Discover how the University of Sunderland in London’s employability skills course helped two workforce ready students become better prepared for the world of work.
Students, Aishwarya and Neldzhan, were first introduced to our business simulation, SimVenture Evolution, during their time on an extracurricular online employability skills course. Offered by the University of Sunderland in London and delivered by SimVenture, this experience was a great way to develop students’ business skills and further enhance their workforce readiness.
Overall, the course aimed to further develop students’ employability skills and encourage entrepreneurial thinking. As part of the course, participants were required to run a simulated bicycle manufacturing business whilst making key decisions to manage and develop their company.
The course, accompanied by SimVenture Evolution, helped students to tackle their future and current career challenges through innovative thinking and confident decision-making. Although overwhelming at first glance, the students’ excitement to run their own simulated business animated their desire to learn more.
Keep reading to learn more about how Aishwarya and Neldzhan became more confident and workforce ready by participating in the University of Sunderland in London’s employability skills course.
Supporting students to become workforce ready
Tanya Dunne, Head of the Services for Students Department at The University of Sunderland in London, is always looking for innovative ways to help students develop their employability skills and become workforce ready. To enable students to become better equipped to develop their entrepreneurial mindset and advance in their career, Tanya connected with the SimVenture team to design a course that could accommodate these goals. By teaming up with SimVenture’s Learning and Development Managers, Lesley Strachan and Mike Ashwell, a 6-week extracurricular course using SimVenture Evolution was created to provide students with an opportunity to expand their entrepreneurial prowess and career ambitions.
“Rooted in real-world learning and application, our online business simulation, SimVenture Evolution, can also be used 24/7 therefore allowing students to work together collaboratively either on site or remotely”, Lesley Strachan explains.
By using the business simulation, SimVenture Evolution, students were required to run a virtual bicycle manufacturing business whilst working on key areas such as marketing and sales, operations, research and development, finance, and sustainability.
Mike Ashwell said, “We use SimVenture Evolution as the basis of this course as it provides a risk-free platform where students with limited previous business exposure can make a wide range of business decisions and analyse the outcomes”.
Throughout the course, students competed against each other within the virtual market for 12 simulated months to win a prize for the most profitable business. A reflective statement was taken from each student explaining what insight they gained on business and entrepreneurial skills throughout the course.
Introducing Aishwarya and Neldzhan
Based in Canary Wharf, the University of Sunderland in London offers a combination of famously friendly academic support and life-shaped learning options, with four intakes being offered each year. Aishwarya and Neldzhan were two of the students who joined the six-week employability skills course at the University of Sunderland in London between the 31st of January and 7th of March 2023. Both students volunteered to share their experience on the course and how specifically it helped them become more workforce ready.
Aishwarya was studying an MBA in Human Resource Management at the University of Sunderland in London when she took part in the employability skills course.
When starting the course, Aishwarya said, “I was overwhelmed to know that we were required to use a new digital software application but eventually I was very excited to actually run a business even though it was a simulated one!”
Neldzhan recently graduated with a MSc in Finance and Management and is looking to work in compliance, strategy planning and consulting, financial operations, or policy.
When starting the extracurricular programme offered by the University of Sunderland in London, Neldzhan said, “My first thought about SimVenture Evolution was that it is a practical simulation and instrument for organisational learning and growth. “
Impressions of using the advanced business simulation
The online business simulation, SimVenture Evolution, has a lot to offer in terms of developing business skills. Both Neldzhan and Aishwarya completed the employability skills course with positive impressions of the simulation’s various features.
Neldzhan explained, “We started by managing a simulated bicycle company that had already been operating for four years. We had to implement changes based on the data provided and use essential tools (SWOT analysis) to develop the business. In retrospect, using SimVenture Evolution to operate a simulated business as part of the Employability Skills Programme was well executed”.
During their time on the course, both Neldzhan and Aishwarya learnt a lot more about running a business. They also discovered how the skills they developed throughout the course could be applied to the real world.
Aishwarya said, “I discovered that even seemingly insignificant details can have a significant impact on a business. I could actually make any form of changes at different stages of the business. I was very excited to make changes, and see the end result just by a click!
“I’ll apply the knowledge of different fields like marketing, finance, and research and development that I’ve learned in this course to my real-world business with the goal of operating a successful business all year around. I am now aware that I must assume full responsibility for my failure or success.”
Upon completion of the course, both students shared their impressions of the online business simulation.
Aishwarya explained, “I thought that the software was unique and with the help of its ‘History’ section I could even analyse my past mistakes easily!”
Neldzhan also added, “SimVenture is an authentic and adaptable resource that individuals or groups can utilise to better understand how businesses function.”
The impact of becoming workforce ready
During their time on the course, Aishwarya and Neldzhan learned a range of skills that could be applied to their careers.
Aishwarya has been part of her family’s construction business handling the HR and administration side of a stone factory in India. The family business predominantly involves traditional manual work, but after using SimVenture Evolution as part of the employability skills course, Aishwarya is excited to make changes to further improve the business.
Aishwarya explains, “My business runs in a rural area so some of the challenges are illiteracy and the traditional approach of employees. I can now teach them to use different software and maybe develop a friendly software for our own factory.”
Looking towards the future, Aishwarya has a clearer idea of what her family business will look like in years to come.
Aishwarya says, “I would love to expand the business in different cities of India (currently it runs in two cities). I would also like to make the business more digital friendly and advanced.”
Contrarily, during her time in the United Kingdom, Neldzhan held many roles where she was responsible for improvements in the quality of provided services, employee well-being, and customer satisfaction. Among other abilities, Neldzhan describes herself at excelling in multiple areas such as executing complicated projects and analysing difficult data.
Neldzhan moved to the UK five years ago with the aim to develop her professional career and create a fairer world for both humans and the environment. However, with the difficulties of Covid-19, creating a new network of contacts, and learning about the transferability of her skills in new circumstances, this has been challenging. The employability skills course run by University Sunderland in London helped Neldzhan overcome these challenges and has allowed her to become workforce ready.
“At the beginning of the course, I was very concerned about my decision-making skills… The course however, enabled me to re-evaluate my skillset. I became aware that I could demonstrate my operational and management skills, which made me feel more confident and knowledgeable,” Neldzhan explains.
The online business simulation, SimVenture Evolution, had a positive impact on Neldzhan’s career confidence too.
Neldzhan said, “SimVenture Evolution was utilised to improve my business and employability skills. This experience has demonstrated my data analysis, decision-making, and time management skills. I was astonished to see how minor changes could have such a significant impact on a business. As a result, I gained a greater appreciation for the sequence of steps that must be taken to achieve business success.”
Top tips for developing your business skills
Following their experience on the University of Sunderland in London employability course, Aishwarya and Neldzhan share some top tips regarding their use of SimVenture Evolution.
Aishwarya explains, “I would love to tell all other students to please use the online business simulation, SimVenture Evolution, as a tool to learn about the real-world of business. It will demonstrate how a physical business operates and gives you management experience within a short period of time. Also, please don’t ignore even small sections in the simulation – they really have a huge impact throughout the year of the business!
“I would recommend SimVenture Evolution to all the students and aspiring business-people who would like to develop their business and management skills. The software makes you aware of small but crucial things like SWOT analysis, and research and development, which shouldn’t be ignored.”
Neldzhan also has some great top tips for students using the business simulation to enhance their workforce readiness.
“SimVenture Evolution has taught me the significance of circumstances. Good-sounding and well-written decisions may have unanticipated outcomes as a result of scenarios such as location, lack of materials, or insufficient stock. My tip is to apply various strategies and analyse the effects.”
“My operational and management skills were honed by concentrating on minute details contributing to the big picture. The project’s success requires meticulous planning and, most importantly, execution. SimVenture Evolution benefited a broad range of my skills, primarily my marketing skills. Understanding the effects of marketing, R&D, coordination, logistics, and finance, and abandoning siloed thinking, are essential to success.”
A big thank you to both Aishwarya and Neldzhan for sharing their experience of using SimVenture Evolution as part of the University of Sunderland in London employability skills course. We’re glad the course has helped you both enhance your workforce readiness, and we look forward to seeing what your careers hold for you in the future.
Thank you also to Tanya Dunne and the team at the University of Sunderland in London for working with us to develop and deliver a meaningful extracurricular employability course for your students.