Nottingham's Placement Programme

The University of Nottingham’s Faculty Placements Programme gives aspiring graduates the opportunity to gain valuable experience in the workplace, and our placement hosts benefit from the opportunity to attract and inspire our talented students into placements or graduate jobs. There are both paid and volunteer opportunities at local, national and even international level, across a wide range of organisations and businesses.

Nottingham students standing outside Ditchley Park.

If you’re an employer of any size (from SMEs to Corporates), or work for an organisation keen to build its talent pipeline - there are plenty of opportunities to get involved. You will be able to help ambitious students to expand their horizons and unleash their full potential, ready to enter the jobs market once they graduate.

Martin Smith (MSci Mathematical Physics, 1999) is the Chief Technology Officer at the Ditchley Foundation, which is a charitable organisation that “works with people from across the world to help sustain peace, freedom and order”. Ditchley aims to deliver on its mission through a programme of events with the majority taking place at the historic Ditchley Park, making full use of this important asset to the foundation.

The foundation has worked with Nottingham on student placements since 2020 and has hosted 11 separate cohorts of both summer and term-time placements for more than 40 students.

The students mainly work on participation focused research at events, which allows the foundation to understand the skills and expertise in its existing network of members. The research they conduct also allows the students to identify new people to engage with.

Martin Smith (MSci Mathematical Physics, 1999)

As well as giving the students valuable experience, ready for when they enter the jobs market, the placement programme also benefited Ditchley too.

“We are a small foundation with limited capacity for research and so the most-obvious benefit to us is the research that these expert students are able to do,” Martin told us. “As well as this, we find it incredibly useful to hear the views of aspiring individuals on the topics our foundation works on.

“We strongly believe that discussions need to involve a broad mix of viewpoints and expertise, so listening to the voices of students like these is crucial. This is so important to us that we have chosen to create an alumni network for our past interns, hosting events for them and keeping them involved as members of the Ditchley family.”

One of those students has taken part in the programme and worked with Martin at the foundation is George Buttery (Geography, 2022), current MA International Relations student. The experience helped him to “enrich a range of skills”.

Martin Smith (MSci Mathematical Physics, 1999)

George Buttery (Geography, 2022)

“I wanted to take part because I wanted to challenge myself outside of the degree and develop my own experiences in terms of employability,” said George, “but also other transferable skills – confidence, communication and presentation, data science skills, research and so forth.

“The simple fact of having experience beyond your university degree enhances your career prospects immediately. It shows an interest outside of university and academia, and allows you to apply research skills from both quantitative and qualitative perspectives, not just for your university work but for a real-world organisation.”

Finally, we asked Martin what he would say to any prospective companies that are thinking of applying to take part in the programme.

“For sure just reach out and discuss this with Nottingham. I think the secret to making this work is a good project and, if you think you have something suitable, then I’d certainly recommend you discuss this with the team,” said Martin.

“The other piece of advice is that with anything like this you get out of it what you put in and so, while the students are independent and would probably be able to go off and run with whatever you assign them, to make the most of it you will benefit from setting aside time to supervise their work. I have to say I really look forward to the calls I have with them, learning about their progress and their thinking as they engage with their work.”

george buttery