HOW TO GET YOUR FOOT IN THE DOOR AND FIND THE PERFECT CAREER AFTER LOCKDOWN

This week marks exactly one year since the UK went into the first lockdown. The anniversary undoubtedly leads us to reflect on the challenges of the past year, both in our personal and professional lives, and how we can begin to make positive steps to move forward. But after a year of living through a global pandemic, it’s easy to question – where do I start?

With this in mind, we wanted to offer you some support in taking the next step in your life and career, whether it be your first job, that senior position or a total change in career direction.

We have spoken to experts in our careers team, as well as members of our alumni community, to gather the best tips and advice for you to get your foot in the door, expand your networks and find that dream position.

  1. IDENTIFY YOUR SKILLS

A starting point for anyone looking to position themselves in the job market is to examine the key skills and qualities you bring to the table.

Paula Courchene, careers consultant at the University said: “Understanding your skills is the first step of career planning and management, though self-reflection isn’t always an easy process. It is, however, a crucial step, as it allows you to reflect on what values are important to you, what you could bring to a role and ultimately what type of person you are.”

Salford graduate and recruitment expert, Caroline McKee has 15 years of experience working in recruitment and has recently started her own business, Vox Recruitment. She said: “This is your opportunity to identify your unique selling points (USPs). Try to avoid the ‘copy and paste’ cliches, like ‘I can work well in a team but can work equally well alone.’ Try to be individual. What is it that makes YOU stand out? Were you the captain of a sports team, excelled in a part time role whilst at Uni, built up a small boutique business, raised money for charity, achieved something amazing?”

One way to find out what your key strengths are is to ask someone you trust. Adrian Roscoe from our careers team added: “Ask a colleague or a friend to tell you what they think you’re good at. The answer may surprise you… in a really good way. Other people see strengths in us that we don’t always see and this can help you gain a better understanding of your skills and what you bring to situations.

2. BROADEN YOUR NETWORK AND DEVELOP SKILLS

According to LinkedIn’s global survey from 2017, almost 80 percent of professionals consider networking to be important to career success. But if the idea of reaching out to people pushes you outside your comfort zone, our experts have some tips on how to make it manageable and work for you.

Salford graduate Michelle Williamson Draper, Business Development & Project Manager at ‎innovation.tank in Zurich said: “You may ask yourself why networking is so important for you. The answer is that networking can help you find a job, or to advance professionally because through the exchange with like-minded people you receive valuable inspiration, information and ideas for your career and career progression, as well as access to a larger networking circle.”

Recruitment expert, Caroline, recommends going straight to the organisations you are interested in: “Identify the businesses you are keen to explore opportunities with and research their websites and LinkedIn profiles. Follow their social media pages and contact them directly and introduce yourself. If you can do this over the phone, all the better as it gives you an opportunity to ‘sell yourself’ beyond your CV and sets you apart from the competition. Whilst they may not be recruiting at the current time, ask if you can be considered for opportunities in the future.”

Salford graduate Daren Whitaker, Managing Director at Renaker Build Limited, agrees with Caroline: “Do your research – take the time to write a letter to the right person. Demonstrate in the letter that you have researched the business, what they do, their values and aspirations. Then clearly communicate your aspirations and what you have done in pursuit of this and your desire to work hard and learn. Then follow up with a call.”

Networking can be daunting, but Paula from our careers team thinks the advantages far outweigh the risks: “The benefits of networking are often overlooked, yet it is one of the simplest ways of securing opportunities and growing your career. Think about it as a reciprocal process, where you can share ideas, gain industry knowledge and you never know, that contact might develop into a job opportunity in the future!”

3. REACH OUT FOR SPECIALIST SUPPORT

If you have a specific industry or role in mind, the next step for you might be to find a mentor. Mentors can work with you to provide that specialist support and give you the benefit of their experience and expertise. They can tell you what worked for them, what you should avoid and any insider tips of the trade that will help you along the way.  

Careers consultant Paula said: “At times it is difficult to navigate the jobs market, being able to talk through your plans and receive feedback is immensely valuable. Mentors will no doubt have been through similar experiences and can support you to problem solve any challenges you are facing.”

According to survey conducted by Olivet Nazarene University in 2019, 76% of people think mentors are important, however, only 37% of people currently have one. Perhaps this is because people just don’t know where to start. Caroline from Vox Recruitment recommends social media: “Utilise social media, interact with and follow respected business mentors – LinkedIn is especially useful for this. Don’t be afraid to engage with people online from a professional perspective.”

The University’s alumni mentoring hub, From Salford, is also a great place to start. With thousands of Salford graduates indicating they are ‘happy to help’ you can send them a question and see where the conversation goes.

Adrian from our career teams adds: “There are few more flattering things than being asked by a colleague to mentor them. Look for people that you trust and respect and at the right time ask the question.”

4. EXPLORE THE HIDDEN JOB MARKET

One way to get your foot in the door is to access the hidden job market. Not all jobs are advertised in the traditional way, and it may be via your contacts or a referral that you snag the perfect role.

Paula said: “Often job seekers approach the job market in the same way, starting with scouring and exhausting online job advertisements – what happens when they run out? Rather than wait for this to happen, expand the avenues you are using.”

Salford graduate Michelle Williamson Draper said: “Networking and getting yourself out there may give you access to the hidden job market. Word of mouth and employee referrals open doors to companies with no active advertised job vacancies.”

Caroline recommends perfecting your social media presence “Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and treat it like a ‘shop window’. It is effectively your online CV and if done correctly will enable recruiters or employers to find you and contact you directly about opportunities.”

When you think of the hidden job market, our careers consultant, Adrian, suggests that you think about what the word ‘hidden’ really means: “It doesn’t mean it’s unattainable. Instead, it’s hidden and can be revealed. It isn’t as big and scary as it seems.”

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Looking for new opportunities is always a challenge, and that’s before you throw in the added complication of a global pandemic! We are dedicated to helping you as you develop your career.

As a Salford graduate you can take advantage of the University’s careers service. You can speak to Paula or Adrian or any member of the team and they can support you in identifying an action plan in career development or starting your own business.

The University’s online alumni hub, From Salford, is also a valuable resource for you to connect with fellow Salford graduates, like Caroline, Michelle and Daren, and to seek out advice and support from a wealth of experience and expertise.

We are here to help you as much as we can, after all, we only want the best for you and to see you succeed.


ALUMNA LOOKS BACK ON HOW HER TIME AT SALFORD PREPARED HER FOR HER REWARDING NURSING CAREER

Jemma Berwick, a former University of Salford nursing student, travelled to Ghana in her second year of studying, as part of her diploma. 

Since then, she has worked as a cardiac nurse at Great Ormond Street Hospital and pursued her passion for tropical nursing in Malawi.

Recently Jemma filled us in on how her overseas placement during her degree at the University of Salford influenced the rest of her career…

What made you want to study nursing?

“I’ve always felt like nursing is more of a passion than a job. You’re just built for it.

“It’s something I was naturally drawn towards and I felt it fitted with my personality. It felt like a natural calling.”

You studied for your nursing diploma at the University of Salford – what attracted you to Salford?

“I was after some change, but not too much. I’m from London and I was keen to experience a new city. 

“The university had really great reviews and they offered the Children’s Nursing Diploma. The city itself was cool and the school was highly recognised, which was important to me too. “

What was being at university like for you?

“Apart from all the fun I had and the great people I met, I actually struggled academically if I’m honest. I was always more of a do-er and an explorer rather than sitting down and writing, so I did struggle with the academic side of my course. 

“But I found the practical side easy. I absolutely loved placements. I enjoyed learning clinical skills. I just didn’t love writing essays.” 

What made you want to go overseas to Ghana as part of your training?

“I often heard about the differences in healthcare in developing countries, so why not jump at the chance to see it for myself.”

“The university allowed us to do it through an organisation called Work the World, why not take the chance to experience something not many others have the opportunity to do. Whilst also being able to travel to a new country!”

Jemma Berwick

And what about your hospital placement – what departments did you spend your time in? 

“Because I’m paediatric trained, and we were able to rotate through different departments, I spent half my time on the paediatric ward and half my time on the neonatal ward, with a few days in the maternity department so I could see labour. 

Can you remember what the day-to-day was like in the hospital?

“I’d spend time getting to know the nurses and the Ghanaian student nurses to see what they did and how their training differed to ours.

“It was a great opportunity to exchange knowledge and learn from one another – we’d ask to see how they did things and then they’d ask to see how we would do it back home.”

Jemma Berwick

“It was challenging at first to see a different way of nursing because I was young and so used to the NHS way of doing things, but it was important to accept that people do things differently. 

“It was really important that we had a good work-life balance. We would talk about what had happened during the day at the hospital and chat about the different ways of coping.”

Did you face any challenging situations while you were there?

“The death rate was hard to accept for me. In Ghana they just don’t have the equipment to deal with some emergency situations. A child would stop breathing but there wasn’t much that could be done. They would manually resuscitate them, but eventually, it wouldn’t be enough. 

“If there was a newborn in Ghana who had stopped breathing in an incubator that doesn’t work – there’s nothing you can do about it. That was hard to accept. That was a big challenge for all of us actually, that particular child.”

How did your University work experience change your approach to the rest of your nursing career?

“From that one experience in Ghana, my whole attitude to nursing has changed. Humanitarian work is my passion now. And it might not have been if I hadn’t been to Ghana.”

Jemma Berwick



What happened once you graduated? 

“After I finished my training at Salford, I worked at Great Ormond Street Hospital for three years as a cardiac nurse. Then I took a few months off to travel around Asia and Australia before going back – I worked there for five years in total. 

“I then did a diploma in Tropical Nursing in London I was able to learn about all the things I’d seen in Ghana such as malaria, HIV, worms and TB. It was amazing to learn more about the things I witnessed on my placement. It was great to bring it all together, my experience in Ghana really helped. 

“I met a friend on the course, and we ended up going out to Malawi together for six months working for a charity out there. We were part of a group of professionals from all over the world working together in a clinic.”

It was great to go back to Africa with all this emotional and practical knowledge that I’d gained from my time in Ghana and my tropical nursing course.”

Jemma Berwick

 “I did palliative nursing in the community for a while too whilst I decided what I wanted to do next. I met an organisation who were working out in Uganda focusing on maternal health. So, I went out to Uganda in January last year. But I had to come back to the UK after a few months due to Coronavirus. 

“At the moment I’m working in a local general hospital in Devon, on a paediatric ward which is great because it’s good to touch base now and again to keep my skills up.

“I want to be out in developing countries because I feel like that’s where I’m most utilised, that’s where I fit the most. 

“My passion is elsewhere, and my drive is humanitarian work. And that all comes from ten years ago!”


So, what are your ambitions for the future? 

“I’d love to carry on what I started back in January 2020 in Uganda. I was meant to be out there for a year, so I’d love to go back.”

Jemma Berwick (BERWICK2064)


Do you have any words of encouragement for our current students thinking about undertaking an overseas placement? 

“Do it! I think it should be in the curriculum at every university.

“Students shouldn’t be forced to do it, but they should definitely be encouraged to. To go out of their comfort zone and experience things they’ve not experienced before.

“I really think it was the making of me as a nurse.”

Jemma Berwick

Thank you to Work the World for letting us know about Jemma’s amazing story!

SALFORD GRADUATE SHARES HIS TALE OF WORKING AT THE FAMOUS MAXWELL HALL DURING THE LEGENDARY MANCHESTER MUSIC SCENE IN THE 70s

The TSA (Technical Services) team surrounding Social Secretary Mike Novak (in the red trousers) on the day that The Kinks played Maxwell Hall (May 23rd 1975).  The photo is supplied by Tony Ellam.

Nowadays, Maxwell Hall is known to our students as a lecture theatre or graduation hall, but its heritage sits firmly in the rock and roll hall of fame.

In the 1970s and 80s, Maxwell Hall was a major player in the world-renowned Manchester music scene. The live music venue was renowned for hosting legendary concerts that have since become infamous in music history and in the hearts and memories of music fans all over the world. 

Bands such as The Smiths, Blondie, The Who, Boomtown Rats, Elvis Costello, Motorhead and The Kinks, and many more, all performed on our stage.

In the 1970s, the concerts were organised by Salford students in the Students’ Union events team (SUSU Ents). One student was alumnus Alasdair Reid, who studied social studies and transport administration from 1974-1978.  

As the University makes plans to return Maxwell Hall to its former glory as a world-class performance venue, as part of our ambitious campus masterplan, we spoke to Alasdair about his experiences working at the epic venue at an archetypal time in music history. 

“I was part of a small team in the Entertainments Team – or Ents team as it was known then. I was responsible for promoting the gigs through fly posting and I would go round to all the ticket agencies, like Virgin Records and the record shops in the city centre that used to sell tickets on our behalf.

“We would also take the van out around various spots in Manchester and Salford sticking up posters, most of the time legally but there was at least one occasion when I got into an awful lot of trouble for posting things where I shouldn’t have done.

“The most exciting part of the job being there on gig night. I would be there to make sure that whatever the band wanted for food and drinks was available to them in the dressing room and they had everything they needed.

“On gig night it was all hands to the pumps and I never knew what madness to expect” 

The Boomtown Rats raising the roof …

The Boomtown Rats in 1981

One of the incredible bands that performed in the Maxwell Hall was the fun Irish rock group – the Boomtown Rats. 

Alasdair reminisced about how on one occasion the atmosphere was so wild that the floor felt as though it was about to collapse.

“At one point during the Boomtown Rats concert, everybody was pogo-ing (jumping up and down on the spot). The atmosphere was electric, but if you’ve got the whole audience bouncing up and down at the same time, you’ve got a load of pressure coming down on the floor.

“I went down to the bar during the Boomtown Rats concert and I looked at all the pillars that supported the roof, and the floor was lifting off them as people jumped! I was panicking that the floor was going to collapse!”

Alasdair Reid

The Boomtown Rats went on to have a number of exceptional rock records between 1977 and 1985 such as their hit “I Don’t Like Mondays”. 

Buying cough medicine for a rock star …

Andy Fairweather Low performing on the ITV show ‘Supersonic’ in 1976

He remembers meeting and chatting to many world renowned rock stars.

Alasdair remembers one occasion when he was called upon to drive around Salford to find the prolific guitarist, Andy Fairweather Low, some cough medicine.

“We booked Andy and when he turned up and he was full of a cold and a flu. 

“We thought there’s no way he was going to perform because he was really struggling. Myself and another guy, because I couldn’t drive at the time, drove round Salford and Manchester trying to find a chemist that was open to buy him medication, so we could dose him up with Lemsip or whatever passed for Lemsip in the 1970s.

“Fair play to him. When you watched the gig there was no way you could tell, he put on such a great show.”

On many occasions, Alasdair and the Ents team booked bands that were starting out and would go on to become huge international sensations.

Debbie Harry of Blondie causing a commotion … 

Photo cred: June Buchan, uploaded to Manchester Digital Music Archive by MichaelP. https://www.mdmarchive.co.uk/artefact/16361/MAXWELL_HALL,_SALFORD_UNIVERSITY_PHOTOGRAPH_1978 

Copyright notice: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-BC-SA 4.0)

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/
Debbie Harry at Maxwell Hall wearing a SUSU Ents poster – 1978 *copyright info at the bottom of the page

Alasdair remembers that the concert with the wildest atmosphere was Blondie’s epic gig in 1978.

“I don’t remember the hall ever being as packed or the crowd as excited!

“Blondie performed for us very early on in their career. It was before they had most of their big hits. I think their first big hit was ‘Denis’. I think they only played three dates in the country when they toured and we were one of them.”

“The windows were open because it was hot and stuffy and people who couldn’t get in were lobbing stones in through the windows because they were so annoyed they couldn’t get in!

alasdair reid

“We had a band of bouncers, who always worked at the concerts, and the head bouncer was a lovely old chap called Fred, so we used to call them ‘the Freds’.

“I remember going outside with one of ‘the Freds’ and at one point I thought I was going to be pushed through the glass window because people were so agitated that they couldn’t get in to see this band. 

“Obviously, there was all of this interest because Debbie Harry is such a personality and the band obviously went on to much more bigger things after that night.”

After their gig at Maxwell Hall in the 1978, Blondie went on to sell over 40 million records worldwide and are mostly known for their hit songs ‘Call Me’, ‘Heart of Glass’ and ‘One Way or Another’.

Camping out at lunch to sell Heart tickets … 

Nancy Wilson and Roger Fisher of Heart – 1978

Alasdair spoke about the unforgettable time that the Platinum certified band Heart played at the University. 

“We put Heart on and nobody had ever heard of them! This was right at the start of their career and they only just released their first album and I don’t think there were many hits yet.

“We booked them to play in the in the Students’ Union bar, but we just couldn’t flog a ticket. 

“For a week before the concert we set up a desk in the bar and played the album on a loop. ‘Dreamboat Annie’ I think was the name of the album.

“We played it non-stop to people coming in for a beer or a sandwich at lunch time. We were desperately trying to flog tickets. Myself and one of the girls, who worked on the door, sold some of the tickets on the day of the gig.”

After performing at the University, Heart went on to sell around 35 million records worldwide and are known for smash hits like ‘Alone’ and ‘Barracuda’.

One big musical family … 

An advert for upcoming Maxwell Hall gigs in the Autumn of 1977

Alasdair remembers the Ents team being like a family. 

“It was a fantastic time. On Friday nights we worked so hard and we never really went to lectures after about 3 o’clock on a Friday as we were preparing for the gigs. 

“We made sure we were there as soon as the bands arrived so we could help them to set up all the equipment on stage. 

“And then about 6 o’clock, before all of the doors opened, they’d provide us with some food, chicken and mushroom pie I think was my favourite.

“We just mucked in and did whatever we had to do to make the concerts a success. It was like a family.”

A SUSU Ents ticket for Dr Feelgood

Although it’s been many years since his days working for the Salford University Ents team, Alasdair’s deep love for music continues to this day. 

“Music is still a big part of my life.”

alasdair reid

Alasdair has travelled to watch gigs with his daughter and in 2016 he even took a three-week road trip in California which ended at a huge classic rock concert, featuring acts like Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones. 

He still cherishes music and has attended more than 500 gigs in his lifetime. 

Alasdair and his daughter at the Wembley Stadium for a Bruce Springsteen show. 

If you have any memories of the iconic Maxwell Hall concerts, please email us at Alumni@salford.ac.uk

*Debbie Harry image credit: June Buchan, uploaded to Manchester Digital Music Archive by MichaelP. https://www.mdmarchive.co.uk/artefact/16361/MAXWELL_HALL,_SALFORD_UNIVERSITY_PHOTOGRAPH_1978 Copyright notice: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-BC-SA 4.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/

HOW BBC 5 LIVE TACKLED THE CHALLENGES OF COVID-19

In 2020, as the world became entirely reliant on media outlets for the latest updates on Covid-19, very few of us stopped to consider how broadcasters were called to adapt to the demands of the pandemic.

We spoke to alumna Heidi Dawson, Controller of BBC Radio 5 Live, to find out about the challenges she faced navigating an ever-changing news landscape.

A BA Television and Radio graduate from 1997, Heidi began her career in local radio and now leads BBC Radio 5 Live, where a fusion of news, sports and listener call-ins means their listeners demand 24/7 on-the-pulse coverage.

“There were a lot of questions. Both on and off-air, with our listeners around what coronavirus means to us. We made a lot of programmes to include more callers, we opened up all of our news shows up to callers, we commissioned new programmes at the weekend just to have more phone-ins, because there were so many questions out there. There were the press briefings every night from the government, and immediately after that, we would open the phones because there were so many questions to be answered.

Our presenters were fantastic journalists, they could just facilitate these questions. Everybody in the country had the same kind of questions, no one knew what was going on, the presenters were in the same boat as the callers half the time, having to get to the truth.

We were actually in a good position to respond because as a breaking news station we’re used to changing our content at a split-second’s notice. We aren’t phased by that. We’re run by a bunch of adrenaline junkies, who thrive on a big breaking story, so in that sense, we immediately rose to the challenge.

There was the ‘first wave’ where we all had to immediately change the schedule, the programmes and get ourselves fit for purpose. It was literally just about staying on the air, and that took a lot of adrenaline. Then there was the realisation that this could go on for months. We needed to take a slow-burn approach to this. We needed to know how we could sustain this over months.

This situation has underlined the importance of impartiality for the BBC. I think when there’s so much conflicting and confusing news around, it’s so important that there is an impartial space for journalism.

Heidi dawson, BBC 5 Live Controller

But how do you fill the space when a huge amount of our content is based on live sport? You have an entire weekend to fill with no content. That created some great creative challenges, and our producers were amazing. They made whole new formats, whole new programmes. For example, we turned A Question of Sport into a live radio programme, which had never been done before, running it as a combination between Zoom and sticky tape!

We commissioned a Match of The Day podcast, which ended up being a huge TV hit. We had already visualised it for digital and clips, tv used it and it became a huge hit. There were quite a lot of really great creative decisions that were made that sort of came out of the blue, we really kind of thrived to it.

BBC 5 Live are based right beside us at our MediaCityUK Campus

I think an organisation is at its most creative when everybody has a voice, everybody is heard, and everybody is listened to. The best ideas came from the producers across sports news and the indies, they were coming from everywhere. They certainly don’t all come from me, that’s for sure! This is certainly an example of that, where everybody goes; ‘we have no idea what’s going on, what are your ideas?’ That sometimes enables us to come up with the most creativity.

This situation has underlined the importance of impartiality for the BBC. I think when there’s so much conflicting and confusing news around, it’s so important that there is an impartial space for journalism, where your only job is to go after the truth because you don’t have any other reasons to be doing the journalism. It’s emphasised that to us all, just how important that is.”

We were so pleased to speak with Heidi, and we can’t wait to hear more achievements in the future from her and the 5 Live team.

If you would like to connect with your fellow Salford graduates and share your own stories and examples of best practice, you can do this and much more on your online alumni hub, FromSalford.com.

WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF WORKING FROM HOME?

For many of us, working from home continues to be a daily reality due to Covid- 19, with almost half of British workers reportedly working away from their organisation’s headquarters. As the UK heads into another national lockdown it appears this way of working is here to stay for the foreseeable future. With this in mind, how do we continue to adapt to long-term home working and what have we learned so far?

To find out how our industry partners at TalkTalk are managing their business during the Covid-19 pandemic, we spoke to Salford graduate Lee Hull, who was Managing Director of Business Direct at TalkTalk until very recently. Since graduating from Salford in 1997, Lee has forged a successful career in the telecommunications and business sectors and was very recently appointed as Chief Executive of business services provider Verastar.

During his time at Salford, Lee took advantage of all that University life had to offer, serving as a sabbatical officer for the Students’ Union as well as editor of the student newspaper, Student Direct. He still maintains a close connection with the University to this day as a Trustee of the SU.

We met with Lee a few weeks ago, when he was still with TalkTalk, to get his take on what he has learned from managing a team remotely during the Covid-19 pandemic, when most of them are working from home. He spoke about the initial challenges, the measures he put in place to support his team and how we can translate some of the positive aspects of home working into our post-Covid lives. 

“The key to home working is remembering why you come to work and remembering why you enjoy working. That has been really important for us.

At TalkTalk we have coped quite well but we’ve really had to pull together as an organisation. It’s not all been a joy, I’ll be honest. There was a period after a few months where my four walls were driving me crazy, and I think that’s an important part of leadership. If I sit here and tell my team that everything is great, it’s not very authentic. You need to feel what people are going through.

The people at TalkTalk have coped with working from home differently, depending on their living situations. Some people have turned their kitchen or living room into an office, or even their kid’s bedroom, so there have been lots of different challenges. As an organisation, we initiated things like ‘walk and talk’ meetings, where we would all take a walk during our meeting and talk on the phone rather than at our desks. At the times when we have been able to return to the office, we made sure this was strictly on a voluntary basis. That’s worked really well as it meant those individuals whose home situation might not be ideal for working were able to come in and use the office facilities, while those who are happy at home have not felt pressured.

Another thing that’s important is reminding people what the cause is. Our cause, which is simple on the business side, is to support businesses and make them better businesses. We’ve supported thousands of organisations financially through Covid-19, with flexible payment terms and stuff like that, we’ve supported hundreds of organisations with getting them set up with home working, we’ve turned hundreds of our installs into hospitals and doctors and critical infrastructure. So, we make sure we communicate the impact of our work to the team, so they can feel proud that they’ve been involved with installations in critical sites. People want to feel like they’re doing their bit and contributing in a positive way. Our staff satisfaction surveys have shown encouraging results, with satisfaction on the whole rising during the pandemic, so it shows people are responding well and they feel like we’re managing it in the right way.

In a way, it has been an opportunity for us to be closer to our customers, as they are all going through the same thing as us. Everyone is more reliant on a strong internet connection than ever, so we’ve been doing a lot of work to make sure we meet those increased demands. We’ve been lucky that there has been a need for our industry at a time of such financial instability. Companies like Zoom and Microsoft have seen huge surges in usage during the pandemic and the telecoms industry has been a necessity as well. I think if you’ve been in tech, you’ve been in an industry that has been much more protected than lots of others, such as aviation, hospitality and media. 

In terms of the future of home working, the genie is well and truly out of the bottle. We’ve found that it works and I think it is here to stay, whether that is one day a week, two days a week or five days a week. It will have to depend on the role you play in the organisation and whether your job can be done from home or not.

Companies will need to become more output focussed rather than keep the usual 9-5 working pattern. We need to put trust in our staff to manage their workloads in the way that works for them, while still getting the results we need. Of course, we should think about how we manage that long-term, but we need to do this to remain competitive as an employer. With new employees, if we want to attract the right people then we need to make sure flexible working is on the table as this is what they will be looking for more than ever, and trust will be in important factor.” 

Thank you to Lee for sharing his insights with us. If you would like to connect with your fellow Salford graduates and share your own stories and examples of best practice, you can do this and much more on your online alumni hub, fromsalford.com.

TalkTalk currently have vacancies to fill in a range of positions, from software developers and network engineers to financial controllers and marketing executives. If you’re interested in a working environment where you can be yourself and give everything, take a look at their careers website for the latest vacancies: careers.talktalk.co.uk

5 EASY WAYS TO BOOST YOUR MOTIVATION

Has the pandemic left you asking yourself “how can I be more motivated?”. Has it left you feeling unsure of what your next step will be? You’re not alone!

Adapting to the threat of COVID-19 has changed all our lives in unexpected ways, with many of us facing a whole new range of life challenges, from working from home, furlough and additional childcare responsibilities to cancelled travel plans, isolation and separation from valued support networks. With all this taken into account it’s not surprising if our personal and professional development has been put on the back-burner.

Although we’re are not out of the woods yet, the gradual easing of the lockdown rules has given us some much-needed space for a breather and to think about our options. But with the economy and job market in uncertain flux, it can be difficult to motivate ourselves to make those positive steps forward.

So, we’ve put together 5 easy ways you can give your motivation a boost and get you moving in the right direction

  1. FIND INSPIRATION IN OTHERS

We’ve all met those special people who inspire us. Whether that be a leader in your industry, a prominent voice in a cause you believe in or just someone who is on your wavelength. Finding inspiration in others is a great first step in boosting your motivation, and right now it’s easier than ever.  

The quality and accessibility of online events has moved forward in leaps and bounds during the pandemic, with many traditional in-person events moving online and therefore giving you access to speakers from all over the world on a wide range of subjects. You can search for online events on Eventbrite and as most of the events are online you are no longer limited to just events in your area. If the arts is more your bag, The List can direct you to the latest Q&As with your favourite creators.

If you are looking for a more personal touch, you could consider finding a mentor on the online alumni hub, From Salford. The platform makes it really easy for you to connect with a fellow Salford graduate in your industry and you can chat via the platform or set up a separate video call.

2. CHALLENGE YOURSELF

If you have spent lockdown catching up on your knitting, tackling a cross stitch or picking up the paint brushes you are in good company. UK based arts and crafts retailer Hobbycraft have reported a 200% rise in sales during the lockdown period. It seems we have been taking the opportunity to get creative!

A creative hobby can help you to improve and manage your mental health, as well as help you to expand your mind and interests. It allows you to maintain a healthy life balance and many hobbies come with new social circles. Taking time out from your usual activities and interests and taking on something new can really boost your motivation.

If you want to take your hobby to the next level, you could even enrol on an online course at FutureLearn, many of which are free.

3. ASK QUESTIONS

Many of us are still afraid of asking questions. Even though Albert Einstein famously attributed his success to his curiosity rather than his talents, sometimes our shyness or fear of asking the wrong questions can get in the way of us acquiring the information we need.

According to a 2018 article in the Harvard Business Review, asking questions ‘spurs learning and the exchange of ideas, it fuels innovation and performance improvement, it builds rapport and trust’.

An easy first step in getting the answers you need, but in a safe and friendly environment, is on From Salford. You can use the directory to search for fellow alumni who are engaged in the sort of activity you are interested in, or may be able to open doors for you, and send them a question. Many of our alumni have indicated they are ‘happy to help’ on their profile so will be expecting your questions. 

4. ORGANISE YOURSELF

Taking the time or organise yourself can be a huge help when trying to find the motivation to tackle your growing tasks.

Mindtools offers a range of articles and tools to assist you in making the most effective use of your time. It offers a range of career resources, including project management tools and other resources to help you manage your workload. It sounds simple, but just taking some time to organise your ‘to do’ list can make you feel a lot less overwhelmed and able to take on each task at a time.

Rearranging your workspace can help you to feel more productive too. With many of us working from home in less than ideal set ups, now more than ever we should be ensuring our environment is as clear and comfortable as possible. Not all of us are lucky enough to have a home office, so even if you are perched on the end of a kitchen island or in one of the kids’ bedrooms, do what you can to make it work for you. Creating a dedicated workspace will help give you the mindset that you are ‘at work’ when you are in that area – and somewhere to ‘leave’ at the end of the day. And make sure to take plenty of breaks.

5. EDUCATE YOURSELF IN SOMETHING NEW

If you feel unmotivated in the field you’re in then maybe it’s time to explore something new. Taking time to educate yourself about something you’ve previously not explored can widen your perspective and increase your motivation.

With so much information at our fingertips it is fairly easy to research an interest, whether it be that non-fiction book you never had time to read or a documentary on Netflix, there is always something to pique your interest. A new interest adds a new string to your bow and you never know where it might take you.

Don’t forget that on From Salford you can access a arrange of online journals and e-books ranging from academic papers to news articles and CPD resources. It’s a really useful way to broaden your reading and find out more about any subject of interest

We hope these tips to boost your motivation have helped you in some way. It’s important to remember that whether you’re making huge strides or taking baby steps, you’re still going in the right direction.

If we can support you in any way please let us know. The University offers a careers service for life and you can access a range of resources at From Salford.

Share your top tips for boosting your motivation in the comments below.

SALFORD SAYS THANK YOU

Over the last few weeks it has been incredibly uplifting to hear about the members of our University community who have kept us safe and healthy during COVID-19. We want to extend a heart-felt thank you to those of you who have worked tirelessly on the front lines.  

Many of our notable alumni and honorary graduates have reached out to express their gratitude by sharing videos with us:

Maxine Peake:

Here is our amazing former student Maxine Peake to join us in saying #SalfordSaysThankYou! At The University of Salford we could not be more thankful to all our wonderful students, staff and alumni working on the front line, keeping us safe during the pandemic. We want to wish everyone a huge thank you, please tag any family or friends that are currently working the frontline so we can get this thank you to everyone who deserves it!

Posted by Salford Alumni on Thursday, 7 May 2020

Film director Mike Leigh, known for an extensive back catalogue of British films, including Vera Drake and Peterloo:

‪We wanted to bring you another #SalfordSaysThankYou from Peterloo & Vera Drake director Mike Leigh, one of The University of Salford's special honorary alumni! We would love to know if any of you are working the frontline in the comments, or tag friends and family who are!

Posted by Salford Alumni on Thursday, 14 May 2020

BBC Radio presenter, author and mental health advocate Katie Thistleton:

At The University of Salford, we could not be more thankful to the students, staff and alumni working on the front line to keep us safe. This week's message for #SalfordSaysThankYou comes from our amazing alumna Radio 1 presenter, Katie Thistleton, who has been an inspiration! Do you know someone working on the frontline? Let us know below so we can thank them!

Posted by Salford Alumni on Thursday, 21 May 2020

Musician, DJ and radio presenter Clint Boon:

Manchester legend Clint Boon is here to deliver this #SalfordSaysThankYou to all the amazing #FrontLineHeroes out there! We were so pleased to have him back at The University of Salford for this important message. We would love to thank you all for your help! Please tag anyone you think deserves a huge thank you in the comments below, or even leave your own stories!

Posted by Salford Alumni on Thursday, 28 May 2020

Emmerdale actor Liam Fox:

Liam Fox says Thank You

Emmerdale actor and Salford alumnus Liam Fox, known for playing Dan Spencer on the soap opera, has spoken out to thank front line workers in today's #SalfordSaysThankYou video. We are proud of all the members of our University community who continue to keep us safe and healthy during these times. Tag your friends and family making a difference in the comments!

Posted by Salford Alumni on Thursday, 4 June 2020

Andrew Gwynne MP:

Today's lovely #SalfordSaysThankYou video comes from alumnus and MP, Andrew Gwynne! He has spoken out to thank front line workers here, but we would love to see all our alumni doing the same! We are proud of all the members of The University of Salford community who continue to keep us safe and healthy during these times. Tag your friends and family making a difference in the comments!

Posted by Salford Alumni on Friday, 5 June 2020

You can join the conversation on our Salford Alumni Facebook and Twitter.

OUR ALUMNI HEROES

As the University continues to respond to the evolving challenges the virus has presented, many of our alumni have been in touch to tell us how they have responded to the virus outbreak within their communities and throughout the world. We have been inspired by some of these tales and we wanted to share them with you.

Here are some of your stories.

Ameera Fletcher (Class of 2017)

Ameera (right) is the Director of Cre8 Macclesfield, a youth and community programme based in the Moss Estate in Macclesfield. During the pandemic Cre8 has managed to realign their services to work remotely with the mission of “small but mighty”. 

As well as moving much of their youth and community project online they have also adapted to a mobile grocery service, so they can deliver donated food to the homes of those who are self-isolating or following social distancing rules.

Over the last few weeks demand for the service has grown, increasing from a two-day a week service to feeding approximately 500 people over a five-day week. The team now collect up to 1.5 tonnes of food twice a week from FareShare and other suppliers and distribute it to those who need it most within the community.    

Ameera said: “Being able to feed people and connect through food is fantastic – seeing people smile when we turn up is heart-warming during these testing times.”


Clifford Iteshi (Class of 2014)

Throughout the pandemic Clifford has volunteered his time to ensure NHS professionals are able to travel to work at Salford Royal Hospital safely.

Clifford said: “Many of the people I have driven to work are nervous about using public transport during lockdown. I am happy to provide free transport for they can get to work and home again”.

Clifford also regularly checks in with neighbours and people within the community who live alone and has even filmed video demonstrations of hand hygiene and identifying COVID-19 symptoms that he has shared with people who are self-isolating.


Jeremy Davies (Class of 2019)

Jeremy is an Alcohol Detox Nurse within Greater Manchester Mental Health Trust, working with Trafford Achieve to deliver interventions for people affected by alcohol use.

During the pandemic Jeremy has been supporting the clinical team by conducting welfare checks for service users to ensure they have continued treatment, as well as ensuring access to medication and people are able to self-isolate effectively if necessary.

Jeremy said: “In recent weeks it has become more apparent how vulnerable this group of patients are. The lockdown and inevitable isolation has impacted on the mental health of many service users”. With a sharp surge in demand for mental health support, safeguarding against domestic violence and an increase in alcohol abuse, Jeremy has offered support and advice to those who need it.

“I have enjoyed supporting this group of patients during this difficult time and I hope that this work provides a valuable contribution to maintaining service users health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic.”


Jane Gerrard (Class of 2016)

As an experienced Occupational Health Counsellor within the NHS, Jane has devoted her attention to supporting the mental wellbeing of the NHS professionals on the frontline of the fight against the virus.

Jane has been able to offer telephone counselling to colleagues dealing with a range of increased challenges due to the pandemic. In particular, those required to stay in hotel accommodation between shifts and are therefore separated from families and valuable support networks.  

Jane said: “The things that can sometimes be taken for granted as givens; wellness, relationships with family and friends, job security and hopes for the future. These are the valuable aspects of life that have suddenly become under threat.”

However, despite the challenges Jane has also witnessed an emergence of optimism. “I am privileged to be able to experience the hope, appreciation and insight from those that have risked their own wellbeing to help others in their fight for wellness.”


Isaac Ofori (Class of 2019)

Isaac works with the UN mission in South Sudan. He and a group of former military service men from Ghana have collectively donated $20,000 to fund the purchase of PPE supplies for hospital staff at 37 military hospitals in Ghana.


Erika Clark (Class of 2004)

Music graduate and music teacher, Erika, wrote and recorded a new song, Rainbow of Hope, in which she features 40 local school children as vocalists to raise money for NHS Charities Together. She has more than achieved her target of £1,000 and the funds are still rolling in.

She was joined by Robin Dewhurst, Reader in Music at the University, who played the piano accompaniments for the track.

You can listen to Erika talk about the story behind the song on BBC Radio Manchester here.


24 alumni from China donated 2,000 medical grade face masks to a residential care home in Bolton. The alumni, who all graduated from Salford Business School between 2004 and 2015, decided to donate the masks due to their fond memories of studying at Salford and their continued loyalty to the University.

The School of Health & Society facilitated the donation and put the alumni in touch with The Old Vicarage Residential Care Home in Bolton, a partner of the University. The face masks were gratefully received by residents and staff and they thank our alumni in China for their generous donation.

If you have been supporting your community during COVID-19, and would like to tell us about it, please get in touch at alumni@salford.ac.uk.

HOW TO ACCESS EMERALD INSIGHT AS A SALFORD ALUMNUS

One of the perks of being a Salford Alumni is getting free access to journals from a variety of platforms!

However due to recent updates, the access method used by one of our journal providers; Emerald has changed. This comes with the benefits of having a personalized account with streamlined access, and the ability to save your favourite searches and journals.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how Salford alumni can continue to access Journals on every topic via Emerald:

Step 1: Register for FromSalford.com

If you have already been accessing Emerald and other journals as a Salford alumnus then you will already have an account with us! If you don’t, please see our previous article for details on how to register.

Step 2: Register with Emerald

From https://www.emerald.com/insight/ You will see 2 options to register or login to the platform. If this is your first time accessing – you will need to select ‘Register’.

You will need your name, e-mail address and Organisation Access Number. (This is found at https://fromsalford.com/groups/13/about under the “Emerald” section.

You must be signed into FromSalford.com in order to view the Organisation Access Number required to register with Emerald.

Step 3: Activate Your Account

Once you have registered and agreed the terms and conditions and privacy policy – you will need to activate your account. You will receive an e-mail prompting you to do so.

You will then need to create a password to finish setting up your account.

Step 4: Continue Browsing Emerald Insight!

Congratulations, you are now a member of Emerald Insight via the University of Salford! Now that you have an account, you can skip all these steps and log straight onto Emerald to browse at your leisure.

For instructions on how to access the other journals FromSalford.com provides Salford alumni – please click here.

THE ART OF ADAPTATION: KEEPING YOUR SMALL BUSINESS AFLOAT DURING COVID-19

Salford alumna Dr Melissa Sterry, is a leading design scientist, systems theorist, and futurist. She is a serial founder and is currently director of Biofuturism consultancy Bioratorium™.

An expert on creating adaptable businesses and examining future trends and challenges, here she offers her guide to keeping you and your business operational and effective during the current pandemic.

For those of us who have spent months or years developing a business, pouring in our heart and soul, or making the brave decision to go freelance, the current global crisis may feel like we’re heading towards a black hole. But we are all in this together. Here are my tips on how to stay afloat in this ocean of uncertainty

1. REPOSITION YOUR OFFER

With most people confined to their homes your online presence has never been more important. How you style your online comms is a matter of personal choice. But, whatever that choice, it should resonate with your intended market. If you are repositioning your offer in light of market changes, that means adapting your visual and written narrative as required. Remember also that curating your online presence doesn’t just mean adding content, it also means removing it as and when necessary.

Be savvy to new platforms and technology; and ensure to focus on quality not quantity of messaging. We want to capture our audience’s attentions, so think about that one piece of clever content that will make you stand out rather than lots of run-of-the-mill items. 

2. BE UP FRONT

Working from home, social distancing and home schooling has left many of us struggling to fulfil client briefs. If this is the case, it is important to be up-front and communicate with your clients. They are also adapting to new ways of working and therefore you can navigate the situation together. The worst thing you can do if you’re struggling is go AWOL. The sooner you pick up the phone or email to communicate a problem, the sooner you can negotiate a solution.

3. LIGHTEN THE LOAD

Most freelancers and small businesses run tight ships. Hence, their capacity to cut costs is limited. Nonetheless, now is the time to review expenditures and prune any non-essential costs, such as subscriptions, and research potentially more cost-effective suppliers.

You can make use of social media to keep up-to-date on the latest news and advice from organisations such as HMRC and other bodies, as well as financial journalists and experts, such as Martin Lewis, who can help you take advantage of initiatives designed to help you.

4. DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY

If not blood, then certainly sweat and tears go into building any small business. This is why, for many of us, business tends to feel very personal. It is all too easy for us to take some of the commercial impacts of market down turns as personal failings. In your business life, as in your personal life, it’s important to be able to move on from situations that no longer serve you well. Moving your business forward doesn’t discredit your past achievements. It is important to acknowledge what has changed, why it has changed and what you can do to adapt.

5. READ THE MOMENT

The most successful entrepreneurs across all sectors keep their fingers firmly on the pulse of change. By maintaining an interest in the world-at-large and absorbing all media, you can break out of your sphere of vision and experience. The broader your understanding of the factors that shape unfolding events, the better your ability to gage how, why, and where you – or rather your business – need to be.

Content that will help you to read the moment includes the official social media accounts, newsletters, and other updates of:

  • Pre-eminent industry and trade bodies [i.e. institutes, societies and unions] both in your sector, and those that relate to your clients and suppliers.
  • HMRC, Companies House, and other government organisations concerned with business taxation, administration, and governance.
  • The leading research, trade, and other journals that service both your sector, and they of your current and possible future clients.
  • Current and possible future clients, and in the case of multinational groups, their press offices and other news outlets.
  • Bookmarking, and content curation apps, such as Flipboard are also great tools.

6. WIDEN YOUR NETWORK

In the day to day running of a business, it is very easy to focus on the short-term gains at the expense of long-term viability. This is why it pays to have a network of critical friends and mentors to support you. While a problem shared isn’t always a problem halved, it is a problem which you may better understand with the benefit of a second or third opinion.

In the first instance, the help of mentors, coaches, peers and other experts will help you to address your most immediate needs. However, with time, these relationships will typically help you see opportunities you might have otherwise missed and to understand how you can harness those opportunities.

Some of the places you can look to expand your network include:

  • From Salford alumni mentoring and networking platform
  • Trade and industry institutes and societies, such as the RSA
  • Linkedin, The Dots, and other professional social media platforms

From Salford also offers you the opportunity to create or join groups based on location or industry area. This will enable to you to connect with fellow graduates with similar interests with whom you can share advice and support. The groups can be found here. If there is not a group that suits your needs you can start your own.

7. ADD TO YOUR VALUE

As the pandemic inevitably shrinks some markets, others will undoubtedly flourish. As a small business owner or freelancer, you have little to lose and everything to gain by adding value to your commercial offer.

Your first step is to review where your knowledge and skills have gaps, and to what extent. The next step is evaluating the opportunities at your disposal to plug those gaps. Often we concern ourselves with the cost and time commitment but there are many institutions that offer competitively priced, and often entirely free online courses across wide-ranging subject fields. Most are flexibly structured so your studies can work around other commitments.

Some examples of where you can find free online courses include:

You can also access free online libraries, archives, and citizen science programmes such as:

Online talks can be a great way to broaden your knowledge and understanding. You can find a wide range of talks here:

FACING THE UNKNOWN

So, you’ve read the moment, identified new business opportunities in the process, your online business profile is looking hot to trot, your I’s and T’s are dotted and crossed, your outgoings streamlined, and you’ve done everything in your power to adapt to extraordinary circumstances.

Even for the most agile and experienced of innovators, inventors and entrepreneurs, the journey ahead will be a challenging one. All of us are at a new trading frontier, which like all uncharted territories, presents risks both known and unknown. Tread with care and optimism. Good luck.

Find out more about Melissa Sterry here.

Connect with Melissa on the University’s networking and mentoring platform exclusively for Salford graduates: From Salford