February 4, 2021, by Postgraduate Placements Nottingham

Placements changing perspectives for hose and fittings business

In this week’s blog Rebecca Galley, Managing Director of Hydroscand UK, discusses her experience of hosting a University of Nottingham postgraduate researcher on a placement with the company. The placement was funded by UKRI ESRC Accelerating Business Collaboration.

Hydroscand is a family owned business operating in 20 countries. Present in the UK since 2002, we see great opportunities for the business to grow in several markets here and had been looking at creating a new business growth strategy when we heard about the Researcher Academy’s Postgraduate Placements Nottingham (PPN) programme through the Nottinghamshire Manufacturing Network.  The opportunity to work closely with a University of Nottingham postgraduate researcher with relevant specialist skills on an externally funded project was very appealing.

 Sales team meeting

~ Sales team meeting

The project involved identifying and evaluating trends in target market sectors in order to analyse our company’s value proposition, and to make suggestions as to how we might be well positioned to help customers in the identified sectors. To carry out this work we were looking for a researcher with a strong understanding of market and industry research techniques and qualitative research methods. They needed to have excellent reporting, presentation, and communication skills. The PPN team at the Researcher Academy organised the recruitment and interview process on our behalf and we were very pleased to take on Ishrar, a postgraduate researcher from the University of Nottingham Business School, for the project.

As it was our first time hosting this type of project-based placement, and of course under the pandemic work and travel restrictions too, it took a little while to communicate and agree the best approach and structure for the project. The experience of the PPN team really helped to smooth and facilitate this process, however, and we quickly managed to develop effective communication processes with Ishrar. In fact, a side benefit of the project is that we now have a good process for getting this type of project going should we host another placement or internship in the future.

The placement project ran on a flexible-hours basis for the equivalent of around six weeks and Ishrar completed market research into three industries. As the culmination of her work, Ishrar made a presentation to our sales team who described it as excellent and said it had armed them with so much more knowledge. They also felt that Ishrar answered questions competently, intelligently and with highly relevant information.

The placement has provided our sales team with a new perspective on their markets and customer industries. Conversely, we valued being able to give Ishrar access to and a deeper understanding of the business environment. In particular, she gained knowledge of supply chains, market research and a broader understanding of the industrial sector of the economy.

We would definitely recommend Postgraduate Placements Nottingham (PPN) to other businesses as a good fit where there is a need for low-cost, innovative, specialist input on discreet, time-sensitive projects. The expertise and hands-on support of the PPN team at University of Nottingham make the placements easy to set-up and highly adaptable.

If you are a business interested in offering a postgraduate placement please visit our webpage for more information.

Posted in Placements