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Graduate helps keep a clean sheet

Left to right: Louise Oldham, Catriona Lawson and Nigel Hawke A multi award winning firm in Padstow, North Cornwall, which has been successfully developing environmentally friendly procedures for a number of years, has recently been tapping into the specialist knowledge of a local graduate to investigate further opportunities to improve its 'green' credentials and quality of service.

T J International is a leading manufacturer of books, with over 30 years experience at the cutting edge of production, printing and binding in Europe. Its success in achieving excellence in areas such as business performance, health and safety, training, development, the environment and quality has earned the company a list of national and international awards and accreditations – including being named overall 'Winner of Winners' at the Cornwall Business Awards in 2007.

Catriona Lawson, from Truro, graduated from the University of Portsmouth's Environmental Science degree in 2003 and joined TJ International eight months ago through Combined Universities in Cornwall's Unlocking Cornish Potential graduate placement scheme. Her project objectives included improving the company's already impressive environmental systems and quality levels; applying her analytical skills and expert knowledge to enable feasibility studies and new procedures.

Operations Director Steve Opie explains: "The complexities of environmental management are so great and ever increasing, that it is a job in itself to comply with the legislation and also ensure the highest level of customer service which we strive for. Catriona has brought a graduate level standard of approaching project work which we otherwise probably wouldn't have had and this has allowed other managers to concentrate on their day to day operations. In this way the company's dedication to reducing its impact on the environment and continually improving quality has been able to move forwards."

During her project Catriona has carried out various feasibility studies looking at alternative energy sources for the business, including biomass and wind energy, and has investigated the installation of a more energy efficient lighting system. She has also maintained and written the systems necessary for ongoing ISO14001 accreditation – an internationally recognised environmental management standard- and is in the process of achieving PAS 75 for the company – a BSI Kitemark scheme which indicates conformance to standards of customer service excellence within the print industry.

Moving from an academic perspective to being part of a progressive firm has been a valuable learning curve for Catriona, as she explains: "It has been really interesting for me to see how the whole environmental system fits in with business and industry – it's very different to being in the classroom. My degree course provided me with a lot of scientific theory but 'management' was not really featured. This placement has given me really good experience in that area."

Unlocking Cornish Potential Project Officer, Louise Oldham has been on hand throughout the project to ensure a successful outcome and has witnessed the progress: "Catriona's confidence has grown throughout the project and TJ International have progressed their environmental good practise and quality procedures. That is very much the mission of UCP projects – to provide invaluable working experience for the graduate while enhancing the success of the business, so I am very pleased with the results."

Unlocking Cornish Potential is Combined Universities in Cornwall's graduate placement scheme which is managed by Cornwall College and supported by Objective One.

For further information please contact Emma Stallard, PR and Communications Officer, Combined Universities in Cornwall on 01326 259908/07896 042524 or email

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 run by Cornwall College, a partner of the CUC.


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. 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.

Combined Universities in Cornwall is a dynamic and visionary partnership that is one of the driving forces behind Cornwall's economic renaissance. The principal partners are the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, University College Falmouth, Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, 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.


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

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