Taking a year out inspired Fern Snailham to start her own business – with a little help.
Uncertain whether a university degree was what she wanted after finishing a childcare course at college, the 23-year-old took a year out to work in promotions for everything from supermarket products to cars.
I loved the course and embraced every opportunity that came my way - I had a goal in mind when I started and I never veered away from what I wanted to achieve.Fern Snailham
The work offered her the freedom and flexibility of being her own boss but she decided she realised the business qualifications to back up her ambitions.
She enrolled on a business management course with Sunderland University and within days of graduating with a first-class degree, began setting up her own promotional agency – UNEEK Staffing.
With the support of her university lecturers, Fern secured membership of the Enterprise Place, the university’s business support facility, which gives her access to office space in Hope Street Xchange, the institution’s new centre for enterprise and innovation.
“After college I decided to take some time to work freelance within promotions nationally,” said Fern.
“That’s when I decided I wanted to start my own agency and applied to study business management, to develop my knowledge base and experience, supported by the qualifications.
“I loved the course and embraced every opportunity that came my way – I had a goal in mind when I started and I never veered away from what I wanted to achieve.”
Fern is now in the process of building up an in-house database of hand-picked, reliable promotional staff.
Dr Derek Watson, senior lecturer in the faculty of business, law and tourism, said: “Our business programmes at the University of Sunderland are specifically designed to not only provide students with essential business insights and live commercial experiences but also to imbue them with a ‘can do attitude’ in order to seek a meaningful career path.
“Fern is a natural entrepreneur but freely admits our degree programme has provided an essential business grounding to channel her creativeness into a successful business model.”