TF Automation and University of Bradford

TF Automation has been working with the University of Bradford for 15 years, offering work placements, internships and full-time positions. In total TF Automation has given around 15 student employment opportunities mainly in marketing and digital communication as well as one-off IT-based projects and data analysis.

Tony Hubbert, Managing Director at TF Automation, spoke to us about the partnership…

“I feel strongly about working with young people and students and supporting their career paths by offering valuable and tangible paid work experience. We have worked closely with The University of Bradford over many years and as a small business we can offer a different angle and approach compared to large multinationals. Students gain an understanding of how a whole business is run and they are an integral part of a much smaller team.

“We have always found University of Bradford students engaging, positive and professional in their approach, whether they were employed full-time or only with us for a few weeks and in turn, we have given them valuable and meaningful work and projects to carry out.

“We created a real case study brief which was part of the MSc Marketing Communications course which included a factory tour and question and answer session. Students then had to create a full marketing campaign, including research and in-depth analysis and then formally present their findings and recommendations. We have just completed this for the second year running with great success and engagement from all the students.

“We have implemented some of their recommendations and last year we employed one of the students part-time to assist in the delivery of the marketing campaign. The same case study project was also presented remotely by TF Automation to Executive MBA students studying Integrated Marketing Communications at the University of Bradford (Dubai campus).

“I have attended Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) sessions for many years and even been persuaded to deliver talks on occasion. In terms of my own career path, I first worked at TF Automation as an employee, before becoming a director some years later, then being a shareholder and eventually owning 95 per cent of the business.

“At that time I felt I had to serve a second apprenticeship, as I did not foresee that I would end up running the business. To help me get that knowledge and exposure, I started to go to the KTN sessions. Often, things I learned there triggered ideas which worked for my business. It was a matter of being open minded and creative enough to make that jump and find a connection to our business which would work.

“I would recommend the University’s KTN to other businesses without question. It’s about being open to those non-obvious connections which these initiatives often produce. So even though the subject might not be about your business, when you attend the sessions, it’s often about being open-minded and asking, ‘how can I make that work for my business?’”

TF Automation also supports younger students through a Bradford Chamber of Commerce initiative – Bradford Manufacturing Week – which is now into its fourth year, running a series of site visits incorporating hands on engagement with their machine build team to highlight manufacturing and engineering opportunities and options to students in the Bradford area.

Neil Hudson

Senior Media Relations Officer

University of Bradford