Staffordshire University Partners With Woodwork Company to Grow Business

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Staffordshire University's Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) help businesses improve their competitiveness by accessing academic knowledge, expertise and resources - with one successful partnership helping a woodturning company to expand and bring in new recruits.

Kenny MacFarlane (left) with Clive Durose, Managing Director of Clive Durose Woodturners Ltd

The energy that our KTP Associates have brought to the business is inspiring.

A partnership between Staffordshire University and Clive Durose Woodturners Ltd has helped the company expand, develop new products and bring in new graduate recruits.

The Trentham-based company has been taking advantage of expert help and advice from the University through the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) scheme.

It has since opened a new design studio, bolstered its in-house expertise by sponsoring two employees to go on postgraduate courses and has started an engineering apprenticeship scheme.

Managing Director Clive Durose said: “The KTP has benefitted our business in many ways, bringing fresh ideas and enthusiasm to new business development projects.

“It has allowed us to invest in new product design and new services with the support of University professionals who have contributed a wealth of experience and technical knowledge.

“The energy that our KTP Associates have brought to the business is inspiring.”

Eleanor Moss and Kenny MacFarlane recently joined Clive Durose and, as part of their contracts, are studying for work-based negotiated learning Masters degrees at Staffordshire University.

Eleanor, 24, graduated from De Montfort University and took up her job as a Creative Product Developer, as well as embarking on an MSc in Professional Engineering.

She said: “The company wanted to set up a design function and because they didn’t have the skills in-house they started the KTP programme which is designed to develop the company but also us as individuals.

“It has been a challenge, continuing with my Masters degree, but I’m just over a year through with another year to go. I’m really enjoying it.”

Kenny, 23, graduated from Liverpool John Moores University prior to joining Clive Durose, where he has been able to start an MSc in Advanced Technology. He recently won the prestigious Timber Trades Journal’s (TTJ) Career Development of the Year Award for under-25s.

He said: “Getting on the Masters was really the selling point for me – that was the number one benefit – but it’s also really vocational. Because it’s about advanced technology, we can direct what I’m learning to whatever technology we need at work.”

Through the partnership with Staffordshire University, Clive Durose has been able to produce a brand new range of products and set up a specialist subsidiary called Precision Timber Handrails which uses the most advanced computer controlled machines.

Professor Dave Cheshire, professor of Design Technology at Staffordshire University, said: “Clive Durose has been very forward thinking. Often in difficult economic times companies think they can’t afford to be innovative.

“But Clive has recognised that investing in new products and people can bring a new confidence to the company making them stand out from the crowd. We are only too pleased that Staffordshire University is able to help local businesses survive – even thrive – in difficult times.”

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) are just one way in which Staffordshire University is working with the business community. These will be demonstrated and discussed at the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Technology (FCET) InnovateFest Autumn 2010 event on Wednesday, October 20. Running from 2pm-7:30pm at the University’s Octagon Building, Beaconside, Stafford, the event will explore the benefits of innovation and working with the University.

Notes to editors:

  •     Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) are part Government funded collaborations designed to help thriving businesses improve their competitiveness by accessing academic knowledge, expertise and resources within Staffordshire University. For further information visit http://www.staffs.ac.uk/business_solutions/knowledge_transfer/ktp/.
  •     InnovateFest Autumn 2010, which runs on Wednesday, October 20, will give businesses a chance to see first-hand how the knowledge and expertise at Staffordshire University – as well as close relationships with key funding bodies – could give their businesses an edge in today’s market. For further information visit http://www.staffs.ac.uk/fcetinnovatefest.

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