Skills development

Uni strengthens ties with Swiss partners

Vice-Chancellor of Bondholder University of Derby, Professor Kathryn Mitchell, visited two of the institution's international partners, CERN and Roche, to enhance further collaborations between Derby and Switzerland.

The University of Derby is working with two teams at F. Hoffmann-La Roche, AG (Roche) - a leading pharmaceutical and diagnostics company. Via a research collaboration set up with Roche in 2012, the University is responsible for investigating and delivering better clinical intelligence and integration to benefit patients' needs.

Delegates from Derby also visited CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research and one of the world's largest and most respected centres for scientific research, which led to two new agreements. One agreement is as an associate member of ALICE (A Large Ion Collider Experiment) and the second with the wider CERN community.

These have created opportunities for the University's staff and students to develop cutting-edge research activities in the field of high-volume streaming data analytics, as well as enabling the University to co-ordinate significant Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) outreach projects with secondary schools.

Professor Nick Antonopoulos, Dean of the College of Engineering and Technology at the University of Derby, said: "The visits to Roche and CERN were extremely important. We have strategic partnerships with these two firms, allowing the University of Derby to showcase and apply the expertise of its staff and students to groundbreaking real-world challenges."

He concluded: "We hope to strengthen the partnerships we have in Switzerland with Derby in the future and help develop vital research."

We hope to strengthen the partnerships we have in Switzerland with Derby in the future and help develop vital research.
— Professor Nick Antonopoulos, Dean of the College of Engineering and Technology at the University of Derby

PKF interns receive promotions

Bondholder PKF Cooper Parry's first-ever internship programme has resulted in all eight interns being offered full-time roles at the firm.

The internship programme, launched 12 months ago, allows young people to gain experience in various key areas of the business from audit and corporate finance to IT and marketing. Interns are given an excellent environment to grow, both personally and professionally and can take advantage of personal development training, business projects and national and international networking opportunities.

The award-winning audit team is welcoming Laura McBride, following a four-month internship, along with Lorna Marshall and Lilla Twarowska. Tom Blanchard will be working within the wealth team, Lorna Collyer in business tax, Jack Purkis in personal tax, and Antony Cockerill in IT solutions.

Chloe Ordish will be taking up a 12-month role within the firm's marketing team, whilst Scarlett Rabusin and Benjamin Millar have both been appointed to the internal finance team.

Ade Cheatham, CEO of PKF Cooper Parry, said: "We're incredibly excited about this group of interns. They've demonstrated a real passion for their work and a willingness to learn about what it takes to succeed in their chosen field and we're really pleased to have them as a part of our team."

This year's PKF Cooper Parry internship programme has now been launched, applications can be made at

University makes second biggest jump in UK

The University of Derby has been ranked in the Top 50 in The Guardian University Guide 2017 after climbing 25 places.

Derby has jumped from 73rd to 48th place out of 119 institutions – the second biggest jump in the country – to achieve its highest ever ranking.

The Guardian league tables, published today, rank universities according to a variety of criteria including value-added score that compares students’ entry qualifications with their final degree results, how satisfied final-year students are with their courses and the student to staff ratio. Derby showed improved performance across all criteria.

Welcoming the results from today’s The Guardian University Guide 2017, Professor Kathryn Mitchell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Derby, said: “The fact this is our highest ever ranking says a lot about where we are currently at as a University.

“It is particularly pleasing to be recognised in the Top 50 in the country by The Guardian which puts such a heavy focus on student experience and satisfaction which has always been at the heart of our approach.”

In this year’s Guardian University Guide 2017, Derby's figures include:

  • Satisfied with the course - 86.2% (based on annual National Student Survey)
  • Satisfied with teaching - 88.8%
  • Staff to student ratio - 14.8

As well as an overall ranking, The Guardian University Guide 2017 also produces league tables for each subject area which has seen some equally impressive performances for Derby. These include Top 10 rankings for Fashion and Textiles, Hospitality, Event Management and Tourism, Journalism, and Film Production and Photography.

Law at the University of Derby has been ranked in the Top 20, as has Sports Science, long with Education – which, in 2015, was awarded ‘Outstanding’ – the highest accolade from Ofsted – for its teaching training.

Many prospective students rely on annual guides published by national newspapers and elsewhere, to inform their decision as to where they study.

Professor Mitchell added: “A Top 50 overall ranking and an increasing number of subject areas in the Top 20 will have a positive impact on our national profile and I hope will encourage even more students from across the country to take a look at what Derby has to offer.

“We are already heading for a record intake this September and this now builds a solid foundation for further growth over the coming years.”

The fact this is our highest ever ranking says a lot about where we are currently at as a University.
— Professor Kathryn Mitchell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Derby

STEM Skills Careers Week

Bondholder Derby Manufacturing UTC is set to celebrate the success of its opening year by holding a STEM and Careers Week running from 18th - 22nd July 2016.

With the aim of inspiring students to work on STEM projects involving problem solving, team working and presentation skills, students will receive careers advice from sponsors and industry figures.

They are seeking partners to work with them on engaging with the workforce of tomorrow.

For further information regarding how to get involved, please contact Shobha Tynan at

E4E calls for more support

The Derby-based initiative set up to link employers with schools and young people, Enterprise 4 Education, is asking local businesses to support its efforts for at least one half day a year.

E4E's Just Imagine... Working Here! project invites local businesses to open their doors to local primary school children for them to:

  • see the world of work - possibly for the first time;
  • be inspired to work hard at school, raising their aspirations;
  • gain a positive experience within local industry;
  • explore jobs in Derby and hear what employers look for in new staff.

It's up to you what the visit can consist of, but it must be a minimum half-day commitment and could include: tours of the premises; demonstrations; quizzes; Q&As and/or presentations on (a) processes used / products made, (b) type of skills, qualities and qualifications employers are looking for from future employees, and (c) a description of the types of job roles within the business.

Pupils will be encouraged to do preparation and research on the business they will be visiting then present a record of their experiences learning and thoughts about the business they have visited.

For more information and to get involved, check out the E4E Just Imagine... Working Here! leaflet.

Derby Riverlights to host Uni art exhibition

Talented second year fine art students from Bondholder the University of Derby will be exhibiting their work, titled Archive 32, to the public from 21st-28th May at Bondholder Derby Riverlights' The Boulevard.

The collaboration between the University and Derby Riverlights allows the 32 students to make connections with the public, businesses and organisations beyond the University campus and gives them more opportunities for professional practice and new experiences in the city.

Caroline Locke, Senior Lecturer at University of Derby, said: "The retail unit we are occupying at Derby Riverlights is a vast and impressive space which will allow us to be more adventurous when we create the show. We are pleased Derby Riverlights is supporting us and being so accommodating."

Moorfield Group acquired Derby Riverlights on behalf of Moorfield Real Estate Fund III (MREFIII) in May 2015 and intend to ensure the area becomes a key leisure destination in Derby city centre.

Nic Lowry, Asset Manager at Moorfield Group said: "We are thrilled to be working with the second year Fine Art students and look forward to welcoming all to Derby Riverlights. We wanted to help by giving space to this event and it's been great to make this happen in the heart of the city centre with the University."

Students present to leading UK gaming companies

Students from Bondholder the University of Derby will be presenting their third year gaming creations to leading UK gaming companies on Friday 22nd April at the University's annual Games@Derby exhibition.

Sixty nine students studying BA (Hons) Computer Games Modelling and Animation and BSc (Hons) Computer Games Programming will be showcasing their creations which form part of their final year project.

Prior to the showcase, there will be a Dragons Den style panel, consisting of industry professionals and gaming experts from universities across the UK.

Ryan Simpson, a games programmer from SEGA, one of the leading interactive entertainment companies that cultivates creative talent worldwide, will be on the panel, along with representatives from Playground Games, Rare and Sumo Digital. Each team will present their game to the panelists, which will be followed by testing the games.

Robert Berry, Lecturer in Computer Games at the University of Derby, said: "The games designed for the expo form part of the students' final year project. This has resulted in a diverse range of ideas being conjured up through the collective imagination of students during a collaboration between programmes. This year's theme is entitled Soundscape."

To book your place at this year's Games@Derby exhibition, please visit

The game expo was a really fun experience. It was great to spend 12 weeks creating a game and then be able to present it and allow people to engage and interact with the game.
— Kyle Horwood, Student at University of Derby

Top marks this year for Derby College

Bondholder Derby College has been praised by Ofsted as 'a valued resource for the city of Derby and the county of Derbyshire' following a recent inspection.

The college was judged as 'Outstanding' for its work with employers to design and deliver the curriculum as well as the success of its employer academies. Also receiving an 'Outstanding' accolade was the quality of work with high needs learners.

Mandie Stravino, Chief Executive of Derby College, said: "This excellent Ofsted report is good news not just for Derby College as an organisation but for the wider city and county that we support."

Derby College is the 13th largest college in England and served around 25,500 learners of all ages. The college provides a range of courses for all levels through to higher education.

A-level pass rates at Derby College are at an impressive 98% and the success rate of its apprentices is at 76% - above the national average of 70%.

But its amazing provision for students is just one side of the story. The college works with around 2,700 employers in Derby and Derbyshire supporting workforce skills development, including apprenticeships. And, despite the constant funding challenges from central government, Derby College has a good financial position as a result of its diverse and flexible offer. 

Derby College itself employs a staff of 1,362.

Mandie Stravino, Chief Executive of Derby College, said: "We are particularly delighted that this year has seen dramatic progress in our priority area for action: improving the quality of our teaching and learning. Our learners' success is testament to these endeavours, in many cases propelling us above the average results both for national providers and other East Midlands colleges for the first time in our recent history."

This excellent Ofsted report is good news not just for Derby College as an organisation but for the wider city and county that we support,
— Mandie Stravino, Chief Executive of Derby College

University in national top 3

Bondholder the University of Derby's oustanding reputation for Initial Teacher Education (ITE) has been recognised after being listed in the top three for undergraduate teacher training in the prestigious Good Teacher Training Guide 2015.

The guide is produced by Alan Smithers and Mandy-D Coughlan from the University of Buckingham's Centre for Education and Employment Research and compares 174 universities and school-centred and employment-based training programmes in the UK on their entry qualifications, the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) grades and take-up of teaching posts.

Dr Lynn Senior, Dean of the College of Education at the University of Derby, said: "Derby has a rich heritage in teacher training and the University's origins can be tracked back as far as 1851, when the Derby Diocesan Institution of the Training of Schoolmistresses was created. Through our teaching offer, more than 600 students study at the University of Derby each year to become newly qualified teachers and go on to fantastic careers working with children and young people."

Ofsted recently awarded 'Outstanding' to Derby's Primary and Further Education (FE) and Skills (post-14) provision and acknowledged that the ITE partnership has an excellent reputation with its trainees, newly qualified teachers (NQTs), employers and partner organisations.

3aaa launches national apprenticeship campaign

Bondholder 3aaa, an Ofsted grade 1 apprenticeship provider, has launched its newest campaign, IAM3AAA, which focuses on the lives and experiences of apprentices who have thrived in their roles.

A celebration of apprenticeships and the incredible opportunities they can bring, the campaign journeys through the professional and personal development of 3aaa apprentices and tells their stories. These apprentices, although significant in their own right, all have one thing in common. They represent what 3aaa stands for - they are 3aaa.

Each apprentice gets their own dedicated page telling their story from the beginning. It explores their personal passions, interests and ambitions which make them the people they are today. IAM3AAA celebrates real apprentices and encourages all young people to invest in their futures.

With National Apprenticeship Week fast approaching (14th - 18th March), 3aaa wish to continue this celebration of apprenticeships throughout all of its academies. Over the course of the week, the organisation will be giving away a number of prizes in a nationwide competition. To enter, simply attend one of 3aaa's Apprentice Insight Evenings, find out more at the IAM3AAA website.

Fashion workshop gets green light

Bondholder the University of Derby's plans to redevelop two industrial buildings near its Markeaton Street site into fashion and textile workshops have now been approved by Bondholder Derby City Council.

The £3m plan falls as part of the University's £100m investment which also includes its £12m science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) building and its £10.8m sports centre at its Kedleston Road campus.

The development comprises two unused two-storey warehouses, a commercial unit and a private yard. The two buildings will be refurbished and the isolated warehouse will be demolished.

A statement said that the University had worked with the council "in a positive and proactive manner".

Schools seek 250 business helpers

This morning Marketing Derby Bondholders gathered at the Council House to learn more about the Enterprise for Education (E4E) scheme.

E4E is a Derby partnership, which links employers with schools and students in a bid to raise young people’s aspirations; improve employability skills amongst the city’s young people; provide a larger pool of home-grown talent for local employers; and create a better understanding of the career opportunities available.

The project board is made up from representatives from Derby City Council and the city’s private sector, including Bondholder companies Rolls-Royce, Freeths and iBox-Security.

Over the past year E4E has helped over 4,000 local children with a programme of mock interviews, CV writing workshops and mentoring.

Chairman of E4E, and Partner at law-firm Freeths, Mike Copestake said: ““E4E’s principal aim is to raise the aspirations and hopefully the attainment of the city’s young people and enable them to go on and achieve something positive in their careers.

By showing youngsters that anything is realistically achievable and giving them a bit of guidance, their aspirations and confidence can grow enormously in a short space of time.
— Mike Copestake, Chairman of E4E

The organisation is looking to recruit another 250 volunteers to help support pupils and schools, and help prepare young people for the world of work.  

To register your interest, please click here.

The Detached Firms Who Are Really Testing Our Patience

Retail behemoth Tesco got into a bit of hot water this week when it was revealed that it was attaching security tags to its 10p plastic shopping bags.

The action, apparently the initiative of an overenthusiastic store manager in London, was a consequence of the government's introduction of bag charges in England mixed with fear of bags being stolen by upset customers.

Tesco knows a thing or two about losing money - the company lost a record £6.4 billion (yes, billion) last year, and so was clearly seeking to mind the pennies.

The tags have now been withdrawn, described in a terse official statement as a "mistake". We are living in an era that has become cynical about the corporate millieu.

In a few years, we will come up to the 10th anniversary of the great financial crash - an event already covered in a plethora of films, books and documentaries.

Some paint a narrative of how it all happened, other sketch out its consequences.

My favourite (to date) is the film Margin Call. Starring Jeremy Irons and Demi Moore, it explores how the mathematical skills of engineers had been bought by Wall Street - and were then twisted from the design-and-build of useful stuff like bridges, to be utilised in cooking up the poisonous derivatives that brought the world to its knees.

If the crash was a financial heart attack that brought shame on greedy practices, there doesn't seem to have been too much mea culpa, or applied learning, since.

The trust that needs to exist in a developed democracy between the body corporate and citizens is being continually tested.

In the case of Tesco, it's not just the 10p bags and £6 billion losses, it's the abandoned grand projects which have been created blight across communities, not least here in Allenton, which has been waiting a decade for the store that will never come.

And it's not just Tesco, our high street names are really beginning to test our patience, sometimes, I fear, to destruction.

Are you one of the many folk confused in airports by the request for a boarding card when trying to buy a newspaper, some water and a packet of mints at WHSmith?

I certainly found it totally odd but assumed the data gathered would be used for stock planning purposes. Wrong. The request is part of a VAT-avoidance scam where the passenger pays the 20% VAT but the company claims the money back if your final destination is outside the EU. Thus, the need for the boarding card.

I never present mine, vaguely mumbling it's somewhere else. Now, millions of passengers are refusing the hand over their boarding card too. No doubt we will soon hear about subsequent lost company revenues.

The list appears to be endless with new scandals emerging on a regular basis. Last week, it was Volkswagen and its diesel emission test cheating. This week, it's the fact that Facebook paid £4,327 in corporation tax last year - that's £434.20 less than Marketing Derby.

However, it's not all bad, and there are companies trying to do the right thing. Last week, I was at the Derby Roundhouse for the Derbyshire Brain Game, a corporate quiz that raised £30,000 for Marie Curie. This week intu Derby is hosting a national Business In The Community delegation, including Toyota and Rolls-Royce, looking at extending corporate social responsibility activity.

Many of the city's SMEs are providing staff into the Derby Education Business Brokerage initiative, supporting hundreds of school students in interview techniques and CV-writing. And so on.

For me, the more that companies (small, medium and large) are rooted in local communities, the less likely they are to behave badly due to their detachment.

Derby’s Education Exceeds Expectations

It’s been a month of good news for education in Derby with the recent successes in A-level results, and the University of Derby’s positive responses from this year’s National Student Survey (NSS).

Colleges and Sixth Forms across Derby have been celebrating the A-Level results with numerous institutions across the city reporting record A-Level pass rates.

Bondholders Derby High School reported a 100% pass rate, Derby College achieved a 96% pass rate, and Liz Coffey, Principal of Landau Forte College, said: “This year’s group has been equal to or better than with about 90% going on to university.”

The results are especially promising in a year when the overall number of A-Level pass grades in England has declined for the first time in 32 years.

The NSS found that 86% of University of Derby students are satisfied with their course – well above the benchmark figure set by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). The University has also maintained satisfaction scores for the quality of teaching at 88%, and equals or exceeds the sector average in every question.

The University has also reported an increase in the overall number of applicants; up by 12% compared to last year.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Philip Plowden, said: “The University’s continuing outstanding performance confirms that we continue to meet our aim of providing our students with a superb academic experience.”