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NTU Employability's Spotlight Series - Edition One: Grads4Nottm

As 2021 draws to a close, the Employability team here at NTU are reflecting on another year of ideas, events and initiatives.

Students studying

As we continue to navigate the evolving higher education and early careers landscape, there are many great successes to celebrate and opportunities to explore moving forwards.

To bring together our collective reflections, we have scheduled a number of spotlight stories over the coming weeks. Revisiting Grads4Nottm 2021, the Digital Marketing Academy and Graduate Internship Scheme, plus a wealth of virtual employer-led events, these snapshots will share an insight into what another year in the Employability department had to offer.

Our first edition introduces the established NTU initiative, Grads4Nottm.

June 2021 – Grads4Nottm

Returning for its 7th year, Grads4Nottm arrived in June. Taking place virtually for the second year running, this year’s initiative ran as the biggest ever programme featuring:

  • 42 employers (including 1 internal challenge from NTU)
  • 46 challenges
  • 149 students and graduates completing the project (67% of which were Rise eligible)

Serving as an invaluable opportunity for businesses to showcase their brand, access fresh ideas and skills from NTU talent and for students and graduates to gain practical work experience, Grads4Nottm can be marked as one of the great successes of 2021.

A number of employer hosts reflected:

Having the benefit of a young and dynamic approach to a challenge facing our business. It has also pushed us out of our comfort zone and challenged us to look at great new ways of taking our business forward in the world of social media, and website optimisation, as well as for attracting new younger customers.(Neil Coles, Coles Sewing Centre)

It's also been a great demonstration of why sometimes it's better to hire graduates over somebody with years of experience you get new thinking and interesting viewpoints.” (Greg Tudor, UNiDAYS)

For the students who took part, it proved to be a great experience too:

I got to use the theory I learned at university in a real-world environment.

(Second Year Marketing Student)

I believe that G4N is one of the best things that NTU has ever created and another reason why the Employability (and the various other teams that work on these) are a very valuable part of NTU and the NTU student experience.

(Cyberpsychology Masters Student)

Long-Term Benefits

The benefits of participating in the two-week initiative are far-reaching and go well beyond the final day of the programme:

  • 90% of employers said they would keep in touch with their teams, with a number of employers offering further support, training and guidance as well as access to office space
  • 100% said that after taking part in the G4N they would be interested in accessing NTU students in the future
  • 86% of employers said they would be implementing the ideas submitted by their teams; examples include: investigating the use of more sustainable raw materials, using promotional videos produced by the team, creating digital ads using the assets created by the students, using databases created by the team.
Group of students outside Newton

Spotlight Story

Following their excellent contributions to Clearview Med UK during Grads4Nottm, one group of students have since been offered a follow up opportunity to illustrate a children’s storybook for an agreed fee, with potential further projects in the future.

Dr Awan and her daughter conceptualised a storybook 10 years ago, with the aim of supporting their treatment of children diagnosed with a lazy eye condition, which is often “long, arduous and challenging”. The book has since gone through a significant transformation but needed a breath of fresh air to the illustrations, prior to publication.

Here is where Grads4Nottm stepped in, providing Clearview with the new ideas and illustrative skills of NTU students to bring their beloved storybook to life. Both Dr Awan and her daughter stated that it was an emotional journey but were pleased with the group’s output following a “strenuous two-week project, undertaken through COVID-19”.

Dr Awan summarised that Grads4Nottm is:

a great opportunity for students of NTU to showcase talent in the region and a platform to support [Clearview’s] ongoing future projects during their tenure with the university and after graduation.

The storybook is now available on Amazon, paperback and kindle and ebooks.

Looking Ahead

Applications for Grads4Nottm 2022 employer challenges are now closed. Follow our social media channels to keep up-to-date with the latest news about this year's initiative.