Students adapt their work-based project for business under ‘lockdown’.

A group of students from the University of Chester’s Business School have been testing their creative skills by marketing a Cheshire-based travel, fitness and team energiser company during the pandemic lockdown.

International Tourism Management student Charis Hayden, Digital Marketing student Fay Burrows and Jonathon Roberts who is studying Marketing Management and Business Management began their project for EDGE Travel Worldwide (specialists in adventure and walking trips, fitness and wellbeing, corporate, charity and sports club team energiser engagement) in Northwich in March 2020 before travel restrictions were introduced.

Under the mentorship of David Pickles, founder of the company, the team had been working on the promotion of events and activities taking place this year, including adventure travel, UK walks, fitness sessions and corporate team building.

With international travel currently only available on an essential basis, the team has developed a travel blog for the company to promote a selection of beautiful destinations for when holiday-makers can jet off once more. The team has also been working on new brand guidelines for the company, social media content and pitching their ideas virtually via Zoom meetings.

Despite the lockdown, the project has continued to move forward thanks to Dave’s support, with a new focus on working together as a team despite being at a distance and looking after their own and each other’s physical and mental wellbeing.

Dave said he wanted the students to continue with their work as he felt it was vital to support the future generation of leaders and professionals enabling the group to continue their practical learning.

He said: “Being proactive and working even harder to plan for the future has never been as important as it is now.

“The project work we are engaging on is currently focused on social media development including other specialist projects. The key to this is getting to understand who the team is and integrating them with each other. Second, is to establish a clear daily and weekly work and reporting structure, along with keeping in regular communication with each other and empowering individuals when the time is right. Building strong team relationships take time but is a vital investment in performance long term. Jonathon, Charis and Fay have gone from strength to strength which shows in their commitment, work and approach to tasks.”

Beth Morris, Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader for BA (Hons) Digital Marketing at Chester Business School, said: “The team work together brilliantly under Dave’s mentorship. I’ve seen their confidence, creativity and capability levels grow week-by-week. They are producing wonderful content and it has been a pleasure to see how their ideas have come to life. They are learning much more than the practical skills that digital marketers need. Dave’s guidance is helping so much with personal and professional development as well as nurturing their individual strengths and leadership qualities.”

Jonathon Roberts, age 20 from Chester, said: "Joining the team at EDGE Travel Worldwide has enabled me to develop my skills in social media marketing and has enabled me to put into practice my knowledge of digital marketing into the workplace. Thanks to Dave Pickles for the continuing support and for offering this great opportunity to students at the University of Chester! Also, thanks to Beth Morris for getting us in touch with Dave in order to help him to develop an awareness in the wider area of the EDGE Travel Worldwide brand. I look forward to continuing to develop my skills and to help EDGE Travel Worldwide!"

Fay Burrows, who is 19 and from Alvanley, Cheshire, said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity that EDGE Travel Worldwide has brought to me. I value the chance that they are giving to me with the ability to practically put into place the theory I am learning at University in a real world, live situation. This experience is one that I will value as it has progressed my knowledge, understanding and practical ability within marketing whilst giving me general experiences of working with a professional business.”

Charis Hayden, who is 21 and also from Chester, added: "Approaching the start of my voluntary work for EDGE Travel Worldwide, I had not really given much thought to the world of digital marketing. I believed the industry did not appeal to me. However, during my time with EDGE I have been able to apply theory learned at University, to real world situations. This has allowed me to gain a new understanding for the role marketing plays in world affairs and how it is key to the proper functioning of a business."

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