Students help local employers solve business challenges as part of Grads4Nottm initiative

Date posted: June 29, 2023
Grads4Nottm – For web

More than 90 students from Nottingham Trent University (NTU) have worked with a range of local employers to solve challenges facing their businesses.

Grads4Nottm – in its 9th year – is NTU’s annual initiative highlighting Nottingham as a graduate destination by showcasing the range of businesses and employment opportunities that exist in the city. The event also allows businesses to gain access to the talents and skills of students at NTU.

More than 35 local employers from various business sectors submitted challenges for NTU students to complete and present their ideas at a showcase event.

One of these challenges involved an independent business called The Split Screen Coffee Company, which was started in a mobile camper van in 2015 by Jennifer Walker.

The student team was tasked with helping Jen in Split Screen Coffee’s transition to its new café site at Parker’s Yard on the site of the Framework Knitters Museum in Ruddington. The challenge involved redesigning the café seating area to increase capacity and generate a more welcoming space, while maintaining the museum’s heritage.

Kirsty Lemm, a Graphic Design student at Nottingham Trent University who worked on the project, said – “Grads4Nottm has been an amazing experience, Jen was so welcoming and it was great to learn more about her company but also the history of the venue that we worked with. It was also great to work with my student team-mate in the project who studied a totally different course and collaborate using our different skillsets.”

Jennifer Walker, founder of Split Screen Coffee Company, said – “As a small business owner, it’s so hard for me to find time for a project like this and to get some extra resource to give a fresh look at issues I was having with my business. I was able to access the students’ skills and creative ideas and saving me time and money. I’m looking forward to taking some of their concepts and ideas to the trustees of the museum to hopefully implement them in the near future.”

Another example was a challenge set by Nottingham City of Literature which seeks to ‘build a better future with words’.

The student team was tasked with creating content to promote a literature focused project aimed at young people aged 14-25 years old, encouraging them to engage with reading and writing for pleasure.

Lucy Linton, who studies Broadcast Journalism at NTU, said: “I love media, I love everything to do with reading and literature – so the project took lots of my passions and blended them together. It was fantastic being able to experiment with Adobe software tools and create some great content to promote the project on social media, on popular platforms like Tik Tok”.

Matt Turpin, Communications Coordinator at Nottingham City of Literature, said: “We’re veterans to the Grads4Nottm initiative and I always find it amazing that year on year it just gets better. The student team came on board, understood the task immediately, learned so much about Nottingham City of Literature and incorporated that into an amazing piece of work. The students’ use of Tik Tok and the engagement we received has now inspired our team to embrace a platform that previously we were not particularly knowledgeable or comfortable with. They have helped us better understand our younger audience and how we can communicate with them more effectively.”

The Grads4Nottm initiative concluded with each of the student teams presenting their ideas and work at a showcase event held in NTU’s Newton building. The teams were split up into groups and presented their work to several businesses including the business they completed a challenge for.

Valentina Corrao, Employer Engagement Officer at Nottingham Trent University, said: “I think this year’s Grads4Nottm event has been successful, we have received amazing feedback from both the employers and students. The initiative enabled students to gain hands-on experience in professional settings as they work with Nottinghamshire employers.

“Previously some participants have ended up being offered full time employment with the employer they worked with in Grads4Nottm. This year at least one employer taking part has offered a placement to one of the students who worked on a project with them which supports our objective to encourage students to stay on in the local area after graduating.”


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