Students get a taste of future careers at food festival
Students from Staffordshire University played an integral role in the running of this year’s Stone Food and Drink Festival which attracted a record number of visitors.
For a second year the University’s Business School teamed up with festival organisers to provide students with hands on work experience whilst compiling a report about the event’s economic impact.
Professor Jon Fairburn said: “The students are gaining lots of good skills that they can use in their industry. This work experience will really help them when they graduate and are organising events themselves.”
Now in its 11th year, the event sees Stone’s pubs, bars and businesses put on quizzes, themed meals and special offers leading up to a weekend of live cookery demonstrations, talks and tastings on offer at the main festival site at Westbridge Park. The festival attracted a record number of visitors this year with 20,000 people attending the different events across the town.
Final year BA (Hons) Events Management student Emma Gaunt took charge of the social media channels and believes the experience will help her secure a job when she finishes her course.
Emma said: “I’m getting to know people and networking so hopefully when I graduate next year people know me and I’ll have a bit of a basis to find a job and get stuck in with my events career.”
Fellow student Natalie Kenyon helped conduct the visitor surveys, gathering information about how people travelled to the event and where from, the amount of money they planned to spend and how the festival could be improved.
Natalie commented: “This is a large event in the local community and it’s great experience to work here and to understand how throughout the years the festival has grown and improved.”
The data collected will be used to understand the festival’s financial impact on the region. Professor Jon Fairburn explained, “Last year we estimated that the festival brought half a million pounds into the local economy. This provided robust evidence to funders about how effective the event is and to encourage them to keep supporting the festival.”
Jon added: “Our relationship with the festival is mutually beneficial – our students are gaining useful work experience and we are can provide valuable feedback for the festival organisers.”
A film about the students' work experience can be viewed on the University's YouTube channel.
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Staffordshire University is developing to meet the needs of modern day learners and current and emerging industries. Vocationally inspired, the University offers courses across a wide range of subject areas. The Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 determined that 78 per cent of the University’s research is world leading or of international importance.