March 21, 2019, by Postgraduate Placements Nottingham
Scoping a Digital Growth Strategy for Nottingham City
This week John Connelly, Digital Manager at Nottingham City Council’s Growth Hub talks about his experience of hosting two postgraduate placement students Deepesh and Sanket.
The UK has a proud history of digital innovation: from the earliest days of computing to the development of the World Wide Web, the UK has been a cradle for inventions which have changed the world. At Nottingham City Council’s Growth Hub we aim to ensure that the City of Nottingham has a leading role in developing that legacy by creating a thriving digital economy that boosts productivity, supports business to grow and creates jobs.
Being at the forefront of innovation often means knowing when you need to get in specialist skills or listen to a wider range of voices. As such, when we wanted to scope the development of a local digital strategy to drive digital business growth, we looked to the University of Nottingham’s Postgraduate Placements Nottingham (PPN) team to help us access the expertise of their research community. Hosting two postgraduate students offered our team additional skill-sets that we didn’t have in house, up to date knowledge, and an independence of view.
We encouraged Deepesh and Sanket to operate like consultants and they were very competent in that role; working effectively within our busy economic development team, reporting to connect senior managers, and networking with local businesses. Both students clearly appreciated the exciting opportunity to inform economic growth priorities for a UK Core City and, although their project was a challenging one, they completed it with professionalism and enthusiasm. Of particular note was a report that they personally presented to a group of 15 senior council officers and partner organisations. The presentation was excellent and they were able to provide some very valuable insights. They were also able to respond competently and confidently to difficult questions and provide more detail when asked; accordingly the feedback from those who attended was very positive.
“although their project was a challenging one, they completed it with professionalism and enthusiasm”
I believe the scoping work that Deepesh and Sanket undertook for us will make an important contribution to our work in the future, allowing us to make a compelling business case for a City Digital Growth strategy as well as recommendations for how this can be delivered in terms of scope, resources needed, and opportunities arising. I would definitely encourage other organisations and businesses to consider using a PPN placement student, especially where there is a task or project that requires specific skills not otherwise available.
For prospective placement students the advice I would give is to grasp the opportunity, strive to understand the requirements of the employer – especially if it is in a large organisation where there may be a range of different stakeholders, ask lots of questions and find out as much as you can by reading relevant documents and reports, and finally – if you can – find someone in the organisation who can support you and commit their time to your project.
If you are a company interested in hosting a postgraduate placement student please visit our webpage for more information.