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Travis Perkins

Headquartered in Northamptonshire, Travis Perkins’ core business is the supply of building materials and other relevant services for the construction industry. With approximately 600 branches nationwide, Travis Perkins is a major employer and apprenticeship provider. It has the third-largest apprenticeship scheme in the UK for fitters, sales-people, and also for various construction related trades and skills.


An NBS alumna now working in a senior position at Travis Perkins Hire set two business consultancy challenges with NBS, allowing nine postgraduate business students a chance to excel and complete their degree on a real-life project.

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An NBS alumna now working in a senior position at Travis Perkins Hire set two business consultancy challenges with NBS, allowing nine postgraduate business students a chance to excel and complete their degree on a real-life project.

The organisation’s Hire - Head of Commercial, Alice Wise, graduated from NBS in 2014 with a BA (Hons) Business Management & Economics degree, and has remained in touch with the University as one of its Industry and Alumni Fellows – a voluntary initiative which connects current students with past graduates and professionals.

Alice contacted the NBS team in response to a message from the School that invited companies to suggest business project ideas for its postgraduate students. She had in mind a challenge of some interest to the organisation related to the way its younger clients and potential staff experience its services, including its in-store experience as well as the training and onboarding process it offers new recruits.

After a short online meeting with two of NBS’s experiential learning team, Angela and Caroline, it was agreed to break the brief down into two distinct challenges and assign a team of MSc Marketing students to one strand, and a team of MSc Human Resource Management students to the other.

Five MSc Marketing students engaged with the customer engagement element. Their research focused on reviewing current practice and exploring good practice examples before making a set of actionable suggestions about sales and customer engagement strategies. Recommendations were specifically designed to help the client understand how to manage brand perceptions among younger construction professionals, without alienating its more traditional client base.

Approach and Impact

At first the student team had felt unfamiliar with the sector and therefore nervous about the brief they’d been assigned by Travis Perkins. However, after a visit to the nearest branch and follow-up that included staff in the organisation’s Marketing team, they quickly overcame their concerns. The students began applying a range of skills and tools acquired during their MSc programme and, after several weeks’ work, provided Travis Perkins with an analysis and set of recommendations.

Kerry Brayshaw, Travis Perkins’ Head of Business Improvement, told the team, “You’ve really captured the essence of Travis Perkins and understood the challenges we face.”

In the meantime, the MSc HRM team captured some useful information during a staff survey. Combined with secondary research insights, the team was able to defend their findings during a lively and friendly Q&A session with the client following their presentation.

Alice said, “This experience has exceeded our expectations. The teams have really delivered and helped us get some good ideas about how we might do things differently. We can take what they’ve told us back to the Board for discussion.

“I also feel like we’ve watched the students through this process develop in confidence too. It been wonderful to be part of that transformation and to have made a difference.”

Angus Macbeth, one of the MSc HRM student team, said of the project, “Initially I was nervous working with a real-life business. However, with guidance from our supervisor, I was put more at ease. The area of the project that I enjoyed most was testing out different techniques and theories within a more professional environment.

“This project has been good for my career goals; it has helped me develop new skills including project management, whilst also developing others such as time management and teamwork. All the skills developed will be useful when taking the next step after university into the workplace. It’s been such an interesting experience”.

Travis Perkins is now considering several new challenges it would like to set NBS student project teams. These new challenges include sustainability related carbon management and a new strategic Marketing project.

Angela Scott of NBS said, “It’s great when people in organisations like Travis Perkins take the time to debate ideas with students, share their knowledge, and support the students’ learning in this way. The impact and exchange of knowhow during these experiential learning projects goes both ways. This is exactly why we make sure all our students get the chance to do a project like this during their degree with us”.

Postgraduate Consultancy Projects

Postgraduate consultancy projects offer our postgraduate students a valuable opportunity to put theory into practice while working on a real business challenge. Please click on the link below to find out more, alternatively email to find out about how we can support your business.

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