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Thought leadership

In what is being described as a key milestone in the development of professionalism in the industry twenty four students graduated with Advanced Diploma and Advanced Certificate awards, with 10 of these students proceeding to the final level of the BSc programme, joining 5 students already working towards their industry specific BSc honours degree.

Distinctions at the Advanced Certificate level were awarded to Nick Reid (Three), Mark Blake (Rational Group/ Pokerstars), Tracey Campbell (Affinion International).

Christine Denham (Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council) attended the graduation and was awarded a Commendation in the Advanced Certificate. She shared her thoughts, “This is a great way to celebrate the completion of the certificate and the five months of work I put in, I look forward to using the Advanced Certificate to progress my career and  recommend that others complete the course.”

This university programme, developed in partnership with the University of Ulster, is an important pillar that supports Forum member’s ambitions to drive professionalism in the industry. Together with developing a standards benchmarking audit for organisations and a professional accreditation scheme to recognise individuals, this programme is vital to improving the performance of organisations and the experience that customers receive.

“The great thing about working students on our university programmes is to see how quickly they make a positive impact on their sponsoring organisations,” explained John Casey, Operations Director at the PPF. “Even students in relatively junior positions feel empowered to make suggestions and implement changes that have real benefit.  In two instances, students preparing a business case for an assignment received immediate approval from their manager for a systems upgrade due to the rigour of their argument in the submitted document”.

Tim Moruzzi, Programme Director at the University of Ulster reinforces this view that not only does the programme benefit both students and also their respective organisations, but that it offers huge flexibility in terms of study and access. “What has astounded me are the latent capabilities of participating students and what that means for the on-going professionalism of this incredible industry”.

Top tips from students and case studies showing how students have challenged current organisational practices can be found in the Best Practice updates and benchmark research of the Planning Forum’s 2014 Best Practice guide.

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