Case study

Graduate Talent and CPD - Airport Information Systems

AIS has been producing and developing support software for the airport industry for the past 30 years. More recently, AIS has been working with our University on succession planning, new skills development and networking.

Graduate recruitment

AIS is a small team of four, some of whom are approaching retirement, so succession planning has recently become a priority. We supported the firm with this by providing advice and ERDF funding to help pay for a graduate to work on a short-term project. Business Development Director at AIS, Kevin Faulkner, explains how it’s been of benefit: “Although we knew we needed to consider succession planning, the Knowledge Exchange for Innovation (KEI) graduate scheme has enabled us to prioritise this and we now feel as though it’s achievable.” 

Buoyed by the success of the KEI scheme, AIS then decided to establish a new role at the company — Junior Software Developer — which would be suitable for a recent graduate. We helped AIS advertise the job and the team gained a number of high-quality applications, from which they shortlisted. Kevin explains why they created the role:

Students in the Bloomberg Lab

Investing in New Talent

“We believe appointing a recent graduate will bring a different perspective and offer new ideas. The techniques and technologies they have learned during their studies will enable us to enhance our current products and refresh the view of technologies within the business.”

Skills development

Kevin recently participated in the University’s Advanced Skills Programme, which is funded by the  European Social Fund. The programme enables SMEs in  the D2N2 LEP area to participate in short online CPD courses without any cost to their organisation. Kevin completed the Strategic Marketing in a Digital Age course and has already used the skills learnt to improve the firm’s online presence.

He explains: “I was able to refresh our website using the knowledge I’d learned during the course and the newly re-organised site is a lot more visually engaging. We’ve also made significant changes to a listing we have on an industry airport suppliers’ website which is a major promotional tool for our organisation. In addition, we’re now able to use LinkedIn in much more depth as a marketing tool.”


Kevin from AIS also took part in a new initiative we launched to facilitate networking. We’ve been running short online events during the pandemic to offer local organisations an informal way to share ideas and offer inspiration. Kevin describes his experience:

“It was a useful way to share knowledge with those in other industries and I came away having learnt a new technique for keeping up to date with industry news. It was an uplifting session during this challenging time.”

Through all these interactions, we have developed a valuable partnership with AIS, which is mutually beneficial. We appreciate the employment opportunities that AIS has been able to offer our graduates, while AIS has made positive, practical changes as a result of the knowledge and expertise we shared. Kevin describes how he feels about working with our University: “I view the University of Derby as a trusted collaborative partner and a valuable resource hub. The partnership has allowed AIS to benefit from capabilities, expertise and facilities we wouldn’t otherwise have had access to. It’s this interaction that has helped us to stay at the forefront of our industry.”

For further information or to discuss working in partnership with us, please contact our Business Enquiry Team on +44 (0)800 001 5500 or