A student’s perspective #Grads4nottm

Part 2 The company
   Log of how the week passed

Day 1

Following some careful navigation to the Boots site, on the outskirts of Nottingham. I was welcomed into a large room with a lot of other students. After a short wait, we were introduced to a manager working at Boots and a recent graduate working in Nottingham. They both gave us a small speech on how they managed to get into their jobs and about the benefits of working in Nottingham.

Information pack given

After these came a few ice-breaker  activities and a small welcome pack before we were introduced to our companies. It was an exciting moment, as we didn't know which company had issued which challenges. [I’m assuming this was probably to stop bias at the application stage as there was a mix between small and large companies and everyone would want to work for a big one.]  The company I was working for was a medium sized logistics company called Prolog, and I wasn’t the only one. After talking to our team leaders, Tim and Matt (Prolog), I found out I was working with a group of people doing other challenges.

 The group was consisted of:

Megan – Project Manager
Ryan, Michael and Sam – responsible for the SWOT analysis
Jason and Kwadwo working on web design
Me – responsible for benchmarking

After our initial face to face and a brief overview of the company, my team and I left after swapping numbers and arranging how to get to Prolog the next day.

 Day 2- 4

Photo from presentation
Waking up early, at 6 am I prepared myself for a long day. My new team had decided the day before that we would go together to Prolog in Megan’s car early the next morning. [ All participants’ commutes were different, depending on the company they worked with.] Prolog was just outside the city centre so we had a little further to travel and had to plan for this in advance. Arriving at 8 am, we proceeded to have our photos taken for our ID cards. Before filling out disclaimer forms, so we didn’t disclose any information about the company to their competitors.

After being given our photo ID’s to allow us to swipe in each morning, we were led on a tour of the facilities. As it was a logistics company, it was large, covering over 6 different sites and holding products from a variety of different partner companies. We were shown the range of methods used to process products and finally, taken to where we would be working for the next 3 days. Our team had an office to work in, fully set up with pens, paper, a flip-chart and computers. After compiling all our notes on the company we had gathered so far, we started work. As I was working on a bench marking analysis, my work was closely linked to the SWOT analysis. This meant I worked a lot throughout the days with Ryan, Sam and Michael.

The challenge passed very quickly as our whole group were very focused and enjoyed the work. We soon made light work of our challenges, finding lots of different ways to improve the company.

Final part coming soon...

A student’s perspective #Grads4nottm

Part one - The application

This is my team on the final day of our work on the graduates for Nottingham program
Me and the team
I’m Declan Manning, a third year student on the Business Management and Marketing course at Nottingham Trent University. I recently secured a place on the Graduates for Nottingham scheme or #Grads4notts for short. Graduates for Nottingham is a scheme where students, graduates and businesses such as Experian, Ikano bank and other small and medium businesses such as Appinstitute work together with Boots and the University of Nottingham Trent to resolve challenges facing industry.

Applying for a place on #Grads4nottm

As a third year student  getting increasingly close to graduating I understand the difference varied experience makes to a CV. This was my reason for applying for #Grads4nottm as it gives both a weeks worth of work experience and is a great opportunity for networking. To apply for this scheme, I submitted 250 word document outlining my skills and reasons why I was a suitable candidate for the week long programme. There was over 30 different challenges put forward by 25 different companies spanning from competitor analysis, design work, business & operation development, customer engagement and finally advertising and PR work.

Logo of the #Grads4Nottm program
Official #Grads4nottm logo
I chose competitor analysis as I found it best suited to strengths and fit in with the management aspect of my business degree. Before #Grad4nottm started, I was assigned a business challenge that involved completing a benchmarking analysis of the company. For anyone that’s unfamiliar with the term benchmarking analysis, this is an evaluation of the company and its competitors using the same criteria.

Bring on the challenge!

The challenge took place over the course of a week. Our first day was an induction to the scheme at Boots, and meeting the company we would be working with during the week. The following three days involved working on a specific project for the company. Our final day had been allocated to presenting our findings back to NTU and the relevant company. Once we had completed the scheme we had the opportunity to attend a networking session with all of the companies present in #Grads4nottm. This meant that I still had the opportunity to chat with all the companies.

To read part two click here!

Theatre Design Outreach

Tin soldier

Many people think outreach work is focused on grades and improving children’s chances of attending university. While this is a priority and a large part of the work undertaken, it is not the only way in which outreach work supports the community.
Peter Rumney and a team of second year Theatre Design students, working alongside pupils from Mellers Primary School, put together a play for 8-9 year olds as a part of Art & Design Outreach. The play itself was tailored for the young audience, and lasted for only 30 minutes – the intention of the team was to take the audience on a journey through the ‘life’ of a single broken toy soldier.

Why is it important?
The Theatre Design Course has a long-standing commitment to Outreach work, and to making NTU accessible and inspirational to young people who may not have been thinking that university was a possible route for them. That’s why we’ve developed so many relationships with local schools and colleges over the years, and why our collaboration with SCCO is so important to us and to the university as a whole.” – Peter Rumney academic & technical support

What’s the importance of outreach to the students?

As designers, and as graduates who will go on to work in a very wide range of professions, by exploring how young people learn, the undergraduates can reflect on their own learning here at NTU.’ – Peter Rumney

The Theatre Design Students involved in the ‘Tin Solder’ project explained the impact their involvement had on them. Nikki Charlesworth said; ‘It really helped me to understand how to work with children,’ and Ge Hatton went on to explain that ‘The project was important in helping to understand how my work as a designer can be translated into the real world’. Shelley Poole added ‘What I realised was that adults can underestimate just how much children understand about the world and complex things, like their emotions.”’
The play was engaging for the children and also helped in establishing a connection between the schools and University. Furthermore it allowed a chance for the students on the Theatre Design course a real-life insight into theatre work.
Tin Soldier is part of an established annual schedule of collaborative performances and the first in a line of outreach work for this year, with plans for Year 3 Theatre Design students to create their own show developed for an even younger children (and potential NTU students) in April with the support of NTU Outreach.

Launch Event

Pathways to Law launch

On the 4th of November 2015 I attended the launch for our new group of pathways to law students. This was very exciting as it was the first time we got to see the possible new barristers and lawyers of the future. With me was a small group of past Pathways to Law students to help tell new students why it was the right ‘pathway’ to their future.

Food & Coffee

The event kicked off with food coffee an information folder and a little chatting amongst the previous pathways and new cohort of students.


Welcoming the new students was our pathways team to introduce themselves and the journey that the students will be going on for the next two years. Covering the different events and the reason for attending Pathways to Law.
The Pathways team however could only explain so much as academics, therefore this was shortly followed by current university students studying law who attended Pathways to Law last year. Explaining their experiences from the journey and how it both helped them and their progression into studying law.

Icebreakers & Information on University

From here on families and students involved in Pathways to Law were divided and while parents went to a higher education finance talk. Students took part in active icebreakers to create a talking point for students and help them get to know each other.

Talk & Questions

After all the excitement and information the night drew to a close with a little talk about what’s to come for the students and finally answering any questions still held. 

Do you know what you’re doing after school finishes?

Future Proofing

I attended one of our departments Future Proofing sessions to have a look into what advice we give to Pre-16 students about Post-16 options.

What is it?
Future Proofing is basically what it says on the tin, the event is focused showing students to research areas relevant to their future to discover what qualification they may need to access them.
–This ranges from jobs, apprenticeships and higher education. Every different type of job or Higher Education has different entry requirements. This means after working out what you want to do the session would suggest how to get there.

How does it work?
The session was broken down into :

Meet greet & Eat
– The year 11 pupils and their families ate together with, and chatted to, our Student Ambassadors

What do you know?
–  The point of this part was it gave pupils an opportunity to ask any questions they had about student life in an informal setting receiving ‘real’ responses from ‘real’ students.

Chat & Research
– This I felt this was the most important part of the whole evening where Student Ambassadors moved around and chatted with the families and students about specific university questions.
– For those individuals who have not yet decided on a future career or pathway, there was a personality quiz to complete. Once complete this suggested areas compatible with the pupils answers in terms of careers to research.

Catch up & Questions
  – Finally pupils and families were asked to consider and state their next steps. For some the session had raised more questions than answers and they stated further research was needed. Others however had very specific ideas about the grades and pathways they needed to pursue. Finally at the end any questions that weren't answered at the start or throughout were quickly answered for peace of mind.

Future Proofing was a relaxed way of allowing for two specific things to happen. First it lets students understand what they may want to do in the future and the pathways to access those things. Secondly, undertaking this research allows them to make informed decisions about what they both can, and want, to do. Therefore it can be said the session ‘Future Proofed’ their Post – 16 choices.