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Using volunteering and enterprise to enhance the student experience

Biology student George talks about how his search for a placement took him out of the laboratory and into the world of entrepreneurs.

George Griffiths
George Griffiths

Looking for the right opportunity

During my second year of my biology degree Bath, getting a placement was at the forefront of my mind. At that point I wasn't 100% sure what I wanted to do, but I knew that I wanted some experience outside of the lab.

After some research online, I came across the AI Tech World event that featured lots of great speakers, workshops and seminars. However, tickets to attend were over £900, which wasn't affordable to me as a student. I decided to get in contact with the organisers who explained that they were looking for volunteers to help out in exchange for VIP tickets. This was an amazing chance for me to attend a leading conference for free!

An invaluable experience

The conference itself was one of the most valuable experiences that I'd had during my time at university, at that point. After spending some time handing out passes in the morning I was given access to explore the event and network face to face with some of the top people in the AI industry.

Enhancing the student experience

After the conference was over, I could see these events could really enhance the student experience.

I got in contact with 10 events companies and asked if they'd be interested in me placing student volunteers with them in exchange for tickets. They all said yes, which is where my new business idea started. Working with the support of the University's Centre for Learning and Teaching (CLT), I was able to place 70 students across 10 different conferences in London in the first semester of the 2018/19 academic year. 104 students applied in total, so we were oversubscribed! It was a fantastic pilot project.

Growing my ideas

I continued to work closely with the CLT and take part in the enterprise activities available at the University. Determined to develop the idea, I've started to apply for different grants and awards.

My aim for next year is to continue to grow the business and develop a unique business model centered around a feedback loop into student value, offering opportunities to students from all backgrounds across the UK.

Transferring skills from science to business

Studying science has massively contributed to my professional development. I learnt how to understand very technical, statistical and experimental information and present it to a general audience in an impactful way. This skill is imperative in business, particularly the early stages.

By learning the skills needed to show how science is changing the way we think and do things, I have developed my executive skills and confidence in working with and leading others.

Support for young people

What has really struck me during my experience is how much support there is out there for young people. If you have a good idea that has the potential for growth, there are a lot of ways to raise funds and get your business started.

Find out about our business acceleration programmes

SETsquared Bath Innovation Centre