Managing your expectations

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In the final article of the CUC series, business support manager Marian Bond responds to some commonly asked questions to explain how CUC fits with other business services

What is CUC?

Simply a partnership of six universities and colleges based at 13 sites across Cornwall and Plymouth made up of the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, University College Falmouth, Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, Cornwall College and Truro & Penwith College, not forgetting Unlocking Cornish Potential, the CUC graduate placement project; all have business facing staff.

How do we fit in with other services available to business from commercial and publically funded providers?

We have a huge array of services, some of which will be relevant to your business. Probably best known are skills training – offered by Truro & Penwith College and Cornwall College for improving quality and consistency and building organisational capability and Unlocking Cornish Potential (UCP) in helping your business grow. For sure these services can benefit you, whatever line of business you’re in.

Other services are in specialist areas and are what we call “knowledge exchange”. Here it’s all about how your business fits with our research foci. With research comes transferable expertise, specialist equipment and technical support staff, post graduate, graduate and student resource – available to business to help with one-off problem solving, development projects, consultancy and R&D. It’s not all about big R&D projects. Sadly it’s not all free but neither should it be cost prohibitive.

How business friendly and flexible is our service?

The short answer is some services are more business friendly and flexible than others. Availability does vary across the portfolio, the reason being our core focus is naturally students. Where the service is almost wholly used by students, access will be available outside core hours or term time. Where it relies on student resource to deliver the knowhow and labour component, again this may limit flexibility.

In other situations services have been set up to provide greater access to business with technical staff available during core hours eg using equipment based services. Some such as a UCP graduate placement give you much more flexibility and control, as do the Shorter KTP, Knowledge Transfer Partnerships and longer Classic KTPs allowing you to make a breakthrough whether in capacity, systems or developing market lead through accessible and affordable R&D.

How do I know which services are relevant to my business?

Much of the information we produce is for students and is product-focused which presents a challenge when we want to communicate meaningfully to business and attempt to communicate the extent of our offer.

You don’t need to work your way through all of this, just be aware that services are available from CUC partner institutions and that we’re just part of the bigger picture of services for business. What we ask of you, is if you’ve never thought of investigating what we have, contact us through Business Link or direct and we’ll try and work out what might help address your specific issues and challenges.

Email: business@cuc.ac.uk

This article appears in the November 2010 issue of Business Cornwall magazine

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