Coventry student finalist in top Virgin Media project

Student news

Thursday 30 August 2012

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Coventry University student, Kelly Ashby, has reached the final of a Virgin Media competition to manage a one-off event in London’s Royal Opera House for Richard Branson.

The Project, as the competition is known, was launched at the start of the summer by Virgin Media Pioneers – the online community for aspiring entrepreneurs funded by Virgin Unite.

Kelly, aged 24 from Holbrooks in Coventry, was chosen from thousands of entries to complete paid work placements with talent, event and media organisations. During this time they were competing against each other to be chosen as part of the final ten. A judging panel, which included Richard Branson, then selected the finalists, who are now organising the spectacular one-off event taking place on 7th September.

A student on the Event Management course, Kelly came to Coventry University because of her passion to work within the events industry. She had heard great things about the university and knew this ‘applied management’ course, where work experience is embedded as part of the curriculum, offered an excellent opportunity to engage directly with event companies.

Since it began in 2009, the course has seen a growth in numbers each year and the first cohort of students will graduate this November – with students achieving an unprecedented number of first class honours degrees for a new course.

This growth in numbers comes at a time when the Government recognises the need to raise the skills base for the event industry in order to attract both national and international investment into the UK.

Kelly Ashby said;

“I’m absolutely thrilled to have been chosen to take part in The Project. This is a great opportunity as it gives me real hands on work experience and has already shown me a lot about the industry.”

Ian Webster, Event Management course creator and senior lecturer, said:

Kelly’s success on this project is testament to her own ability and self-confidence but also the skills and abilities we have instilled into our students from day one on the Event Management course. Our students were encouraged to apply for the inspiring Project competition following a visit from a guest industry lecturer who was very impressed with our students’ attitudes and abilities.

Kelly is a local girl studying whilst living at home and working part time. She is a fantastic example of what our students can achieve and I wish her every luck for the project final.

The Project team will be responsible for every detail relating to the event but they will also be supported by celebrity mentors and ambassadors. They also had the opportunity to learn from event management professionals running this year’s V Festival earlier this month. Kelly will be responsible for managing social media but will work with the whole team to ensure it is an event to remember.