Vanessa Knowles

Principal Lecturer, Corporate Education and Work-Based Learning, HR & OB

Faculty:Lord Ashcroft International Business School

Department:Human Resource Management and Organisational Behaviour Staff

Location: Cambridge

Areas of Expertise: Business, management, leadership and law

Vanessa Knowles is Principal Lecturer in Corporate Education & Work Based Learning, and Course Leader for Barclays’ BA (Hons) Management & Leadership work-based degree.

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Prior to joining Anglia Ruskin University in September 2007 she was an Early Career Development Advisor at Rolls-Royce plc, with responsibility for the Global Engineering Graduate Leadership Development Programme.
Her academic career commenced at Nottingham Trent University in 1995 where she held a variety of Course Leader positions across undergraduate and postgraduate programmes which were delivered to a broad range of public and private sector organisations.

Her work with the Barclays Degree Programme has won 2 national awards, namely, The CIPD Best Talent Attraction & Management programme (2012) and the Target Jobs Award - Best School leaver programme (2013).

Research interests

Her research interest is in the area of Career Management & Development, specifically focused on undergraduates. She has won 3 national awards for her published research work, namely;

  • 2003 – MCB Awards for Excellence – Most Outstanding Paper Mentoring in Undergraduate Business Management Programmes,  Journal of European Industrial Training in 2003
  • 2000 – MCB Awards for Excellence - Highly Commended Paper - Graduate Recruitment & Selection Practices in Small Businesses,  Career Development International Journal in 2000
  • 1999 – MCB Awards for Excellence – Most Outstanding Paper – The Changing Nature of Graduate Careers, Career Development International Journal in 1999

The focus on career development of undergraduates stems from her extensive involvement with corporate talent development programmes and a growing interest in the links between early career success and personality types.


Vanessa is responsible for business development activity in the Corporate Education Sector with a strategic role focusing on developing and accrediting work-based programmes that facilitate employer engagement with our University. She is Course Leader for the Barclays BA (Hons) Management & Leadership (work-based) degree which forms part of Barclays internal talent development programmes and also Course Leader for our MSc Solution Focused Thinking & Leadership. Vanessa is Module Leader on a large range of both undergraduate and post-graduate modules that form part of corporate education work-based learning programmes. The client portfolio at the Lord Ashcroft International Business School, to date, to which teaching and module and Course Leader responsibilities extend includes; Barclays plc, The Arts Council of England, Heritage Lottery Fund, UPS Ltd and Volvo Construction Ltd.


  • Accredited Assessment Centre Assessor - A&DC Occupational Psychologists
  • MA Human Resource Management (Dist.) – The Nottingham Trent University
  • Level A & Level B Occupational Assessment – British Psychological Society
  • Accredited Trainer – Belbin Associates
  • BA (Hons) Business Studies – (1st class) – The Nottingham Trent University

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Fellow of HEA
  • Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development

Selected recent publications

A Nottingham Business School Degree to Enhance Graduate Employability, Enhancing Graduate Employability in Business and Management, Hospitality, Leisure, Sport, Tourism, (2006) Edited by Nina Beckett and Patsy Kemp, Threshold Press Ltd

Mentoring in Undergraduate Business Management Programmes, Journal of European Industrial Training, Vol. 27, No 3, 2003

Graduate Recruitment:  Implications for Business and Management Courses in HE, Journal of European Industrial Training, Vols. 25, Nos. 2/3/4, 2001

What are the lessons we are learning about ‘Developing Learning’ modules, The International Journal of Management Education, Vol.1, No. 1, 2000

Graduate Recruitment and Selection: Implications for HE, Graduates and Small Business Recruiters, Career Development International, Vol 5, No. 2, 2000

Graduate Recruitment and Selection Practices in Small Businesses, Career Development International, Vol 5, No. 1, 2000

The Changing Nature of Graduate Careers, Career Development International, Vol. 22, No. 3, 1999

Exploring Business Skills: an innovative approach to promoting lifelong learning, Journal of Further & Higher Education, Vol 22, No. 3 1998

Recent presentations and conferences

April 2009 - Workbased Learning - Innovating Undergraduate & Postgraduate Programes, Placenet Annual Conference, 22 - 24 April, Edinburgh, UK

July 2007 - Partnership Approach to Work Based Learning, 2 Case Studies, Association of Graduate Recruiters Annual Conference, 6 - 8 July, Celtic Manor, UK

May 2004 - Promoting the employability of graduates: the case of the NBS BABM degree, (with Stewart J) HRD: Cross-Cultural Comparative and International Perspectives: Proceedings of the 5th Conference on HRD Research and Practice across Europe, University of Limerick, Ireland

September 2002 - Mentoring in Undergraduate Business Management Programmes (with Stewart, J), Irish Academy of Management Annual Conference, Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland

September 2002 - The Use of Mentoring in Higher Education Programmes; (with Stewart, J),  Annual European Conference on Educational Research, University of Lisbon, Portugal

January 2002 - Mentoring in Undergraduate Business Management Programmes (with Stewart, J) 3rd Conference of HRD Research and Practice:  Creativity and Innovation in Learning, Napier University, Edinburgh