What attracted you to the role of KTP Associate?
The KTP associate role offers an opportunity to work closely at management level, taking on responsibilities at an early stage of my career which aren’t usually offered within other roles. You can share your ideas and then act upon them with added support from the academics.
To what extent has your understanding of the role been realised?
It can take time in the beginning to understand your position as a KTP associate and where you stand within the host company. However, the support from the KTP centre, academics and company guide you through the role and communication is key to ensure meaningful work is being delivered.
Had you heard of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships before applying?
No, I was looking for jobs in my field shortly after graduating and came across the role on an online job board. I then reached out to my previous lecturers at the university to find out more about the program before applying.
What have been the most positive aspects of your role?
I feel my role as a KTP associate has been great for both my personal and professional development. I have gained unrivalled insight into the operations of an SME and how to manage growth and change within a completely new industry. I have had the opportunity to network and build relationships with professionals with a huge range of expertise and learn how the sharing of ideas and experience can create great change. My whole KTP project has been so positive, and I have flourished in terms of confidence, ability and industry knowledge and experience. My role has pushed me to undertake additional training and study which I may not have considered without the support from KTP, which has greatly accelerated my career.
What have been the biggest challenges?
One of the biggest challenges was beginning the project in the middle of Covid-19. It made integrating myself and learning about the organisation harder as we were all working remotely. I was also starting a project which involved operational and technological changes in a time which already felt uncertain to most of us. So the biggest challenge initially was managing the change and making sure all of the staff were aware of the project objectives and the positive outcomes it intended to produce. Beyond this, the biggest challenge is managing the long-term project, which includes managing finances, teams of people and deadlines. KTP is great for developing project management skills and most definitely one of my biggest takeaways from the role.
Describe a typical day as a KTP Associate:
There is no typical day as a KTP Associate in my experience, which is probably one of my favourite aspects of the role. I like the variety which is offered and in my instance, this could mean working on something creative and getting to design campaigns, videos and graphics, to then analysing internal processes and modifying them. I also like the opportunity to continue some academic work whilst working in the company and have been given the opportunity to develop research papers based on my project and learn from the academic team. It’s a great insight into academia beyond being a student.
Have there been any unexpected experiences or outcomes of your role?
I have really enjoyed working within an industry which I had no previous experience in, and probably wouldn’t have considered if it wasn’t for the KTP role. It has widened my perspective of the potential for my future career and my company Albion Environmental has supported me through some industry specific training and development which has really expanded my knowledge. I have also been able to present a research paper at the British Academy of Management conference, which is an opportunity I could only have been presented with through KTP and the support of my academic team at UWS. It’s a great experience for someone who doesn’t work in academia to attend and present at these events and demonstrate how we have taken theory and applied it first-hand in organisations to see the results. I’m pleased to have been offered a permanent role within the company post-KTP and continue expanding the business into the future.
What training and development have you benefited from as a result of working as a KTP Associate?
The training budget offered to KTP’s is a great opportunity to undertake additional study that may not be available otherwise. I really enjoyed the Ashorne Hill management training and the opportunity to work with other associates from across the UK. This helped me identify areas where I’d like to use the training budget for and as a result I completed a PostGraduate Diploma in Intelligent Marketing from the Institute of Data and Marketing (IDM). The qualification was delivered over the course of a year and finished with some final assessments and an exam. It really pushed me to manage my time, but the course aligned with my KTP project deliverables, so I was able to apply what I was studying in real time, which really helped the embedding of the knowledge. The advice, knowledge and mentoring from the academic team and KTN’s is second to none and really is one of the best benefits of a KTP. The program has really helped me develop a well-rounded set of skills which will carry me through a career in management roles.
How would you describe the unique experience of working as a KTP Associate?
The KTP associate role is unique in the fact you can enter a company and work directly with management – especially as a management KTP. You are offered industry insights which often take years to discover in larger organisations and in non KTP roles. The KTP gives responsibility to make changes on a large scale and the support from the academic teams allows associates to do this with expert knowledge and experience.
Would you recommend a KTP Associate role to other graduates?
I would definitely recommend a KTP role to graduates and post-graduates, or even those who are experienced in industry and want to be involved in a dynamic and exciting new project. The role is a great way to accelerate your career and develop skills which can be applied across industry. It is also great for building relationships with other associates and academics which can open many new doors for opportunity.
Which three words best describe your experience of being a KTP?