Braemar Castle was built in 1628 and is situated at the Cairngorms. The Castle has a wealth of history and today it is almost entirely ran by volunteers from the local community. Laura McMeekin is the Castle Manager at Braemar and has a background in archaeology.

As no one at the Castle had marketing knowledge, she saw an opportunity to involve a student in some of the Castle’s promotional efforts.

Over a number of weeks Laura worked with Hayley Milne, an undergraduate Media and PR student. We discussed with Laura her experience with Talent Exchange and working with a student.

What prompted you to contact Talent Exchange?

The business need that led us to contacting Talent Exchange is to try to target our marketing activity effectively and to provide a system of measurement to see what works.

Can you please describe the process which led to your engagement with a student through Talent Exchange?

The reason we originally engaged with Talent Exchange was we had heard about them through Visit Royal Deeside, who were in touch with Talent Exchange already.

Can you describe the project that was undertaken?

The project which the student undertook was to create a review of the marketing of Braemar Castle over the previous 5 seasons and give feedback on what we were doing well and what was value for money. She also created a marketing strategy for 2016.

What was the outcome of the project?

The student did a great job and she helped us understand what we should be doing as no one working at Braemar had marketing experience. We have implemented some of her suggestions already.

How did you work with Hayley?

Due to the remote nature of the castle and the fact that it was over the winter season that she worked on the project, we communicated through three face-to-face meetings, weekly email contact and had phone calls twice fortnightly.

How do you think the student benefited?

I think the student benefitted as it was an interesting project for her to get her teeth into, as there had been no conscious marketing effort previously. She had to learn to give the rest of the team advice as we did not have any previous marketing experience. I have also given the student a couple of references to her benefit.

How do you feel your business benefitted overall?

Braemar Castle benefitted as we were given a better handle on where we need to focus our marketing efforts, which is great for a volunteer run organisation as it is important to know where is best to focus our energy.

Do you think that working with Talent Exchange has benefitted the local business community?

Working with Talent Exchange probably has benefitted the local business community. Other local tourism businesses are now keen to work with Talent Exchange. We share information with other tourism businesses, they are aware of what we are doing and some of them have seen the report that the student produced.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known at the start?

There isn’t anything in particular. The process has been very easy and we were aware that we were taking on a student who would not have lots of experience. The process has certainly been very useful for us.

What would your advice be to others considering working on a project with RGU students?

My advice for others considering working with RGU students is that it’s very useful to have a self-contained project for them to work on.

What was the experience of working with RGU?

My experience of working with RGU has been great. All the staff have been incredibly helpful and we’ve had lots of contact from them. We would be pleased to continue to work with Talent Exchange in the future.

For more information on Talent Exchange, visit the Talent Exchange webpages or to talk to a member of the project team about a work experience opportunity email talentexchange@rgu.ac.uk or call 01224 262046.