Dr Tim Watts joined his family business, Pertemps, in 1970, to run the company’s second office in Wolverhampton. Over a career spanning more than 40 years he has turned this small but ambitious recruitment company into a UK-wide success, winning many plaudits in the process, including Businessman of the Year in 1997 (an award that, in a unique double, he achieved just as Pertemps took the title Business of the Year). In 2007 he was granted an Honorary Doctorate by Aston University, in recognition of his services to industry, and he is also an honorary member of Aston’s Beta Gamma Sigma Society. Despite making a name for himself as an entrepreneur, Dr Watts has also enjoyed enormous success driving charities as well as businesses. Among other roles, in 2005 he became Vice President of the Spinal Injuries Association after chairing a £2 million fundraising campaign for the completion of a £2.5 million new headquarters building. In 2014 he took office as High Sheriff of the West Midlands: one of the most prestigious ceremonial positions in the region.
I have been in recruitment in the Midlands for the last 50 years and I have, of course, been conscious of the good work undertaken by Aston University and its degree of excellence is recognised worldwide. I did a number of lectures for Aston in the 1990s and the University nominated me to become a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma Society in 2006.
To me, Aston's greatest achievements can be summed up in two words: excellence and relevance. The quality and output of its graduates is consistently outstanding and it has applied itself to subjects that are relevant to the modern economic world. Aston should be congratulated for what it has contributed to the world's gross productivity.
It would be true to say that it has significantly raised my profile both within the business community and the academic community within the West Midlands, for which I am eternally grateful. I was exceedingly humbled when I was granted a Doctorate of Science in 2007.
In answering what I think the characteristics of Aston graduates are, I believe they can be summed up in my previous replies. I want to emphasise that Aston’s degree courses are highly relevant to the needs of employers, culminating in CVs that are truly outstanding.
Recognise the tremendous opportunity you are fortunate to have been given and understand that the qualification you achieve at this University will bring you worldwide respect and recognition.