Nottingham Trent University's Graduate Development Programme equips graduates with the skills needed for the workplace


Great skills development via NTU Grad Development Programme

Great skills development via NTU Grad Development Programme

 February 13, 2020

Looking to kick-start a meaningful and highly rewarding career with a leading academic institution known for its excellence and support for women leaders? At Nottingham Trent University (NTU), women graduates have the opportunity to forge their careers via a unique development programme.

Designed exclusively for NTU graduates, the paid Graduate Development Programme (GDP) places participants in one of the university’s professional services departments and offers them the fabulous opportunity to develop the skills they need for the workplace.

There are many exciting placement areas to choose from, including: Business, Law & Social Sciences, Employability, Finance, Human Resources, Digital Technologies, Marketing, Planning, Vice-Chancellor’s Directorate, Sport, and many more.

Each role is designed to give participants the opportunity to discover their potential, identify their strengths and develop new skills, and NTU works to instill a sense of community within the GDP, providing a support network of like-minded young professionals.

The programme also comprises a variety of workshops and away days to help build graduates' professional skills. NTU takes a collaborative approach in designing its workshops, combining expert knowledge of talent development with the developmental needs of graduates.

Pathway to a dream career

NTU graduate development programme Kim Burt

So what’s life like for women participating in the programme? Kim Burt is an NTU graduate who thrived on the GDP and has now taken up an exciting Project Officer role within the university's HR department.

“I applied for a graduate role because I needed a full-time job that paid a full-time wage. I had applied for a few other jobs in administration at NTU and hadn’t got anywhere, so I was beginning to lose faith. Then, I saw the graduate role come up and knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t afford to waste,” Kim recalls.

“Being an NTU alumni I thought it would be an amazing place to work, and I really got more than I bargained for on the programme. I didn’t see myself as just a student in a full-time job any more, but a person on a path to their dream career.”

Building confidence and self-belief

Thanks to the GDP, Kim works in the career she dreamed about in HR. However, what’s really exciting for her is that the programme has given her fresh confidence and a sense of self-belief.

“My confidence was really low when I joined the programme, but knowing that there were other graduates in the same boat around me was a confidence booster. It was great having a support network around me as it’s hard to make friends when first coming out of university into a full-time role - and it can be intimidating to see people around you with so much more knowledge and experience,” says Kim.

Importantly, the programme helped Kim explore why she lacked confidence and, once she understood why, it was so much easier for Kim to work on ways to boost her self-assurance.

“I found the workshops on the programme so helpful. They are all tailored to us and what we needed so I was able to work on specific skills. Also, presenting our group project at the end was a great experience as I was able to get feedback from some of NTU’s most senior managers,” she comments.

“Before, I’d never have been able to hold a conversation with senior staff or stand in front of a room of people to deliver a presentation or a workshop. Now, thanks to the development opportunities, I can confidently take on these tasks and know I can do a good job of it.”

Developing a career with NTU

After her participation in the GDP, Kim knew without doubt that she wanted to stay at NTU, so she was super excited when she was offered a contract to support the university with projects in HR. After impressing her employer in this temporary role, she was soon offered a permanent position as a Project Officer in the Resourcing Shared Services team and also supported to complete her level 7 CIPD qualification.

“My main responsibilities are to work with the HR Manager to develop the Recruitment Shared Services model, and to work on projects that help streamline recruitment for managers and for us here in HR. I’m also responsible for huge data reports and presenting these to management and colleagues, and I advise on all matters to do with recruitment and immigration,” says Kim.

Kim is finding her personal development continues to build beyond the programme as she leads on numerous projects, is helping to shape a new team in HR, and is improving policies and practices in line with the university’s strategy - something she never thought she would be doing before the GDP.

“The graduate programme gave me skills and experiences to draw upon when times get tough in my career and really boosted my confidence,” Kim adds. “I would never have been able to hold a conversation with a senior leader before, but now I can confidently lead a meeting.”

Recommending the GDP to further women

NTU Graduate Development Programme

Kim is a strong advocate of NTU’s GDP and says that she would certainly recommend the programme to further women. In fact, she describes her experience on the programme as one of the best things she has done for her professional development.

“The GDP coached me to have the drive to push on when projects come to a stop rather than just buckling under the pressure. Most of all, it has helped me to think of myself as a professional,” Kim reflects.

“I would call it a stepping stone but the programme is more of a structural support that is going to get you off the ground. You have to put as much into it as you get back for it to be effective, but the hard work is so worth it. I wouldn’t be close to where I am now without the programme.”

Working with female role models

Kim also recommends NTU itself as a positive place to work, as she’s able to work with supportive colleagues, managers and knows that her ideas are valued. She feels particularly supported by the senior women she works with and who inspire her.

“It’s such a supportive environment to work in. When I was applying and interviewing for jobs I would feel so intimidated by all the top dogs in that organisation, but NTU has provided me with such strong female role models, such as my manager on the graduate programme, Amanda, and my current line manager, Rachel,” Kim explains.

“My HR director Jayne is also someone I also really look up to, having achieved such a huge portfolio in her career. They have all certainly given me a goal to work towards and reinforced that I can achieve my goals.”

Sharing some salient career advice

Finally, Kim shares her top career advice for further women looking to work at NTU: she believes that self-belief is key when it comes to making a mark at the university.

“Big yourself up. Trust that you are amazing at what you do, and that the organisation needs your skills,” she says. “Make it clear what you are good at, and always use the person specification to guide you. I know sometimes women may have difficulty talking about themselves, but give examples of where you have achieved something and what your role was in that achievement.”

Go from graduate to a thriving professional with NTU

NTU’s GDP programme is available exclusively for graduates of the university - so if you’re an NTU student or know of one, make sure this fabulous opportunity is known and find out more.

Early career and experienced professionals who haven’t studied with NTU can still get involved in some great opportunities at the university. There are many support, teaching and research roles available across a variety of areas.

Work with prime employer for women, NTU

Has reading this article sparked interest in working with NTU?

If so, search and apply for relevant job opportunities and take the next step for a wonderfully rewarding career.

 

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