Edge Hill University has embarked on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with a Lancashire firm which is a global expert in the petrol retail industry.

Skelmersdale-based Fairbanks Environmental provides monitoring and management services to petrol stations and similar sectors across the world, preventing waste and leaks and enabling them to comply with health, safety and environmental regulations.

Fairbanks monitor nearly 50% of UK forecourts for suppliers such as BP, Tesco, Morrisons and The Co-operative and have recently signed a new contract with Shell, covering 3,000 sites across nearly 30 countries.

The partnership with Edge Hill academics has just been approved for Government funding from the Technology Strategy Board. The initiative aims to improve the company’s processes and develop online resources to help its analysts be more efficient. There is also a training element, to assist in the development of new analysts and evaluate their performance.

Senior Lecturer Mark Anderson, of the Department of Computing, said: “We are really pleased to be launching this KTP with Fairbanks. As well as assisting their working practices, there are major benefits for the University. It’s a really important area of research for us and the knowledge we gain will directly feed back into our teaching practices. We already have a very good working relationship with the company and that partnership is growing through this new initiative.”

The University’s Careers team has already built strong links with Fairbanks. The company is currently the largest employer of Edge Hill University graduates in the area, with 12 former students starting their careers there in the last 18 months, and four more due to begin work in the Summer after graduation. Alumni who work for the company have also been back to speak to current students at the University, and Andrew Roberts, Fairbanks’ Quality Director, sits on the Business School’s Employer Advisory Panel.

Andrew said: “I believe that there are significant opportunities for Fairbanks and the University to support and develop each other in their corresponding objectives and am excited to see where the future can take us.

“The Knowledge Transfer Partnership is in the very early stages, having just received approval for funding, so it will be a while before we can evaluate the process improvements. However, it has already given us the opportunity to take ideas, which we hope will have significant impact on productivity, growth and management within the company, and share these with the University team, who have access to data, resource and expertise from similar initiatives in other industries.

“The enthusiasm and drive shown by the academic staff is matching that of our project team which points in the right direction for a successful partnership.”