We work with a range of small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as entrepreneurs and sole traders. But did you also know we’ve supported one of the world’s most successful business magnates, a certain Santa Claus?
Not only that, but we were lucky enough to sit with Santa himself* and find out how BCU Advantage has helped him ‘sleigh’ the competition.
Q: Hi, Santa. First, thank you for taking the time to talk to BCU Advantage.
No problem at all. Luckily, the business is running smoothly despite the issues with elf retention we had at the start of the year.
Q: It’s funny you mention that, as I believe that the latter challenge was what inspired you to get in touch with BCU Advantage in the first place. Is that right?
Yes, it was. Like many business owners, talent retention had become a big concern. Not only that, but the toys and products that kids desire these days require certain talents that we just didn’t have in the warehouse!
The elves are great, but we needed extra support. That’s when I did some Googling and saw the Higher Level Skills Match (HLSM) programme, part-funded by the European Social Fund.
Their talented team were able to upskill my workforce and also provide me with a talented graduate via a work placement, who was happy to brave the cold of the North Pole and introduce new strategies and ideas that really helped us to create better products.
My HLSM Account Manager identified and matched the talent requirements to some great training opportunities, as well as the graduate placement.
Q: After that, I believe you were hooked. Didn’t you also work with one of our academics to create a more sustainable sleigh?
Indeed. People had – quite rightfully – begun to question my carbon footprint. It was something that I had been concerned about, but I wasn’t sure if there was anything I could do. I just didn’t have the knowledge or support to make a change.
That’s when BCU Advantage recommended a research and development (R & D) partnership. I was sceptical at first, but then I did some research of my own.
I found that there was a clear link between R & D and economic growth, and that 80 percent of businesses felt these partnerships exceeded their expectations.
That was enough for me, so I embarked upon an R & D partnership with BCU academics to make the change from petrol to electric.
They were able to provide the training and support needed, as well as building prototypes and the tech needed to succeed.
I enjoyed working with the BCU academics immensely.
I was concerned it would be an intimidating affair, but the academics are real people with real experience – they want to get their hands dirty and make positive changes.
Q: We opened our new STEAMhouse innovation centre recently and even the most eagle-eyed attendees may be surprised to discover you’ve been a regular visitor! How has it been?
Well, if I can go down chimneys without being discovered, I can make my way through a five-storey building! I have to say I have been blown away by STEAMhouse. It hasn’t got a grotto, which is a shame, but the rest of the facilities are superb.
Again, a lot of the products that kids want these days require specialist skills and equipment, and we just don’t have room for them back home what with the reindeer.
Thanks to STEAMhouse, I have been able to access some state-of-the-art resources – 3D printing, AR and VR tech and much more – that have helped me cut down on time, costs and more.
A big shout out to the technicians, too, for their hands-on help and support.
It’s also been great for meetings – there are so many cool spaces for me to sit down, grab my laptop and have a quick Zoom call with Rudolph.
Q: Will you will continue working with BCU Advantage in 2023? If so, has anything caught your eye?
I am always looking to adapt and develop. After all, how do you think I have stayed relevant for all of these years? I haven’t done it by standing still and resting on my laurels.
Innovation is something I have always been interested in – how do you build your business resilience? How do you improve your business models?
So, I’m pleased you’ve filled me in about the upcoming Certificate of Professionalism in Innovation course.
I’m looking forward to embarking on this course, particularly as it’s accredited by the Institute of Innovation and Knowledge Exchange.
I don’t have much time to devote to these kinds of things, so the fact it’s a short course that I can do in and around supporting the elves is really appreciated.
Q: Thank you, Santa, it’s been great talking with you and supporting you. Hope your deliveries go to plan!
Thank you. I’m on a juice-only diet at the moment, though, so there’ll probably be a lot of mince pies going to waste!
*Please note that this interview has been a work of fiction devised by BCU Advantage.