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Case study: Sunderland University & Far North

South Shields based Far North Sales & Marketing Consultancy are all-encompassing Business Development specialists. Their aim is to create growth for the clients they service. Their services support clients across a range of business strategies; whether they are looking to take a product to market, run a fresh pair of eyes over the sales process or just get over a lean period.

With an existing connection to the University in terms of delivering business support for our student and graduate startups, founder Ian Farrar was aware of the talent coming out of the University. Far North is on a path to grow organically and by employing enthusiastic, talented and energised people. The ERDF funding attached to the Internship scheme was an added incentive to access graduate talent and create a Marketing Executive role to support those plans.

They recruited University of Sunderland Business and Marketing Management graduate, Arbaz Khan, who joined the team during a very challenging and busy period. With minimal training, he hit the ground running and was quickly looking for ways to add value.

Ian said of his experience of the scheme, “Arbaz has had an immediate impact by proposing a new value proposition to our existing customers. The quality of our content both internally, and for clients, has jumped to a level we did not think possible.”

The internship has been such a success, that Ian is considering hiring another graduate. He told us., “Bringing in a graduate that has studied the exact subject matter needed for our business was an immediate fit. The team at the University have made this process incredibly simple and straightforward.  The communication has been outstanding to ensure we swiftly secured enviable talent in our business.”

Arbaz Khan graduated with a Business and Marketing Management degree from University of Sunderland in 2019 and since graduating had worked in a graphic design and marketing role for another SME in the region. This combination of academic knowledge and practical design experience made an impression on Ian and the team. Perhaps more importantly for a small business, Arbaz’s personality and working style was a perfect fit for the Far North team.

Arbaz told us, “I enjoy the different types of businesses I work with. Diverse companies require various solutions. I appreciate a good challenge; I especially enjoy seeing ROI because of something we’ve done. Bringing a customer’s vision to life, whether a website, leaflet or as small as a business card, is up there too!”

He also has some advice to graduates considering an internship, “It gives you an insight into what practical work is; you can talk theory & strategies all day, but if you don’t get on the pitch and do it, you won’t find out if it’s for you. I’d also say do something you enjoy; otherwise, you’ll find it twice as hard to find a reason to stay when it gets tough.”

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