A FORMER sales and marketing director at Silentnight Beds has been appointed an Honorary Teaching Fellow at Lancaster University Management School.

Victor Giannandrea, of Blacko, said he was delighted to be invited to become an Entrepreneur in Residence (EiR) at the university.

Drawing on 45 years' experience of director level roles within the furniture and bedding industry, including 20 years at Silentnight in Barnoldswick, Mr Giannandrea’s role is to help students gain exposure to the real world of business.

He said: “It is a true honour to receive this appointment at such a fantastic, progressive university.

“Today’s job market is very different to the one I knew growing up. Competition for jobs is rife and those who demonstrate an understanding of business outside of the university walls are at a strong advantage.”

Since retiring in 2011, Mr Giannandrea has been mentoring local businesses, with a huge degree of success in turning around businesses at high risk, helping them change direction, cultivate new customers and increase trade with existing customers. Before becoming an EiR, Mr Giannandrea has long been a supporter of the Lancaster University Management School; attending events as speaker and grilling students on their ideas as part of a Dragon’s Den style panel.

Brian Gregory, director of the EiR, said: “Victor is a great asset to our programme and his experience in business really does give students a true insight into the world of work.

“Entrepreneurs in Residence are the stars of the local community and are valued, important members of our LUMS community.

“They bring expertise from the front line of business, interesting and varied viewpoints and a real-world experience that benefits our students, teaching and research. In return, EiRs get access to LUMS’ cutting-edge knowledge, both from our students and research, and the opportunity to strengthen their peer networks.”

Those invited to be part of EiR scheme volunteer two or three days a year to spend in the management school to share their expertise, networks and experience.

They take part in a range of activities while on campus varying from judging students’ business ideas, mock interviews, masterclasses and guest speaker opportunities. In return, entrepreneurs become embedded in the school and its way of thinking.