WORKING TOGETHER: AFC Bournemouth Commercial Director Rob Mitchell, left, with Bournemouth University Chief Operating Officer Jim Andrews at the AFC Business breakfast networking event held at Bournemouth University
Bournemouth University’s stunning new £27 million Poole Gateway Building has been shown off to the region’s business community.
The brand new state-of-the-art facility played host to the latest breakfast networking meeting staged by AFC Business, the commercial arm of Premier League football club AFC Bournemouth.
Poole Gateway Building houses two multi-camera TV studios, a film studio, recording studios, green screen facilities, music labs, a cinema and leading edge technological equipment.
Guests were treated to a tour of the 5,000 sq ft facility, which opened last month, by Project Manager Rob Lipcar, who explained that as well as professional-level facilities the building was constructed to exacting sustainability standards, with 70 per cent of the cost spent locally.
University Chief Operating Officer Jim Andrews and AFC Bournemouth Commercial Director Rob Mitchell, an alumnus of the university, took part in a Q&A session as they explained the partnership working between the two organisations.
The association began back in 2008 when students began to volunteer at the then cash-strapped League 2 club, with the partnership being made official in 2012 and now involves a close relationship.
Rob said: “We are able to give real life work experience to a great many students, who join our physiotherapy, sports science, analysis and coaching teams across all our squads and have access to expertise and facilities.
“It really does work for both sides. There is a huge range of work going on. As a Premier League football club we have a responsibility, as well as brand power, to engage with our community.
“We currently connect with 4,000 people each week on our outreach programme – and this also allows us to build our fanbase at a time when the size of our stadium precludes many from attending matches.”
Jim added: “We have 20,000 students and 2,000 colleagues who work at BU and are very much part of the community – and one of our roles is to encourage students to remain in Bournemouth and Dorset after graduation, with all the economic benefits that entails.
“We have more students on work placement than any other university in the UK and there is an absolute business case that this works – a recent survey of graduate employability put us 15th amongst universities in the UK.
“We work closely with AFC Bournemouth to the mutual benefit of two leading organisations.”
Dr Richard Southern, Head of Department at the National Centre for Computer Animation, which is based at the university, gave a fascinating talk to guests about the latest developments in virtual reality, artificial intelligence and immersive media and how they are used by students.
AFC Business, the free to join business club with more than 750 members, is the engine for all the club’s commercial activities.
It was launched in 2009 and gives members exclusive offers at AFC Bournemouth, access to events and is a great chance to meet local businesses.
AFC Business’ six main partners are Bournemouth Chamber of Trade and Commerce, Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Global Reach, Hill Osborne, Strategic Solutions and Dorset Search & Rescue.
The next AFC Business event is the Spring Al Fresco Dining Evening at Vitality Stadium on Thursday, April 9.
For further information about the business club, email email@example.com or call 0344 576 1910.
Businesses in Dorset could take a leaf out of AFC Bournemouth’s book and draw upon the skills of Bournemouth University’s students and academics.
More than 70 businessmen and women heard how BU provides the Premier League club with expertise across a range of disciplines.
That included a testing time 11 years ago when the Cherries could barely pay staff before a series of promotions to top-flight football, with BU’s students proudly mucking in.
The March breakfast networking event by AFC Business, which has 2,000 members and is the club’s free-to-join business club, was held at BU’s Fusion Building on Talbot Campus.
BU has been the club’s official higher education partner since 2013, with AFC Bournemouth’s commercial director Rob Mitchell, a BU graduate, forging links back in 2008 when he arrived at the Cherries
He told the audience: “One of the first partnerships I wanted to forge was with the university because of the resources here, the students, the academics – the support that the university could give would be boundless.”
BU has provided the Cherries since 2008 with skills across various disciplines, including sports science, marketing, research, coaching, physiotherapy and media, as well as helping out on match days.
A number of students have gone on to work full-time at AFC Bournemouth, Rob said. “It has been a bit of a career path for them.”
There are also player appearances at BU, with guest talks, special topics and links with equality and diversity and mental health and wellbeing.
BU is also supports AFC Bournemouth’s girls’ football programme as part of the club’s drive to promote and increase female participation in the game.
Attendees heard how the football club and university teamed up on a coaching programme for 180 Chinese students, over three years, as part of China’s bid to be an international force in soccer by 2050.
Jim Andrews, BU’s chief operating officer, said that engagement between business and the university, which has 20,000 students and contributes £1 million a day to the regional economy, is essential if talent is to be kept within the region.
He said: “Something that makes BU distinct is the number of students we have on placement at any one time. We are one of the only institutions to offer a work placement for every undergraduate course. The reason we do that is because work placement means better employment outcomes. It is really important to us that we work with local companies, national companies and international companies to provide those opportunities for our students to get real-life practical experiences because that is what you, as companies, are looking for.”
The event also heard an update on the regional and national economy from Professor Jim Roach and from Ian Jones, head of regional community partnerships at BU.
After the event Rob said: “This was another informative breakfast event for decision-makers and entrepreneurs, with us showing how businesses in Dorset can successfully follow the Cherries’ example by drawing upon the considerable skills and expertise of BU’s students and academics across a range of disciplines.”
For further information about the business club please email Aysia Smith at aysia.smith firstname.lastname@example.org
Official partners of AFC Business are Bournemouth Chamber of Trade & Commerce, Dorset Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Dorset Mental Health Forum, Hill Osborne and Strategic Solutions.
The next business club event, the spring BBQ, takes place on 11th April at Vitality Stadium, followed by a networking breakfast at the same venue on 8th May.
Thanking the business partners of AFC Business, Rob paid tribute to the late Bill Riddle, the vice president and chairman of Bournemouth Chamber of Trade & Commerce and a highly respected figure in the town’s business community.
Rob said: “Bill was a fantastic supporter of the football club and business club. He was an avid Sunderland supporter but I know that AFC Bournemouth was very close to his heart as well.
“On behalf of the football club I want to send our sincere condolences and thoughts and prayers to Bill’s family, friends and everyone that was associated with Bill as well.”
A Group of five talented final year Business Studies students from Bournemouth University need your help! They are required to complete 1000 hours consultancy services within industry between them free of charge as part of their course.
They have a diverse set of skills and are relatively flexible with business requirements.
Some previous examples of these types of projects:
•Reviewing and making recommendations on business /
management processes and/or systems
•New product development
•Market opportunities, such as expanding into new markets
•Designing / building a website
•Obtaining and evaluating customer feedback
•Developing / contributing to the development of a
•Developing / running employee surveys
•Carrying out a strategic review
•Developing a business plan
If you or your business can offer a placement, please contact Sam Grant email@example.com for more information.