Graduate's business growth success secures permanent job

27 November 2018

A University of Derby marketing graduate has secured a permanent job through a scheme designed to help companies benefit from the University’s expertise.

Jade Walden was recruited in 2017 to work with Nottingham-based insurance brokers Routen Chaplin through the Knowledge Exchange for Innovation (KEI) Programme, with the aim of developing a sales and marketing plan to increase the firm’s customer base.

Now, her success has led to her being offered a permanent contract as the company’s Marketing and PR Manager.

Routen Chaplin worked with the University’s Knowledge Exchange Department, Professor Carley Foster, the Head of the University’s Centre for Business Improvement, and Annmarie Hanlon, Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing, to find the ideal candidate to help them achieve their aim of growing their business and securing customers from beyond the local area.

The KEI programme, which is financed by the European Regional Development Fund, is designed for small and medium-sized businesses in the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership area, which extends across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, including the cities of Derby and Nottingham.

It aims to help businesses access University and graduate expertise to find innovative solutions for business growth, with an agreed detailed work plan of between six-18 months. The programme contributes 30 per cent of the cost of employing the graduate, with the remaining cost met by the employer.

The vital innovation element of this particular project centred on reinventing and modernising the marketing activity within the business, underpinned by technology and investing in new skills, as well as by working in partnership with the University.

Professor Foster said: “Jade’s objective was to help the company bridge identified gaps in its social media, marketing and advertising. As well as creating effective marketing campaigns which has generated new customers, and managing the company’s website and public relations, Jade was also set the task of developing a better system for customer relationship measurement (CRM). These are crucial pieces of work for any business that has plans to expand.

“Our role was to work with Routen Chaplin and Jade to support business growth. It was really important to identify a suitable graduate with the skills which matched the company’s requirements. Through this successful partnership, Jade has embedded new knowledge in the company which they can now make full use of in future.”

Jade said: “My role at Routen Chaplin has taught me valuable business skills as well as giving me the opportunity to gain hands-on experience putting my marketing knowledge into practice. The KEI scheme is genuinely great at helping graduates find degree-relevant employment and I am grateful for all the support the university has provided me during and since finishing my degree.”

Steve Beeley, Chief Executive of Routen Chaplin, said: “The KEI programme has enabled us to invest in young talent which has provided a fresh injection of creativity and impartial thinking which we have found refreshing and exciting to develop. The calibre of University of Derby graduates is excellent, making the decision to offer Jade a permanent contract a no-brainer.” 

Find out more about our KEI programmes 

Find out more about our Knowledge Transfer Partnership programmes

University of Derby graduate Jade Walden, who has completed a successful Knowledge Exchange for Innovation programme with insurance brokers Routen Chaplin