have moved on to working at H&M as a Visual Merchandiser. Working at H&M is an amazing opportunity especially as I based the theoretical brief for my Grad Show on their Visual Campaigns, Windows and collaborations. Now being part of the creative team is proving to be one of the most satisfying experiences of my career so far.


BA (Hons) Fashion Retail Management, 2013 After graduating I moved to Milan in Italy and spent two years working as the Assistant to a Fashion Stylist. This experience was so much fun and allowed me to work with different international magazines and fashion brands. This summer I decided to take the next step and have set up as a Freelance Stylist and Fashion Blogger. I work with international magazines to create editorial features and choose the outfits the models will wear in the story. It’s really fun but hard work!


DipHE Operating Department Practice, 2013 Hello to all my fellow ODPs. I hope everyone has had a great few years post registration. I have been very busy and am now moving on from my role as an ODP to become a Surgical Care

Practitioner. I currently work as a trainee SCP in Basildon and I start the MSc program this September :)


FdSc Health and Social Care, 2013 I am now currently about to start my 2nd year at Coventry Uni studying BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy. I am a mature student and when I completed my course at BCU, I never thought I would ever study again, (it wasn’t an easy ride, ask my tutors! Haha) but I must say with the help of my tutors and fellow students, I graduated! So a big shout out to the tutors, because without them, I wouldn’t be commencing my 2nd year of OT. Just a little inspiring quote: never give up, we can complete anything in life we put our minds to :)


BA (Hons) Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations, 2013 I graduated in 2013 at a time where there was no market for serious marketing media jobs. I applied for 2 years straight while working part time. I finally found my dream job and I now am a Broadcast Assistant for Amplifi UK part of the Dents Aegis Network and loving every moment of it.


BSc Music Technology, 2014 Hey everyone, I’m reflecting on my first 6 months of my first graduate position, and would like to share my experiences here. I decided to take a break from audio, and am now a Software Engineer for Raymarine, developing autopilots and other marine gadgetry. I didn’t expect to come here from a Music Technology course, but I wanted to explore other industries, and the skills from the course turned out to be very transferable. I drew mainly on programming experience from uni assignments and other projects, but also from experience gained whilst on placement with Midas Consoles in Manchester. I worked for Domino’s Pizza for 4 months between leaving

Uni and finding this job, but I’m very glad I took the plunge and allowed things to play out as they did. I’m still in touch with the research team at Millennium Point, discussing potential part-time collaborations (if it will fit around work!) and preparing to present my dissertation at the Audio Engineering Society Convention in New York this November. Ultimately, there were plenty of times post-graduation when I didn’t think things would work out, but they really have and not in a way I could have anticipated.


MSc Management, 2014 Hello everyone, Just to share my first achievements after the graduation. I got a job in worldwide known company Ernst&Young in Belarus and have been already promoted to the next level. Be patient and believe in yourselves guys! Thank you BCU!


BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing, 2014 I have been qualified as a nurse for nearly a year now and work on a haematology ward. It has definitely gone quick! Can’t believe that I’ve come so far. I’m even starting my chemotherapy training next month! It will be scary, but can’t wait!


MSc Enterprise Systems Management, 2014 Working full time at EE on the corporate side as a business development manager, recently engaged and now planning my wedding to Paul. Considering completing my PRINCE2.


BA (Hons) Early Childhood Education Studies, 2014 Since completing my undergraduate course in 2014, I started a PhD in Early Years, focusing on 2-4 year old children’s experiences using touchscreen technology in early year’s settings. I have just started my second year, and aim to complete by 2017.


BA (Hons) Business and Management, 2014


DipHen Adult Nursing, 2014

I am currently working as a marketing assistant for Printster. In October I will be going back to college to start my marketing chartership.

Hello BCU, since completing my studies I have been looking after my 2 children and unfortunately suffered bereavement early this year but lately things have been looking brighter. I start my first staff nurse position next week within the trust I completed my management and sign off placements and within my desired speciality of Oncology. I’m both excited and nervous to be joining the nursing profession. I worked hard for three years and think it’s about to pay off. If I was to provide a few words of encouragement for current or future nursing students it would be to take every opportunity whilst on placement to be part of or witness new and unfamiliar procedures/operations as you might not get a better chance to do so and you will learn a great deal. Also make regular use of your personal tutors; they are there to assist and advise you. Mine have been a great help throughout and beyond training. Good luck and all the best. Thank you BCU.



Hi there, just to say I was invited to help out at a recent Open Day at the new Curzon Building and the facilities look absolutely fantastic. I am very envious of the forthcoming students. I wish the whole University all the best with the move.

MOHAMMED TABRIEZ BSc (Hons) Computer Science with Foundation Year, 2014

I started working at Queen Elizabeth Hospital the day after my last exam as a Junior Developer. I have recently been promoted to a Senior Developer role and am currently working as one of the lead developers on the 100K Genomics England Project.

CHLOE GRAHAM-WILDE BA (Hons) Media and Communication, 2014

PhD Education, 2014

I’m on a travelling fellowship to NZ to explore relationship-based early intervention services for children with complex needs after winning a prestigious Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship. You can read all about it here: drblackburnblog.wordpress. com.

THI MINH PHUONG TA MA Media Suite, 2014

I have moved from Vietnam Television to the Viettel Telecommunications Group. This is the only global company of Vietnam. I am in charge in Global Media Department of the group. We now have nine trade marks in the world including Viettel(Vietnam), Metfone(Cambodia), Unitel(Lao),Bitel(Peru), Movitel(Mozambique), Natcom(Haiti), Nexttel(Cameroon), Lumitel(Burundi), Telemor(Timor Leste).

LLM International Human Rights (Part-time), 2014 Hi all, since finishing at BCU. I have started volunteering in the Facilities dept. at Amnesty International, London. I am also completing my final year in September as a Legal Executive to update my ILEX studies. Love to all.


able to help with the design work for their seasonal catalogue, market the products to our retailers and provide an insight into social media marketing to ensure the company is reaching out to potential customers effectively. Due to my love of jewellery and the experience I had gained in design and retail management I thoroughly enjoyed my time here! Even so, I felt like travelling around the world would help me to come to a conclusion on what I want to do as a career and where I would like to end up. At the moment I am travelling around Australia which is enhancing my social skills as well as gaining an insight into their fashion brands. The markets here also provide so many different ideas and styles of clothing/jewellery that are of such a contrast to the brands we have in the UK. Ultimately I would like to end up in fashion marketing or buying so will be looking into these areas when I arrive back home. Even so, there is so much to see out there, I would love to continue to explore the varieties of fashion all across the world. Hopefully a job as a buyer would enable me to do this!


BSc (Hons) Child Nursing, 2015 After completing my degree and starting work as newly qualified neonatal nurse I have been offered Student Health Visitor’s post with Shropshire community trust, completing masters.


BSc (Hons) Child Nursing, 2015 I finished my child nursing degree in April 2015 and have been working as a staff nurse on the burns and plastics ward at Birmingham children’s hospital for 6 months when I was lucky enough to receive an interview to do my post graduate diploma/masters in health visiting. When I received the call to say I had a secondment offer and a university place I was over the moon and I am at the end of my first week now and extremely excited to be pursuing my dream career as a health visitor.


BA (Hons) Fashion Design, 2015 Hey! Since I’ve graduated I’ve currently got to the top three in a bag design competition for HEAD UK and will be going for the results at an event in London to see who wins out of the final three, so excited! I also got a part time job locally to get a bit of money together so I can start my own business. Even though the pay isn’t amazing every little helps! Things are looking up already. I hope everyone from my previous class is also doing well, and thanks for the support I’ve had over the years!

BA (Hons) English Literature, 2014

Just handed in my dissertation for my MA in English Lit at the University of Birmingham. My dissertation was on a woman called Cicely Hamilton, a feminist and writer from the early 1900s.


BA (Hons) Textile Design, 2014 Since leaving university I received a job in the jewellery company Carrie Elspeth which is located in Wales. During my time here I was

To get back in touch with anyone listed here, email and we will try to reconnect you!


Online MBA Our new Online Master of Business Administration (MBA) course will help you to develop your career as a business manager and if you are looking to further your career in areas of Healthcare Management or Environmental and Sustainability Management, then there are two specialist pathways provided to allow you to do this. We provide you with established theories of management and business administration, and invite you to question their practicalities and come up with new strategies. The programmes of study will provide you with the skills employers really value, so it is the perfect option if you want to change career direction or aim to move up the corporate ladder. The Online Master of Business Administration will run on a part-time and full-time basis beginning in Spring 2016. There will be initially three entry points per calendar year giving you flexibility.

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Aspire - Autumn '15  

Aspire - Autumn '15