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Catherine Ajani – Innovation Project Coordinator

Catherine is currently on the NTU Graduate Development Programme (GDP) working in the Directorate office for the Vice Chancellor. She is loving the Programme and is already seeing that it's positioned her at a great starting point in her career.

Being offered this role straight after my degree was an honour, and the opportunity to create and implement changes and leave a legacy at NTU is a bonus.

Growing up in a town, I knew I wanted to experience living in a vibrant city and attend a university that was student focused. Luckily, I found both here in Nottingham. I recall my move in day, I jokingly told my family that I wouldn’t be returning home after my degree. At the time we all laughed, thinking “yeah sure, of course”. However, over the years I started seeing this “joke” as a possibility.

In my final year, I was completing a Masters and applying for graduate schemes and I came across the GDP at NTU. I first heard about the it on the application deadline day, I panicked and instantly applied, having only read a little about it. An opportunity to stay in Nottingham and work for the University of the Year? I was sold immediately. I attended the assessment centre where I was shortlisted for an interview with the Vice Chancellor, and I was thrilled to be offered the role.

Working in the Directorate office for the Vice Chancellor is not what I thought I’d be doing after my degree. However, being offered this role straight after my degree was an honour, and the opportunity to create and implement changes and leave a legacy at NTU is a bonus. As a student you never quite understand how much work goes on behind the scenes to ensure things run smoothly. It’s become clear to me that the awards NTU has recently received for its teaching, student satisfaction, and social inclusivity truly reflect the hard work of all the 4,000+ members of staff.

I’ve seen an immense amount of growth in myself since working at NTU, both professionally and personally. I have a great support network from the Vice Chancellor, my line manager, and Alistair and Amanda from the GDP team. The monthly workshops which focus on topic areas such as resilience, and frequent progress meetings with my line manager and GDP team help me understand how I can get the most out of the Programme. As well as this, working collaboratively with colleagues in various departments across the University has enabled me to develop skills outside of my job role.

It sounds cliché to say, but the Programme is amazing. I’ll always be grateful for this opportunity and how much the University has invested in me. It’s given me a competitive edge and positioned me at a great starting point in my career, so watch this space! My advice to anyone considering applying to the GDP is don’t over think it and just do it, you’ll be glad you did.

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