Little Chip Placement Apprenticeship #BigChipAwards winner 2015

Alex Fenton, Salford Business School
Alex Fenton, Salford Business School

Can a university keep up with the constantly changing digital environment? Here is industry proof – with another of our students being recognised by the industry in the Big Chip Awards 2015.

Keeping up-to-date is a challenge in the world of digital where technologies are disrupting old ways of doing things.

At Salford Business School, out students are given incredible opportunities for placements and internships. This allows students to connect with companies on various levels for mutual benefit. Companies get advice and practical help and students get the real world learning experience and skills that they need.

An excellent recent example, Business Innovation Project is with Web Shop Direct, who are an e-commerce, fashion business based in Macclesfield. Web Shop Direct have been operating since 2005 and consist of UK Swimwear and UK Tights. We were able to assist this company through our industry focused training courses and business internships.

Aleksej Heinze and Alex Fenton,course leaders for Search Social media Marketing
Search and Social Media CPD Course at MediaCityUK

Search and Social Media Marketing

Web Shop Direct were in real need of Search and Social Media Marketing (SSMM) CPD (continuing professional development) training in order to learn more about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and the value of social networks for marketing. They discovered our SSMM CPD course at MediaCityUK, which has both a foundation, professional or combined 10 week evening course. Signing up for the professional course, they found it to be beneficial in gaining a better understanding of how the search engines and social media work for better engagement.

For Salford Business School, a CPD course is often just the beginning of the ways in which we can help companies. This is where a number of companies from high profile digital agencies such as Fast Web Media and e-commerce businesses such as UK Tights keep coming back to Salford Business School for.

Connecting companies and students

Marta working at Web Shop Direct
Marta working at Web Shop Direct

With further discussion, we were able to connect the company with one of our talented MSc Marketing students, Marta Rodriguez. Marta was just about to embark on her Business Innovation Project (BIP), final module to complete her MSc. I was fortunate to be Marta’s academic supervisor for her project and lucky enough to be voted Postgraduate supervisor of the year.

BIP has been designed to be industry focussed, assisting companies in various ways through research, internships and placements. In this case, Marta undertook a three month placement with the company.

CPD courses and internships have been an incredible way to engage with companies and students. Quite often, the two come together well and this was the case here. I was able to help guide Marta’s internship as her academic supervisor, keeping the connections going. Marta did incredibly well and it makes me really happy that both have really benefitted so much from working together and I’m really glad we can facilitate these beneficial projects and training.

What was the internship like?

Marta conducted a market research study combining traditional academic research tools and digital tools to gather insights about the customer base of both UK Tights and UK Swimwear. The results of this research project embedded a new layer of insight, revolutionising the way the companies operate.

  • The social media strategy designed during Marta’s internship is now a vital part of the company’s overall business strategy.
  • The growing social engagement has led to greater brand awareness in the target audience and has contributed to an increase in sales of 30% (from September 2014 to march 2015).
  • The company were so pleased with Marta’s contribution that they created a role for her in the company where she still works.

Marta said:

I used Social Media tools to listen to our customers, ask their opinions about our products to find out what interests them and to create an engaging conversation around our brand. We’re now much closer to our customers to meet their needs.

Marta’s internship won the Little Chip, Placement/Apprentice Award 2015 which was testament to the impact that these real world projects have on companies.

This builds on Salford Business School’s success last year with the Little Chip student awards.

 Big Chip Award 2015

Big Chip Awards  – 2nd July 2015

Why not share your #passion4igital in Salford – if you are a business or a student, Salford Business School’s centre for Digital Business is always happy to hear from you!


  • Fantastic story about how Salford Business School students can add real value to businesses. Well done, Marta and Alex!