In fact, the joint project with Sheffield Business School has proved such a success it looks set to be the catalyst for similar initiatives across Europe, and potentially worldwide.
SHU’s partnership was forged when PCL’s Managing Director Lee Wright and Product Manager Simon Alexander were invited to put their heads together with Principal Lecturer Dr Alexandra Anderson and Employer Partnerships Manager (SME) James Beighton to create a brief for International Business undergraduates.
This involved research for PCL’s new Digital Bicycle Tyre Inflator, a fixed air tower that is now available across Europe and worldwide, including the Far East.
The students were tasked with exploring markets across Europe to establish where the bike inflator might sit on the UK market. To familiarise them with operations and the product in development, students were given a tour of PCL’s Sheffield HQ, including the state-of-the-art factory.
Simon Alexander said: “The findings they presented to us were really interesting and gave us some valuable information to think about regarding how we can further develop the product.”
Lee Wright agreed: “The students’ research was impressive, and we are grateful to them for their hard work. We were pleased to be able to involve them in business development for the Digital Bicycle Tyre Inflator as there is nothing like it on the UK market. This is a new and advanced product that will make cycling safer and more enjoyable for all riders, from the novice to the experienced or professional cyclist. With cycling such an integral part of everyday life in the Netherlands we gained some excellent insight.”
Lee continued: “Collaborating with PCL as part of their studies allowed SHU’s undergraduates to apply their specialist skills and knowledge, while improving their employment skills. As a local company working with a big educational facility, this type of project gives us access to a talent pool for the next generation of marketeers and engineers to come and work with us.”
Thanking the PCL team for having them on board, Dr Anderson said: “The students were supervised by academic experts throughout the process, and their experience was integrated into the curriculum. This project has helped them put their international business skills into practice and develop the commercial awareness and skills they will need when they go into the workplace.
“We would love to see this kind of collaboration with key employers increase retention of graduates in our area to contribute to the South Yorkshire economy, and we look forward to working on further projects with PCL.”
The PCL-SHU initiative has already inspired PCL’s parent company TECALEMIT to follow suit in Germany.
Marketing Management Assistant Britta Roeloffs said: “The successful partnership between PCL and Sheffield Hallam University has led us to reach out to Flensburg University to explore the possibilities for a similar working project. We will be meeting shortly to evaluate options and possibilities and look forward to setting up our own “partnership” and getting to work with the students. Locals for locals.”
To find out more about careers at PCL visit: https://www.pclairtechnology.com/careers
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