Students on University Centre Newbury’s (UCN) Higher National Diploma Mechanical, Electrical and Electronics Engineering programmes were focusing on business management last week, with a leadership seminar by Ian Sarson.

Mr Sarson, Principal Executive and Team Coach at Empower U Coaching Ltd, is an advisor to organisations looking to invest in the hospitality sector. While this may not seem like an obvious fit for students working towards a career in engineering, his fascinating talk on his life and career experience has provided invaluable input for the students’ Professional Management unit.

This unit aims to provide students with the employability skills needed by professional engineers, including strategy, planning, understanding the role of sustainability and how to manage people.

Degree Apprentice, Oliver Canham, said: “It was great to get an insight into the drive and principles of a successful business manager like Ian. I found his input both interesting and thought-provoking.”

Before establishing Empower U Coaching, Ian had a successful 35-year career, including Managing Director for Compass Group PLC (UK, Ireland and Northern Europe) and Managing Director for Sodexo (Hong Kong and China).

As a trustee of Hospitality Action, the Hospitality Industry’s Benevolent Association, Ian is passionate about people and keen to use his experience and academic understanding to help them achieve their full potential.

Engaging with employers is a crucial part of UCN’s strategy. As a higher-level vocational education provider, UCN programmes are designed to prepare students and apprentices to progress to senior roles within their organisation or elsewhere in the industry.

Course Leader for HNC/HND Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, Stephen Payne, said: “Having access to industry professionals and exceptional leaders in global organisations, such as Ian Sarson, is a wonderful opportunity for the students, many of whom will be embarking on their managerial careers. Ian delivered an inspiring insight into his career pathway from college student to leading one of the world’s largest employers.”

To find out more about the wide range of engineering programmes available or to explore the different ways you can support the next generation of engineers with apprentices or work-related activities, visit ucn.ac.uk