Tips and advice for Portsmouth students

I enjoyed a distinct learning and cultural experience while I was at the University of Portsmouth… years after graduation, I still rely on the teaching and advisory excellence of the educators to troubleshoot social and cultural challenges in the real world. For example;  During my advocacy for better learning services at Brandon library, I spoke to the IT manager (Watkins), he happened to be a graduate of Portsmouth Polytechnic.

Coming from the same institution, and bestowed with sustainability-driven social and cultural values, we clicked in an instant. We discussed the local library, and our experiences with the University of Portsmouth library as if we had been friends for a long time. Mr Watkins took up the matter for me, and he was inspirational and supportive in making the case for and recruiting a part-time Learn My Way staff for the library. For this reason, I want to share my experiences, and some tips and advice, for prospective and continuing students.

MSc Project Management 2015 Class (Pic – Nonso Nwune)

Sea City: Portsmouth


Portsmouth is a port city on England’s south coast, It’s known for its maritime heritage and naval ties, the Historic Dockyard and Portsmouth houses a gold rated University (formerly Portsmouth Polytechnic).

I became aware of Portsmouth distinctive learning spaces and style while I was studying for a degree in London. At the time, my girlfriend attended the University while I was conducting a video games (war games) research at South Bank University… I used to visit her often.

For me, Portsmouth is culturally diverse in every way, it is the complete package. Furthermore, keeping my participants engaged over the period of my longitudinal research was important to me and the city offered many potentials. The city was particularly compatible and useful for my study because I could use photographs in fluid and ludic geographies to engage the participants (particularly the veterans).

Sea City Institution: University of Portsmouth

I was aware of the University’s distinctive learning style before I applied and I was determined to experience it in first-person.  From the moment I joined the University in September 2010, all I received was responsive support with timely and reinforcing feedbacks. Many of the educators are approachable, open, transparent and as a whole, always interested in lifelong learning innovations and new ideas.

University Of Portsmouth: Play, Games and Game Study

Personally, I’m convinced that the future society is going to resemble gaming paradigm. It’s basically going to resemble a broth and it’s going to increasingly get difficult to separate the different components and elements that make up the social-technology mix. I’m certain that there is more to learn and adapt from video games and the University of Portsmouth gave me the confidence, space, opportunity and guidance to explore my idea. I mean …

Mrs Karen Knibbs used Second Life to teach her marketing seminar, Mr Chris Milner set-up some of the early Call of Duty competitions … And, Rich Broakes won’t stop reminding you why quizzes are important. The University is also home to Galaxy Zoo, a citizen science projects that employ game-psychology to troubleshoot cosmic challenges. Dr Joe Cox conducted longitudinal investigations in gaming realms. My supervisor, Dr Tara Woodyer, explores the role of play across the life course. Her work shed light on our common understanding of play and creatively brings the discussion into the current era. Finally, Karen Knibbs, Judith Fletcher-Brown and Karen Middleton explore an Agile 3E’s case for lifelong learning

By the end of the second week, it was clear that I was in the right universe. I was in the right place to develop as an individual and in a great geography to develop my research interests.

Advice For Prospective Undergraduates

  1. Accommodation: It’s of paramount importance to ensure that your space of rest and peace is conducive for the duration of your stay. You don’t want to live in a house where you can’t study, rest or plan. Domestic problems, for instance, feuds with a flat-mate can have profound negative effects on your ability to rest and attend your lectures. It’s always good advice to ensure that you have sorted out your accommodation before registration.
  2. Finance: If you know that you are going to have financial issues, ask for help immediately. For example, If you know that your loan is going to be late, perhaps your budget doesn’t add up, head to Student finance and ask for support.
  3. Time and financial planning: There is a myth that there’s not enough time at University … I disagree, there is always enough time and time is not just a uni thing and it certainly won’t stop after uni. The key to time is how you manage your time. Independence and having fun is a major part of university life, but remember that it’s important to eat regularly and to get enough sleep, and maintain a set of rules to live by.
  4. Talk to your educators: The relationships formed with your teachers will remain well beyond your graduate career. For instance, Dr Welch was my Knowledge Management tutor at Portsmouth, now at Sheffield, I still contact her and rely on her teaching excellence perspective to tackle certain situations in the real world.
  5. Get a part-time job. Volunteer at your faculty. Visit the Nest: Nest is your own university social enterprise and it will help you transform your art and passion before you leave University. Take advantage of the employability opportunities available to you and support with activities within you faculty when you can. For example; I used to volunteer for open days where I share my project management experiences with business owners and prospective students. Do not wait until the end of your degree before you start thinking about employment.
  6. Have fun. Be social. Explore: The University students blog has plenty information about what you can do around the city. For example, 11 things to do in Portsmouth when you are bored. The  Student Union and University library are also great spaces for fun times and other social interactions.

Enjoy yourself! Stay safe at all times, and if you have any doubts or concerns, ask for help immediately.

My top tips for guiding and empowering high-performing teams

High-performing teams are creative, social, innovative and deliberate. They have deep trust in each other, their purpose and in their abilities. They are often connected, and constantly seeking new ways to improve and celebrate and reward the improvements.

Have you come across the saying, “No one size fits all”? This saying is particularly correct when it comes to teams and groups. There is no one way to lead a high-performance team – however, there are though guidelines that can assist you in your new role.


1. Pay attention, ask more than tell or change

It’s not always about change unless expressed in your contract and statements of work. At this stage, I recommend asking and connecting, rather than telling and changing. The connectivity gained and the lessons captured will prove invaluable for future projects.

2. Roles, styles and accountability

Separate growth from development by managing performance development and individual development. For instance, by setting goals with employees and following-up with personal development planning and appraisals.

3. Be Agile

Agile is being nimble, responsive and able to work quickly, with ease and flexibility without losing efficiency. An Agile structure surrounds a leader with influential players in the workplace. It’s also a responsive and continuous form of feedback and data collection. 

3. Empower action

Empowerment catalyses continuous improvement, knowledge management, and transformation by removing the barriers to creativity, problem-solving, and innovation. By empowering colleagues, a leader encourages the team to feel free to express their ideas, feelings, take risk and problem-solving.

4. Responsive communications, feedback mechanisms and connectivity

Weak-ties are cultivated through single mediums of communication, while strong-ties rely on the use of multiple mediums of communication. Inspire an open, transparent, continuous and responsive feedback culture with corresponding mediums of communications and support infrastructures.

5. Be social and fun

Diving into a big project, day in and day out, can create a superficial impact on bonding in the workplace – spontaneity and fun is a good icebreaker. We can learn more about a colleague in a short amount of time, over a meal or video game, than we can learn from attitudes towards rules and policies for 6-years.

7. Acknowledge, reward and celebrate success

As a form of gratitude and mental feedback, it allows for reflection and evaluation of the team’s collective achievement. Organisations have different themes and styles, experiment with perks till you find the right social-technology mix for your organisation.


In conclusion, successful deployment of the skill-set available to a leader relatively depends on how well they integrate and can complement other areas of the business. The thing is, if a leader is not trusted, they can’t be seen as inspiring or trusted to resolve conflicts and develop talent.

Ensure that you (1) posses the knowledge and expertise (2) are prepared to learn (2) build relationships  (3) are empathetic (4) are open and transparent (5) are consistent (6) and you reward and celebrate success when it’s due, and vice versa (7) are fun and social.


Team UKFAST prepare for an evening of gaming

Interview with Honey Adewole… author of materbeampater

I caught up with Honey Adewole to ask about her new book Materbeampater.

Materbeampater is a humorous collection of short stories, with larger than life characters. 

It is a combination of narrative poetry, fables and nonsense. The book is published by Olympia, it is available on Amazon and available in retail and wholesale. 

The book is a humorous book of poetry based on the lessons of life. There are poems about naughty girls, a boy who eats peanuts and peanut-butter non-stop, and all sorts of strange but normal young people.

Young will laugh out loud when reading the book.

— Diana Perry

Story Monsters Magazine June  2017

Honey Adewole

Tell me  a little bit about yourself

I’m an accountant and live in London with my family.

I love reading children’s books because they keep me young at heart. I enjoy creativity, this is my first book.

So, there will be a sequel. Will it be new concept?

There will be a sequel to Materbeampater and I will write more exciting stories for children and the family in the future.

Where did you learn to use poetry to tell stories?

Poetry was a part of my life growing up in primary and secondary school. Writing it came naturally with as much fun as reading it.

I see myself writing more poetry in the future even for a more mature audience.

Where did you get your insipiration?

Materbeampater came to me as a result of a need to write something different.

I wanted to write a book that could remind me always, of what it was like growing up;

The naughtiness I had fun with, learning to accept and discover myself and overcoming peer pressure.

You say a need. Can you elaborate briefly, please?

I want something that’s not so common in this very politically correct world of ours. Something cool enough to remind me of when I was growing up.

It was the perfect combination of morals and humour.

Tell us about Materbeampater

The book is divided into three parts or sections.

The Naughties captures the “fable(ish)/ humour” tone I intended.

The Gritties captures the every child is different and the importance of accepting who you are tone I intended (with humour)

The Notables – in a way, combines the humour and the other things that the naughties and gritties represent.

The two stories under the Notables (Slacked nose Linda and The Tea Pot people) can be very much enjoyed by the younger kids. They are the simplest to read in terms of age.

What’s the message you want the readers to take away from the book?

Readers of Materbeampater can learn to see the funny side of life in general by adding this piece to their read-for-pleasure library.

While it includes fables and poetry and other fun elements, the book also creates an avenue for parents, teachers and children to discuss a lot of these issues that middle graders experience in school; bullying, being different, self-acceptance and self-discipline.

All achieved while reading this short story book written in bite-sized verses.   Readers of Materbeampater can also improve their sense of humour.

What next from here?

I hope to write a follow-up Materbeampater book, re-telling the stories of individual characters and their various encounters as they navigate middle school.

I aspire to become a screenwriter and a filmmaker someday.  And would love to write more children’s books

Humour is important, so read as many humorous books as you can, so that you can be as happy as a bunny.

Sneak Preview Poppy Brown P.7

Get the Book on Amazon

Community Brandon: The benefits of using your local library

Research consistently shows that when we teach children life skills at a young age, they grow to become smart men and women. The library is a partner in child and adult development, lifelong learning and community cohesion. Personally, I’m convinced that the library has a gluing role in social cohesion and integration.

Below I impart with my top 6 reasons why we should all be using our local library.


1. Benefits for Children

The library introduces children to the dictionary at an early age. It expands children’s capacity for vocabulary, research and independence. Libraries instil the love of writing and reading in children which can positively alter their reading, writing and research skills. Using the local library is crucial during child development and the local library exists to ensure that children can continue learning while away from school.

The library is a controlled space for connecting with children while allowing them space and time to make own connections. Children can now enjoy many free activities with their parent/s or guardian at the local library. For example, an animation course with their parent/s or guardian at the local library.


The best candy shop a child can be left alone in, is the library.

— Maya Angelou


2. For Further Education and New Skills

The library is a treasure trove of free programs that may support learning away from school. The library offers various free courses, activities, and resources for both children and adults. The courses provided at local libraries are part of a national backed scheme.  Visit your local library to learn what’s available.


3. Saving Time and Money

Save both time and money on services in your local library;

    • hiring work-spaces and group rooms
    • advice starting-up business
    • finding work online
    • living and doing things online
    • affordable printing


4. Make New Friends 

The activities offered at the local library include reading clubs, game clubs, movie clubs and science clubs. These activities have a social and community theme, the library is an efficient space to meet people and grow a network in the local community.


5. Political Values

The library champions and reflect values as part of the community life. The library is a community and citizen learning institution for diverse citizen populations. The local library is centrally positioned to bring community issues to social agencies, lawmakers and third sector. Keep up-to-date with community events and initiatives through the local library.


When a library is open, no matter its shape or size, democracy is open, too.

— Bill Moyers


6. Relaxation & Comfort

I’ve never left a library feeling stressed out or low. It is such a relaxing environment with so much more to offer than books, and it’s just around the corner.


I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library.

— Jorge Luis Borges


There are so many benefits and enjoyable things that we can do and achieve through the local library. Many of which policymakers and citizens are yet to explore. These are my top 6 benefits of using your local library.