Case study

KTP marketing associate — Charlotte Lau

Charlotte studied Business with Marketing at Ulster University before embarking on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Queens University Belfast and Resistant Building Products

How did you get your job?

I first heard of KTPs during my placement year. After graduating I renewed my interest in what KTP projects had to offer. There aren't many KTP opportunities within the field of marketing, but during my research I came across a management KTP project at Queen's University Belfast (QUB) working for an innovative company, Resistant Building Products.

I did further research into marketing strategies, passive fire resistance and building boards for the application and interview process. I was delighted to be offered a position at an exciting company and be involved with one of the first management KTP projects at QUB.

Why did a KTP appeal to you?

Being a recent Masters graduate with little experience in the world of work, I wanted to start putting theory into practice. This project allowed me to provide my marketing expertise and apply various digital and marketing strategies to Resistant Building Products, with the support of an academic mentor.

The KTP extends support to the associate with a training budget for personal and professional development. This particularly appealed to me, as I wish to be chartered and to find different ways to develop my range of skills and gain new knowledge as a marketer. Taking part in a KTP meant that I could further my skillset without putting financial strain on company resources.

What was the application process like?

I browsed through the latest KPT opportunities on LinkedIn, which lead me to a management KTP project offered at QUB. The QUB recruitment website was easily accessible and the application process was simple. It took ten minutes to complete and consisted of submitting my CV and cover letter through the QUB recruitment website.

What's a typical day like?

Resistant's KTP is a long-term two-year project, which means I am involved in various tasks on a daily basis. I am currently developing and implementing an integrated stakeholder management strategy to ensure that the organisation can maintain its current market position and grow into other markets.

I provide in-house marketing expertise ranging from digital marketing, PR, communications, social media marketing and advertising. My day can include researching an existing/new market, data collection, data analysis, engaging with stakeholders, managing social media accounts, prioritising communicated messages, content creation, producing digital designs and any written communications to effectively and efficiently engage with stakeholders.

The diverse nature of my role allows me to interact and meet with a range of stakeholders across the construction industry. This has given me the opportunity to expand my knowledge and to gain experience with the different levels of interactions needed for strategic marketing management.

What were your first few weeks on the KTP like?

I was very excited and nervous to start the project. Having little to no experience in the workplace, the first few weeks were a steep learning curve. I needed to understand the current business situation and grasp the different construction products being offered, along with the technical knowledge needed to develop a strategy.

The company and university were very welcoming, they were able to help me settle into the project and provide guidance.

Describe your KTP experience in four words…

  • Exciting
  • Versatile
  • Innovative
  • Thrilling.

What are the benefits of a KTP?

Being a part of a KTP project has allowed me to gain leadership skills, while being mentored. This will prepare me for the next step in my career.

The programme has been designed to benefit the associate through personal and professional development, while the company benefits from the knowledge of the associate. This encourages innovation and creative new ideas.

What are the challenges?

Acclimatising to a new environment was a steep learning curve, but I have enjoyed gaining knowledge of the construction industry and using this to formulate strategy for Resistant Building Products.

Changes in regulations within the industry have also slightly impacted my project, but the team at Resistant have been very proactive. The combination of regulation changes and the global pandemic has affected overall economic activity, but our efforts at Resistant show a positive outlook.

During the pandemic I have been working from home. I have found that I miss the social interactions of the workplace but having regular phone calls and video meetings has helped me reconnect with my colleagues and improved our communication within the business.  

In what way is your degree relevant to your job?

Studying business with marketing gave me an insight into developing and integrating stakeholder management strategy for businesses. My course was specifically designed to link academic theory and real business projects to provide solutions to local businesses. This made me more versatile, which means I can now offer a range of marketing management solutions on my current project with Resistant.

What sort of training have you received while on the KTP?

The KTP project has been very generous in their training and development budget. Throughout the project, I've become chartered as an associate with The Chartered Institute of Marketing. Currently, I am working towards my Level 6 Diploma in Professional Marketing and Digital Marketing.

What are you career ambitions?

My short-term goal is to secure a permanent position within Resistant on their in-house marketing team and expand my marketing portfolio to advise on future strategic marketing decisions.

In the long term, I hope to move towards a more strategic management role. Being involved in a KTP project provides the fundamental experiences needed to manage future projects.

What advice would you give to others considering a KTP?

To anyone considering a KTP, it is fun, innovative and different to other job opportunities with extensive benefits.

Your academic and company advisors give the best advice and greatly support you and your project.

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