Colors: Blue Color

We may have long been a nation of cat and dog lovers, but the extent to which we’re going to incorporate our beloved pets into our everyday lives has now never been more extreme. Some owners are even going as far as having their pets baptised, or including them in their will according to new research.

The study, which has been commissioned by MORE TH>N, reveals in the full the lengths owners are going for their pets.

It has been timed to coincide with the launch of ‘Pet Peeves’ – a new comedy web-series in which a dog and a cat are given their moment in the spotlight to air various light-hearted grievances about their owner. Voiced by stand-up comedian Russell Kane, the videos are designed to encourage owners see things more from their pet’s perspective.

Beyond revealing some of the more common ways we are guilty of pampering our pets, with over half of owners (53%) admitting they let their pet sleep in their own bed, and 63% confessing that they regularly feed them human-food, the study also uncovered some more unusual trends.

Among these findings were that one in five (20%) would consider including their pet in their wedding day. 18% meanwhile confessed they would consider leaving them as a beneficiary in their will, while 7% of those surveyed even admitted they would consider having them baptised.

Owners have even put their pets on social media -  8% have set up a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram page for their dog or cat, with each of these accounts having an average of 177 followers. 59% said their pet has more followers than them on social media, with a third (34%) saying that they post more on their pet’s account than their own.

Celebrating together on special occasions proved to be another instance of the lengths people are going to when it comes to catering to their pet. A whopping 89% of owners said they buy their cat or dog a Christmas present each year, with 12% spending upwards of £50 on the gift.

Almost half (45%) also admitted that they celebrate their pet’s birthday. The most popular ways of doing this included giving them a birthday present (77%), giving them a birthday cake (33%), take the day of the work to spend time with them (9%) and even throwing them a birthday party (8%).

Furthermore, no expense appears to be being spared when it comes to ensuring pets look their finest throughout the year, with 21% of owners spending upwards of £200 on having their dog groomed over a 12-month period.

Premiering online for the first time this week, the ‘Pet Peeves’ web-series features a clever canine and feisty feline - both voiced by Kane – doing stand-up comedy as a means of airing various gripes about their owner. It has been created to help people better understand their pets.

An example of a gag the dog tells includes: Listen up, I’m all for physical contact. But lingering embraces… they make me uncomfortable. As a general rule, if you’re squeezing your Chihuahua and one of its eyes pops out flies across the lounge, I’ve reckon you’ve just crossed that line.”

The cat meanwhile jokes: “Kids? Who’d have them – not me. But, seriously, when they pull my tail, which is basically my spine, my claws come out. A gentle stroke! Yes please. My vertebrae being yanked out by a five-year-old off his head on sugar. I don’t think so!”

Gail Parker, marketing director at MORE TH>N said: “It’s fair to say that, as a nation, our beloved pets have never played a bigger part in our everyday lives. Above and beyond seeing them as a member of the family, the fact that so many people are going as far to include them in their wills and on their wedding day is testament to how fundamental a part of our lives they’ve become.”

“At the same time however, it’s remains important to appreciate that, however much we love them, they will undoubtedly have their own needs when it comes to the way we treat them, which is our new Pet Peeves video sets out to portray in a fun, tongue-in-cheek way – I’m sure all owners will be able relate, one way or another!”

A new survey, commissioned to promote Diabetes UK’s ‘Food you Love’ campaign during Diabetes Week, has found that broccoli is the West Midlands favourite vegetable, receiving 19 per cent of the total vote. The banana saw off stiff competition from the pineapple and strawberry to take the West Midlands fruit crown with 18 per cent of the vote.

Apples also fared particularly well in the survey following just behind pineapple and strawberry following banana at the top of the table. However orange, apricot, blackberry and pomegranate received no votes.

Broccoli was joined by sweetcorn and carrot at the top of the veg table, both receiving 16 per cent and ten per cent respectively of the vote, while cabbage, kale and asparagus  were the region’s least favourite vegetables each receiving only one per cent).

In order to get people eating more healthily, Diabetes UK has embarked on a new ‘Food you love’ advertising campaign all about healthy eating to inspire everyone with recipes featuring the food they love, but healthier.  The charity hopes the easy recipes and tips will inspire more people to make small changes that can make a big difference to how they manage their diabetes.

Peter Shorrick, Diabetes UK Midlands regional head said:

“It is fascinating to see the variation in the West Midlands fruit and veg taste. Who knew that we were so keen on bananas, or that nearly one in five people think broccoli is the best veg?

“Eating fruit and veg is a great way of getting vital vitamins and fibre and a much healthier snack option than reaching for crisps, cereal bars or even smoothies. They are also low in calories and super filling.”

The ‘Food you love’ campaign is being fronted by five ‘everyday’ people living with diabetes cooking their favourite recipes and has received celebrity support from chefs including: Jamie Oliver, Prue Leith, ‘Deliciously’ Ella and Angela Hartnett.

One of the Black Country's oldest fairground families make a welcome return to the City of Wolverhampton in July for their second fiesta.

The Harry Jones Company is holding the two-day Wolverhampton Fiesta in West Park on Saturday, July 15 and Sunday 16.

It promises a range of entertainment, including giant monster trucks, an international stunt team, T-Rex Dinosaur and Chinese Lion Dancers, the best traditional fairground rides, and food and trade stalls.

Tribute act Beyonce will entertain audiences on a music stage, along with Jason Jones from the Voice, in both afternoon and evening shows.

The Harry Jones Company, based in Thompson Avenue, Parkfields, has been providing fairground entertainment in the Black Country for more than a century.

Twenty-five-year-old Harry Jones, whose great grandfather started the business with a simple coconut shy in 1893, said: "We had a really successful year in 2016 and we are glad to be back again to provide entertainment for the people of Wolverhampton.

"Over two days we are providing not just our well-loved fairground rides but also live entertainment, fire breathers, Chinese dancers, and breathtaking displays by motorcross stunt show teams, to name but a few acts.

"We want to give families looking for a day out some great entertainment on their doorstep."

Councillor John Reynolds, City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: "The Jones family have been providing fairground entertainment for generations.

"It's great that they are hosting the fiesta again in West Park and I hope plenty of families will come along to enjoy the funfair and all the other attractions."

The Wolverhampton Fiesta takes place at West Park from 12pm to 8pm on both days. Entrance will cost £3 for adults and £2 for children. Additional charges apply.

Severn Trent’s Apprentice team enjoyed a night of success at the 2017 School Leavers Awards.

The ceremony, organised by AllAboutSchoolLeavers.co.uk, celebrates the Top 100 employers on offer to young people, with the event seeing Severn Trent’s apprentice team take home three prestigious awards.

Mark Smith, Severn Trent apprentice recruitment advisor, says: “We’ve managed to leap from 89th place to 13th in the top 100 employers for young people in just one year. We’re really proud to be recognised for all the hard work we’ve done this year engaging with young people about their careers and futures.

“We share our Severn Trent Careers story through presentations, workshops and interactive skills sessions, and have delivered these through more than 100 school visits this academic year and plan to grow even further.”

The team from Severn Trent won awards for: Best Recruitment Campaign, Best Schools Engagement in a Recruitment Campaign, and Best Higher Apprenticeship.

Severn Trent apprentice, Hannah Black, also picked up the runner-up award for School Leaver of the Year.

Mark said: “It’s fantastic to see Hannah being recognised at a national level for the tremendous efforts she’s put into her apprenticeship. Her ambition, innovation and talent mean she’s getting the most out of her apprenticeship, and has made a huge impact on Severn Trent.”

The company is taking on a further 62 apprentices this year, who will have eight schemes to choose from, all with different routes to take which will help to form their career at Severn Trent

“Winning these awards reinforces that we’re doing something right, and engaging with young people in the right way,” adds Mark. “We’re excited to be taking on more apprentices and bringing in new talent to Severn Trent to help us hopefully reach that number one spot!”

Jack Denton, director and co-founder of AllAboutSchoolLeavers.co.uk, said: “With the new Apprenticeship Levy introduced this April, there are more programmes than ever for young people to choose from. By including apprentice level  specific categories – like the Best Higher Apprenticeship category won by Severn Trent – we’re helping young people identify the best employers at the levels they are most interested in.

"As more businesses plan to take on apprentices following the Levy, it's also important for employers to see how best to engage with and recruit school leavers. Severn Trent's awards in this field not only celebrate their great work but will help other organisations – who might be more accustomed to recruiting university graduates – wanting to learn how to tap into this growing market."

Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity is excited to announce its bear-illiant new event this summer in association with The Big Sleuth – Fun Family 5.

Taking place on Saturday 29 July at Boldmere Gate, Sutton Park, Fun Family 5 is the charity’s first-ever 5k sponsored walk, being held from 9.30am to 4pm.

Featuring loads of grrr-eat activities, from bear-themed face painting, to circus skills workshops, bouncy castles and much more, attendees are encouraged to get sponsored to stroll through Sutton’s beautiful parkland, before enjoying the event’s dedicated Activity Zone.

An exclusive Big Sleuth bear, whose identity is currently being kept under wraps, will also be unveiled on the day in celebration of The Big Sleuth public art trail – which will see 100 giant bear sculptures on display around the city from Monday 10 July.

The colourful character, which is unlike any other bear on the trail, will then join its furry friends on the 10-week trail across Birmingham, with satellite trails also taking place in Solihull, Sandwell, Resorts World and the home of Fun Family 5 – Sutton Coldfield.

Annie Eytle, Acting Events and Regional Fundraising Manager at Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “We’re thrilled to be bringing the magic of The Big Sleuth to life with our brand-new event and hope families will join us to see our top-secret bear for the very first time, whilst enjoying a fun-filled day of fundraising!”

She added: “Every year, our hospital treats over 90,000 children and young people from across the country. We’d love as many people as possible to sign up to Fun Family 5 and encourage their friends, family and colleagues to sponsor them too in support of our sick kids, ensuring we can continue to be the world-class hospital that everyone knows and loves.”

Parents and carers of young children with autism are being encouraged to find out more about a national programme designed to improve their understanding of the condition.

Tettenhall Wood School's Outreach Service for the Autism Spectrum is holding information events about EarlyBird Plus, a National Autistic Society support programme for parents and carers of children with an autism spectrum condition aged between four and eight.

The course focuses on understanding autism, offers advice and guidance on strategies, supports in building confidence to encourage interaction and communication and provides ideas on analysing and managing behaviour.

Two information sessions are being held at the Regis Road school open to parents and carers as well as professionals working with children with autism who are interested in taking part in EarlyBird Plus. They are being held on Wednesday 28 June from 10am-11am and Thursday 29 June from 4pm-5pm. To book places, please call 01902 556519 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Tettenhall Wood School is Wolverhampton's designated special school for children with autism, and staff have developed specialist knowledge and skills in order to meet a complex range of needs.

Its Outreach Service offers support to mainstream and specialist schools across Wolverhampton which work with pupils that have a diagnosis of autism, helping them to overcoming barriers to learning and in doing so, build capacity for future success.

The Outreach Service also helps parents of children with an autism diagnosis by holding monthly support groups and regular parent workshops on a range of relevant topics.

Politics, elections, Donald Trump, and Pokémon GO are just some of the events, people, and subjects that influence British children’s creativity and use of language, says a report published today by Oxford University Press (OUP).

Following OUP's analysis of the 131,798 fabulously inventive, funny and politically astute short stories for the 2017 BBC Radio 2 Chris Evans’ Breakfast Show’s 500 Words competition, a wealth of fascinating insights into the lives of British children and their imaginative use of English have emerged.

The Children’s Word of the Year is Trump, picked because of its significant increase in use (a total rise of 839 per cent on 2016) by entrants writing in this year’s competition and the sophisticated way in which children used it to convey humour and satire, and evoke powerful descriptive imagery.  Every year children show a keen interest in contemporary affairs and world events from sinkholes and the London Olympics to the Ebola crisis, refugees and Tim Peake’s spacewalk. This year, Donald Trump took office as President of the United States in the same week that 500 Words launched.

Trump is mentioned in a wide variety of contexts, from the US elections and politics, to tales of space, aliens, and superheroes, giving expression to children’s creativity, playfulness, and humour. Children also use the noun to invent new character names including Boggle Trump and Snozzle Trump.

Children have been playing with blends, suffixes and prefixes to create new words improvised around Trump. In fact there are more than 100 instances of words such as Trumplestilskin, Trumpyness, Trumpido, Trumpeon and Trumpwinningtastic. Girl 10 in the Sticky Journey writes: OH NO! I have spoken too soon… the train's track has broken because a mean Trumpdiddlydumper blew a bit out of the track… Our Marshmallow Goblin-Trolls get to work immediately.” We even have stories featuring characters such as Donald Trout, Hillary Kitten, and Obama Llama.

Vocabulary associated with the US presidency was far more prevalent in 2017 than in 2016, including president, America, wall, Hillary Clinton, White House, Trump Towers, Obama, Mexico and Putin. Displaying an ear for Trump’s particular use of words and catch phrases, one entry stood out for its ability to brilliantly capture the rhythm of his speech. In Donald J Trump Goes to the Moon, a 12-year old girl wrote: 10... 9...8 ‘my hair is so amazing’...7. ‘And real’. 6... 5 ‘I am going to make the moon great again!’. 3... 2...1 blast off!!

Big Birmingham Bikes (BBB), a pioneering Birmingham City Council scheme to get residents onto two wheels, has jointly won the 2017 Ashden Award for Clean Air in Towns and Cities.

BBB offers free bicycles to Birmingham residents living in deprived areas. Recipients also receive basic training in cycle maintenance and BBB provide lessons for those who lack confidence in cycling or have never ridden a bike before. The scheme is part of Birmingham City Council’s Birmingham Cycle Revolution (BCR), which aims to make cycling an everyday way to travel around the city, which in turn brings significant health and environmental benefits.

The Ashden Awards are given to pioneers in sustainable energy and are a globally recognised measure of excellence. Along with 12 other organisations, BBB will receive its Award on Thursday June 15 at a prestigious ceremony at the Royal Geographical Society in London. Former Vice-President of the US Al Gore is the keynote speaker and Channel 4 presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy will host the Awards.

BBB shares its Award with Nottingham City Council, which is funding greener transport through a workplace parking levy.

According to the Ashden judges: “This inspirational project is not only getting people out of their cars and onto their bikes but is also improving the health, wellbeing and mobility of an often hard-to-reach demographic. There is huge potential to replicate the scheme and other cities should take note as its simple pragmatism could really help to reframe the national environmental debate.”

BBB is targeting people in some of the most deprived areas of Birmingham and is linking up with community groups, including homeless and mental health charities, to ensure that the bikes reach those who will benefit from them most. Bike recipients are from a broad range of cultural groups including some for whom bike riding is uncommon, particularly for women from black and ethnic minority backgrounds.

Thanks to BBB’s work, 11 new recreational cycling groups have sprung up. BBB is also leading practice rides along popular commuter routes to encourage people to use the bikes as a means of transport as well as for enjoyment. This can be a big help for those looking for work as it can enable them to access training and job opportunities when no other transport options are available. Additionally, fully segregated all-weather cycle lanes are being installed on both the A38 between the city centre and Selly Oak and the A34 between the city centre and Perry Barr as part of the next phase of the Birmingham Cycle Revolution to encourage more people to cycle in safety and confidence along two of the city’s most important commuter routes.

Nashwhite, Leamington Spa transformed their dreams into reality by winning the greatly sought after 2017 Afro Look Award during the prestigious L’Oréal Colour Trophy Grand Final.

On Monday 5th June, 2017 the salon’s creative 6-month journey came to a dramatic finale at Battersea Evolution, London.  Over 1000 of the hairdressing industries most acclaimed and famous figures filled the dazzling venue with immense applause as Nashwhite, Leamington Spa rushed to the stage to collect their iconic award – The L'Oréal Colour Trophy. TV & Radio Presenter Nick Grimshaw and Charlotte Mensah handed the team their award during a moment they will never forget.

"We are overwhelmed to have won the L'Oréal Colour Trophy Afro Look Award! This is such a massive achievement for the two of us at such an early stage in our career's and an absolute honour. This has been one of our main focuses since February, investing so much time into developing and creating our winning look, learning along the way and expanding our skills. We're looking forward to advancing further in this field and can't wait to get started! Huge thanks to L'Oréal Professionnel, the judges, and the Team at Nashwhite.”

Over 1000 photographic entries were received for the L’Oréal Colour Trophy and just 400 salon teams make it through to the final events.  Back in May a powerhouse team of seven renowned salons went head to head inside the L’Oréal International Academy, London during an intense live final that exploded creative talent in every direction.

Each team created their look on a model of African/Caribbean descent that encapsulated their knowledge of Autumn/Winter 2017/18 catwalk trends infused beautiful make-up and fashion led styling with technically excellent colour and precision cutting skills. The highly respected judging panel was made up from Junior Green of Junior Green Salon, Michelle Sultan of Hype Coiffure, Charlotte Mensah of Hair Lounge, Craig Chapman and Kim Johnson.

Nashwhite will now embark on an amazing year of promotional, creative and business building activity including a 3 day European trip to shoot their winning look with a professional photographic team, interviews and profiles in the trade press and countless other opportunities.

The Aldermore SME Future Attitudes report reveals today that two thirds (69%) of West Midland based small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – representing 285,000* firms in the West Midlands with under 250 employees – say they have a diverse workforce, with almost half (45%) stating that improving diversity in the workplace is a focus over the next 12 months.

The report, which surveyed over a thousand senior business decision-makers across the UK, found that there are a number of reasons why they would describe their organisation as diverse. These include having an employee base with a wide age range (44%), being open to making adjustments for disabled employees to ensure they are not placed at a disadvantage (41%), having an ethnically diverse employee base (39%) and having a positive female to male ratio across the company (39%). Over a third (35%) of SMEs in the West Midlands also have female employees at a senior level and over a quarter (29%) employ diversity initiatives to ensure a positive work environment free from discrimination

Moreover, over a quarter (27%) of SMEs in the West Midlands admit to being much more likely to do business with a supplier, partner or provider that is well known for its inclusive employment strategies.

Despite this positive picture, a fifth (21%) of small and medium sized businesses in the West Midlands say they have no intention of becoming more diverse over the next year and an additional fifth (21%) said that increasing diversity is a low priority. This could be because their workforce is too small to be considered diverse (49%), but, at the same time, some SME leaders in the West Midlands also confessed that they tended not to attract a diverse range of potential employees (10%).

Carl D’Ammassa, Group Managing Director, Business Finance at Aldermore, said: “According to the last census**, the West Midlands is the second most diverse region in the UK so it is to be expected that the vast majority of small and medium-sized business owners in the region describe their workforce as diverse. However you define diversity, be it by age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or disability, promoting a diverse workforce should be a key consideration within any business, since employees from a range of backgrounds can offer different experiences to help drive the success of progressive businesses. “

New research by the House & Garden Festival has found that over half (53%) of people in the UK can’t wait for the arrival of summer so they can indulge in spontaneous drinking celebrations. In addition, 1 in 10 people stated that they are partial to a morning drink as it becomes “more socially acceptable in the summer”.

Summer party activities, particularly those involving a tipple, also become a priority with 44% of people saying that champagne tasting is their idea of a dream summer party, followed by 11% with wine-pairing. A flower arranging workshop and canape making class follow jointly with 8% each.

More than a third (36%) of people said that they feel summer has officially arrived due to the longer days, whilst 1 in 10 (15%) said that their signal for the arrival of summer is the first time they bare their legs. Being able to laze about in the great outdoors is the greatest summer excitement for almost half (46%) of people, whilst simply being able to bask in the warmer temperatures is the highlight for over a quarter (26%) of people.

But it does seem that Brits have a love-hate relationship with summer with over half (52%) of people saying that what they hate most about British summers is that it rains too much. So when it comes to making party plans, a Plan B is actually the most important thing on the agenda for 61% of people.

This seems to stem from experience as 72% of Brits say they have hosted or been to an outdoor event that subsequently had to be cancelled or unexpectedly moved indoors due to poor weather. It might also explain why alongside a trusty barbecue, a gazebo is the most important summer party piece of equipment for 34% of people, followed by a parasol or umbrella for 16%.

However, Brits demonstrate their stoicism with over 63% of people saying that despite unexpected showers, they are determined to stay upbeat and refuse to let the weather rain on their parade.

‘A New Hope’ volunteers of Zong 4G’s flagship CSR program took the opportunity over this weekend to spend an iftaar with the street children of Islamabad. The children dwell in the urban slums of the Bari Imam area and sustain themselves by washing cars, picking garbage and selling small merchandise on the streets.

Earlier this year, Zong 4G had setup a 4G internet lab for these children at their school, connecting them to the virtual world for the first time. Since then, Zong’s volunteers have been delivering Internet awareness sessions to these children in a renovated and more modern environment. Recognizing the fact that Ramzan is a time of sharing prosperity and helping the neglected segments of the society, the volunteers took iftaar packages for the children and shared the meal in a festive atmosphere.

Zong 4G, a China Mobile Company, is a socially responsible organization that has always aimed to create an impact in the society by delivering on multiple social causes. Zong’s volunteers have shown a great resolve in contributing towards their civic duties in the past and continues to build on the momentum generated since the launch of the program. With a 75% market share and plans for 100% 4G upgrade by the end of this year, Zong is dominating the 4G arena propelling the country towards a new, brighter future. Activities such as these provide considerable impetus to the cause of enhancing social inclusion that in turns supports Zong’s desire of a prosperous Pakistan.

Seven year old underwater enthusiast Jack, from Birmingham, who has recently been diagnosed with autism, was desperate to help the animal care team at the city centre aquarium, who this week made his marine aspirations come true by organising a quiet afternoon with one of their team for this passionate mini Aquarist to help with some fish feeding.

Since being diagnosed with autism, Jack, aged 7, has struggled to continue concentration and has been Home Educated due to some of his difficulties within a school setting. As a regular visitor to the aquarium, Jack was familiar with the space, and his mother Clare noticed it stimulated his learning, making it the perfect place for him to spend time developing his knowledge.

Clare said: “We are so grateful to the National Sea Life Centre for organising this special day for Jack. It’s been incredible to see how being in the centre has calmed him and allowed him to focus and engage in a way he is often unable to with school learning. He’ll definitely be remembering this special day for a long time to come.”

The National Sea Life Centre is this month launching Quiet at the Aquarium, the first event of its kind for the centre, at 9am on Saturday 17th June. The event aims to provide a quieter experience, for a more comfortable aquarium visit for those with autism and other sensory requirements.

With the latest data showing the soaring cost of pet insurance, owners around the UK are looking for alternatives to providing for their loved one’s medical care. Pet insurance costs continue to outstrip inflation, with average increases of nearly 5% seen in the last six months alone.

Recent advances in medical care for animals is the main cause of the increase in the cost of pet insurance, which now makes the premiums unaffordable for many owners. Although 50% of the British public own pets, 75% of them don’t have insurance, with many citing the expense as a reason for not having cover.

British veterinarian Dr. Stewart Halperin, BVMS, MRCVS, founder and CEO of CarefreeCredit, says: “As a vet myself, I understand the problems faced when a pet-owner can’t afford the urgently-needed medical help required.  This is why we established CarefreeCredit with its ability to provide 0% finance quickly for those in need of a loan to provide desperately needed treatment for their pets when their owners aren’t insured and can’t afford to pay a large bill all at once.”

It’s no secret that the nation’s selfie obsession has become all-consuming, and a new consumer poll commissioned by The Open University (OU) unveils that over two thirds (67%) of Brummies indulge in taking selfies every week. On the other hand, almost half (45%) of them haven’t looked at their inner selves and thought about their life goals in over six months, which is why the OU is encouraging the people of Birmingham to self-reflect with the launch of a huge, mirrored, infinity Reflection Cube at the Bullring this Saturday 17th June.

The findings indicate that people may be consumed by surface level beauty and are neglecting to focus on their inner selves and personal ambitions. Nearly a fifth (19%) of people surveyed in Birmingham, confess to never setting aside any time to self-reflect, yet over two thirds (76%) agreed some time out to consider their lives would be beneficial.

One of the key perceived barriers preventing Birmingham residents from taking time out for themselves is guilt, with over half (54%) feeling riddled with remorse whenever they do. This is followed closely by work (53%) and house chores (45%).

In response to the findings, the OU is giving members of the public the chance to enjoy some much needed self-reflection time in the cube. The 3x3 metre squaredCube is mirrored inside and out and will be open at the Birmingham Bullring for the day. It will also be visiting a number of other locations this summer*, following its launch in London last month.

The experience inside the cube includes a 360° infinity mirror, a striking light installation and zen-like soundscape**, as well as questions to help people begin to self-reflect. The OU’s expert student services team will be on-hand to talk to visitors who may conclude that studying could help them achieve their ambitions or enable them to follow their dreams.

Of those surveyed in the OU poll, nearly three fifths of people from Birmingham (51%) professed that they were unsure of how to self-reflect and over half (55%) agreed that some tips on how to do so effectively would be useful.

Martha Lane Fox, Chancellor of the OU and founder of Doteveryone, comments: “Taking time out to reflect on what you’ve achieved so far and where you’d like to get to is vital for progression, both in your personal and work life. It can be tough at first, particularly when life is so hectic, but if you don’t take time to look at the bigger picture you could end up getting stuck in a routine that may not be working for you.

"Self-reflection is all about questioning what you do and why you do it, determining your passions and ambitions and creating a plan for the future. Don't be afraid to think big. Once you've defined your goals, it's key to think practically and logically about how you are going to get there. You will find that it becomes easier with practice and the end result is likely to be a happier and more competent you.”

Clare Riding, Heads of Careers and Employability Services at The Open University, concludes: “We’re already half way through 2017. June provides the perfect time to review what you’ve achieved so far in terms of your life goals and career progression and really think about whether you are going in the right direction.

“Ask yourself questions to help you work out whether what you are doing and how you are progressing in your career is really what you want. Is it truly fulfilling? Are you making the most of your own skills and the opportunities that are out there? Are you pursuing your passions?”