Following the success of its two previous Grads4Nottm Business Challenge schemes, with the continued support of Boots UK, Nottingham Trent University is extending the programme to offer summer work experience placements for over 120 students to help improve graduate retention in the area.
Whether it is providing an evaluation report for a property company, retail sales plan for a toy manufacturer or a social media strategy for a local estate agency, the scheme encourages students to translate their skills into real life challenges while gaining experience and valuable business networking opportunities.
The joint initiative with Nottingham City Council and Boots UKruns from 13-24 June 2016 and for the first time it will offer students the opportunity to gain not one, but two weeks’ employment with local firms.
Neil Armstrong with graduates on the programme
”Neil Armstrong, Early Careers Talent Manager at Boots UK, comments: “We know that there is a clear need to better retain our universities’ talent in Nottingham. The city has a great deal to offer young people not only at big businesses like Boots UK, Experian and Eon, but also SME businesses who we know offer excellent career opportunities that can often be overlooked by job hunting graduates.
“We think that the answer is through working collaboratively to help inspire these young people, and we’re thrilled with the success of new schemes like Grads4Nottm; having helped over 100 students so far to improve their confidence and employability. We’re excited to help the programme grow this summer as more new students and businesses join the initiative.”
The aim of the scheme is to retain graduate-level talent in the region to help support the local economy by showcasing the many excellent employment opportunities Nottingham offers across local businesses of all sizes and demonstrating what a great place it is to live and work after university.
Last year companies such as Boots UK, Buying Butler, Kaefer and Prolog took part in the scheme. This year 80% of the 40 employers, including SMEs, who have signed-up, are new to the initiative. The challenges range from web design, project management and brand campaigns to animation, retail sales and product development.
Hanna Luetkemeier, Business Development Team Leader at Nottingham Trent University, said: “Grads4Nottm has increased in popularity year-on-year, both in terms of the number of employers offering work experience and the number of students getting involved. It is the first time we have run a summer scheme and a two-week programme, which demonstrates the success of the scheme.
“The initiative showcases the many excellent career opportunities available to graduates in Nottingham and provides students with unique work experience. Once again, we have advertised the business challenges anonymously so the students don’t find out which businesses they will be working with until the launch event. By doing so, students focus on the advertised tasks rather than apply to a company they recognise. This helps us to raise awareness of the many businesses in the region, including the SMEs, who are all major recruiters of graduates.
“Also for the first time, with the support of Nottingham City Council and Boots UK, we are able to offer a £200 bursary to all students engaged in the scheme, to help towards their travel and living expenses, which is a great bonus for them.
“And, if students are successful in gaining employment as a result of their work experience, SMEs have the opportunity to subsidise their salaries by accessing a grant of up to £1,500 per student over a maximum of three months, which is a great incentive for employers in the region.”
Cllr Nick McDonald, Portfolio Holder for Jobs, Growth & Transport, Nottingham City Council, said: “We want to keep more talented young people in Nottingham because they make a great contribution to the success of the city. Grads4Nottm is a perfect opportunity for local businesses to showcase the many excellent professional careers they have available. It also gives students valuable work experience.
“As a city we need to engage with students so that they understand the opportunities that are here for them when they graduate. Nottingham isn’t just a student city; it’s a city of culture, innovation and affordable living and offers ambitious careers.”
Grads4Nottm launches at Nottingham Trent University on Monday 13 June. The students will then work on their challenges at the various businesses across Nottingham before coming together at the university on the last day (Friday 24 June) to celebrate their achievements.