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Digital Marketing Academy nurtures local talent

In 2019/20 Nottingham Trent University (NTU) and the University of Nottingham (UoN) collaborated with a number of local Digital Marketing Agencies to deliver the Digital Marketing Academy (DMA).

Students learning at the Digital Marketing Academy
Students learning at the Digital Marketing Academy

What is the Digital Marketing Academy?

The DMA addresses the high-level digital skills gap identified by Nottingham City Council and supports the Universities for Nottingham initiative by strengthening our links with local employers and supporting graduate retention in the city.

Students of both universities participate in a number of employer-led workshops and have the option to attend an insight day and complete a 3-week ‘digital challenge’ project in mixed groups under the supervision of a digital marketing professional.

A version of the DMA has been delivered in collaboration with key local partner SMEs, Impression and Hallam, since 2017. NTU and UoN have historically run separate versions of the programme in parallel, involving a range of digital SMEs to deliver the event. The 2019/20 DMA was the first time the programme has been delivered jointly by Nottingham’s two universities.

[The DMA] is a truly unique look at allowing universities, students, and local agencies, like Hallam, to partner and work together to complement the undergraduate and postgraduate student experience in Nottingham.”

Kieran S-Lawler, Head of Content and Social Media at Hallam

The initiative provides mutual benefits to both students and employers alike. Students are able to gain an understanding of the different areas of digital marketing available and expand their knowledge of the sector and skillset needed. Industry peers can provide guidance on the skills and techniques required for specific roles, giving students more clarity on their options after graduating.

Employers are able to access local talent, raise their company profile and build links that could lead to a more prolonged work experience or permanent employment.

Digital Marketing Academy Workshop
A Digital Marketing Academy session

The Local Employers

During the 2019/20 Digital Marketing Academy, we were very pleased to work alongside local industry professionals:

  • Hallam
  • Impression
  • Diversity
  • Nuom
  • Status Social
  • Adtrak

Through a series of specialist presentations, workshops and interactive sessions, these employers were able to offer practical advice for all students participating in the series.

Tailored Workshops

All students taking part in the Digital Marketing were given the opportunity to take part in 4 workshops covering SEO, PPC, Social Media and Web – UX/UI. These were held across both University campuses.

Students were permitted to take part in at least one workshop in order to progress to the next stage, upon completion of 2 Google Accreditations relating to Digital Marketing, either:

  • Fundamentals of Digital Marketing
  • Analytics for Beginners
  • Adwords Fundamentals

These accreditations total around 9 hours of independent study and are recognised industry-wide for the solid grounding they provide learners. They are also and by graduate recruiters as evidence of candidates’ genuine interest in digital marketing.

Participants then had the opportunity to put their learnings into practice by taking part in an insight day and challenge

Of all the university initiatives we have partnered on, the DMA stands head and shoulders above the rest as making the most significant, noticeable difference to the employability of its participants."

Ben Garry, Content Specialist at Impression

Students at one of the DMA workshops

Success for All

The collaborative approach across the two Nottingham universities enabled digital marketing agencies to access a larger pool of potential applicants. Additionally, the larger scale programme gave more opportunities for students to utilise and enabled work to be carried out collaboratively across the institutions.

In comparison to 2018/19, there was an increased participation rate across all workshops and insight days. Over three-times as many students attended an insight day, while students from a widening participation background taking part in the scheme rose to 38%.

As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, students submitted their presentations electronically to their allocated employers who provided feedback remotely, instead of coming onto campus for the planned celebration evening.

Despite these challenges, we are very pleased to have had a number of students confirm work experience and placements as a result of taking part in the scheme. In fact, a 2019 NTU graduate has secured and started a graduate position with Diversity.

We would like to hear from you if you would be interested in taking part in the 2020/21 edition of the Digital Marketing Academy.

If you are interested, want to learn more on recruiting NTU students or Graduates into digital marketing roles or wish to access our talent, please contact

  • Notes for editors

    NTU was named University of the Year 2019 in the Guardian University Awards. The award was based on performance and improvement in the Guardian University Guide, retention of students from low-participation areas and attainment of BME students. NTU was also the Times Higher Education University of the Year 2017, and The Times and Sunday Times Modern University of the Year 2018. These awards recognise NTU for its high levels of student satisfaction, its quality of teaching, its engagement with employers, and its overall student experience. The university has been rated Gold in the Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework – the highest ranking available.

    It is one of the largest UK universities. With nearly 32,000 students and more than 4,000 staff located across four campuses, the University contributes £900m to the UK economy every year. With an international student population of more than 3,000 from around 100 countries, the University prides itself on its global outlook. The university is passionate about creating opportunities and its extensive outreach programme is designed to enable NTU to be a vehicle for social mobility. NTU is among the UK’s top five recruiters of students from disadvantaged backgrounds and was awarded University of the Year in the UK Social Mobility Awards 2019. A total of 82% of its graduates go on to graduate entry employment or graduate entry education or training within six months of leaving. Student satisfaction is high: NTU achieved an 87% satisfaction score in the 2019 National Student Survey.

    A total of 82% of its graduates go on to graduate entry employment or graduate entry education or training within six months of leaving. Student satisfaction is high: NTU achieved an 87% satisfaction score in the 2019 National Student Survey.

Published on 6 May 2020
  • Category: Business; Current students; Press office