BQ Newsletter

A digital fusion of talent

Thursday 12 April 2012

Teesside University graduate Ben Kenyon firmly believes in nurturing talent from his former institution - he has employed a pair of Teesside graduates to join his digital company.

Ben, 37, from Eaglescliffe, is the sole director of 360fusion, set up seven years ago and based in Middlesbrough’s Boho One building.

The company specialises in website design and development, particularly virtual tours. Diverse clients include the Houses of Parliament, an international college in China, an IVF clinic in Amsterdam, the NHS and Tees Valley charities

360fusion started its business life in Ben’s home, before moving to become part of the DigitalCity initiative at Middlesbrough’s Middlehaven.

DigitalCity is a major partnership project backed by the European Regional Development Fund.  Its two main projects are DigitalCity Innovation at Teesside University and DigitalCity Business at Boho One.

Ben then moved the company to Boho One, the flagship building of the Boho Zone, Middlesbrough's commercial, creative and digital quarter.

During the company’s expansion, Ben also studied part-time for a master’s degree in creative digital media at Teesside, achieved in 2009.

He sought to expand the company three years ago and initially took on Steven Roberts, a Teesside BA (Hons) Creative Digital Media student, as a web designer for an eight-week placement, arranged through the University’s Graduate Employability team.

Steven, 24, from Stockton, said: “The initial work experience was really good; I got to work on two projects which were invaluable for my portfolio.  I was very lucky as I followed this by spending my degree placement year with 360fusion and also worked there part-time in my final year.

"Now I have a full-time post with them developing websites.  This is the job I’ve always wanted, it’s so enjoyable and I have new clients, both locally and internationally.”

Steven is not the only Teesside graduate working for 360fusion.  Last year he was joined by Emma Stainthorpe, a BA (Hons) Marketing and Advertising Management graduate.  Emma, 22, from Eston, Middlesbrough, first joined the company as a Business Development Officer, through DigitalCity’s Business Catalyst programme managed by Teesside University’s Business School.

This gave Emma the opportunity of a three month placement, working three days a week. In January Emma gained a full-time job with 360fusion.  Her first three months were supported through the University’s Graduates for Business scheme, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

This enables the University to pay a 12-week subsidy, providing the company guarantees a minimum annual salary and a year’s contract.

Emma said: “Experience is definitely the key.  What you learn at University can be applied, you get the knowledge and basics but through work experience you are learning the discipline of going to work.  It’s been brilliant to get a full-time position through a placement.  Working in a real business environment is very different to sitting in a lecture theatre and it’s really nice to work so closely with Ben and Steven."