2021 graduate Matthew

After securing a fixed term position six months into his placement year, Matthew Pullinger is leaving university armed with invaluable industry experience

3 min read

Next week, the Class of 2021 will be celebrating their graduation: a milestone event that represents all of their hard work and achievements. We wanted to introduce you to some of these graduates who have made the most of their time at Portsmouth and already achieved so much.

After a 20 year career in the hospitality trade, graduate Matthew Pullinger decided to start fresh by studying for a degree in BA (Hons) Financial Management at the University of Portsmouth. After securing a placement with Greentech South, Matthew has delivered support to over 120 Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) who are working on low carbon innovations or looking to improve their operational carbon footprint. 

Armed with this invaluable experience, we asked Matthew to tell us about the role he played during his placement and what he found most rewarding:

Tell us about your work placement

As part of my course, I was required to undertake a year in industry and was offered a business engagement role with Greentech South: a Clean Growth Innovation Cluster housed within the Faculty of Technology at the University. 

Very quickly I had the ability to begin using what I had learnt during my studies and became involved in working with many local based SMEs who were working on low carbon innovations or looking to improve their operational carbon footprint. 

How did it feel to secure a fixed term position just six months into the placement?

After six months in the role, I applied for a fixed term position within the ERDF EMphasis3 Project, and I was successful. I continued my work with SMEs whilst also continuing my final year of studies at university. Thanks to my work carried out during my placement year, I will be graduating with first degree honours this month. 

The most rewarding aspect of this role has been being able to continue this level of business support to SMEs, including: 

  • Pitch deck preparation
  • Collaboration with knowledge bases
  • Facilitating networking events

I facilitated the events during the recent periods of lockdown and had to run these virtually due to the pandemic. With the ability to work remotely, these support sessions continued via online resources and presented the opportunity to extend the remit of support to a much broader region. 

To date, over £400,000 has been awarded to SMEs looking to reduce CO2 through the EMphasis3 Project, with more SMEs projects planned for the future.

What was the highlight of your time at Portsmouth?

A particular highlight of my experience so far has been combining my industrial experience with academic research, which earned me a first class mark for my dissertation paper around decarbonisation barriers faced by SMEs. 

What are you most looking forward to after you graduate?

Like many, I have found the past academic year incredibly tough, with limited face-to-face sessions with teaching staff and remote working requirements. But being a student at Portsmouth, along with my year in placement, introduced me to a vast network of support that made my final year successful. I’ve created opportunities of working with local based businesses that I look forward to continuing after I graduate.