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Issue 08 Winter 2014/15


University of Wolverhampton alumni magazine

Just do it GRADUATE FEATURE Life at Nike, Inc.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS Hong Kong, Biarritz and Vietnam





Postgraduate Open Evenings Thursday 5 March 2015 Thursday 25 June 2015 (5pm - 7.30pm) For more information and to register: email:

Life. At Wolverhampton. After Wolverhampton. For Life. Welcome to the Winter 2014/15 issue of WLV Life – the magazine for graduates of the University of Wolverhampton. Graduation is a time of celebration and achievement, the end of a special time at University and the start of a new chapter of life. In this issue, you can read about graduates who have gone on to work in the automotive and construction industries, for a global sports company, and in the world of poetry, performing arts and broadcasting. Realising their dreams are Clare Teal, the jazz singer and Radio 2 broadcaster; David Odusanya, a vice president at Nike, Inc; and Jo Lopes, head of technical excellence at Jaguar Land Rover. Jess Hemming, senior quantity surveyor at the Rhead Group, explains why construction can be a woman’s work and Anna Dreda, one of the judges of the prestigious Costa Poetry Award, shares her love of independent book shops. Also in this edition, there are features about the two new University Technical Colleges sponsored by the University,

our new professors and their research, and the Dennis Turner Opportunity Fund. Keep in touch! Are your details correct? Remember you can update your details online in the Alumni pages on the University’s website. We’d love to hear from you and please contact us with any news, updates or enquiries you may have at: Alumni & Development University of Wolverhampton, MX Building, Camp Street, Wolverhampton, WV1 1AD Email: Tel: +44 (0)1902 323 056 Like us on Facebook Join us on LinkedIn Follow us on Twitter @wlv_alumni Wlv Life editorial team Rebecca Morris, Amy Roberton and Jermaine Leslie-Stouph. With thanks to all contributors.

The University of Opportunity Cover image © Nike, Inc.


11 05

Alumni noticeboard News and events

Business Achievement Awards

02 04 06 08 10 14

Graduation 2014

16 18 19 22

Research focus

22 11

And all that jazz Clare Teal


My life in construction Jess Hemming

Honouring the outstanding

In the news

What’s been happening at your University?

Life in the fast lane

How the automotive industry beckoned graduate Jo Lopes

Not your average schools

Two new University Technical Colleges are now recruiting

The Dennis Turner Opportunity Fund Making a difference to today’s students

My life with books


Bookseller extraordinaire, graduate Anna Dreda In the news: New racing car for students

New professors help boost University’s research profile

Student mentoring programme

How mentoring enhances the student experience

Just Do It

From frozen yoghurt to Nike VP for graduate David Odusanya

International news

All the latest developments and events WLV Life Winter 2014


Denise Lewis OBE

A time of celebration and pride In September, Olympic and Paralympic gold medalists, the directorgeneral of the BBC and the inventor of DNA fingerprinting received honorary awards from the University of Wolverhampton and joined thousands of students collecting their own awards after years of hard work and dedication. The graduation ceremonies mark the achievements and success of our students and we were proud to confer honorary awards to leading figures from outside the University who have made outstanding contributions to their particular field of expertise. Twelve people received awards in recognition of their significant achievements.

Lord Hall of Birkenhead


Ian Aspley Chief executive of Proskills UK. Honorary Fellowship in recognition of his impressive record in business and his support to the Business School through mentoring and guest lectures.

Denise Lewis OBE Gold medalist in the heptathlon at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and BBC sports presenter. Doctor of Letters in recognition of her outstanding record in the field of sport and charity work.

David Bintley CBE Artistic director of Birmingham Royal Ballet. Doctor of Philosophy in recognition of his impressive record in the field of dance.

Vijay N Shrestha Wolverhampton graduate and chair of Rupantaran Nepal, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to transforming lives in Nepal. Doctor of Social Sciences in recognition of his dedicated contribution to the development of Nepal over a number of years.

Russell Bromley KTP advisor, North and West Midlands. Honorary Fellowship in recognition of his invaluable support and commitment to supporting knowledge transfer partnerships (KTP) programmes at all stages. Susan Daniels OBE Chief executive of the National Deaf Children’s Society. Doctor of Letters in recognition of her dedicated service to the National Deaf Children’s Society.

Dame Sarah Storey DBE British Paralympian who has won 11 gold medals in swimming and road and track cycling. Doctor of Letters in recognition of her outstanding contribution to sport and sport education, and as a role model for athletes.

Lord Hall of Birkenhead Director-general of the BBC and former chief executive of the Royal Opera. Doctor of Arts in recognition of his significant record of work in television, journalism, music and the arts.

Geoff Thompson MBE Former World Karate champion and founder of Youth Charter, a UK-based registered charity and United Nations Non-Governmental Organisation. Doctor of Letters in recognition of his impressive record in the field of sport and his innovative approach to sport and other cultural activities.

Elizabeth Hughes Medical postgraduate dean at NHS West Midlands. Doctor of Science in recognition of her significant contribution to the medical industry.

You can read biographies of all this year’s Honorary Graduates at:

John H Hughes Chairman of the Black Country Living Museum. Doctor of Business Administration in recognition of his impressive record in the field of finance and accounting, and his work with the Black Country Living Museum. Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys A geneticist best known for his pioneering work on human DNA variation and DNA fingerprinting. Doctor of Science in recognition of his outstanding scholarship in molecular biology, the development of DNA profiling and his significant contribution to widening participation in sciences.

Dame Sarah Storey DBE

WLV Life Winter 2014



In the news... Catch up on all the latest news and find out what’s going on at your University. Here’s a small selection of our leading headlines from the past few months.


Science Centre opens its doors

The University’s new £25 million Science Centre has been named the Rosalind Franklin Centre after the British scientist who made important contributions to the discovery of DNA and led pioneering work on the polio virus. The six-storey building on Stafford Street features state-of-the-art laboratory facilities including an outreach laboratory on the ground level with floorto-ceiling windows that allow the public to view the inside of the building and see experiments and teaching in action.


Gene ‘switches’ breakthrough

Research carried out by the University has found a pattern of genetic ‘switches’ – chemical marks that turn genes on or off – that are linked to breast cancer’s spread to the brain. Scientists studied 24 breast cancers that had spread to the brain, and found a handful of genes with faulty switches. Crucially, two of the genetic switches became faulty early on in the development of breast cancer, suggesting they could serve as an early warning signal for tumours likely to spread to the brain. The scientists are now working to develop a blood test that might be able to detect these signals at an early stage, before the disease has spread.



Denise launches Institute of Sport

Olympic gold medalist Denise Lewis officially launched the University’s new Institute of Sport in October 2014. The Institute brings together all the University’s sporting activities and aims to inspire the new generation of sport professionals through teaching, research and increasing participation in sport. It offers degree courses and sports scholarships in conjunction with some of the leading sporting facilities in the country along with physiology, biomechanics and social science labs, which are used for teaching and for sport, exercise and health-related research.


New treatment for cervical cancer

Researchers at the University of Wolverhampton, Queen’s University Belfast and Athlone Institute of Technology in Ireland have found using an anti-alcoholism drug in a vaginal ring could reduce the 01 side effects experienced by cervical cancer patients during treatment. Rather than being administered through the bloodstream, the ring delivers the drug Disulfiram locally to the cervix in a controlled and sustained manner and it has the potential to reduce side effects and improve the patient’s quality of life.

Wolves sponsorship deal

The University has signed an agreement with Wolves to become the principal sponsor of the Club’s Academy. As part of the deal, which lasts for the next three seasons, the University’s logo has been positioned on the front of all Academy shirts and its branding is now a regular sight at the Molineux. Work experience, placement and internship opportunities for students and graduates are being developed covering areas such as sports science, medical, media and commercial specialisms, and giving students and graduates a real insight into how a multimillion pound business works.



On the grid


Engineering students from the University will be making their debut in the Protyre Formula Renault Championship in 2015, an exciting enterprise linked to the provision of a new range of bespoke engineering courses which will begin in 2015; specifically, motorsport engineering and automotive engineering courses which utilise both Formula Renault and Formula Student as a way to put theory06 into practice. The team is based at the Telford Innovation Campus and will enter competitions under the name University of Wolverhampton Racing.

2014 Crystal Lecture

Renowned businessman Sir Peter Rigby inspired a packed audience when he delivered a keynote speech about entrepreneurship at the University’s annual Crystal Lecture in October. Now in its 21st year, the Crystal Lecture is a popular event with students, alumni and the wider community and over 200 people attended this event. Sir Peter is the chairman and chief executive for the Rigby Group, which he founded in 1975.


TV appearance for Jemma

Dance graduate Jemma Bird heard the dreaded words “You’re fired” from Lord Sugar when she appeared on the latest series of The Apprentice. The 26-yearold was shown the boardroom door in week five, and was the ninth candidate to leave the TV show. Jemma, an operations manager from Walsall who is passionate about the arts and a trained dancer and dance teacher, studied BA (Hons) Dance at the University from 2009 to 2012.


Conversation is key

An airport security study carried out by the University shows fraudsters are more likely to be caught through conversation than body language. During an eightmonth study, security agents using a conversation screening method at international airports in Europe, found that a conversation-based screening method is 20 times more effective at catching airline passengers with false cover stories than the traditional method of examining body language for suspicious signs. The study, funded in part by the British government, was published by the American Psychological Association, and carried out by Dr Coral Dando from the University of Wolverhampton and Professor Ormerod from the University of Sussex.


Alumni noticeboard When you graduate from the University of Wolverhampton, it doesn’t mean goodbye! Over the last few months, we’ve had two groups of former students reunite after 20 years to revisit the University and all their old haunts around the city. Liz Kelly’s reunion (1994-1998) Liz Kelly and her group of friends studied various subjects including French, linguistics, politics, computing, interactive multi-media, environmental science and Russian from 1994 to 1998. They held their reunion in September 2014 and enjoyed a tour of the campus. Liz gave us her reunion experiences: “We had a fantastic weekend back in Wolverhampton for our 20 year reunion. It was incredible to see the changes that have taken place at the main campus. We loved the feeling of all of us being back together again after so long - 20 years have flown by!”

Left to right: Colin Ross, Natalie Drake, Ingrid Lewis (née Hunt), Helen Bradley (née Jackson), Dionne Alford (née Carroll), Eve Botting (née Bridson), Verity Palk, Liz Kelly, Anne Clarke (née Craddock) and Darren Hirving.

Graham Hart’s reunion (1990-1994) Graham Hart studied BSc (Hons) Microbiology from 1990 to 1994 and he and his friends reunited to mark 20 years since their graduation. “We were kindly shown around the main campus and the halls of residence by Claire Shaw, Head of Alumni Relations and Development,” said Graham. “It brought back loads of fond memories for me and the group. The Sports Hall is just the same and I can’t believe Lazeez, Basra’s and the place that sells pork baps with stuffing and gravy are still there!”

Forthcoming Reunions 2015 Faculty of Humanities (1995) - 20 Year Anniversary Reunion Did you study at the University in 1995 and reside in Queens Hall, Dudley Campus? This September Josh Fox and some friends are planning a reunion to mark the 20 year anniversary of your first meeting. If you were a resident of Queens Halls or know someone who was, then Josh would like you to contact him on: BA Modern Languages (1973-77) Reunion Saturday 16 May 2015 A reunion for modern language graduates (1973-77) is taking place on Saturday 16 May 2015. Alumni will have the chance to tour the University campus in the afternoon and then reunite for a night of reminiscing and celebration. Organised by two former students, Sheila Searle and Paul Sutton, the evening event will be held at The Mount Hotel in Tettenhall, Wolverhampton. Sheila says: “As you’d expect with our degree specialism, attendees will be coming from far and wide with over 30 graduates having confirmed their attendance so far. We’d love to hear from former lecturers too and I hope they will be able to join us. It’s a milestone year for many of us and will mark the year we turn 60!” If you were a modern language student or lecturer and would like to attend this reunion, please contact Sheila, email:

Business Achievement Awards Business Achievement Awards 2015 The University’s annual Business Achievement Awards offer a unique opportunity to celebrate success in business and industry especially within the West Midlands region. There are two Alumni categories: • Alumnus of the Year: Leadership • Alumnus of the Year: Contribution to Society. If you would like to nominate a person or business, please complete an online application form at: alumniawards

Left to right: Jon Morrow, Mark Draper, Caroline Morrow (née Gordon), Fiona Osborn (née McGilligan), Jilly Hart (née Armstrong) and Julia Collingburn.

WLV Life Winter 2014


Graduate Feature

Life in the fast lane Jo Lopes BSc (Hons) Applied Sciences (Physics), 1986 MPhil X-Ray Analysis of Steel, 1989 A love of cars, an interest in engineering and technology, and a passion for learning and development have served Jo Lopes well. Since March 2008, he has been head of technical excellence at Jaguar Land Rover and has worked in the UK automotive industry for over 20 years.

“The automotive industry just really appealed to me,” explains Jo, who is based in Gaydon. “I studied Applied Sciences at Wolverhampton and became a research assistant at the University while I was working towards my Master’s. In 1989, I joined the graduate programme at the Rover Group, now part of Jaguar Land Rover. “Getting a job at Land Rover even then was very tough. There’s a high bar and getting through the recruitment process requires a whole level of confidence and behavioural skills which must be born out of what you learn from university, so I think my time at Wolverhampton put me in good stead on that basis. The University and the city all help contribute to your character and I think that’s a positive thing. “The appeal of working somewhere like Jaguar Land Rover is multiple. Part of it was obviously the practical application of what I was learning. Even though I didn’t do an engineering degree, I had an interest in engineering and the automotive industry, and I’ve always been mad about cars and had a correct appreciation of Land Rover the brand. It was just one of these serendipitous things. “At Jaguar Land Rover, the technology covers base research right through to manufacturing. The company has such a breadth of opportunities within it and it’s why people spend 25 years here because you have opportunities that may not be available in many other companies. “There’s never a typical day and that’s why I enjoy it. It’s a very dynamic industry and you need an internal drive and passion for what you do. There are long days and it’s an extremely pressurised environment because, however successful a company may be, the pressure is always on to ensure that you maintain that momentum. Jaguar Land Rover is at a point where we are currently very successful but the competition and

drive for customer satisfaction is relentless. We must keep on meeting our customers’ needs and deliver the right results for the company. “At the start of my career, I undertook a number of roles, primarily at the engineering and design and development facility. It was during this time that we delivered automotive hill descent control. It was first seen on the Freelander and I have one of the patents on that. It was a great technological achievement and one where it’s now commonplace, not only on all new Land Rover vehicles but most 4x4 vehicles. Technology-wise, that’s one of the things I’m most proud of. Following this, I led the vehicle dynamics team and I was responsible for the steering, handling and ride of Jaguar cars.” Now head of technical excellence, Jo is responsible for the development and nurturing of engineering skills and competencies within the company and establishing links with universities, professional institutions and other engineering organisations. This includes leading a multi-university Master’s level modular degree programme and ensuring that the company’s new engineering graduates and apprentices are given the necessary skills to support future growth. Jo leads on promoting engineering to young people and raising the profile of the engineering sector to the public and government. He represents the company and the automotive industry at crosssector working groups; as part of this work, he supports the Automotive Council UK in the area of skills development, chairing their skills working group and collaborating with all the large automotive businesses in the UK such as BMW, Toyota, Nissan, Bentley and Aston Martin, bringing together partners who are potential competitors to work on a common agenda. “To do my job, I think you have to have a good understanding of engineering principles and problem-solving, but fundamentally you have to be a good communicator and a good listener. You need a lot of patience, empathy, emotional intelligence, and to be able to work well in teams and collaboratively.

“My career has now moved into a skill area so I’m leading on the technical development of our engineers, developing their skills and education and helping them achieve professional accreditation, which gives me a real kick. Engineering technical skills are extremely important to the company and we need to grow those skills. As technology moves on, you need to have the right people with the right skills, and to have them in significant numbers. “I enjoy working with our graduates and the apprentices on our apprenticeship programme, which takes people from A-level right through to post-degree. The two-year graduate work programme is very intensive, and they’ll have placements around the business and work towards modules in their Master’s degree. We work with universities from a skill development point of view and we’ve created a Master’s programme involving eight universities, all working collaboratively to deliver a consistent and coherent programme. We’re now in the fifth year of our university programme and, during those five years, over 3,000 people have undertaken Master’s level modules.

“Jaguar Land Rover is the UK’s largest, premium automotive manufacturing business and the company employs around 30,000 people with this number likely to increase as we globalise parts of the business. We’ve had unprecedented growth for several years – this year, 270 graduates joined us, of which 200 were engineering graduates. Around 75 to 80% of all our graduates are always engineers and we’re the largest recruiter of engineering graduates in the UK. Last year, we had somewhere in the region of 30,000 applications for those 270 graduate roles but the challenge is that, as a country, we’re not producing enough engineering graduates and especially female engineers. “Having a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) degree is important and, for me, studying at Wolverhampton was a very enjoyable time. It was a great experience and the course incorporated a good mix of the theoretical and practical, as well as a very supportive team of lecturers. Also, I met my wife there! “The qualification itself prepares you and gives you a level of basic knowledge, but university prepares you for coming into a work role. A degree is a passport to future success and a career, so students should take some time to reflect on what the outcome will be. I’ve just been reading some applications for apprentices and the ones that jump out at you are those that have written ‘I have this passion’. That’s how it was for me.” Images © Jaguar Land Rover

JLR Virtual Innovation Centre

WLV Life Winter 2014


Graduate Feature

Not your average schools Across England, thousands of students are now choosing to study at a brand new type of school called University Technical Colleges (UTCs) and two new UTCs sponsored by the University of Wolverhampton are now recruiting and due to open their doors in September 2015. One will focus on construction and the built environment, and the other on healthcare and health sciences. UTCs are the brainchild of former Tory education secretary Kenneth, now Lord Baker. Introduced as part of the Academies Programme, UTCs are government-funded schools for 14-19 year olds and they are free to attend and not selective. Each college works closely with a local university and a range of employers who help shape the curriculum and contribute their knowledge, insight and skills as well as offer work experience opportunities. Visit one and you’ll find they’re not like your average school. Every UTC provides at least one technical specialism and combines technical and practical learning experiences alongside academic qualifications including GCSEs, A-levels and technical qualifications. They integrate technical, practical and academic learning in an environment where students can thrive and develop the skills and abilities that employers need, and students have access to the latest equipment and technology used by industry and normally found on the factory floor and in the workplace.

Growing expertise in health

The University of Wolverhampton is sponsoring the new Health Futures UTC along with lead partners West Midlands Ambulance Service and Midcounties Co-operative Pharmacy as well as 20 high-profile health sector employers and educational partners, including NHS Foundation Trusts across the Black Country and Birmingham.

This £10 million college will be the first UTC in England with healthcare and health sciences as its specialism. It will prepare students for a wide range of careers and professions such as nursing, medicine, paramedic services, radiography, pathology, physiotherapy, pharmacy and lab-based health sciences across the NHS, private and independent sectors. A key feature will be the opportunities provided by partners and employers, giving students practical skills and experience through community-based projects and extra-curricular activities. Based in West Bromwich, young people from the Black Country, Birmingham, Solihull and North Worcestershire can apply. The new UTC will contain four storeys of learning space for 600 pupils and 60 staff and feature science and skills laboratories, simulated hospital teaching ward, visualisation centre, IT suites and seminar rooms, café, gym and a rooftop games area. Professor Linda Lang, Dean of the Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing and UTC Project Lead, said: “The UTC will be among the first in the country to focus on the health sector and we’re very proud to be working together with so many partners from front line health services to deliver what will be an innovative curriculum. “The Health Futures UTC will provide students with the skills to take them onto the path to a career in healthcare gained by working closely with employers. There is a real shortage of young people with the

right skills, professionalism and aspiration that the sector requires and what we will offer will provide students from an early age with the academic and technical skills as well as embedding the key attributes of compassion and care. This next stage in the development of the UTC shows our commitment to be a leading light in the provision of healthcare education in the West Midlands.”

Educating the designers, builders and innovators of tomorrow

The new West Midlands Construction UTC will specialise in construction and the application of IT in the built environment, preparing students for

professional and technical careers in construction and providing them with a unique combination of qualifications and practical and professional knowledge and skills. The UTC is being supported by the University along with the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and a range of employers including Willmott Dixon, Barhale, Lovells Partnerships Ltd, Hewden, Redrow, Carillion and Morgan Sindall. In late 2014, the University unveiled plans to transform the site of the former Springfield Brewery in the city centre and it is here that the UTC will be based from September 2016 when it will become part of a new hub for construction engineering. The UTC will

open in September 2015 on a temporary site before moving into the new build at Springfield. The University’s School of Architecture and the Built Environment, currently based within the City Campus and providing courses in construction, management, civil engineering, quantity surveying, architecture and environmental management, will be relocated to the new site too.

“It is also exciting for the city of Wolverhampton. It was a key factor for us to have this new centre here in the city to support economic development by regenerating a brownfield site and creating jobs and providing the right skills needed by industry. This area has a history of manufacturing and once up and running the centre will provide future opportunities for people to continue adding to that heritage.”

Professor Geoff Layer, Vice-Chancellor of the University, said: “This will provide a centre of excellence with the most comprehensive construction education and training not only in the country but in Europe. We are delighted to be working with the CITB in bringing this project together. This is hugely positive news for the construction industry and for Wolverhampton and the Black Country. The development will put the area on the map in terms of construction education and training and will mean that we can provide skills and education from the age of 14, right through to senior professionals wanting to improve their own development.

Young people can apply to join UTCs at the start of Year 10 or Year 12. Both Health Futures and West Midlands Construction UTCs are now open for September 2015 applications. For more information, please visit: @health_futures @westmidscutc

WLV Life Winter 2014



The Dennis Turner Opportunity Fund With the death of Lord Bilston last year, the University lost a good friend and supporter, leading to the establishment of a new student hardship fund – the Dennis Turner Opportunity Fund – that has been named in his memory with the kind agreement of his family. Lord Bilston was a campaigner for social inclusion and justice and deeply committed to his roots in the Black Country. A Labour politician, he was a Wolverhampton councillor for 20 years before serving as an MP for Wolverhampton South East from 1987 to 2005; after resigning shortly before the 2005 election, he took a life peerage. In 2006, he was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters by the University in recognition of his distinguished service to the people of Wolverhampton.

Set up in September 2014, this Fund is provided by the University to help students who are experiencing genuine financial hardship that might impact on their ability to continue their course and force them to abandon their studies. It enables the University to support students who find themselves in unexpected financial difficulties through no fault of their own, providing support for both undergraduates and postgraduates.

The Fund is intended to assist with general living and course-related costs but not tuition or rental fees. Most of the awards will be non-repayable, although some short-term loans may be available to meet temporary hardship such as delayed funding or severe cash-flow problems. The priority groups to receive support from the Fund include students with children, disabled students, and those from low income families or who have entered higher education from care. International and EU students will only be able to apply to the Fund in extreme circumstances. Lord Bilston’s brother, councillor Bert Turner, said: “The Fund is about everything Dennis believed in and worked hard for all his life, as a councillor, MP and in the Lords. We are over the moon that this is being named in his memory, and we couldn’t be happier that the University has thought of him in this way. This would have gone down very well with Dennis.” “Lord Bilston was a great supporter of the value of education and we are delighted to be launching the Dennis Turner Opportunity Fund in his memory,” added Vice-Chancellor, Professor Geoff Layer. “As the University of Opportunity, we are committed to enhancing the life chances of people from a broad range of backgrounds and supporting them on their learning journey.” Making a difference to today’s students Thank you to the growing number of alumni and friends who support the Fund. All gifts, large and small, are very welcome and go a long way to securing the future for a Wolverhampton student. You can make a gift by cheque, card or standing order – if you are a UK tax payer, please complete a Gift Aid form so the University can reclaim tax on donations.

For more information about how to donate to the Fund please contact: Claire Shaw, Head of Alumni and Development Tel: 01902 321 108 Email: Image © Express & Star

Graduate Feature

And all that jazz Yorkshire-born Clare Teal is one of the most successful female British jazz singers in decades with a string of albums behind her including the UK National Top 20 hit Don’t Talk. She won British Jazz Singer of the Year in both 2005 and 2007 and BBC Jazz Singer of the Year in 2006. As well as performing, Clare presents a weekly jazz show on BBC Radio 2.

Clare Teal BMus (Hons) Music, 1994

WLV Life Winter 2014


Graduate Feature

What course did you study and when? “Between 1991 and 1994 I studied BMus (Hons) Music. Wolverhampton was a polytechnic when I arrived and changed into a university in 1992.” What are your memories of studying at Wolverhampton? “I loved it! I was based in Walsall. We were encouraged to do as much practical work as possible and learn a new instrument every semester. Most of what I learnt at University I use on a daily basis. I don’t think many people can say that.” What made you decide to study your chosen course? “I always wanted to study music but I didn’t do very well in my A-levels. I was glad that Wolverhampton Polytechnic allowed me to study there.” You were a teenager in the 1980s but spent your time listening to your Nan’s records from the 1930s and 1940s. What was the attraction to her musical taste? “My dad used to bring big band records down from the attic and play them. I just loved the sound. I never thought for a second that I would ever become a singer because I didn’t sing in front of anybody!”

How did the singing start? “By accident! I didn’t know that I had an exam and had 20 minutes to prepare. If I played an instrument as part of an exam, I would get nervous – so I had to sing. That day a guy called Andy, who played the electric bass, and thrash metal drummer Weasel were in the music block. Andy grabbed the double bass and we gave Weasel some brushes to use. After performing two songs, I got the best marks I have ever had.” What did you do after graduating; did you want to be a singer or musician as a profession? “A fellow student introduced me to singersongwriter Nigel Stonier. He used to do jingles, so I started writing and recording jingles. My parents funded an album, but I didn’t know what to do with it; I knew about music, but nothing about the industry. I retired from the music scene at 23, but luckily I met my other half and together we decided to have another go.” What was that breakthrough moment? “I came second in a Billie Holiday competition at Ronnie Scott’s in Birmingham. I met the pianist there, and years later he contacted me to ask if I would do a full concert at a festival.

“In 2001, I got signed to London-based Candid Records. That’s when Michael Parkinson started playing my music on the radio. There was a spotlight on British jazz and, as a result, I got signed to Sony Records in 2004.” What musical artists have influenced you and why? “I listen to all the old singers, my main one is Ella Fitzgerald. I’m quite open-minded and listen to all kinds of music. Working for Radio 2, I get to hear a lot of new artists.”

© BBC Proms/Chris Christodoulou

You have your own radio show on Radio 2. Tell us about it! “About 10 years ago, I was interviewed by Radio 2 DJ Russell Davies. Desmond Carrington was listening to the interview and rang the controller there and said that he really liked my voice and wanted to make a radio show with me. So, I went on to co-host a couple of series with Desmond and then I was offered a show called Big Band Special, which I did until the show finished. I inherited The Big Band Show from Malcolm Laycock when he became ill, then later that year the show doubled in length and went live.” What do you think are the most rewarding and challenging aspects of being in the music industry? “The most rewarding is working with musicians I love. It’s exciting working with a big band for the first time. Last year we did the Battle of the Bands at the Royal Albert Hall as part of The Proms. I was so proud of that because it was one of our productions. I built the programmes, chose the repertoire and assembled the players.” What was your experience like at the Royal Albert Hall? “I performed at The Proms a few years ago with the John Wilson Orchestra – it was magical. John works so hard. We rehearsed for weeks! Everything has to be note perfect which results in a fantastic performance.” Do you have a favourite songwriter? “Yes, it’s Cole Porter; most of the great American songwriters started life very poor and had to pull themselves up. Cole was born a multi-millionaire; he was a hard worker and one of the few who did both lyrics and the music. He had sophistication and wit that I never tire of. I also love Paul Simon, Neil Hannon and Jake Bugg’s writing.” What musical artists (dead or alive) would you like to build a big band and perform with? “I think Buddy Rich would have to be the drummer. Benny Goodman would play the clarinet because he is someone who has always inspired me. Probably the best band leader there ever was is Duke Ellington – I would like him to share the piano show with Count Basie. I would also have Duke Ellington’s saxophone section with Johnny Hodges and Harry Carney. Harry James would be on the trumpet with some other musicians. With big

bands, it’s all about the blends because every player has an individual sound and it’s blending those players with each other. I could play around for days with that!” What have you got coming up this year? “2015 is going to be another busy year. I have my own big band; it’s expensive to tour a big band so we are careful when choosing dates. “Last February, we met a lady called Annie who is a great friend of Doris Day, she frequently visits Doris so we exchanged CDs. In April last year, in honour of Doris’s 90th birthday, we did a concert which went well. We have been doing it as a show, so I think we will be doing more of those. “We will have another album out this year. A few months ago I did a pilot for Sky Arts TV, so there are all sorts of things bubbling away.” To date, what has been your proudest professional achievement? “Whilst winning awards is nice, you have to take it with a pinch of salt. I have won a few awards for Jazz Singer of the Year, but the one that I am most proud of is the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) Gold Badge which I won a few years ago. To be among the likes of Don Black and Tim Rice is pretty cool.” What advice would you give to young musicians starting out in the profession? “Keep doing it for the love of the music. Always work as hard as you can and go that extra mile all the time, and something will happen.” Describe your experience of the University of Wolverhampton. “People look down at polytechnics that have turned into universities but I can, hand on heart, say it was absolutely the best qualification I could have got. I am really grateful for all the guys at the University who got me here and taught me brilliant things. It was a fantastic experience. I think going to the University of Wolverhampton was the best thing that happened to me.”

WLV Life Winter 2014



My life with books Anna Dreda BA (Hons) Women’s Studies, 2000

Since she was a child, Anna Dreda knew she wanted to own a bookshop. Now the owner of Wenlock Books and founder of the Much Wenlock Poetry Festival, Anna is also one of the judges of the prestigious Costa Poetry Award. Founded 27 years ago, Wenlock Books is one of Shropshire’s landmark independent bookshops. Situated in a 15th century Grade II listed building, the bookshop is an important part of the cultural life of this quintessentially English town and is beloved by the local community and visiting tourists. The bookshop includes an extensive second-hand books department and, amid the ancient timbers and beautiful books, it hosts events and

activities including reading clubs, short courses, author evenings, a story time club and an after-school reading club. A light bulb moment “Reading A City of Bells by Elizabeth Goodge when I was 12 changed the course of my life. It’s a very old-fashioned type of book about a man called Jocelyn Irvin who returns from the Boer War and starts up a bookshop, and I just had one of those light bulb moments when I thought that’s what I want to be – I want to be a bookseller. “To me, a bookshop is so much more than a retail outlet. It’s a place with heart and soul, a place that matters to people, and where people matter to us. That’s one of the reasons why I feel so passionately about independent bookshops. They’re the living, beating heart of your high street and a town without a bookshop is a town without a soul. “When you come into a bookshop, you can pick up something completely at random and see books you didn’t know you wanted because you didn’t know they were there. Nowadays, books have been devalued by the fact that you can buy them everywhere and they’re often massively discounted. Selling mass market books used to be the bread and butter of independent bookshops, but I like

Wenlock Books, an original lino print by Amanda Hillier.

© Jim Hawkins

to think that something good comes out of everything and what’s happening now is that people who love books want their books to be even more beautiful, unusual, elegant or just off the mainstream. Book publishing has really raised its game and the challenge is to offer something so good and so lovely to entice people to come here. “And, of course, there’s a social side to book shopping as well. When you come into a bookshop, you meet a person – and that human connection is a very vital one. Every week, we have a story time for mums and babies. Once a week, we have a children’s poetry club and all the kids sit round the table and we read poetry to each other. Amazon doesn’t do that, most schools don’t even do that – eight kids, one adult, what a luxury! “It’s all about creating a lovely experience and atmosphere that people don’t get when they go into big chain stores or when they shop online. I love it when people find a book that they’ve been trying to find for years in our second-hand section. Downstairs, we have the very latest books and I love helping people find new authors and extend their reading. I love seeing children arrive for poetry club and come charging up the stairs as if they own the place. This is their bookshop. Really just opening the door every morning is a reward.”

Poetry Festival and Costa Awards In 2010, Anna founded the Much Wenlock Poetry Festival with founding patron and Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy. The festival has been an annual event ever since and it has become one of the leading UK literary festivals renowned for its dedication to poetry and bringing the cream of British poetry to rural Shropshire. Gilliam Clarke, Benjamin Zephaniah, Daljit Nagra, John Hegley, Roger McGough, Fiona Sampson and Simon Armitage have all performed their work to sell-out audiences at the festival and the sixth Much Wenlock Poetry Festival will take place on 24-26 April 2015. “The festival came about because we’d been running some poetry events where poets would come and give readings and talks. One of the poets was Carol Ann Duffy. It was an amazing reading and afterwards she said we ought to have a poetry festival. I agreed and said I’d start a poetry festival if she would be our founding patron and she said yes! Carol Ann has supported the festival from the start, and in our first five years we’ve had amazing poets here including all the best contemporary UK poets. It’s a wonderful festival weekend that involves the whole town.” With the Poetry Festival to her name, Anna was gaining more recognition in the world of poetry and was announced in 2014 as a judge for the Costa Poetry Award 2014, judging the £5,000 national competition prize alongside Charlotte Runcie, poet and arts journalist for The Daily Telegraph, and Owen Sheers, author and poet.

the whole summer reading poetry books, and when we went away to the Outer Hebrides for a three-week holiday I took 27 poetry books with me and immersed myself in them. I’ve read such wonderful and exciting poetry and I’m really delighted to be involved with the Award.” University life Now a key player in the world of poetry and a bookseller extraordinaire, it wasn’t until she was 36 that Anna decided to study part-time for a degree at the University of Wolverhampton. “I’ve always been an avid reader but I’ve always felt a little bit in awe of people who have a formal education. I got married and had children very young and when I applied to university it was simply because it was close to home and I could continue to work at the same time. But I couldn’t have had a better experience and that’s partly because the University is really geared up to looking after mature students. I loved every minute and it was fun meeting new people from a variety of backgrounds and all ages and races. It was everything that I’d wanted it to be and more.

After graduation, Anna continued studying and was awarded a Master’s from the University of Birmingham. She started a PhD, but in 2003 everything changed when an opportunity arose to buy Wenlock Books and her life with books really took off. In 2006, she was named Independent Bookseller of the Year and the bookshop has thrived despite the recession and changes to the bookselling industry, retaining its reputation as a vibrant, valid and important independent bookshop. Jocelyn Irvin would be proud of her.

“Going to university stretched me and I grew in confidence all the while I was there. My degree extended my reading and took me into new areas of discovery. I had chosen a degree that focused on women’s studies and feminism. I didn’t want to study ‘dead, white men’ – I wanted to study living, women writers and my real area of passion became black American women writers like Alice Walker, Toni Morrison and Zora Neale Hurston.”

“It was such a thrill to be invited to be one of the judges. The winner will be announced in January 2015. I’ve spent

Wenlock Books 12 High Street, Much Wenlock, Shropshire, TF13 6AA Monday to Saturday 10am-5pm Tel: 01952 727877

Anna at the Queen’s celebration of contemporary British poetry at the palace in November 2013.

WLV Life Winter 2014



Boosting the University’s research profile Research into cancer, conflict and history are just some of the areas boosted by recent appointments at the University of Wolverhampton. Seven new professors have been appointed, recognising the researchers’ academic excellence and contribution to their field of expertise. The new professors are Dr David Hill, Dr George Kassimeris, Dr Paul Kirkham, Dr Kristina Niedderer, Dr James Tang, Dr Laura Ugolini and Dr Weiguang Wang and here’s a quick overview of their research work.

Dr David Hill, Professor of Applied Microbiology Faculty of Science and Engineering David joined Wolverhampton as a Junior Lecturer in 1987 and engaged in applied microbiology research using bacteria to solve pollution problems. As a consequence of undertaking research with the health company Seven Seas, he gained a research interest in garlic and natural healthcare and gained international recognition as the first person to prove that garlic oil had antibacterial properties. His applied research into the application of bacteria and the control of bacterial pathogens in the environment, intestinal tract, and food industry developed, and has led to numerous consultancy and research links with local and national companies. Dr George Kassimeris, Professor of Security Studies Faculty of Social Sciences George has been researching and writing on terrorism and political violence for over 20 years, and has successfully built a reputation as the leading expert on Greek terrorism and one of the best recognised European scholars working in the field. His latest research monograph to be published by Hurst in the UK and Oxford University Press in the US is entitled Inside Greek Terrorism and draws on interviews

with imprisoned terrorists and former militants from defunct Greek terrorist groups to offer valuable insights into the complex processes of involvement in and disengagement from terrorism.

use of new and smart technologies, she investigates the role of mindfulness and emotions as a means to engender mindful social interaction and behavior change through design.

Dr Paul Kirkham, Professor of Cell Biology Faculty of Science and Engineering

Dr James Tang, Professor in Pharmaceutics Faculty of Science and Engineering James joined the University in 2008 as a Senior Lecturer following appointments at Sichuan University, BioMAT and IMRE at the National University of Singapore, the Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology, and the UK Centre for Tissue Engineering. He is the founder of the Cancer Target Delivery Initiative at the University, where his research is directed toward particulate delivery systems, targeting drug delivery for cancer diagnosis and therapeutics.

Paul joined the University in 2013 following time spent both in academia and industry including the MRC National Institute for Medical Research, the BBSRC Institute for Animal Health, Novartis, and the National Heart and Lung Institute within Imperial College London. His research interests focus on understanding the mechanisms of disease pathogenesis driven by oxidative stress and its impact on cell function and inflammation, particularly in relation to respiratory disease. Dr Kristina Niedderer, Professor in Design and Craft Faculty of Arts Kristina has worked at the University of Wolverhampton since 2007, joining as a Reader in Design and Applied Arts. She leads the Material and Theoretical Practice research cluster and her research focuses on the impact of design on human relationships. Exploring the

Dr Laura Ugolini, Professor in History Faculty of Social Sciences Laura’s research interests are in gender history and she has published on different aspects of 19th and early 20th century masculinities and male identities. Her books include Men and Menswear: Sartorial Consumption in Britain, 1880-1939 (2007) in which she explored men’s experiences of buying, selling and consuming menswear and




computer science


statistical cybermetrics

Civvies: Middle-class Men on the English Home Front, 1914-1918 (2013) about civilian men’s experiences on the English home front during the First World War. Laura directs the Centre for the History of Retailing and Distribution, a research network based at the University, and is coeditor of the journal Textile History.


dance performance


Dr Weiguang Wang, Professor of Experimental Cancer Therapeutics Faculty of Science and Engineering Weiguang joined the University in 2005 as a Senior Lecturer before being promoted to Readership in 2007. His primary research interests are in the field of translational cancer research, especially in the area of experimental cancer therapeutics. His research mainly focuses on the development of new drugs to target cancer stem cell related signaling pathways. In collaboration with scientists in the UK, Europe, USA and China, his


art & design corporate


built environment




cancer research





Research excellence

industrial relations







brain tumour

social care


team is aiming to translate an antialcoholism drug into cancer treatment. He is one of the international leading scientists in this field and has published over 70 scientific papers and filed two international patents.

WLV Life Winter 2014



The power of mentoring Two animated videos featuring participants from the University’s student mentoring programme can now be viewed on the University’s website. The videos highlight the benefits of mentoring and the University’s student mentoring programme, which matches a graduate (mentor) with a student (mentee) to help guide them through their university journey as well as prepare them for life after graduation. The nine-month programme runs from October to June every year and is open to all students – first, second, third years, part-time and postgraduates. Thanks to Rebecca Chauhan, Rob Nelson, Preet Bachu and Carol Reilly for talking about their experience of the programme and to Stone’s Throw Media for producing the videos. Find out more at:

proud to know that I played an important part in her journey through her final year and into the world of work.”

Modasar Rasul, MA Education, 2013, shares his thoughts about mentoring students. Why become a mentor? “I really enjoyed studying the MA in Education and wanted a way to stay connected to the University and give something back. I also enjoy working with students and young people so mentoring is perfect for me. I feel I have a lot to offer a current student and mentoring allows me to share my experiences and guide someone through their final year. I am looking forward to seeing how my mentee develops through the year, and I will feel

What does a mentor do? “The role of the alumni mentor involves making a commitment and then working with a mentee to take them through their academic year. It involves being approachable and available for the mentee, establishing rapport and actively listening to their needs. It’s also about recognising that everyone has potential for growth and improvement, and helping nuture it. It is not a coincidence that highly successful people have mentors – mentoring is a tried-and-tested catalyst for success and is used in many areas of society, from youth development and education to the world of corporate business and commerce.”

Great personal development opportunity Would you like to mentor students at The Pitch, a two-day Dragons’ Den style residential event for budding entrepreneurs? You’ll have the chance to develop your leadership, team working, creative thinking and mentoring skills. We need alumni to act as mentors for groups of school students, supporting them as they put forward their business ‘pitch’ to a panel of real life businesses. For more information on this exciting opportunity on Thursday 19 and Friday 20 March 2015, email Hannah James at:

How can you become a mentor? “Becoming a mentor is very easy; you simply complete a registration form and return it to the Alumni team. You will then be invited to a training session where you will meet your mentee. This is a very exciting time as you also meet many of the other mentors and mentees involved in the programme. The training covers all aspects of the mentoring and the Alumni team are always at hand for support should you need it.” Modasar Rasul is a learner enhancement officer at Aston University and has worked in education for over 10 years. He is one of the mentors participating in this year’s student mentoring programme at the University of Wolverhampton. If you would like to become a mentor and participate in the 2015-16 programme, please email: or call 01902 323 056 for more information.

Graduate Feature

Just Do It David Odusanya

BA (Hons) Visual Communications, 1991

“Every presentation at Nike starts with a video so welcome to my world.” And with that, David Odusanya begins his presentation to Faculty of Arts students at the University of Wolverhampton in the same room where he sat as a student nearly 25 years ago. Named after the Greek goddess of victory, Nike is one of the world’s most famous brands with its instantly recognisable ‘swoosh’ logo, innovative products and world class marketing campaigns. David has worked for the company since 1995 and is based at Nike, Inc. headquarters near Beaverton, Oregon where he is now vice president and creative director of Young Athletes. It’s a long way from his home town of Sheffield where he grew up, one of eight children in a single parent household. “My mum was an amazing woman, a single working mum who managed the household. She left school without an education yet her kids, all eight of us, graduated from university. We owe our success to her ability to laugh at life and tenacity to overcome. “Like many young kids who dreamed to wear the England kit, I had hoped that football would be my way out. When it was clear this was not to be, I looked at my options. To be honest, it was not looking too good until my brother Phil went to university and became a lawyer, the first in the family. Though I didn’t have a clear idea of what it meant, I thought to myself – ‘OK… I’m becoming a graphic designer’. I’d been interested in art since primary school – I loved sport and I loved art - and there was no doubt in my mind that I was going to become a graphic designer. Fast forward 20+ years and I’m a creative director who works with some of the greatest footballers in the world. It’s a funny old game.

WLV Life Winter 2014


Graduate Feature

“For various reasons, I came to Wolverhampton. The University wasn’t my first choice but honestly it ended up being a great choice. University life was good and the course really encouraged individualism. It was a brilliant course due to the combination of tutors and external professional designers who gave insight, once or twice a week, to the reality and opportunity of design. Working with professionals who understood the business was a big deal for me. “Wolverhampton taught me that great design is about the fundamentals – understanding the problem (or opportunity), finding a solution, developing a creative idea and executing at the highest level of craft. At other universities, I saw one look and the same solutions – a show of sameness as if the students had been taught a school look versus problem solving. At our final year show, although we had the same brief, our solutions were so diverse and creative. “I’m very grateful for what I learnt from the University. I left with a great portfolio that was full of variety as I had pushed myself and delivered beyond the brief but, more importantly, I left with some great life lessons about what it means to be excellent as well. I’ve come a long way in 25 years. It’s been an amazing ride and I do feel like I’m the luckiest man on the planet.” Getting started After graduating, David worked in London for a couple of agencies, then got his Green Card and moved to the United States and became an American citizen. He moved to Boston with great ambitions, hopes and desires but ended up selling frozen yoghurt for six months. However, while working as a temp at Reebok in their footwear library, it wasn’t long before he made the right connections and his design skills started to attract attention. Within a month, he was hired as a designer. But all he heard people talking about was a company called Nike… “Nike offered me a job and my first project was the redesign of the Denver Broncos. In context, this was like redesigning Liverpool FC or Manchester United! We redesigned the uniforms and the identity and the first season they wore the new look, they won the Super Bowl. They went on to win back to back Super Bowls and

everywhere you looked, you saw the new identity. To see a whole city go crazy over a look you’ve created was… also crazy. “That was the start of my career at Nike and I expected to work there for a few years. I thought anyone who worked in a company for any longer than 10 years was a complete loser. The truth is, if you find somewhere with variety, continuing challenge and opportunity, then seize it. I started in Team Sports as a senior designer and then moved to Brand Design. From there, I grew quickly, embracing the challenges and opportunities. I became creative director of Brand Design (North America) and then moved to Europe and became the creative director of Brand Design Europe. I expanded my experiences and became the brand design creative director of Nike Sportswear and, soon after, vice president/creative director of Global Brand Design.” Realising the vision “At Nike, I’ve gone from designing typography and a logo to driving global campaigns. In my current role, I partner with every function – creative as well as business – from footwear, apparel, marketing, design to merchandising – to partner, lead and realise the product vision for the Nike Young Athlete.

“Everything we do starts and ends with sports. We’re a sports company, we’re not a fashion brand and we don’t follow trends. We are in the fortunate position that we create trends. It’s important that whatever we do is memorable and distinctive in the marketplace and we seldom look at competitors because we’re not there to follow, we’re there to lead. It’s an environment of constant challenge and change and we embrace that. “From a communications point of view, we have some simple principles. Sport is fun so let’s have fun. Nike started out as a business with Phil Knight selling running shoes out of the trunk of his car at run meets and now it’s a $28-30 billion business. As a brand, we love the emotion of sport… we provoke conversation… and we make revolutionary products. “We employ about 600 designers and we love creativity. Nike is very visual and it’s all telling stories in a meaningful way to connect with the consumer, but inform at the same time. It’s about understanding the brief, the problem and the opportunity, and then coming up with solutions. Similar to when we hire, we look for people who are curious, push beyond the brief

and challenge the solution – that’s how, at Nike, things go from little projects to massive campaigns.” Becoming a trail-blazer “It’s one thing having an idea that can work in one medium but it’s quite another having an idea that can work in multiple forms,” continues David. “I’ve worked on World Cups, Euro Championships and Olympics, and each and every one of them has been amazing just because of their global nature. But the Nike campaign for the 2002 FIFA World Cup stands out for me and is my favourite because it trailblazed a new approach to marketing for Nike and became a benchmark for us. “It was a big deal for me because I had just become global creative director and I was leading on the campaign. Known as Scorpion Knockout, the objective was to support the World Cup and create excitement for Nike’s soccer products and athletes. The concept was a fictional tournament in a first-goal-wins elimination and the animated advert featured top contemporary football players with Eric Cantona as the tournament ‘referee’. Following the airing of the commercials, an estimated one to two million children competed in matches following Scorpion Knockout rules in a dozen cities worldwide.

“We created a truly integrated marketing campaign and did something that impacted on everything and even created our own little World Cup with a lasting legacy of its own. This integrated approach has now become the cornerstone for Nike marketing and communications. It was an amazing project and experience that helped to catapult my career, and part of the reason I’ve been at Nike, having fun, for almost 20 years.” Images © Nike, Inc.

WLV Life Winter 2014



International news The University of Wolverhampton has regional bases in Singapore, China, Malaysia, India, Oman and Nigeria. It also has a branch campus in Mauritius and courses are delivered with global partners in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Sri Lanka, Russia and France. Read on to find out about the latest international developments.

Hong Kong celebrates its newest graduates The Hong Kong Alumni Association welcomed its newest members after their 2014 graduation ceremony at a graduation dinner and reunion in November attended by Vice-Chancellor, Professor Geoff Layer, together with senior executives from the University and other partner institutes. The University of Wolverhampton has a long history of working internationally, establishing its first office in Hong Kong

in 1996. This year, over 70 Hong Kong graduates were awarded degrees by the University. Chairman of the University of Wolverhampton Hong Kong Alumni Association, Anthony Kam, said: “The Alumni Association is going from strength to strength, and this event celebrates the achievements of our newest members and is an opportunity for reuniting all our Hong Kong graduates. We’re grateful to the Vice-Chancellor and distinguished guests for attending today in what has been a wonderful day.”

Attending the event was Dr Louise Brooke-Smith, President of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Louise was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Technology by the University in 2013 and she is the first female president in the institution’s history, representing 180,000 members across 146 countries.

10 years in Biarritz This year marks the 10th anniversary of the University’s associate campus in Biarritz, France. Since 2005, the University has been in partnership with Ecole Supérieure des Technologies Industrielles Avancées (ESTIA) and this partnership means that ESTIA is able to offer courses in advanced technology management. The delivery of the programme is part of Wolverhampton’s transnational education partnerships scheme, and many of the students go on to secure jobs in the aerospace industry and work all over the globe. University launches presence in Vietnam and the Middle East The University has expanded its international operations with a new regional presence in Vietnam, and a regional representative based in Ho Chi Minh City has been appointed to provide advice and guidance to prospective students wishing to study at the University. Jo Gittens, International Director at the University, said: “South East Asia is an area that we have been proactively targeting and we have seen an increase of 25% in applications from the region. The new regional presence in Vietnam

Agreement signing with the Arab Open University

enables us to capitalise on this and to provide advice and support to students wishing to study at the University of Wolverhampton. In addition, we are signing a Memorandum of Understanding to seal a new academic partnership with ERC Institute Vietnam. This is an exciting time for the University’s global operations, and enables us to further grow our international presence.” In the Middle East, the University has signed an agreement to be formally linked with the Arab Open University. A Letter of Intent has been signed between the two institutions to collaborate on academic programmes including law and a number of courses in the Faculty of Science and Engineering such as communication engineering, computer engineering and electrical engineering. The courses will be delivered in the Middle East by the University of Wolverhampton. Vice-Chancellor, Professor Geoff Layer, said: “Agreements such as these tie in with the University’s globalisation strategy and help create opportunities. Collaborating with partners overseas can provide huge benefits in terms of research, knowledge exchange and collaborative working.”

The programmes will be launched in September 2015 and could potentially be studied by more than 1,000 students. If successful, the course offering will be expanded across other subject areas in the future. Meet us overseas! Representatives from the University of Wolverhampton visit many countries throughout the year to meet prospective new students, raise the profile of the University, participate in British Council recruitment fairs, meet business leaders and education providers, and form links and partnerships. Jo Gittens, International Director, regularly travels overseas and in 2015 she will be visiting India, Burma, Oman, Malaysia and Vietnam. The University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Geoff Layer, will be speaking at The Social Dimension in European Higher Education conference in Vienna (25-27 February 2015), attending graduation at Ecole Supérieure des Technologies Industrielles Avancées (ESTIA) in March and visiting Malaysia and the Mauritius branch campus.

WLV Life Winter 2014


Graduate Feature

My Life Jess Hemming

BSc (Hons) Quantity Surveying and Commercial Management, 2008 Working in the building and construction industry might not be the first choice for many women but as one of the largest employers in the UK it offers a great career choice. Construction has been traditionally a male-dominated business and women are underrepresented in this industry accounting for only 11% of the construction workforce and just 1% of workers on site*.

Jess pictured with The Queen at Reading Station’s official opening (pictured first on the back row on the left). For many it’s viewed as a man’s world but one woman succeeding in this field is Jess Hemming. Jess has worked in the construction industry on various types of projects both in the public and private sectors and ranging in budget from £250,000 to £895 million. She is currently senior quantity surveyor at professional services consultancy the Rhead Group. “The construction industry appealed to me because it meant every day would be different and I would be outdoors and not bored and stuck in an office. Also, the

great attraction of construction is the opportunity to work abroad and it was exciting to think I would see the construction of buildings and maybe move abroad one day. This has come true for me and I’ve recently moved to Brisbane which on a personal level is fantastic as my partner is Australian but on a work level it also means I can throw myself into a new set of challenges. “I chose to study at Wolverhampton because it had a direct link with Thomas Vale Construction who were sponsoring my degree. It was an enjoyable learning experience with some great lectures and people who made the six years fly by. Completing my degree and being recognised as a qualified quantity surveyor is probably my proudest professional achievement to date.

Working in a ‘male’ industry “Sadly we still don’t get too many women joining the industry, which is a great shame as I can highly recommend it. I have been a quantity surveyor for the last 10 years and now I’m in a position where I’m training younger people coming into the profession. “At first I thought it was going to be difficult being one of only a few women working on project sites but I’ve been lucky and no-one has ever treated me differently just because I’m a woman. If you do your job well then no-one should treat you differently but I do think that because you’re in a minority you do tend to work harder to ensure you’re the best you can be. “More women are joining the industry than ever before but not enough is being done to encourage young women into the industry. To many, construction still appears to consist only of carpenters, bricklayers and plasterers, etc. There’s not enough promotion of other jobs within the sector. That’s a real barrier to overcome to ensure women know about all the career choices associated with the industry.” Meeting The Queen Before she left for Australia, Jess played an important part in the recent £895 million redevelopment of Reading Station. Used by nearly 20 million passengers a year, this station is one of the busiest rail hubs in Britain and over the last five years it has been rebuilt, removing one of the worst bottlenecks on the network and improving reliability as well as increasing capacity so more trains can run. By 2030, a forecasted 30 million people will use the station each year and, as one of only six women who worked on the project site, Jess was among 100 railway workers pictured with The Queen at the station’s official opening. “The project I’ve enjoyed the most has been the Reading Station project, which we completed a year ahead of schedule and within budget. I worked on the final agreement of the accounts for the £20 million mechanical and engineering, £3 million structures and the £9 million cladding projects at the end of this five-year build. “The best projects are normally due to the people and you can have a problematic project but if you have a great team you can overcome the issues together. There was a great team spirit during this project and at the end we even got to have our photo taken with The Queen! Working on projects like this is really rewarding and I was very proud to represent both the Rhead Group and the many women working in construction at the official opening.”

Where are you now? We love to hear about where life has taken our graduates – the next steps they have taken and the joys and successes they are experiencing. Why not tell us where you are now and be featured on our alumni website or maybe even in future editions of WLV @lumni e-zine and WLV Life magazine. You could write about your: • career success or further study since graduating • travel experiences and adventures • hobbies and interests • personal life such as marriage and children • any other fantastic experiences you have had! To find out how to send us your story, and to read where some of our graduates from the past 50 years are now, visit:

* Building the future: women in construction, The Smith Institute, March 2014.

WLV Life Winter 2014


WLV Alumni Association – benefits and services. We offer you great benefits and services long after you’ve left the University. • • • • • • • •

WLV Life alumni magazine and WLV@lumni e-newsletter. Alumni reunions and social events. Careers advice and guidance from our dedicated team. Access to our online jobs database. Professional development workshops and networking opportunities. Up to 20% discounted fees on taught postgraduate courses*. Discounted library and sports centre memberships. Volunteering opportunities.

* Terms and conditions apply

Join us online You can join thousands of fellow alumni online. @wlv_alumni

Life by email If you have an email address and would like to receive future editions of WLV Life by email let us know at:

Alumni & Development University of Wolverhampton MX Building, Camp Street, Wolverhampton, WV1 1AD United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)1902 323 056 Email: Fax: +44 (0)1902 322 099 Website: MAC2262

Wlv life issue 8 winter 2014 15  

The winter edition of WLV Life magazine for graduates of the University of Wolverhampton.

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