Students Staff
University of Essex

February 14, 2019

Using our purchasing power for the benefit of our students

Chris Oldham, Director of Estates and Campus Services, tells us more about making the most of our supply chain for the benefit of our students.

Chris Oldham

Chris Oldham

Over the past year The Procurement Services team has been making the most of the University’s supply chain for the benefit of our students. Encouraging our suppliers to provide a student benefit focus within their tender bid has resulted in a wide range of education and employability skills based opportunities for our students and graduates.

To make the most of our purchasing power, a mandatory social value question has been added in all tenders worth more than £25,000, asking bidders to describe how they will support our student community in their development. Their responses are then evaluated and scored accordingly.

There have already been some early successes

  • Legal firm Eversheds Sutherland offering a guest speaker into the School of Law programme introducing a mentoring scheme for law students and developing a potential placement scheme at their Ipswich office
  • Accountancy firm KPMG running an annual skills event for students and promoting our Careers Mentoring Programme to their staff to encourage them to become mentors to our students
  • Rose Builders offering mentoring and placements
  • Phelan Construction offering placement opportunities including roles in administration, marketing and IT
  • Atlantic Data offering student placements
  • Cyber security company KHIPU Networks offering student sponsorship opportunities as well as work experience and graduate roles.

USG has approved a range of recommendations with the aim of delivering an element of direct or indirect student benefit within 50 per cent of all successful tenders. These recommendations include:

  • Adopting UUK guidance for delivering successful social impact and student benefit
  • Continuing to prioritise student benefit as the primary objective of social impact outcomes
  • Evaluating social impact matrices used by other universities and developing a matrix relevant to our specific aims and objectives
  • Strengthening the connection between the Knowledge Gateway and University communities through an increased range of engagement and networking events

If you would like further information, or any guidance on how to maximise student benefit within tenders you are involved with, please email procure@essex.ac.uk or visit our website.

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