Computer Science students at The University of Nottingham are offered a unique opportunity to gain valuable work-related skills as well as giving something back to the community through the IT Community Consultants Project. The Project involves students working together in small teams over a three month period to advise a local charity or voluntary organisation on an IT-related issue. This year’s students have worked with learning disability charity Mencap, volunteer-led art gallery, The Surface Gallery and education charity, 11TECH18.
The students receive comprehensive support from the University to ensure they develop useful skills such as team working and the process of taking a brief from a client. This also ensures the students can be of real benefit to the organisation. Technical Advisors who are University staff working daily in IT consultancy are available to the students to provide them with technical advice and support. The Careers and Employability Service host workshops on problem solving and working together. Regular action learning sets are held to enable the students to discuss issues and problems that arise throughout the project.
Ben Alexander is a second year Computer Science student and has been working with 11TECH18 to support them in their decision making for the purchase of new computers for their training room. He said, “One of main skills I have gained so far is the necessity of effective communication between our group as well as the charity. I have also gained a more in depth understanding of how each computer component affects a computer’s performance in differing degrees.”
Kathryn Wright from the Careers and Employability Service is one of the driving forces behind the project. She said, “The Careers Service is committed to providing a range of opportunities for our students to engage with potential employers. This project provides just such an opportunity and gives the students a real-life experience that will be a valuable experience to draw on in the future. ”
Jacqui Storey works for the University’s Community Partnerships Team and collaborates with the charities to develop the projects. She said, “The University has many successful partnerships with local organisations and this particular project is one of the jewels in our crown. We are able to offer enthusiastic and talented students as a resource to charitable organisations who face challenging times and this injection of expertise is highly valued.”
The project will be running again in the 2013/14 academic year with recruitment taking place in October/ November. For further information, contact Kathryn Wright Tel 0115 7484526
Posted on Monday 22nd April 2013