TWO potential stars of the Birmingham business community have been praised for their work experience at regional firms.

Zac Dixon, 27, won a Midlands regional award for social science work experience after impressing business chiefs during a ten-week placement at Be Birmingham.

The Phd student worked to improve cooperation between business, community, faith and public sectors and Be Birmingham – an umbrella organisation which aims to bring together those working for a better quality of life in the city.

Zac said: “Working at Be Birmingham allowed me to gain practical experience as well as make fantastic contacts, especially in the City and within the field of public partnerships.

“It was great to be able to apply my ideas in a business setting and I loved the challenge of it all.”

After completing an undergraduate degree in sociology at Birmingham University, Zac continued his studies with a Phd and became increasingly interested in social policy. The Kendal-born student applied for an internship through the Social Science Workplace Experience Programme, which placed him at Be Birmingham over the summer.

He said: “I applied for this placement programme as I thought it would provide me with guidance for the future, and allow me to develop my skills.

“I have been able to work on my own initiatives, learn about project management, and improve my communication skills – and all this will be useful in my future career.”

And the young entrepreneur certainly made an impact during his placement. His final report into improving partnerships with Be Birmingham and local organisations was presented to the board, and Birmingham City Council say they were impressed with his findings.

Jason Lowther, director of policy and delivery for the council, said: “Zac’s work was strategically important. He has set the agenda for how we will tackle the issue of effective partnerships in the future.

“His research will assist long-term partnerships and will form the basis of many future strategies. As a council, this scheme is good to be involved in.”

Zac won a £50 WH Smith voucher for his work, which saw him crowned the best of 12 students from across the Midlands who took part in the scheme.

And now the successful student is contemplating his next move, for when he finishes his Phd in February next year.

“I’d definitely recommend that anyone interested in social sciences takes part in the scheme.

“It has helped give direction to my career, and valuable practical experience in the field.”

Also highly praised for her work experience was 18-year-old Tayyibah Naseem, who became the 1,000th student to train through a skills development scheme.

Tayyibah spent a week working at online business directory, through a work experience project sponsored by Advantage West Midlands.

The three-year project aims to encourage budding business brains to consider a career in the sector, and was launched by the Centre Of Business Excellence in Birmingham (CBEB).