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Freelancers flock to UCLan for free business event

20 January 2014

Lyndsey Boardman

Flexible working contracts see rapid rise

Freelancers from the region have visited the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) for a free event designed to help people carve out a successful career in an increasingly popular employment market.

Freelance business is booming according to figures published last year by the website Freelancer. It reported a 41 percent rise in the number of workers registering on its site since January 2013 and rival site Elance also reported a 51 per cent increase in its use by employers in 2013.

In light of the changing employment landscape UCLan’s How to Freelance workshop attracted over 80 attendees from throughout the North West who were keen to capitalise on the increased demand from businesses for contract workers.

They were told how to identify and build on their strengths, given an introduction to the art of freelancing and shown how to use social media to make connections and enhance their personal and professional profiles.

“You’re best featuring the kind of work that you want to do more of and using your marketing to build in the right direction of better projects and not just more of them.”

Sally Seed of Stoneleigh Communications in Cumbria talked about her experiences of freelancing and shared ideas on how best to turn what you do into effective marketing – from case studies on a website to social media and blog postings.

She said: “Freelancers should consider using projects where they are part of a team as well as considering things like the best timing, rights and confidentiality. The final point I made, and one that seemed to chime with the audience, was that you’re best featuring the kind of work that you want to do more of and using your marketing to build in the right direction of better projects and not just more of them.”

The event was run by the University’s Northern Lights Programme, an award winning business support programme for new and early stage businesses, as part of its MORE Programme business support initiative aimed at helping creative, digital and media businesses to grow.

Neil Simpson, More Programme Business Development Officer, commented: “UCLan has a strong history of nurturing new business and more than 1,000 UCLan students and graduates have started a business or become self-employed in last five years.

“The world of work is changing and many people are turning to working freelance to make the most of their skills and create a career they love.”

“The world of work is changing and many people are turning to working freelance to make the most of their skills and create a career they love. This event attracted a large number of people who want to make the most of what they know and are keen to develop an irresistible professional presence.”

The MORE Programme is delivered by UCLan and is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The How to Freelance conference is one of a series of events designed to assist people to develop entrepreneurial skills that will help them make the most of the changes in the current work landscape and thrive into the future.