NTU Student Sales Academy: industry-leading Employability initiative reveals the importance of transferable sales skills across all sectors
November 2021 saw the launch of the Nottingham Trent University (NTU) Employability Team's brand-new initiative - the Student Sales Academy (SSA).
Co-designed with industry leads and sales professionals, the SSA was created to equip any student or graduate with key skills that they can use both at university and in their future career.
Addressing a gap in the market
The idea of the Sales Academy was borne following analysis of current labour market intelligence*, identifying East Midlands businesses anticipated difficulties filling roles requiring sales and business development skills.
Whilst sales is briefly introduced within the broader business, management and marketing fields of study, there’s currently no sales-related degree available at NTU, or the majority of other UK universities.
Working with Brindis, a specialist sales consultancy, the NTU Employability Team developed a framework for the Sales Academy.
(*East Midlands Chamber of Commerce - Quarterly Economic Survey – Q1 2021 – FUTURE SKILLS NEEDS)
Sales skills include a whole range of transferable attitudes and behaviours that can be applied to most industries and sectors. The SSA explores how these can be added to personal skillset with practical teaching taken straight from the commercial world. We have teamed up with Brindis to draw on their 20+ years of experience of delivering sales training around the globe and their innovative ideas based on the latest sales techniques. We were also fortunate to have the input of 2 Nottingham Business School students into the project offering the really important student perspective
Aga Kelly, Business Services Consultant, NTU
It was a real pleasure to be involved with this and I am delighted so many students took the opportunity to understand more about this element of the commercial world. Even if they are not planning a career in sales so many roles require the skills associated with good selling – Communication, Negotiation, Problem Solving, Creative Thinking to name a few. I believe sales skills are life skills, so it is great to be able to share some of these and how professionals approach them.
Fred Copestake, Brindis
The SSA framework
The collaboration resulted in the design of an employer-led career development and learning programme that:
- de-mystifies sales,
- raises awareness of sales-related roles, the skills required and the employers who recruit to those roles,
- teaches students practical sales skills and techniques,
- links employers with industry-ready talent.
Delivering the scheme
A varied programme of inspirational talks, industry insight sessions and practical skills workshops were delivered over 3 weeks in November and December 2021.
234 students from across all NTU schools took part, while the SSA 2021 attracted support from 14 employers* representing different industries and sectors. NTU created a communications channel to promote the sales-related roles within those businesses and other sales opportunities with the SSA participants.
(*SSA was supported by the following organisations: Autism East Midlands, Bosch Rexroth, Brindis, Dell, Diversity Creative, Enterprise, Frasers Group, Forsyth Barnes, Marketing Lawyers, Metsi Technologies, MuleSoft, Napier Creatives, Nottingham Community Housing Association, Nottingham Playhouse.)
It was a fantastic opportunity aiding my professional development, enhancing not only my knowledge around sales, but understanding how sales skills are transferable to any profession. I developed key skills such as resilience, active listening, rapport building and confidence. All of which are highly sought after soft skills required to be successful in the modern workplace.
Adrienne Dixon, Final year Business Management and Human Resource student at NTU
NTU and Brindis are looking forward to developing the initiative further, taking on board feedback from all stakeholders involved. Brindis is also keen to explore ways to collaborate with other educational institutions for the benefit of their students.
NTU Employability are thrilled to announce that the Student Sales Academy initiative has been shortlisted for the AGCAS Building Effective Partnerships Award for Excellence. A huge congratulations to the team, Fred Copestake from Brindis, and the 13 other employers who supported the programme.
Notes for editors
About NTU Employability
NTU Employability provides tailored support to NTU’s students and graduates through personal CV advice and tutorials, support with applications and mock interview sessions, an extensive employer events programme, dedicated careers consultants and employability advisers and innovative online tools.
A dedicated employer engagement team works with businesses to connect them with students and graduates to bring new ideas, energy and benefits to the organisation. Employers can access dedicated advice and cost-effective solutions to help them find the right employee for the organisation through advertising jobs online, on and off-campus activities, job fairs and local initiatives.
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Over the last 22 years Brindis Founder Fred Copestake has traveled round the world 14 times visiting 36 countries and working with over 10,000 salespeople. He has taken the things that really make a difference in modern selling and put these in his first book 'Selling Through Partnering Skills’. These ideas form the basis of work with sales professionals involved in complex B2B sales to develop their approach and ensure it is up to date and has maximum impact. He believes that people can get better through learning and sharing, and that with better collaboration we can really make a difference
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