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17.09.07
Path to success paved in pewter

Local materials and the map of Cornwall inspired a University College Falmouth student to design award trophies which will represent the outstanding achievements of top graduates working in Cornwall. Laura Carnell, 23, was commissioned by Unlocking Cornish Potential (UCP), Combined Universities in Cornwall's graduate placement scheme, to create the awards, which are being presented at their annual Celebration Event on Friday 21st September at the Tremough Campus in Penryn.

UCP asked for design ideas from Higher Education students across Cornwall. Laura's idea of using the road map of Cornwall to demonstrate the connection between graduates and businesses in Cornwall stood out as capturing the essence of the project. The awards are made from sustainable Honiton walnut and the Cornish map is inlaid with pewter, the main ingredient of which is tin.

This isn't the first time that Laura has successfully worked with pewter; her handmade solid beech table inlaid with a pewter map of London won her first place in the architectural category of Pewter Live 2007. Laura has since been invited to become a member of the Association of British Pewter Craftsmen. Her talents have also been recognised locally; her sculpture 'The Spade' is currently displayed in the National Trust Gardens at Trelissick. Laura is currently setting up her business, Rara Design, with fellow designer-maker Grant Jones, details of which can be found at www.rara‑design.co.uk.

Laura, who was brought up in Devon and now lives in Penryn, has just started her third year studying BA (Hons) Contemporary Crafts and is looking forward to life in Cornwall after graduating, commenting: "The more connections I make with local organisations, the more I feel that I can continue developing my work through awards and residences. I'm really pleased to be a part of this project and I've gained invaluable experiences through working with UCP."

The UCP project places graduates with Cornish companies for up to a year to help them develop. Over the past three years 220 graduates have found placements through the UCP scheme, which is supported by Objective One and managed by Cornwall College.

The 2007 Celebration Event is being held to mark the achievements of graduates who have taken part in the UCP project over the last twelve months and will feature presentations from participants in the programme. The six top awards recognise particular successes in areas including IT, Project Management, Business Development, Marketing, Innovation and Business Growth and winners of these categories will each receive one of Laura's specially commissioned trophies.

Carleen Kelemen, Director of the Partnership Office, said: "The Unlocking Cornish Potential project is a runaway success as evidenced by the graduates and businesses attending this second celebration event. The project is proving that by adding new knowledge and enthusiasm existing business can flourish. The Knowledge Economy is about linking people with commercial ideas and expertise, with people who have links in research and innovation networks. The synergies created through these relationships create new local business opportunities and international successes. This event is a great way of celebrating these graduates' achievements and I wish them every success in their careers."

For further information please contact Emma Stallard, Combined Universities in Cornwall PR and Communications Officer on 07717 377581 or email emma.stallard@cuc.ac.uk.

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in the Combined Universities in Cornwall (CUC) project, both Phase 1 and Phase 2, through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF). Unlocking Cornish Potential is managed by CornwallCollege, a partner of the CUC.

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Editor's notes:

The Unlocking Cornish Potential (UCP) project is part of the Combined Universities in Cornwall (CUC) initiative and is managed by Cornwall College. UCP builds on 5 years of highly successful, ESF funded activity by the University of Plymouth. The UCP project seeks to measurably improve the efficiency, competitiveness and growth potential of SMEs in Cornwall through the placement of graduates in companies to undertake business development projects. These projects can last from 6 to 12 months.

The Combined Universities in Cornwall is a dynamic and visionary partnership that is one of the driving forces behind Cornwall's economic renaissance. This partnership combines the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, University College Falmouth, The Open University, The College of St Mark & St John, and the Peninsula Medical School, with Cornwall's Further Education colleges - Cornwall College, Truro College and Penwith College. It aims not only to provide the students of the future with more choice and greater opportunities, but also to boost the economic fortunes of the region for the benefit of one and all.

The CUC initiative has been invested in by the Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, the South West Regional Development Agency, Cornwall County Council and the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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