Students in Nottingham have hailed a summer work experience scheme a resounding success.

Grads4Nottm is a joint initiative between Nottingham Trent University (NTU), Nottingham City Council and Boots UK and runs from June 13-24. For the first time this year it offered offer students the opportunity to gain not one, but two weeks’ employment with local firms.

110 NTU students took part in this year’s Grads4Nottm scheme, where they took part in professional tasks during a paid work placement over the past two weeks.

Thirteen students joined Nottingham City Council and worked across four different areas – Marketing, Nottingham Energy, Housing and Economic Development.

Nottingham City Council has invested £50,000 in the scheme using Good To Great – Graduate Retention funding. This includes £24,000 to support 120 students for the first time with bursaries and £26,000 to support Internship Grants.

The students working at the council for the two weeks say the scheme has been great and has helped them to learn important skills.


English and Creative Writing student, Francesca Mesce(COR), has been working on a marketing strategy at Nottingham City Council. She said: “These past two weeks have been really valuable and something I wouldn’t have been able to achieve anywhere else.

“The work we have done at the council has been great and the scheme is really important for upcoming graduates. I hope this programme grows bigger and bigger, and more businesses get involved to help future students.”

The aim of the scheme, which was launched in December 2014, 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, plus  demonstrating what a great place it is to live and work after university.

Now in its third year, the Grads4Nottm scheme seeks to pair enterprising employers with the best student and graduate talent the city has to offer.

Businesses were invited to submit a challenge they are currently facing which students and graduates from NTU worked on during a two-week funded work experience placement. Students were matched with employers based on the particular requirements of the challenge.

Having completed their two-week placement, all students will now present back at a showcase event on the final day of the scheme, which will also give employers the chance to promote themselves.

Business student Petronella Nkomo (BOTH COR) also spent her two weeks at the City Council and added: “It’s been an amazing experience, I’ve learnt so much and it’s helped me to see what it would be like to work a normal 9-to-5. Grads4Nottm is a great scheme and it’s made me realise what I want to do in the future.”

Molly Butcher, a media, film and TV student, said: “It’s been great experience, especially since I’m in my first year, I now know what to expect from the working world. The last two weeks have been so good and helpful, and I’ve learnt that marketing is something I want to do after university. The scheme is great to be a part of and everyone involved is encouraging and supportive.”

Over 750 students expressed interest in the scheme (many prior to knowing if they’ve got a job/placement offer) and out of those 240 students applied for positions, spread across 44 different ‘challenges’ set by employers. These included the NHS, Castle Rock Brewery, Cavendish Residential, The Treat Kitchen, The Renewal Trust, Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club, Kaefer, Santander and Agility Agency.

Media and Communications student Morin Kekere(BOTH COR) said: “I am from London and it’s been great to see how a Nottingham company works and how many opportunities there are in the city. There is always that worry about getting a job after university, and being in my third year this scheme comes at the right time as it’s valuable experience that I can put on my CV, but it’s also a unique chance to meet actual employers.”

Councillor Sam Webster, Portfolio Holder for Education, Employment and Skills at Nottingham City Council, said: “The scheme is a really great opportunity for local companies to gain access to NTU’s talent pool.

“We need to make sure that these talented young people want to stay in Nottingham and that they can help to make a great contribution to the success of this city.

“I hope Grads4Nottm continues to grow and local businesses see the importance of connecting with students. This scheme is a perfect opportunity for local businesses to showcase the many excellent professional careers they have available, and 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.”