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University of York Students Set Up Own Business

University of York

3:53pm 23rd July 2013

Enterprising students from the University of York are improving their employment prospects and gaining valuable work experience by setting up their own consultancy business.

Formed in October 2012, York Community Consulting is entirely student-run and has already carried out projects for clients including  Selby District Council, and The Fig Tree, a Fairtrade centre in Garstang, Lancashire.

Set up by third year students Dominic Falcão and Ross Morrison, York Community Consulting concentrates on social impact and boasts 20 active consultants. It aims to double in size during the next academic year.

Students offer their time to clients free of charge and in exchange gain valuable experience in consulting. For Language and Linguistic Science student Ben Howe, his experience with the Selby project has led to a paid internship with Ripon District Council this summer.

The University’s York Management School staff and Careers team have provided accommodation, guidance and support to the students. Through Careers, York Community Consulting received funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England/UnLtd Social Enterprise Fund towards set up costs.

Co-founder of York Community Consulting Dominic Falcão, who recently graduated with a first class honours in Politics, Philosophy and Economics, said: “Employers are looking for experience but this is not easy to gain in consulting. York Community Consulting is a low-cost, efficient way of improving employability. It is an excellent way of proving ourselves and gives us something concrete and positive to talk about at interviews and to show off at assessment centres.”

The Selby project involved students Dan Buchan, Jonathan Lloyd-Evans, Anna Murray and Ben Howe assessing the cultural capital of the town of Selby. They looked at ways of boosting the local economy and examined the strength of the town’s existing community societies and events, and ways of bringing these together to improve Selby’s visitor offering. They also came up with innovative suggestions to improve tourism quickly and cheaply.

The project culminated in a presentation to the Selby Chamber, town and district councillors.

Rose Norris, Executive Director from Selby District Council, said: “The students worked very hard to produce a report that details their findings and provided a range of creative options for us to consider. We were impressed with their professional approach and won’t hesitate to use them in the future.”

The Fig Tree project in Lancashire involved students Gabriele Zuokaite and Kieron Hazell carrying out a social audit, looking at the social impact of the Fig Tree and whether it was meeting its aims.

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