Associate Success Stories: Jennifer Reeves

KTP Associate Jennifer Reeves
KTP Associate Jennifer Reeves, who now works at Elfab Limited

A Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) is a UK government scheme between a graduate, an organisation and a university. KTP has been successfully running for over 40 years and has become one of the largest graduate recruitment programmes across the UK. 

Recently, Aston's Business Partnership Unit caught up with previous KTP Associate Jennifer Reeves to see how the project had influenced her career. Jennifer began her KTP  project with Midlands-based charity, Christian Education, in 2006.

How did you hear about the opportunity?
I applied for the job online through a job website. I didn't realise how much would be involved initially! 

How would you summarise the project that you worked on?
The project was definitely a challenge! I worked closely with the CEO of a small charity in Birmingham: Christian Education. I developed and implemented a marketing strategy for the organisation. A marketing culture was also introduced, which was a completely new concept for them. Over the two years, working closely with my Academic supervisor, we succeeded in implementing new procedures and marketing activity, which culminated in the organisation committing to employing a full-time marketer.

What was your specific role in the project?
Following test marketing campaigns, I developed a suitable marketing strategy and worked with the full team to implement it over the two year project. The role was very hands on, which meant I gained great experience across a broad range of sales and marketing activity, from events to advertising; and sales to mailings and PR. 

As the link between Christian Education and Aston University, I enabled a small Birmingham-based Charity to gain access to the most current marketing knowledge, as well as being an affordable resource to drive forward significant change.

What did you achieve throughout your time working on this project?
On a personal level, my Marketing knowledge grew significantly. Hands on experience alongside further study was a great combination and allowed me to develop my skills on all levels.

The additional training through the Scheme was also a fantastic support to the work I was doing, meeting like-minded people and building up my skills. The scheme also had an impact on my personal life: I married a fellow KTP Associate, who I met during the first week-long training session!

For Christian Education, sales increased through a fully embraced Marketing strategy and there was a big change in culture towards their work. As well as being passionate about the work of the Charity, the team also considered the commercial viability of what they were doing and began to plan ahead.

I feel the project also added something a bit different to Aston University’s portfolio of KTP projects. The application of Marketing theory in a small not-for-profit environment was lacking – hence being the focus of my MSc research project. 

What did you enjoy about working on this project?
As above, I feel the KTP Experience had a huge positive impact on my life in many ways. I enjoyed the hand on work experience, whilst remaining very closely linked to the University for that extra support during my first role after Graduating.

What did you find most challenging about the project?
The complex nature of Christian Education was challenging, and I spent the first few months learning about the different aspects of its product/service offering. I sometimes found it challenging to strike a work-life balance, and would often work late and study most evenings. However, looking back, it was very much worth the effort. 

Did the project meet your expectations?
didn't really know what to expect from the project, but it certainly offered something that not many first jobs offer for new Graduates. Both challenging and rewarding, I’d do it all again and would recommend it to anyone!

What impact did this project have on your career?
I think the project set me up well for my Marketing career, and gave me a good insight into the pressures of working life. It certainly prepared me well from a Marketing knowledge point of view, and boosted my confidence before moving out of education.

What is your current occupation?
I am currently Marketing Manager for Elfab Limited - an Engineering Manufacturer in North Shields, Tyne and Wear.

What would be your advice to a graduate who  hasn't taken part in a project with industry before? 
If you’re unsure whether to study further or find your first job, definitely consider a KTP: you get the best of both worlds! Make the most of the additional training on offer, and stick at the additional qualifications. It’s a great all round experience!

To find out more about how your business can benefit from a KTP, or how you can become an Associate, please email or call 0121 204 4242.