Undergraduate students by fountains on Market Square with Nottingham Council House in the background, Nottingham

Students bring a fresh perspective to public policy

November 2nd, 2017

The growth of a partnership with Nottingham City Council has seen more students contributing to the local community.

University of Nottingham students have taken part in placements at the council, undertaking a day of work every week over 10 weeks in various departments, including corporate marketing, HR and transport.

The success has seen an increase in the number of City Council placements offered to students – with up 20 students set to take part this year.

Stephen Vaccarini, Student Services Senior Administrator Placements Partnerships & Mobility at the University of Nottingham, said: “We had a number of students in the politics department show an interest in placements in local government. The council was the obvious choice and the scheme has grown from there.

“Individual Schools had worked ad-hoc with the council previously, but since the creation of a placements team within the new Student Services structure we became aware that we could develop a much stronger placement offer for the council by combining our collective strengths. We worked cross-faculty to put in a proposal and that’s when we were able to get the placements up and running.”

Martin Thorley is a PhD student at Nottingham. He worked with NCC to assist with the production of a report measuring the impact of the city’s engagement with China.

He said: “I have a background of working in China and believe strongly that students should endeavour to give back to university towns and cities in which they are based so this was an ideal opportunity to assist Nottingham. As a Sino-British relations PhD research student, the placement expanded my understanding of British-Chinese links at regional level and it’s been positive to work with the council here.”

Other successes include Joanna Mills and Harry Parker (School of Politics, 2017) who both used their NCC work experience to secure post-graduation jobs at Westminster City Council and the Local Government Association via the National Graduate Development Scheme. Recent graduates Lisa Hancock (Geography) and Ellen Cooper-Tydeman (Sociology) joined the council last month in the Traffic and Safety and Energy Services Teams respectively. They are the first of eight graduates to be taken on by the council.

Councillor Sam Webster, Portfolio Holder for Business, Education and Skills at Nottingham City Council, said: “As well as being committed to ensuring that there is sufficient support and guidance for everyone who needs help finding work or training, we are also doing our bit as a large employer. We’re committed to offering work experience placements to young people including school pupils, college students and university students. These placements can lead on to employment within the council or with other employers. Nottingham is home to two world class universities and by working with them we’re aiming to retain talented graduates.”

The partnership is helping to bring about a culture change at NCC, paving the way for a younger generation of workers who are all local residents.

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