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Interview with Ashley Grey: The Collaborative Project

20 May 2021

3 mins

RingCentral recently caught up with our very own Ashley Gray to discuss Loughborough University London’s learning partnerships and the unique, innovative and immersive, Collaborative Project. RingCentral are one of our partner organisations for the Collaborative Project. Find out more about what Ashley had to say here.

Could you tell us about Loughborough University London and the Collaborative Project?

Loughborough University London is a postgraduate campus based over at Olympic Park in London. It’s got an innovation and enterprise focus. The Collaborative Project is a module that empowers all students to develop knowledge through experiential learning. 700 students this year will collaborate with external partner organisations on live briefs. We have 700 students and 28 different project briefs pioneering the future of what these organisations might want to be involved with or develop in the years to come.

What’s your role, and what do you love most about it?

My role at Loughborough University London is to lead the Collaborate programme. So there’s the collaborative project and the collaborative dissertation, which is a follow on from the collaborative project whereby students get to work optionally as an individual working with an external partner organisation. My role is to find these interesting, exciting partners such as RingCentral and help create these projects for students.

I get to speak to so many great organisations looking to change the future and make a positive impact. Equally, I love the opportunity to see how our students come together as teams and have this industry exposure. This allows them to showcase what they’re capable of and apply the knowledge they’re gaining during their master’s degrees. Through the programme, students equip themselves with skills that can get them straight into employment and be that next star employee for some of them.

How has the pandemic impacted the way you work, and how have you (as a university) overcome these challenges?

Like many other organisations, we had to go digital overnight. Fortunately, we were founded just over five years ago now. So there’s a lot of our staff members that are well equipped and dynamic. A kind of startup mentality runs through this university. So we’re able to take that culture and apply it successfully in this new environment. We already had an internal digital platform that we’re using anyway because we collaborate quite closely with our Midlands campus.

We recognised that students couldn’t interact in person, which is such a big part of uni life. So we’ve held a lot more virtual events to try to create that culture. What we’ve seen since is interesting. We’ve had so much more engagement than we might normally get.

It’s also been great for our collaborators because they found it easier to work with us. Some of them are overseas, so holding virtual events meant they didn’t have to jump on a plane.

To watch or read about the full interview, please visit the RingCentral website.

The Collaborate programme currently features academic modules the Collaborative Project and Collaborative Dissertation.  If you would like your organisation to be involved you can apply for the next project can apply here.

Applications close 13 September 2021 for a February 2022 start.

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