Nottingham Trent University helps businesses to grow their talent pool

Nottingham Trent University helps businesses to grow their talent pool

Nott-Trent-SoR-IntroNottingham Trent University (NTU) has played a key role in making Nottingham one of the fastest growing cities in the UK for job creation.

With over 7,000 graduates entering the marketplace each year, the University is a crucial force in driving the local economy.

NTU has an excellent reputation for producing employable graduates. The Higher Education Review 2015 (Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education) recognised a sector-leading and innovative approach to employability and engagement of stakeholders.

Prioritising SME engagement

NTU recognised that many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) do not realise the benefits of working with a university. Some do not know who to approach, or how students and graduates could help to grow their business. Often they are unaware that they can proactively get involved and develop their own talent pipeline.

SME engagement is a high priority for NTU, and the University has concentrated on developing innovative employability initiatives to achieve this. The key has been a stakeholder model of delivery, addressing individual needs, and providing bespoke solutions. NTU’s Employability Team works one-on-one with SMEs, providing invaluable guidance and support. This includes tackling challenges like how to attract, select and retain the right people, and ways of raising their profile on campus. This has enabled many organisations who had never worked with a university before to benefit from student and graduate talent for the first time.

The NTU Employability team have implemented a wide range of initiatives to help SMEs, including accessing grants and funding to further boost engagement. In the past two years, grants from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Santander, and Nottingham City Council have enabled NTU to offer free and subsidised placements to well over 150 SMEs.

The strong relationships that have formed between the University and businesses as a result of this approach have led to opportunities beyond simply providing placements. For example, video and animation company Fat Free Media enjoyed such success with their first graduate placement that they plan to expand their team with more NTU graduates. They also want to deliver sessions on working in the creative industry to current NTU media students, giving them greater access to NTU’s skilled students, raising their profile across the University and nurturing the next generation of graduate talent.


Delivered by NTU, Boots UK, Nottingham City Council, and Nottinghamshire County Council, #Grads4Nottm is an intensive week-long work experience where students solve real-life business challenges. In 2015, 22 companies provided challenges to 70 students.

Crucially, the employer remains anonymous. This encourages students to apply for a challenge that really interested them, rather than being tempted by a well-known brand. The scheme highlights the huge opportunity presented by SMEs in the graduate labour marketplace, as well as promoting Nottingham as a great place to live and work.

Neil Rostance, Managing Director, Fat Free Media said:

“Working with the Employability Team has been very useful for us. Along with having an excellent idea of the skills NTU can provide, they have also understood our needs as a business.”


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