Story of a start-up company: How IAD is helping one entrepreneur to build a company that will benefit graduates, postgraduates and young professionals – Guest Blog


This guest blog is brought to you by Gemma Pirnie, Founder, Your New Crew

Story of a start-up company: How IAD is helping one entrepreneur to build a company that will benefit graduates, postgraduates and young professionals.
I am really excited to be offered the chance to contribute to the IAD blog. It is a great opportunity to discuss both how my business supports graduates and also how IAD have supported me in the development of my business. I also want to tell you about how you can get involved with one of my business’s first events, supporting work-life balance amongst graduates, post-graduates and young professionals.

At the end of 2012 I had already built on my business idea when I pitched to join LAUNCH.ed at Edinburgh University. With LAUNCH.ed’s help I have built my company, Your New Crew, to its current stage and crucially, through LAUNCH.ed, I was able to join IAD’s Acceleration Pipeline Workshop Series. With IAD’s help I have improved my pitching skills, learned how to define my company’s competitive edge and got some great advice on who to look for when it comes to building my team. However, and perhaps most importantly, I have gained a huge amount of confidence both in myself as a business person and in my company Your New Crew.

I created my company, Your New Crew, on the premise that loneliness and isolation amongst graduates/postgraduates/young professionals who relocate for work is a major social issue. I also conducted research into how work-life balance amongst the above groups can affect employers’ ability to recruit and retain their newest members of staff. The results of my research confirmed my hypothesis that a service which could help both employees and employers with their relocation issues was required. One of the major findings of my research was the difference in attitudes to work-life balance of the recruiting generation (Baby Boomers) and those they are hiring (Gen Y) and the subsequent discord this can create in the workplace. In short it seems that by offering their relocating employees help to create a social life/work-life balance employers will help themselves to recruit the brightest and the best from generation Y.

Your New Crew, organises events (such as dinners at restaurants) for up to ten graduates/postgraduates/young professionals where they can go along, meet new people and simultaneously get to know their new city. Memberships of Your New Crew can either be purchased by individuals or can be purchased by graduate employers for their new recruits as part of their starting package. If you are interested in trying out the service or if you are looking for a good night out where you can meet new people then I am organising some soft-launch events in Edinburgh and Glasgow, the first of which will be Wed 27th March at Mum’s Comfort Food (Forrest Rd, Edinburgh), 7pm, £11.95 for two courses, for more info or to book please email


New Faces at the Institute for Academic Development (IAD)

LeavesThere have been a few staff changes within the IAD Doctoral Programme we thought you would like to know about,

Fiona McCabe left post in December and Louise McKay was appointed to her post in February.

I’d like to introduce myself as the new Doctoral Training Manager for the IAD. I join the IAD from the Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility at the Western General Hospital, where I worked for 5 years as a Programme Administrator, setting up courses and seminars relating to clinical research. Previous to that I have worked for NHS Borders and Scottish Borders Council. I look forward to working with the IAD and welcome any suggestions you have in order to provide the best possible Doctoral Training Programme.

Dr Fiona Philippi was appointed to the post of Deputy Head of Researcher Development in February.

Hi, I have recently joined the Institute for Academic Development (IAD) in the role of Deputy Head of Researcher Development. My role is quite wide-ranging and focuses on enhancing and developing support and resources for researchers at all stages. I am a strong believer in recognising that a PhD encompasses a great deal more than writing a thesis (although of course this is a big part!). PhD researchers have much to offer in terms of transferable skills both in academic posts and in a whole range of other sectors. Often though, the challenge is being able to communicate this effectively!

One of the most useful training courses I did during my PhD was on presentation skills. At the beginning it felt like the facilitator was being quite ruthless – we sat and watched our own videoed presentations with a group of complete strangers from other disciplines and then discussed the strengths and weaknesses. However, it actually proved to be extremely useful and some of the tips and lessons learned I have carried with me to this day and used in a wide variety of settings.

Support for PhD researchers has developed considerably over the past few years and initiatives such as the Researcher Development Framework (RDF) are very useful tools to help researchers take control of their own progress and career path. It is all too easy to get caught up in getting through your PhD, but taking advantage of the training and skills development resources on offer can give you a different perspective and should prove helpful in the long run!