As part of the careers insights programme I visited Small- Medium Enterprises (SME’s) located in the Business and Innovation Centre (BIC), located in Sunderland. During the visit, all of us were assigned to different groups to visit 3 different SME’s in the BIC. The BIC houses over 140 businesses which has over 1000 people working, which shows how it was not possible to visit all the companies. It was important while at the event to get an insight on how SME’s work rather than to see what every company does based on the site. BIC works closely with the European Union, opening opportunities for SME’s and Erasmus and saw the opportunities when visiting and talking to five companies.
1. Narrative Intergrated Communications Limited
Narrative who are a marketing company were the first SME that my group visited. From the three companies visited, I enjoyed and was impressed the most with Narrative mostly because of their use of graphic design. Narrative are given projects by large clients to produce work for marketing their business. Such examples which were shown were from Huntsman and Universities. While at Narrative they gave us five tips which are important for any application which were:
- Be Passionate – Show enthusiasm on what the company is doing.
- Be Exciting – Able to make an impact on the business on day one through working in SME’s.
- Learn to Sell yourself – Major business skill. Show your work and brand.
- Be interested – get inspiration from books, film, websites and magazines
- Know your stuff – it is risky to lie and even if the answer is don’t know, it is better than coming up with an answer which could be wrong.
2. Arc Adoption NE Limited
In contrast to the first SME, arc adoption is a private adoption company. Each of the staff working have had either previous experience and being adopted. Arc adoption is a social enterprise which means that they do not work for profit and the money is invested into the company to improve the resources. This range of skills has led to the growth of the company and have expanded its business space within the BIC.
Arc provides a range of facilities to help families in making the decision of adoption, psychologist to help in family planning.
3. Analutos Limited
Analutos are the third company to visit who are a bio medical analysis and testing services. The company only has 3 employers but have links currently working in European countries and international companies such as Hong Kong on different research projects. Kevin who was representing the company was saying to the group that they are working on testing different Milks and research with people with Autism.
Throughout all the companies visited, Analutos expressed how SME’s are flexible and have freedom to do activities which could be more difficult in larger companies.
After visiting the three companies we returned to the main room and had refreshments, while listening to another two SME’s. It was a good time to talk to some of the people on my table about their thoughts of the companies and if they would be interested in pursuing a career with SME’s. Four of the members including myself out of the seven are in a group for completing the Nissan project which was good to speak more about the progress.
- Desco – Engineering
- Maxim Facilities Management – Cleaning
These companies introduced their companies and a greater insight on how they work, alongside the BIC.
There were many photographs taken throughout this time and I also got a photo with the director of the BIC and a few other members of the careers insights programme.
One of the biggest messages that all the companies visited were that the employers had been in a higher company before creating or joining an SME. They did encourage at the end of the day that the experience from these higher companies are good, although SME’s can give relevant experience which higher companies are wanting. To start SME’s is a large risk especially moving from a suitable fixed job from a larger company. Even when this was said each of the SME’s did promote working with them.
SME’s are nimble and fast paced – able to make decisions much faster than larger companies
Experience a variety of clients – Large companies look to SME’s to get inspiration on ideas
Part of the family – SME’s at the BIC mostly have 3-20 people working for the company which means that colleagues get to know each other much better than larger companies.
Transferable skills – Use a greater amount of skills and doing a variety of tasks of the business rather than just one role.
The day was interesting to find out more about a job sector which is unknown to so many people and who don’t consider working in SME’s after graduation.
Next step for the careers insights programe
After today there are now two scheduled events left for the programme which are to visit Nissan with our presentations next month and London which happens under two weeks after the Nissan even.
More to follow soon…