March 30, 2023, by Postgraduate Placements Nottingham

How a postgraduate researcher helped us focus on the next step for our business

A blog from Grace Holland of Cultivate IT about the experience of hosting a postgraduate placement student.

As a small business with ambitious plans, we were excited to learn about the Researcher Academy’s Postgraduate Placements programme at the University of Nottingham.

Photo credit: Desola Lanre Ologun (Unsplash)

At Cultivate IT, we have been helping schools and businesses with IT support for over 18 years, and making a positive impact has always been at the heart of our ethos. In 2020, we decided to do more by focusing on ‘sustainable IT’ and by helping other organisations manage the environmental impact of their IT systems. We know that investing in technology for business growth is essential, but now more than ever, minimising the negative environmental impact is a priority, so we want to help our customers limit the over-consumption of resources.

Sharing our ambition with Dr Rose Saikayasit, Senior Executive Corporate Partnerships led to a conversation about the Researcher Academy (RA) Postgraduate Placements programme. The programme sounded like an ideal opportunity to help us focus on the next step for our business, so Rose put us in touch with the PPN team. Following an initial conversation, we signed up for the programme. From there, the RA Placements team supported us with every step of the recruitment process, from writing our project brief to preparing for interviews.

When we interviewed Affaf, a master’s degree student at the Nottingham University Business School, we were impressed with her work as a research associate at a fintech start-up. Affaf explained that she had carried out extensive industry research and market analysis. This previous experience was a good fit for our project, which involved researching sustainable IT to identify new technologies and best practices, so we offered Affaf a placement. We agreed on a start date of Monday, 16th March 2020, the same week the Coronavirus pandemic led to the nationwide lockdown in the UK. With travel and meeting restrictions in place, we quickly established a virtual working routine, meeting regularly online to share ideas and track progress.

Affaf immersed herself in secondary data, such as industry reports and journals, to understand sustainability in the IT industry. She then collated the information and helped us identify sustainable solutions. The research also raised questions, so Affaf assisted us in creating an online survey that provided valuable insights. Affaf’s work has helped us to drill deeper into, and gain clarity around, this niche area. Her final recommendations will make a solid contribution to our business plans.

We are very grateful for the opportunity to access support from the PPN programme, and the fresh perspective Affaf has given our project. We are also pleased the placement provided opportunities for Affaf to use her skills and knowledge. We can recommend this programme to students wanting to gain valuable work experience and to organisations of any size that would benefit from additional knowledge and skills.

Thank you to Affaf and everyone in the Researcher Academy’s Placements team.

If you are an organisation interested in hosting a postgraduate placement why not contact the Researcher Academy on Linkedin?

Posted in PlacementsResearcher Academy