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University of Wolverhampton alumni magazine

Issue 05 Summer 2013


Alumni of the Year Awards GRADUATE FEATURE Former MP, Mike Foster

A RETURN TO THE REGION’s ROOTS New Faculty of Science and Engineering

Life. At Wolverhampton. After Wolverhampton. For Life. Welcome to the Summer 2013 edition of WLV Life – the magazine for former students and graduates of the University of Wolverhampton. What a year it’s been so far! You may remember in the last edition we were getting ready to mark our 21st anniversary of university status. Since then our celebrations have been in full swing – with commemorative sculptures, our very own University of Wolverhampton history book, and more events than you can shake a birthday candle at. All under our ‘21 and Proud’ banner, we hosted our second alumni reunion (page 10), our first ever Achievement Awards where we crowned three Alumni of the Year (page 12), and events for staff, students, businesses and the local community on three of the University’s campuses. You can see all of our celebrations at a glance on page 14. Also in this edition, we talk to former MP and graduate, Mike Foster, about passions, politics and public service (page 5); get a glimpse of what a day looks like for Birmingham Post journalist, Cillian O’Brien (page 18); and high street designer, Kennedy Glews is this edition’s ‘My Life’ on page 24.

Articles written by: Amy Roberton and Samantha Fleming

With all the latest alumni and University news, including Suzi Perry launching our new Faculty of Science and Engineering (page 4), new international ties in India (page 20), and our plans for sport at Walsall (page 22), you’ll be sure to find something of interest. I hope you find WLV Life an entertaining and informative read. If you would like to share your thoughts on what you’ve read, or if you would like to feature in future editions of the magazine, then drop me, Claire or Sam (Alumni & Development) an email at:

Amy Robert on Best wishes,

Amy Roberton Editor, Alumni Relations Manager

04 05 02 04 08 12 14 17 20 22

A life in public service Mike Foster


A Day in the Life Cillian O’Brien, Birmingham Post

10 24

My Life Kennedy Glews

In the news

What’s been happening at your university

A return to the region’s roots

New Faculty of Science and Engineering

Research focus

Revolutionary ground-breaking projects

Alumni of the Year

21 and Proud Achievement Awards

21 and Proud at a glance

A snapshot of activity throughout the year


The changing face of City Campus Enhancing the student experience

Strengthening our ties with India

University delegation visits India, Bangladesh and Nepal

Inspiring the next generation Walsall Centre of Excellence for Sport


In the news... Just because you’ve graduated doesn’t mean you should be made any less aware of what’s going on at your university. Here is just a small selection of our leading headlines from the past few months…


University picks up industry accolade

We were delighted to win the Knowledge Exchange/Transfer Initiative of the Year category at the fifth annual Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards. The award was given for the Wolverhampton Business Solutions Centre, a collaboration between the University of Wolverhampton, the City of Wolverhampton College, the Black Country Chamber of Commerce and Wolverhampton City Council.



KEEN to achieve

A business improvement programme we are spearheading is off to a flying start with 15 companies already receiving support. The Knowledge Exchange and Enterprise Network (KEEN) provides West Midlands based small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) the opportunity to directly employ a graduate and utilise knowledge and resources within the University to increase their profitability and achieve growth.

Wolverhampton graduate employment rate rises

The results of the latest Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey showed that more than 90% of our 2012 graduating class are already in work or continuing their studies – a rise of over 5%. In the last 12 months the University has made a number of improvements in the way it supports graduate employability, including doubling the number of graduate internships it offers, increasing opportunities for work placements, and providing training opportunities and updates about job vacancies.



Graduate’s design lauded at prestigious awards ceremony

Master’s student, Matt Jones, is celebrating being runner-up in a national book cover illustration competition organised by Penguin Books. Graduate in MA Digital and Visual Communications, Matt claimed second place for his The Wind in the Willows cover design at the 2013 Penguin Design Awards. Shortlisted in the “Puffin Children’s Prize” category from over 1,400 entries, Matt’s work was praised by the judges on the panel, including former Children’s Laureate Jacqueline Wilson and award winning graphic artist Chris Riddell.

Youth gang members and young people from areas overrun with overwhelming crime rates have acquired the skills to develop and market their own personal mobile phone application ideas. Over 50 people, including current and former gang members, attended a one-day event held at the University to pitch their phone app ideas to a panel of experts. The event formed part of a project run by national social business, Catch22, which provides services to help people in tough situations to turn their lives around and gain new skills.





Calling time on gang crime

New associate campus to be launched in France

The University is set to launch a new associate campus in France as part of plans to develop international education and research. The campus is a partnership between the University and the Chamber of Commerce for the Basque region of France. It will involve Wolverhampton working closely with two French institutions to develop courses, create student and staff exchange opportunities and work together on research and business projects.


First for University of Wolverhampton in People and Planet Green League

We have been named one of the top universities in the UK for our green agenda in the latest annual survey which ranks environmental and ethical performance. We have achieved a First Class award and been ranked 39 out of 143 universities in the People and Planet Green League 2013. The survey is the UK’s only comprehensive and independent green ranking of universities.


Open Day held for Deaf learners

We hosted our first ever Open Day dedicated for Deaf and hearing-impaired learners. The event took place at Wolverhampton City Campus – following a similar format to other Open Days – and was designed to support the specific needs of Deaf and hearing-impaired learners and to promote our extensive support for the Deaf community. Visitors were given the opportunity to interact with current Deaf students, recent graduates, lecturers and support lecturers to find out more about university life and the Deaf student experience.

Alumni volunteering opportunities As a former student you have a wealth of knowledge, skills and experience to boast about, and we’re always looking for talented volunteers to support the University.

Supporting your University by volunteering your time can be a very rewarding experience. It’s a great way to meet new people and old friends, allows you to share your knowledge and your story with the University community, and provides invaluable opportunities to enhance your skills, experiences, and ultimately, your CV.

• Careers fairs Is your organisation looking to recruit? Take the opportunity to meet the next generation of graduates.

Volunteering opportunities include:

By sharing your insights, experiences, knowledge and skills, you can give them a better understanding of the world of work, equipping them to succeed in a competitive jobs market.

• Open Days Share your experiences of university life and your career since graduating with prospective students and their parents. • Visiting local schools and colleges Accompany our team of Graduate Interns to local schools and colleges and inspire students to strive for higher education. • Guest talks Contribute to our understanding of the industry you work in by sharing your real life perspective with students, graduates and staff.

Student mentoring As a mentor you can help our final year students prepare for life after graduation.

All we ask is that you commit 1-2 hours per month over the course of 9 months to meet with your mentee(s) face-to-face. We will give you full training from one of the University’s mentoring experts and match you with mentees based on your location and your individual goals and expectations. For more information about becoming a volunteer email Claire, Amy or Sam (Alumni & Development) at:

You can help with: • job searching, CV writing and interview tips • work experience and placement opportunities • organisation, communication and presentation skills • sharing contacts from within your professional networks.

• Alumni events Help us to organise and promote alumni events, for example our annual alumni reunion. • Writing a case study or testimonial Feature in University publications and recruitment campaigns, sharing your positive messages about the University.


Suzi Perry with Vice-Chancellor, Geoff Layer, and Dean of Faculty, Professor Nduka Ekere

A return to the region’s roots

New Faculty of Science and Engineering On 19 June the University was joined by former Gadget Show presenter and Honorary Graduate, Suzi Perry, to formally launch the new Faculty of Science and Engineering at a special event held at City Campus. Part of a wider restructure of our eight Academic Schools into four faculties, our vision goes much further than just a new name. It has been widely acknowledged at a national and international level, that the future economic growth of the UK lies in high-tech industries, and that a greater provision of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects within higher education institutions is necessary to ensure the highly skilled population required to drive this. The University plays a central role in developing economic regeneration across the West Midlands. With the majority of our students coming from

the local region and choosing to stay in the area after graduation, our graduates are a key contributor to the local labour force. The heritage of the West Midlands, and in particular the Black Country, comes from an industrial base – most notably production and manufacturing – and more recently the area has seen a return to its roots with the arrival of large manufacturing companies such as Jaguar Land Rover. The creation of a Faculty of Science and Engineering seeks to develop and grow the University’s STEM provision. Through investment in new facilities and links with key employers in the industry, we can ensure our graduates are equipped with the knowledge, skills and experience necessary to meet the needs of the employers and the changing labour market.

Investing in facilities The Faculty of Science and Engineering is based in the fully equipped, purpose built Technology Centre at City Campus which houses specialist facilities for engineering and computer science. In addition, plans for a new £25 million science centre are also underway. The contemporary structure will involve the redevelopment of current buildings fronting onto Stafford Street to create six storeys of facilities featuring state-of-the-art laboratories for over 2,500 students. Home to 150 staff and covering more than 6,000 square metres, the building will extend the impressive line-up of University architecture in the city centre. The new building will open in phases, with anticipated completion in December 2014. It will include an area from Stafford Street through which the public can view the inside of the building and see experiments and teaching in action. The new build forms part of a multi-million pound redevelopment of the University’s City Campus (see page 17).

A life in public service We talk to graduate, Mike Foster, about his former role as an MP and his unwavering dedication to improving the lives of others.

What is it about working in public service that you enjoy so much? “It’s the ability to change people’s lives. Whether it’s opening doors through teaching, improving services in your constituency, providing life-saving medical facilities in impoverished countries, or contributing to the world’s ‘green’ agenda – knowing that you have influenced or improved someone’s life, even if only in a small way…well you can’t beat that.” Your public service career began when you started teaching, but prior to that you were an accountant at Jaguar. What led you to change direction? “Teaching had always been my real passion, but the jobs market in 1984 when I graduated was dire and so I accepted the first job I was offered. I knew I was one of the lucky ones when I accepted a post at Jaguar. While there I undertook a secondment with Birmingham City Council helping head teachers manage their new budget

responsibilities. It reignited my passion for teaching. When I saw a position at Worcester College that didn’t require qualified teacher status, I took the opportunity. I got the job and that’s when I returned to the University to gain my PGCE qualification.” You were an active member of the Labour Party during this time as well. How did that begin? “I’ve always been interested in politics and actually joined the Labour Party in 1980 while I was still at school. I did a lot of voluntary work for the Party throughout the 80s and early 90s, and in 1992 I was made the General Election agent for the candidate for my area. This is one of the highest voluntary responsibilities you can get as you are legally responsible for the candidate and it gave me a real appetite to become a candidate myself in the future.”

Is that what made you want to pursue politics full-time? “Yes, and when my family and I moved to Worcester after the 1992 elections I decided to go for the Labour candidacy for the area. Traditionally it had been Conservative, but recent boundary changes meant it was now a swingseat area so I had my chance. I was chosen out of 50 other Party members put forward. I was given my training, told what was expected of me, and then it was down to me to put together a campaign for election – all this while I was still in a full-time teaching job.” How did it feel when you won? “There was euphoria across the whole country about the 1997 elections and I was the first, and am still the only, Labour MP to represent Worcester in Parliament. I was extremely proud and excited to be able to start making a difference in the constituency.”


Mike and Bill Clinton in Haiti following the earthquake. Mike led the UK relief effort on behalf of the Department for International Development, and Bill Clinton was UN Special Envoy to Haiti.

Did you adapt to being in the public eye easily? “Going from being a teacher to a nationally known MP was a lifestyle change for me and my family. It’s inevitable that you’re going to come under the spotlight, both for the policies you support and your life outside politics, so I had to develop a thick skin quite quickly. The very nature of what I do involves people’s opinions so public interest is a good thing, and I just had to draw my own line between what I considered publicity, and genuine public interest, and simple intrusiveness.” What do you consider some of your highlights as an MP? “I was an MP for 13 years, and as a local MP there are no end of small successes. But at Westminster, whatever role you have, you influence a much greater number of lives. The private

members bill to ban hunting with dogs was controversial, but the principles I introduced were later passed into law and not many people get the chance to change the law in their country. And the impact you’ve had outside the country..? As a Government Whip, I worked on legislation for the Northern Ireland peace process and as Parliamentary UnderSecretary of State, I helped secure the release on some 300,000 detained Sri Lankan civilians from the camps at the end of the civil war in 2009. Less high profile, but equally rewarding, would be provision of vital maternal health facilities in places like Nepal. I was lucky to be able to visit one such “hospital” and meet the new mums whose lives had been saved by UK Aid delivered by my department. Changing the life chances of people thousands of miles away is incredibly rewarding.”

Was it hard to adjust when you lost your seat in 2010? “As an MP you accept that much of your career rests on a knife edge and you can be out of a job as quickly as you get in one. But when I left I looked back on my 13 years and was proud of what I had achieved.” You are now the Chief Executive of Energy and Utilities Alliance (EUA). What is EUA? “EUA is a trade association with members ranging from large-scale energy companies to self-employed heating engineers. We help to shape future policy direction within the energy sector and work towards a sustainable and energysecure future that not only furthers the best interests of our members, but also the wider community.”

So did the energy sector appeal to you then? “When I was brought in to head-up EUA, the association was looking for a change of direction, in particular developing a much greater, outward-facing public profile. I had no knowledge or expertise of the energy sector, but they knew I had knowledge of how to influence government ministers and affect actual policy changes, and that’s what they needed. Of course I had to learn about energy, but I have been used to that throughout my career – I’d never worked in international development before, but when the Prime Minister rings to offer you the job as Minister for International Development, you don’t say no; you say yes and learn the rest!”

Education BA (Hons) Economics, 1984 PGCE, 1995 Career 1984-1991 1991-1997 1997-2010

Management Accountant, Jaguar Cars Lecturer in Accountancy, Worcester College of Technology Member of Parliament Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Minister of State, Department for Education and Skills (2001) Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (2005) Government Whip (2006) Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for International Development (2008) 2010-2011 Head of Communications, WaterAid 2011-Present Chief Executive, Energy and Utilities Alliance (EUA)

What does a typical day look like for you? “Like most people there isn’t a typical day, but in addition to general operations management, I get to visit member companies and learn about, for example, the latest developments in energy

this. Whether it’s connecting more people to the gas mains, or installing more fuel efficient boilers, there are opportunities at every stage to help the end consumer and tackle fuel poverty.”

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time? “I certainly want to stay in public policy debate, but I have no ‘map’ as such and that suits me perfectly.” What advice would you give a potential student of the University? “I believe that a university like Wolverhampton equips today’s graduates for the real world in the 21st century, but make sure you use your experience, education and qualifications to lead you to other things. See your degree as a stepping stone on the journey, not the end of the journey.” Finally, what is your best memory of Wolverhampton Polytechnic?

Mike in the Department for International Development, with his red Ministerial Box in the foreground

Mike at the Despatch Box for the first time

efficient, environmentally friendly technology. I recently visited a village that was having gas mains fitted for the first time and at every stage of the process – from digging holes, to laying pipes and installing boilers and meters – a member company was involved. Projects like that tick all the boxes for me as they not only benefit our association members, but the residents also benefited from lower fuel bills and much greater comfort too.”

Do you think there will ever be an ‘all-in-one’ source of energy that is renewable, green, and adequately serves the needs of the population?

As a leading voice in the industry sector, where would you like to make the most impact? “Affordable energy and eradicating fuel poverty. A staggering 24,000 people die each year because of cold related illness and in the UK there is no excuse for

“The so-called “trilema” we face is creating a balance between sustainability (eg. low carbon), cost (eg. affordability), and security (eg. ensuring continued provision). I don’t think there will ever be one single technology that can meet all these needs, but what we’re arguing for is a balance of different technologies that can together meet them. That way, no single technology can be ruled out because all of them tick at least one of the trilema boxes.”

“I have lots of memories, and I know it sounds corny, but the best one has got to be that I met my wife there!”

knowing that you have influenced or improved someone’s life, even if only in a small way…well you can’t beat that.


Research focus The University prides itself for its research excellence. With successful bids for funding and our latest projects hailed as ‘revolutionary’ and ‘ground-breaking’, it’s been another successful year.


Project runaway

The two-year Children Rough Sleepers project spearheaded by Wolverhampton researchers has received funding of €1.25 million (approx. £1 million) from the European Union DAPHNE fund. The project into runaway and homeless children who sleep rough, will focus on vulnerable children who have become victim to sexual exploitation or abuse, and can also be perpetrators of crime to survive on the streets in cities across Europe. Researchers will interview children from the street to find out about their experiences and needs, and work with organisations, such as social workers, health and education staff, police and victim support, to share their findings. The team at Wolverhampton will work with partners in the UK, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia and Spain to assess the similarities and differences between the children in the countries.


Battling brain tumours

World-leading experts at our Brain Tumour Research Centre have demonstrated how an anti-alcoholism drug, called disulfiram, could potentially be used to help treat glioblastoma – one of the most aggressive and hardest to treat forms of brain tumour. One of the difficulties is that only a handful of conventional drugs are able to penetrate the blood-brain barrier – which controls the exchange of molecules between the brain and the blood circulating around the body. So when glioblastoma patients develop resistance to existing treatments, there are very few alternatives that doctors can try. But now researchers from the University of Wolverhampton – funded by the Brain Tumour Charity – have shown in lab studies how disulfiram, which can potentially cross the blood-brain barrier, might help sensitise cancer cells to existing chemotherapy treatments.


Sweet remedy

The use of sugar to heal wounds by a University of Wolverhampton lecturer has been hailed as “revolutionary” by a patient receiving the treatment at a Birmingham hospital. Senior Lecturer in Adult Nursing, Moses Murandu, grew up in Zimbabwe where his father used granulated sugar to heal wounds and reduce pain when he was a child. But when he moved to the UK, he realised that sugar was not used for this purpose here. Now he is carrying out a research trial into the effectiveness of sugar when used on hospital patients with wounds such as bed sores, leg ulcers and even amputations. The treatment works by drawing water away from the wound which bacteria need to grow. Above-the-knee amputee, Alan Bayliss, became part of the trial after his left leg cavity was not healing effectively. Within two weeks of sugar treatment the wound had drastically reduced in size and was healing well.


From farm to fork

The much publicised horse meat scandal could have been avoided if a system developed by the University to trace food was in use, according to experts. The University, alongside eight partners across Europe, carried out the ‘Farm to Fork’ research project, which developed and utilised a range of technologies including Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), to identify and trace food information across Europe from producer to consumer. The system works by identifying individual items of food and tracking precisely what happens to them during the production process, so that when the product reaches the shops, consumers can scan the code and determine its origin, where it was processed, packed and stored, and how it was transported.


Tell me no lies

Dr Coral Dando, Reader in Applied Cognitive Psychology has collaborated in a ground-breaking truth-telling project which aims to improve the lie detection rates of police interviews. The study, entitled Helping to sort the liars from the truth-tellers: The gradual revelation of information during investigative interviews, found that drip-feeding evidence to the suspect boosted the detection rate to 68% compared with 50% for the existing methods, where all the information is revealed either early or late in the interview. Dr Dando was asked to take part in the study not only because of her expertise but also due to her background as a specialist interviewer in the police force.

You can keep up to date with all of our research activity and publications at:


Celebrating 21 years of university status

Alumni Reunion 2013 in pictures… It was back - bigger, better and this time with birthday cake! We held our second University Alumni Reunion on Saturday 20 April at Molineux Stadium and were thrilled to see so many of you come back to campus. Forming part of the University’s 21st anniversary celebrations, the reunion was the perfect opportunity for our graduates to catch up with old friends, make new ones, and see how the University has changed. We welcomed back alumni from over the last 40 years, including a few of you who were with us in 1992 when we became the University of Wolverhampton. All ticket proceeds from the night went towards a special 21 and Proud student hardship fund that will help the next generation of students make the most of their time at University just like you did.

Get your snapshot of the night with our reunion photo album…

Turn over to find out who our Alumni of the Year were at our special 21 and Proud Achievement Awards


Celebrating 21 years of university status

Alumni of the Year:

21 and Proud Achievement Awards

And the winners are… The University was delighted to host its first ever achievement awards recognising the outstanding success of talented individuals from our alumni community, the local business community, and the region’s 13-16 year olds. Nominations for the alumni categories were received from University staff, fellow alumni and current students. Shortlisted to three in each category by a judging panel led by Pro Vice-Chancellor, Ian Oakes, the winners were announced at a glittering awards ceremony held at Molineux Stadium on Wednesday 12 June.

Emerging Alumnus of the Year A graduate from the last five years who has made a significant impact in their industry or profession.

Mat Winzor has been a leading figure in the redevelopment of the Boys’ PE curriculum at Deansfield Community School. There was less than 50% participation in the majority of PE lessons, no GCSE PE cohort and few extra-curricular clubs when Mat started. His enthusiasm for sport and high level PE has allowed him to build outstanding relationships with students, resulting in a huge increase in student engagement. Last year Mat won the Daily Mail RBS Real Rugby Heroes award for Grass Roots development of Rugby. How does it feel to be our first emerging Alumnus of the Year? “It was great to be part of the University’s 21st anniversary celebrations and to receive an award was fantastic. The evening was very enjoyable and it was great to see the hard work and successful links that the University has established with local businesses.” In what way has your degree helped you in your career? “My PGCE in PE gave me an introduction to, and experiences of, the day-today demands of the teaching profession and helped me to develop my skills and approaches, which have proved invaluable to date in my teaching career.” What advice would you give today’s graduates? “Work hard and be resilient….” Runners up: Chris Carter, Jake Rogers and Neil Cooper (VOiD Games); Christophe Dillinger


Mat Winzor

Alumnus of the Year: Enterprise and Leadership A graduate who has made an important contribution to the local, national or international community through an enterprising business venture, or has improved the way business is done through innovative leadership.

Stephen joined FJ Shaylor Builders Ltd in 1993 as a contracts manager. By 2000, he was Chief Executive of the Shaylor Group and has led the company through a 13 year period of sustained progress, peaking at £60m turnover pa at the start of the recession and maintaining a turnover of £50m pa. Ranked 25th in the ‘Top 100 Companies to Work For’ by the Sunday Times, 2005, in the same year the Shaylor Group gained the Investors in People award. 2012 saw the business achieve IIP GOLD Standard and named ‘One to Watch’ in the Sunday Times Best Companies Awards. How does it feel to be our first Alumnus of the Year: Enterprise and Leadership? “I’m absolutely delighted to be the first winner of this award and Iook forward to seeing many more graduates join me in receiving it.” In what way has your degree helped you in your career? “Pursuing my interests and passion through a degree has provided the platform and knowledge to facilitate career progression, as well as a regarded qualification, which is respected by colleagues and peer groups. Following my degree, my work experience has been a successful formulation of planned direction and strategy, developing the family business with confidence to accomplish a 12 year period of sustained growth.”


Stephen Shaylor

What advice would you give today’s graduates? “There is no substitute for hard work. Put the effort in and you will reap what you sow!” Runners up: Chris Carter, Jake Rogers and Neil Cooper (VOiD Games); Matt Weston and Mike Chinn (Stone’s Throw Media)

Alumnus of the Year: Contribution to Society A graduate from any year who has enriched or transformed the lives of others, or overcome significant personal adversity, either within their professional career or personal life.

Vijay has contributed to the development of Nepal – one of the world’s poorest countries. Vijay has worked with the University’s Centre for International Development and Training (CIDT) as Programme Manager for the Department for International Development funded Livelihoods Forestry Programme. This 10 year development programme has generated employment for over 2.8 million people (of whom 85% were poor or excluded) and has helped lift over 1.3 million people out of poverty. For 10 years, Vijay has led a team during times of insecurity and political unrest, inspired and mentored many, ensuring the next generation of community forestry leaders are ready to take up the challenges ahead. How does it feel to be our first Alumnus of the Year: Contribution to Society? “I feel extremely surprised and happy. Winning the award was the best day of my life as it’s directly related to my heart that is my professional work in Nepal with the rural community.” In what way has your degree helped you in your career? “My degree was an important milestone that helped me to excel on the technical side of the work that I was leading. It has strengthened my knowledge and expertise and increased my confidence to take on a more challenging role as a team leader of the programme.” What advice would you give today’s graduates? “Focus on your work, make things happen and go where the action is!” Read more about Vijay’s work in Nepal on pages 20-21. Runners up: Shamsa Mahmood; Lisa Potts-Webb


Vijay Strestha

Turn over to see the rest of our 21 and Proud celebrations at a glance


Celebrating 21 years of university status

21 and Proud at a glance To celebrate and reflect on the University’s achievements over the last 21 years we hosted a series of events and activities to recognise our heritage. Here’s what we did at a glance…

Campus events Telford 21 Years of Enterprise and Employability – 8 May Celebrating student and graduate enterprise and employability, this business-oriented event saw the official opening of the new Business and Technology Centre, with keynote speakers from Google, Pebble and Bronze. Walsall Family Fun Day – 18 May Bringing the community together, this action-packed day of family fun included bouncy castles; street performances; sports activities; and a whole host of exciting activities for kids and adults alike. City Celebrating our Heritage – 17 June Marking 21 years to the day since being granted university status, our history and heritage day celebrated the development of the University in Wolverhampton from its roots in the mid-1800s to the present day. The event included the launch of a new exhibition of photographs, and a specially-commissioned history and heritage book.

We also held: • A stand-up comedy night at the Students’ Union. • The Pitch – a two day residential business challenge event aimed at local Year 10 and 11 pupils. • A 21 hour triathlon challenge with members of our Sport, Fitness and Health department. • A speed networking event for Midlands-based businesses and charities.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Geoff Layer, with the mayors of the five surrounding regions.

Commemorative sculptures Three original sculptures by students from our School of Art & Design were installed and unveiled at our City, Walsall and Telford campuses.

Eye the Unconquered Flame Judith Woods MA Fine Art (2011-2013)

Turn over to read about our international celebrations

The Breakthrough Kathleen Fabre BA Fine Art (2007-2013)

Opening Doors in the Heartlands: History of the University of Wolverhampton Mike Haynes and Lib Meakin Proud of our 180 year history, we published a book on the history of the University of Wolverhampton, our growth and the times in which we grew.

Maturity Robyn Snelling BA & MA Fine Art (2006-2013)

The book is available to purchase for ÂŁ7.99 at:


Celebrating 21 years of university status

International celebrations Global Higher Education: Partnerships & Opportunities conference Hosted by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Geoff Layer, the conference brought together our educational partners from across the globe in recognition of the important contribution they play in bringing higher education to those who may not otherwise have the opportunity to study at university. The conference looked at dealing with global education challenges, the international student experience, marketing and communicating university programmes in different regions and what global employers are now looking for in graduates.

Left to right: D. Batchelor, D. Jayasekara, H. Santiago, S. Stainwall, S. Zarjahan.

International Festival Our annual international festival promotes internationalisation at the University, sharing the cultural heritages of our 2,500 students from around the world and the richness they bring to our experience. Highlights of this year’s event included country stalls from Iran, Nigeria, Spain, France, Ireland, Finland and UAE, which featured traditional food and national costumes. There were also some fantastic performances of Chinese martial arts, Nepalese dancers and Bollywood dance, plus sports tasters including frisbee, netball, football, badminton and table tennis.

Read more about all our 21st anniversary celebrations at:

The changing face of City Campus The past few months have seen a lot of change to City Campus, and if you still live or work in Wolverhampton you’ve probably been wondering what we’ve been up to. As part of our multimillion pound investment in enhancing the student experience, all of our campuses have undergone various improvements to buildings and facilities and here is what our vision of the future has in store for City…


Student services In response to student feedback, we have improved the techniques in which we deliver services to our students; open for longer and in fewer locations making them much easier to find! • Student Centres: Two new student centres, Student Centre North in MX building and Student Centre South in MI building, have already been opened. The centres bring together all of our Here2Help offices, student financial support and international student support into two centralised locations. MX building also now boasts a refurbished and improved GoCafe, plus additional space in a new conservatory area. • Careers and Employment Centre: The careers team and The Workplace are now located in the more accessible MD building – main concourse into City Campus South. The Gateway @ The George: The George Building, formerly the Varsity pub, has undergone extensive renovation and is now The Gateway @ The George. Home to all the University’s services for pre-entry guidance it is our ‘front door’ for prospective students, offering advice and support on how to join the University. It also houses the new and improved University shop and a GoCafe. University of Wolverhampton Business School A brand new building, estimated to be costing £15 million, is planned for the University of Wolverhampton Business School located on the City Campus North opposite Molineux stadium. This will be situated on the land between the School’s current MN base and the School of Health and Wellbeing’s MH building in Molineux Street. Plans for the development are currently under way, with a delivery date estimated for December 2014. Read about the new science building at City Campus South on pages 4-5.





BA Hons Journalism and Editorial Design

Graduated in 2003

A Day in the Life We catch up with graduate, Cillian O’Brien, to find out what a day in the life of a journalist for Birmingham Post newspaper looks like. 8am: Arriving at work and beginning the day “My alarm clock goes off most days at this time, except when I have to attend a business breakfast in the city for a story, when I’m up about 6.30am. On a normal working day I start work at 10am so I have time for porridge (breakfast of champions!) and a chance to listen to local radio to hear the news and think of potential stories for the day. I live in Harborne in Birmingham and the drive to our offices in Fort Dunlop, Erdington, takes just half an hour, so it’s an easy commute. The first thing I do when I get into work is log into my emails and see if I’ve been sent anything of interest. A lot of our work is done by email and reporters are inundated with them. Much of what we’re sent isn’t relevant and deleted straight away. We have to make snap decisions on what to keep and what to bin. 9am: Chasing a lead I fill up my water bottle and get straight into the stories I have lined up for the day. This could be putting the finishing touches on a story I’d started the day before or starting a new one, which could involve a phone or face-to-face interview, or calling a business or person for a comment. I’ll check my diary too to see if I have any meetings arranged with contacts or PRs or even a business lunch. We get a lot of phonecalls from PRs trying to persuade us the story they have on their client is newsworthy. Some are, but a lot are not for us and I’ve learned to bat them away. Some parts of the year are quieter than others, like August, sometimes referred to as the silly season, and popular holiday times like Christmas and Easter when there can be less news around.

I’ve been a full-time reporter for about five and a half years. A lot has changed in that time. Some smaller weekly papers I wrote for have closed and there is a growing emphasis on digital and multimedia. I work full-time on the new Birmingham Post Business Daily, a tablet edition for iPad or Android that readers can download from the App Store or Google Play. It’s great to see a return to daily publishing at the Birmingham Post. We’re three weeks in, have had a great response so far, and we continue to fine tune.

11am: Getting down to business A great perk of the job is its variety; I get to report on something different every day. Although a lot of reporters are desk bound now, I still get the chance to get out to a business announcement, a press conference, council meeting or meeting a contact for coffee in the hope they’ll give me a story that will make tomorrow’s front page. Journalists need to be persistent and have a ‘nose for news’ as our training manager used to say. Lunch I try to eat a relatively healthy lunch, usually a sandwich or roll with at least one piece of fruit. Since quitting smoking in March, I’ve replaced the cigarettes with a daily dose of junk food. I’ve fallen out of the habit of making my own lunch, which I must return to. Instead I go downstairs to the convenience shop. 1pm: Catching a big break At this stage of the day I should have at least a couple of good leads in the bag for tomorrow’s edition. News can break at any time and as a team we may have to move stories around pages if something big breaks. Late afternoon I’ll often use the time to catch up with e-mails that I didn’t get the chance to respond to earlier in the day. The vast majority of our job is done from a desk now, using email and the phone. 4pm: Improving the company With the launch of the new Birmingham Post Business Daily and re-launch of our website: the business desk has had a number of meetings to see how we can improve what we’re doing. I’m part of a team of eight that write across the Business Daily, Birmingham Post and Birmingham Mail.

5pm: After work activities Sometimes after hours I attend business dinners, awards ceremonies, launch events and a host of other engagements to meet contacts and make new ones. I enjoy this social side of the job and the food is often top notch! As a reporter, you have to keep up with current affairs so I often listen to news programmes in the car, watch them on TV and keep up on the internet through news sites and social media. Home To relax I’ll often watch a film in the evening and cook for my girlfriend. I thoroughly enjoy my work and couldn’t see myself working in any other industry. It is tough to get a foot in the door in media, but be patient and persistent and a break should come. What advice would you give a potential student? I would advise a student looking to get into journalism to build up a portfolio of published stories, this can be in newspapers or online, and embrace the latest developments in multimedia to have as wide a breadth of skills as possible.

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Journalists need to be persistent and have a ‘nose for news’

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Strengthening our ties with India With a large proportion of Indian students graduating from the University of Wolverhampton each year, it is little wonder that the University is seeking to capitalise on a growing relationship and take advantage of Britain’s fifth biggest export – education. In March this year, a delegation of University representatives, including the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor, visited India, Bangladesh and Nepal for a series of events to raise the profile of the University of Wolverhampton within each country, and to formalise partnership agreements with key education institutions.



The Rt Hon Lord Paul of Marylebone, PC, Chancellor of the University, gave the keynote speech at a special dinner titled Investing in the Future: Wolverhampton and India as Global Partners hosted at the British Council in Delhi. Attended by Indian government officials, as well as Wolverhampton alumni based in the country, the event celebrated the University’s long history with India, such as the awarding of Honorary Degrees to the former President of India, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam; President of India, Mr Pranab Mukherjee; and Mr Narasimhan Ram, Editor in Chief of The Hindu newspaper, and the University’s role in promoting trade links through the UK government funded, Wolverhampton India Project.

The Vice-Chancellor was welcomed by Mr Muhammad Musharraf Hossain Bhuiya, Cabinet Secretary, to a celebratory event of the University of Wolverhampton and Managing at the Top (MATT) programme, which has been running in Bangladesh since 2006. Joined by the Wolverhampton cohort of the MATT Alumni Association and members of the British Council in Bangladesh, the Vice-Chancellor took part in an evaluation seminar which was followed by a dinner.

Nepal Establishing new links in Nepal, the University has joined forces with Kathmandu University and Merryland College Biratnagar (MCB) through the signing of a new partnership agreement (Memorandum of Understanding). The aim of the partnership is to expand academic and cultural co-operation through joint research activities and student and staff exchanges, alongside sharing academic materials and instigating staff development projects. The visit also included a celebratory event marking 30 years of the University’s Centre for International Development and Training (CIDT) in Nepal, and the provision of management and advisory services to the Livelihoods and Forestry Programme (LFP), which works towards reducing vulnerability and improving the lifestyle of the rural population within the country.

Spearheading the Livelihoods and Forestry Programme is Wolverhampton graduate, Vijay Shrestha: Tell us more about your involvement in the LFP in Nepal? “In 1993, I began work with the Nepal UK Community Forestry Programme and, in 2001, I became a Deputy Programme Coordinator. In 2006, the Department for International Development (DFID) offered me the Programme Manager position, which I still currently hold.” What inspired you to become involved in the programme? “It was the opportunity to work with the rural, poor people of Nepal. Along with my job I used to feel that I was doing social work too.” How does the LFP benefit the communities of Nepal? “The programme has a twin track approach where it works at both ground level and policy level, ensuring that the experiences from the ground can be captured by policy so that we can effectively tackle the challenges that communities are facing. The programme has successfully generated employment

for over 2.8 million people (of whom 85% were poor or excluded people) and has helped lift over 1.3 million people out of poverty in Nepal. We’ve also established a new, non-governmental organisation, named Rupantaran Nepal, dedicated to transforming the lives of the Nepalese population.” How did your degree prepare you for your career? “My work experience focused on the management side of forestry and this gave me a good opportunity to specialise on the technical aspects of the subject. The knowledge and skills I developed have also enabled me to critically analyse and strengthen the LFP, for example when faced with emerging issues such as governance of the forestry sector, climate change and delivery.” What do you believe is the most rewarding aspect of your job? “Seeing a smile on the faces of beneficiaries!”


Inspiring the next generation Walsall Centre of Excellence for Sport Amid the euphoria of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the United Kingdom has seen a rise in the commitment towards sport on a national and regional basis – much of which is owed to the impressive performance of the national team that exceeded expectations on all fronts. The University of Wolverhampton is aiming to capitalise on governmental commitment to fulfil the motto of the Games by ‘inspiring a generation’ to participate in sport. Initial figures suggest that the Games have provided more than a positive effect. Indeed, the University Sports Centre at Walsall Campus has recently undergone a redevelopment: now housing a twelve-court sports hall, advanced cardiovascular resistance machines, weight training, treatment rooms and a 20m by 10m swimming pool. In addition – in partnership with the School of Sport, Performing Arts and Leisure – specialist exercise laboratories are now readily available. To further reinforce the University’s growing credentials in sport, Walsall Campus will house the British Judo Centre of Excellence, in liaison with the British Judo Association, due to open in September 2013.

One aspect of the proposal commits significant investment on the University’s behalf towards an innovative dojo facility – exclusively for the use of the Association – with the project receiving the resounding support of the University’s Vice-Chancellor. Currently, the University sits at the heart of a well-established network of neighbouring judo clubs. In fact, a judo programme with a dedicated coaching team is already in place. Furthermore, an opportunity has arisen to develop a true partnership between the University and British Judo to support judo player development – utilising academic expertise as well as providing educational pathways from 16 years: including the British Judo Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence. Undoubtedly the acquisition of the British Judo Centre of Excellence will be considered a fundamental ingredient in the fruition of the University’s long-term desire to establish an Institute of Sport. The vision for the Institute is to build on the University’s contribution to the development of sport at all levels within the region, both from recreation and community participation through to high performance and elite sport, while firmly establishing itself as a centralised hub for sport and physical activity in the region. It will also be a centre for top quality research and teaching in sport and related studies, with research being used in an applied manner. The Institute will sit within the new Faculty of Health, Education and Wellbeing.

The Centre will focus on delivering a centralised training programme to the Association’s junior and transition athletes aged between 17 and 22 with a vision that the Centre will evolve to become the primary, centralised training facility for the sport.


My Life Kennedy Glews

BA (Hons) Design and Applied Arts (Textiles Design), 2012 Coming to a high street near you… With plans to originally become a lawyer, Kennedy Glews had no idea that what she perceived to be an ‘easy’ A-level would, in a few years, prove to be the starting point towards her spearheading her own designer brand due to hit the shelves – and the internet pages – of your local high street shopping chains.

At home with textiles

“Honest truth? I took textiles as an A-level at Halesowen College, along with a variety of academic subjects, because I knew I would pass it. I originally wanted to be a lawyer – I’m very good at arguing – but then discovered that there was more to textiles and started to find myself falling in love with the subject. After the first year and looking further into my future, I decided that it didn’t feel like work – textiles had become a passion, and I knew that’s what I wanted my career to be. “As soon as I entered the studio of the School of Art & Design at Wolverhampton I felt at home. I gained offers at Plymouth and Birmingham universities, but after looking around each, the facilities, staff, and professionalism that Wolverhampton followed was second to none. What’s more the amount of opportunities – if you chose to take them – were endless and this encouraged me to continue my education at a higher level.

“The course overall was brilliant and while the deadlines were short and hard tasks were set, this was designed to give us an insight into what the industry was like. Multi-tasking and tight deadlines are part and parcel of this industry, and the University portrays this perfectly. “The teaching staff were also excellent and my best memory has to be the support of my lecturer. Her expertise and knowledge of the industry were outstanding and she made it her mission to pass on everything she had ever learnt. Her energy and passion for the subject never seemed to waiver or die out in any way, shape or form. From essays to entrepreneurial acclaim “I set up Kennedy Jayne with the support of the University’s SPEED Plus programme. When you run your own business, every day is different – it’s a rollercoaster and that’s what I love about it. The fact I can perform all elements of the fashion industry in my own name, for my own business, and with my own schedule is absolutely perfect for me. “I entered my designs into the Wolverhampton Portas Pilot competition – the high street regeneration project headed up by retail marketing expert, Mary Portas

– and I was honoured to win. I was introduced to some key players in the retail industry, including Billingham bags – a high end camera bag brand – who were impressed with my designs and offered to support me in any way possible. I’ve also been asked to do large amounts of commission work by brands in Manchester after they saw my range of handbags and wanted to bring an element of glamour to theirs. “Another proud moment was when I was asked to guest lecture a group of Nigerian internationals who are starting female entrepreneurism courses in their country. They wanted to know how I had come so far in such a short amount of time, as well as the ins-and-outs of the business world today. It was very flattering they wanted to speak to me of all people.

A look into the future

“Although my designs are in demand, it has always been my ambition to launch my own range of products under my own name. I have set up an online shop and already have a cushion collection ready for purchase, and my handbag collection is in the first stages of manufacturing as we speak. “I also hope to have my signature collection featured in many magazines and distribution channels across the world and would eventually like to introduce my first limited edition collection to the brand. I’m aiming to create a more diverse look to the brand overall.” If you’re interested in taking a look at Kennedy’s impressive designs and collections, you can do so by visiting her website:

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WLV Life Issue 05 - Summer 2013  

University of Wolverhampton Alumni Magazine

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