What attracted you to the role of KTP Associate:
Having the opportunity to use my knowledge and apply this to drive forward an already successful business. Their past success was built upon trial and error so bringing in evidence-based decision making drawn from a management information system and dashboard to achieve greater levels of efficiency was exciting.
To what extent has your understanding of the role been realised?
Partially. The project finished earlier than planned and was significantly impacted by COVID-19 pandemic, especially as the project was in the Hospitality Industry.
Had you heard of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships before applying?
Yes then I seen the role on an online portal for academic positions
What have been the most positive aspects of your role?
Pre-pandemic, the LMC (Local Management Committee) meetings were all well received and the ongoing achievements were highly commended. However, the most positive aspect of my role was to ensure the business survived and continued to trade which was achieved including new additions to their business portfolio such as the Carbeth Drive-Thru and one EPOS system for the entire operations of the business.
What have been your biggest challenges?
Working for a family-business where 4 members were the Directors, as they are both a family and a business at the same time. It was a challenge to introduce the notion that each Director should have their own responsibilities and not all try to address day-to-day activities at the same time. Another challenge is maintaining a strong focus on what the project has to deliver, as once the business realises what the KTA is capable of, the requests to help and support areas of the business keep coming, and although this feels very encouraging it also contains the risk of being side-tracked.
Describe a typical day as a KTP associate:
I didn’t ever feel that there was a typical day as an KTP Associate other than the first few weeks of the project as the getting-to-know-you time. During that time I was planning the project deliverables but within the 2nd month I was made to feel like part of the fabric throughout the business and not just my project.
Have there been any unexpected experiences or outcomes of your role?
Upon lockdown, the project’s sole focus from March 2020 until the project was ended prematurely on the 7th of April 2021, was to ensure business survival until easing of lockdown measures allowed trading to resume, and this was achieved. During the lockdown I advised on furlough entitlement for a workforce of circa 100 employees, sourced relevant funds to support the business and guided the Directors through applications which were successful in terms of funding, and established risk registers for all areas of the business to ensure compliance with COVID19-related guidance for the Hospitality Sector, none of which was in the original project.
What training and development have you benefitted from as a result of working as a KTP Associate?
I attended the Ashorne Hill programme which was excellent both in terms of the education received along with the networking between all the associated attending both my courses. Additionally, I was given the opportunity of further training and development but due to COVID-19 I wasn’t able to travel and take up these opportunities.
How would you describe the unique experience of working as a KTP Associate?
The role allows the Associate to put their learning into action and to successfully address real-world challenges faced by the business on a day-to-day basis, as well as, the long-term strategic plan. It was certainly an eye-opening experience and excellent opportunity to play a significant and crucial role for driving change. On reflection, I believe that a short audit of business-readiness to communicate and describe the process of the planned forthcoming changes to the business would have ensured that both employees and the Directors were able to efficiently and comfortably move from one mind set/environment to another. Additionally, an audit of existing systems and employees’ skillsets prior to the project commencing would be advantageous to what other resources may be required, rather than finding these both out as the project goes along. Overall, having everyone understanding any changes with an option to ask questions would increase effective communication and employee adoption/buy-in.
Would you recommend a KTP Associate role to other graduates?
Yes I would recommend the KTP Associate role to other graduates/postgraduates as it really is a once in a lifetime opportunity. The support given by the university combined with that from Innovate UK (including Ashorne Hill) is unequivocal. This strong foundation allows the KTA Associate to get off to the best start possible in terms of the project being a success for all involved.
Which three words best describe your experience of being a KTP?