An inspiring prize-giving student celebration event took place on 14 June to recognise the achievements of University of Nottingham students who took part in The Nottingham Advantage Award (NAA), which provides students with a range of opportunities designed to boost their employability.
As part of the award, students can choose from more than 200 modules available across the UK, China and Malaysia campuses. One of the popular employer-led modules has repeatedly been the Boots Commercial Enterprise Module, which offers insight into the three core commercial functions at Boots — buying, brand and marketing.
Students are tasked with identifying market gaps for new product concepts which they go on to develop themselves. They work in a team to devise a marketing strategy — building and developing their critical thinking and business awareness — and develop a sustainable, ethical and exciting product which would competently sit on Boots’ shelves.
Some of the products devised from this year’s module were a bathroom mirror camera and app to track the users’ health; a unisex sun care product containing glitter for use at festivals and winter sports; and a shaving product kit for teenagers.
The University of Nottingham has a deep-rooted history and connection with Boots. It is one of the top graduate recruiters across the UK and the work it does with the University’s Careers and Employability team — not only offering the Boots Commercial Enterprise Module but also the employer-sponsored Boots Professional Development Prize — echoes its continued commitment to work experience placements, graduate and early careers opportunities.
Boots have engaged in various on-campus events throughout the year and have recruited a number of Nottingham students onto their internship and graduate programmes.
Hayley Dennett, Recruitment Manager for Talent Programmes at Boots UK, said:
“We have a strong history of working with the University of Nottingham and we work very closely with the Careers and Employability Service to bring to life the world of Boots to their students. Whether it’s attending career fairs or supporting their numerous initiatives, we are committed to raising awareness of the career opportunities available right on their doorstep in Nottingham.”
The Celebration Event and winners
Highlights from the day’s event programme included the Module of the Year Presentation which went to the English Language Support for Refugees Module; the Vice-Chancellor’s Global Graduate Prize won by Falonnie Chin Pei Lin — the first winner from University of Nottingham Malaysia who flew to the UK to attend the event; and Employer-Supported Prize Presentations — including the Professional Development Prize Supported by Boots — won by second year law student Louisa MacDonald.
First year finance accounting and management student Pawel Rogowski, was awarded ‘Highly Commended’ within the Boots Prize category. Pawel said: “It feels highly rewarding to be awarded Highly Commended in the Professional Development Prize supported by Boots, as it recognises my strive towards continuous development. I hope that recognition by such a renowned company will aid me in my future career.”
Along with the Completion Certificate — which is presented at the Celebration Event — completed modules are also listed on a participants degree transcript. Even the process of deciding to take the Award, and talking to tutors and the Careers team to help students pick the best modules, contributes to their employability.
Work experience schemes and Boots
The Careers and Employability Service has worked with Boots on other work experience schemes, including the Nottingham Consultancy Challenge (NCC). NCC offers students the chance to gain hands-on experience of managing a short-term project for a local business or charity as part of a team.
For the Challenge which took place last spring semester, a team of four students worked with the Boots Benevolent Fund to support them in looking at how better to promote the fund to Boots staff, as donors; and staff and former staff as beneficiaries of the fund. Diverse student teams worked together over an eight-week period, developing their skills of project management, team working and problem solving, to produce a report and deliver a presentation.
Boots also supported the Summer School Work Experience Programme. This programme involved providing work experience and work insight visits to first year students who attended a Summer School at the University in Year 12 of school. Boots hosted an insight afternoon at their Head Office in Nottingham where 22 students were given a tour of the main building and factory and had the chance to meet and talk to staff who had been on the Boots Graduate Scheme.
The Nottingham Advantage Award
The Nottingham Advantage Award (NAA) — managed by the University of Nottingham’s Careers and Employability Service — epitomises what a Nottingham education is all about. Now in its ninth year, the NAA is a gateway to the many extracurricular activities available at the University. It pushes student thinking further, developing them as individuals and helping to prepare them for a successful career when they leave university and enter the competitive job market.
The Nottingham Advantage Award Celebration Event provides a platform and gives opportunity to commend the work of students that have demonstrated outstanding achievements and excelled during their time on the NAA.
To qualify for the Award, students are asked to complete up to three extra-curricular modules from a broad range of work experience — entrepreneurship, career planning, community work, travelling abroad, mentoring and developing skills for the workplace. Last year, close to 4,000 University of Nottingham students, in the UK alone, registered to join the NAA.
On welcoming guests to the Celebration Event, Director of Careers and Employability, Dr Nalayini Thambar said:
“The University of Nottingham is extremely proud of the Nottingham Advantage Award and of the students who take part and flourish as a result of their commitment and experience. We value our partnerships with key employers whose modules give our students the opportunity to develop their skills by tackling real business challenges; we are very grateful for their commitment and support.”