Case Study: Jay Dhillon and Churchill Controls Ltd
Project duration: 24 Months
End date: 31/07/2018
How did you find the support once the partnership began?
It was incredible! The project was extremely daunting at the beginning; there's so much information to take on board with the KTP, but to have the support from both the University and the company eased the entire process. The company isn't always going to know the semantics of the KTP, and the University aren't always going to know the semantics of the company and what they're doing, so to have both available to help me whenever I needed it with whatever area I needed help in meant I could always find the relevant level of assistance.
How has the triangular relationship between the business, the University, and yourself resulted in being a key factor in your development?
It's helped me learn to take control. Initially there were various meetings set up and run by Churchill or the University, but as I began to develop and gain confidence, I could take control of the meetings and be a real driving force for the project. Additionally, in terms of the development of my technical ability, whenever someone at Churchill didn't have the answer I needed, then the Knowledge Transfer Centre would always either answer my query for me or find the right direction to point me in.
Please could you describe the other benefits of becoming an Associate?
My own personal career development is a huge benefit. The KTP has really helped with my all-round growth; both on the technical side in terms of the software I'm working with, but also in terms of my confidence building and how I'm now comfortable communicating with all levels in a strong and poised manner which I certainly couldn't do before I became an Associate. You don't necessarily notice how you've evolved at the time, but can retrospectively look at a meeting or phone call and realise that the way you dealt with it was so different to how you would have done in the same situation a year ago, in a positive way.
How do you think being employed under the partnership would differ from a standard postgraduate employment?
The KTP revolves around development; it's very clear from the offset what you're there to do and how you're going to be supported, and because of that you can foresee that when the partnership concludes, you as an individual will have a lot more to offer. The partnership factor is also key, providing you with a company expert, and academic expert, the support of the business or your supervisor, and that of the KTC. Additionally, there's a lot more responsibility; as it's my project and I'm managing it, I'm able to develop in the ways that I would like to and am trusted to steer the project in the right direction. I was able to direct the project down the software route whilst still progressing with project management, but a standard post-graduate position would most likely only let you advance with one or the other, and as a result I don't just have to take software or computer training; I can go on business and management training too. To get to the end of a KTP with experience in project management and software development gives me such a broader portfolio and is immensely valuable for my career.
Would you recommend KTP to other graduates? If so, why?
Definitely! The biggest part of the KTP is the development side; if there's a position being advertised in your field then apply as you will have all the support you need available to you and the various parties of the partnership will work tirelessly to ensure you're developing the best way you can. In terms of the training and qualifications, there are so many courses available for an Associate to utilise and gain from in various fields, so you have a clear view of your path and how you can really capitalise on the whole experience.
And finally, what one piece of advice would you give to a graduate considering KTP?
My biggest piece of advice that I could give would be to relax. As in any role, the first few months consist of understanding and learning large amounts of information from the University and the company, but the support from both will help you through. Relax, trust that you're not on your own, learn, and enjoy!
You can read Jay's complete case study here.