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A perfect partnership

Leslie McDonald  and Rachel Hoskins - work placements

Leslie McDonald (MSc Entrepreneurship, 2009), Executive Director of the Nottingham Counselling Service (NCS) wanted digital to be a transformational part of their business strategy. So he engaged one of our graduates, Rachel, via a placement to deliver the project. Here's how their partnership worked – and how a Nottingham student or graduate could help your business too. 

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Why University of Nottingham graduates and students? 

University of Nottingham graduates are some of the most sought after by employers, according to The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide and High Fliers

"At the NCS, we provide counselling for people with a variety of common mental health issues. Digital is such a key part of everyone's lives today and that includes healthcare. It's why I see a strong digital presence as an intrinsic element of our offering, so we can help more people and also attract vital funding support for our services," said Leslie.  

"It's been very straightforward to set up a placement with the University! What I've liked in particular, is that I didn't get what I was expecting. I thought I was looking for somebody with a marketing or business background, but I found an archaeology graduate who was a perfect match for the role. Rachel's attitude combined with her experience in digital marketing and background in campaigning is what we needed." 

"The quality of students coming out of the University is high calibre. I feel that young people bring a new perspective – as they're outside the organisation they can have a more objective view on how things work and will ask the questions that others won't. They help challenge us in terms of our thinking and development."

What do our students and graduates think?

By taking the internship, Rachel Hoskins (Archaeology, 2016) bought new skills into the NCS, while developing her employability and confidence.

"I've been able to make a real impact through the placement that hopefully won't be forgotten – I'm not just an intern that made the tea," said Rachel. 

"It's an opportunity to really find yourself as a professional. It's not an easy job market as a graduate – a placement or internship gives you an opening. It allows you to develop in lots of different ways, and I think is the only practical environment you can do that in without getting stuck in a job. I'd highly recommend that students go for a placement – you might find something you love. I got to redevelop the NCS website - seeing the positive results come pouring in has been really satisfying." 

How to make the most of the opportunity

"My advice is to be clear about the project you're offering but don't have all of the details worked out," said Leslie. "Your placement student may come with new ideas you haven't thought of, and if everything is fixed it doesn't allow them the scope for flexibility or innovation. It's important to trust in that young person and their judgement. Rachel delivered an excellent project for us on time and to budget, and bought in additional skills that weren't part of the original brief. 

"If you're thinking of creating an internship in your organisation, only offer a placement if you’re going to take the student or graduate as a serious professional. They've got so much to offer - if you just want someone to fill a seat then don’t go for a Nottingham student. But you could potentially be missing out on an employee that could make a huge difference. Be committed to the fact that you’re going to take a bit of a risk then let the results speak for themselves."

Register an opportunity 

Here at the University, we facilitate a range of placement and internship opportunities to suit a broad range of students and employers. Could you benefit from a Nottingham student or graduate in your organisation? 

Options are flexible - it could be a 6-12 week internship, part of a specific project, a year in industry or a role that can be completed in 1-2 days a week. 

Whatever you want to achieve, if you'd like to explore how a Nottingham student could help you - simply complete our register your placement form and a member of our placements team will be in touch within a week.

We generally expect placements and internships to be paid.

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