After completing a Postgraduate Certificate at Edge Hill in 2011, Emma Woan has used the knowledge she gained to set up her own business, changing the lives of young people in the North West.

Emma is a Director of Education Business Partnership North West (EBP NW), which works with Local Authorities and education establishments to help and support young people to find work experience, placement opportunities and permanent employment.

“What we do isn’t about simply finding work experience opportunities,” says Emma. “It’s about helping and supporting young people to improve their employment prospects, develop essential life skills, and to raise their aspirations so that they can self-manage their future.

“I work closely with schools and Local Authorities to develop programmes which are built into the curriculum, this can be everything from one-off placements to support programmes or young apprentice programmes.”

Since being set up in 2014, Emma’s business has gone from strength to strength, even winning the MicroBusiness of the Year award earlier this year. But it’s Emma’s commitment to employability and changing the lives of young people which drives her and the business forward.

“The work we do with young people is very rewarding and something I’ve always been passionate about. Having the chance to work with young people who are having problems at work and school, and to find a work placement for them which builds their confidence and their life chances is a real privilege.

“I’d recommend postgraduate study to anyone looking to strengthen their career. My Postgraduate Certificate in Voluntary and Third Sector Management gave me vital skills for setting up and running a business. It taught me about how to set up the company itself, about networking and corporate governance, how to manage staff and the legal side of running a company.”

After building in a career in helping others to reach their potential, Emma is in unique position to advise people how to make the most of their careers.

“I’d advise anyone looking to find graduate employment to gain as much experience as you possibly can. Whether it’s volunteering, working at university events or co-ordinating a society, the skills you gain can really set you apart when you graduate.

“I think good, credible work experience is really important as well, and getting your foot in the door to gain this can be difficult. Use everything from speculative phone calls to social media to make sure you can gain the experience and life skills you need to develop your CV and you as a person.”