Following Lockdown, interest and demand for local provision of activities had increased and West Lindsey District Council were looking to support residents with more activities on their doorstep.
In their efforts to increase tourism in the town of Market Rasen, the Council partnered with the Graduate Skills Builder scheme to help them develop and deliver a new educational trail. The idea of trails is popular across several key provisions, including being outside and providing exercise, having the opportunity to be educational or challenging, providing footfall to local businesses along the trails and providing potential social activities for families or the local community. Successful trails also have the potential to increase tourist activity in the area and therefore help to support local businesses.
The project team extensively researched the local area around Market Rasen to highlight key landmarks and businesses that could be utilised on the trail. Activities the group came up with included but were not limited to photo opportunities and challenges. Another suggestion was also to tailor the activities on the trail around different national holidays and events.
This project was in partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions, the Citizen’s Advice Service, and the City of Lincoln Council.
The project aimed to investigate how the COVID-19 Pandemic impacted users of the three organisations’ services – especially those most at risk of crisis. To achieve this, the project team collaborated with local charities to discuss how they have adapted their services to support those at risk.
The students also developed a survey which was distributed through external partners to investigate the experience of individuals with the offered services of the Department for Work and Pensions, the Citizens Advice Service, and the City of Lincoln Council. The findings of this survey suggested the need for community outreach events, where the three organisations and a range of other charities come together to reconnect with the community. Other recommendations included a multi-method approach to services and improved marketing over success stories, to showcase the great work the three organisations are doing and to encourage those in need to come forward.
In this project, students were able to liaise with three businesses, gaining vital experience by engaging multiple stakeholders simultaneously. Furthermore, the students were given the opportunity to communicate with local charities, gaining an insight into how vulnerable people are impacted in society and how their solutions and recommendations can positively impact the people of Lincolnshire.
Established in 2004, Lincs Prime Fresh is a food delivery service that supplies a wide range of locally sourced products across Lincolnshire.
Their business model originally drew focus upon door-to-door sales and telemarketing, which has seen steep drops in effectiveness in recent years due to the fear of scams, the growth of the internet, and, most recently, the COVID-19 Pandemic.
To discover how to recruit new customers and increase existing customer spend, the project team conducted competitor research, delivered a survey to existing customers of Lincs Prime Fresh, and conducted a SWOT analysis of their current business strategy. The project team focused their recommendations upon improving the business’ social media presence through the investment in paid Facebook advertising, as well as updating the company’s website, and improving the marketing of the business by company vehicle decals and vinyl wraps. The business offered a large amount of collaboration time with the students, often working together to come up with effective solutions that could be implemented into the business. Each student working on the project was able to bring their area of expertise to the research which resulted in a well-rounded and informed report highlighting the development opportunities for the business.
As a result, this project was a resounding success, with Lincs Prime Fresh approaching the students for summer employment opportunities at the end of the project.
Complete Careers is a partnership of experienced professionals who aimed to develop their reputation as national thought provokers and providers of career-related services to schools and other academic institutions.
Complete Careers asked the project team to review their branding and current engagement practices to understand what changes they could make to increase the growth of their company in the future.
The student group split this project into several sections, with each member of the team focusing on one core element of the research. This included investigating re-branding options for Complete Careers by exploring the brands of similar organisations and how they effectively capture their business’s message. The team also provided suggestions for how the company newsletter and website could be updated and re-structured as well as improvement methods for social media engagement with their clients.
The group were able to bring their individual skills together to produce a comprehensive report paired with a well-delivered presentation to members of the business.
Based within the University of Lincoln, the Student Life team aims to create a range of accessible media that both promotes campus-wide initiatives and provides a resource to students looking for additional support.
Outside of the teaching environment, Student Life provides a full wrap-around support service for students. The Graduate Skills Builder project team was asked to investigate how effective public health messaging could be specifically tailored to better target a student audience.
To answer this question, the student project team created and disseminated a survey to students asking about how they best engage with material online and which social media platforms they use the most. Utilizing the results from this survey, the group produced a detailed report highlighting key social media trends and developed suggestions for areas that Student Life could strengthen their practice. The students were able to draw comparisons with the work of other institutions and allow this to inform the suggestions for Student Life.
The students on this project were able to work on a real-life pressing issue by feeding into the essential work the Student Life team produced. Specifically, by providing suggestions to improve the distribution of informative COVID-19 content.
The role of the Police Crime Commissioners (PCC) is to be the voice of the people and hold the police to account.
A PCC’s aim is to reduce crime and deliver an effective and efficient police service in their force’s local area. To help achieve this goal, the PCC consults with residents of Lincolnshire annually. The project group was asked to report on best practices and suggest recommendations for increasing the scope of audience engagement in the PCC’s annual survey.
To start the project, the group conducted a range of demographic research within the Lincolnshire region which had shown to be lacking in responses from previous years. This allowed the team to narrow their focus of recommendations on areas that would prove most effective. Some of the solutions to increase survey responses included partnering with external businesses to aid the promotion of the survey and having more marketing materials in specific areas of low uptake. The students also performed an analysis of the survey itself and provided suggestions to the PCC to improve the survey’s accessibility which would mean that all users had a fair chance of completing it.
The group benefitted from working together on a project that, for most of the students, was very different from the contents of their degree subject- giving them a range of transferable skills that they could take forward and implement into their future careers.
Serving to protect the citizens of the county, Lincolnshire Police cover the non-metropolitan county of Lincolnshire and are one of the largest police forces in England and Wales, covering over 2,800 square miles and a population of around 736,000 people.
As a result of the service’s size, there are a wide variety of graduates roles available whether you’re interested in becoming a police officer or interested in a different career path entirely – there’s something for everyone! Because of this reason, the Graduate Skills Builder team partnered with Lincolnshire Police to deliver 6 projects aimed to showcase the types of work opportunities available within the police.
The Community Differences Challenge
The first challenge with Lincolnshire Police aimed to explore the reasons certain areas of the county which, on the surface, seemed very similar regarding demographic or house prices had significantly different levels of crime.
The project team focused their research on four areas, using Lower Layer Super Output Areas (LSOA’s – a small geographical location classified for simplicity and data analysis). These areas included two areas of low deprivation and two areas of high deprivation, to allow for comparisons in criminological, sociological, and geographical differences. The group’s recommendations included partnering with schools to improve police perceptions from a young age, as education appeared to be a major factor in differing crime rates. Other recommendations included focusing on Anti-Social Behaviour (a crime prevalent across all areas, irrespective of the level of deprivation) by working with partner organisations, providing educational activities, and targeting key areas of repeat offending.
This project benefitted from the collaborative input of members of Lincolnshire County Council as well as the EMPAC to assist with research and data interpretation.
The Problem-Oriented Policing Challenge
The Problem-Oriented Policing Challenge was the second in a series of successful projects with Lincolnshire Police. This project evaluated the effectiveness of Problem-Oriented Policing and how it has been implemented within Lincolnshire.
Problem-Oriented Policing is an analytical approach used to pinpoint the causes of crimes so that an appropriate response strategy can be deployed.
The project team focused on how other police forces across the UK have applied this method of policing and how Problem-Oriented Policing can be further promoted, both within Lincolnshire Police and in the wider Lincolnshire community. Recommendations included adopting a Problem-Oriented Policing incentive scheme, delivering further training to ensure a culture shift of acceptance towards modern policing styles, and working with external partners to promote and utilise community outreach within this style of policing.
The group of students in this project were able to see first-hand how more contemporary methods of policing are utilised in tackling common issues and were able to act as third-party consultants to assess problem-oriented policing. On top of this, they were able to recommend ways to improve the implementation of this method of policing, forming networks within the police force in the process and influencing future policing research.
The Domestic Violence Challenge
The prevalence of domestic violence is slightly higher in Lincolnshire than the national average, so Lincolnshire Police asked the project team to investigate prevention methods to reduce the risk of domestic violence in the county. The group also explored the factors and demographics of repeat victimisation to influence future policing strategies.
The project investigated the impact of alcohol on domestic violence-related crimes, finding this to be a huge contributing factor across a range of demographics. One of the key drivers for the group’s recommendations was the strive to change the perceptions of domestic violence. The student’s research brought to light that 1 in 5 of those surveyed believed it to be acceptable behaviour in certain situations. The group’s recommendations included school visits, targeting individuals at a younger age, as well as community outreach sessions in areas with high rates of domestic violence.
As a common issue shared by many police forces, the student group in this project gained great insight into the factors causing and as a result of domestic violence. They were also able to recommend steps to combat the prevalence and risk of domestic violence which would, in turn, have a positive impact on cases of domestic violence in the region.
The Rural Crime Reduction Challenge
Lincolnshire is made up of a large variety of communities and areas, from rural farmland to the busy city of Lincoln. This diversity means that different policing approaches are needed concerning the types of crime that persist within specific areas of the county. When looking to adapt to this challenge, Lincolnshire Police asked the Graduate Skills Builder project team to explore rural crime reduction strategies and come up with a range of solutions to combat crimes in rural areas of the county.
When tackling the challenge, the project team came up with a range of solutions that fell into two key areas of their research: Methods to improve community relationships and, enhanced technological security. Their recommendations included data-tagging agricultural vehicles and strategies to improve overnight protection and reduce the change of theft. As well as promoting the use of camera traps to help livestock protection. The group benefitted from an in-depth conversation with members of Lincolnshire Police about their findings and discussions on how the team could implement the solutions into the real world.
The Missing Persons Challenge
With reports of missing persons rising steadily since the standardisation of recording data in 2013, Lincolnshire Police wanted to identify the trends and key factors that may explain missing person cases and develop recommendations to reduce the prevalence of missing persons in the region. Due to the availability of geographical data, the project team focused their research on demographic trends for missing persons and focused their research on adults and children who go missing voluntarily, as well as benchmarking with other police services.
Recommendations for children included an increased number and improved advertising of youth clubs, as well as improved collaboration with schools to ensure children are aware of where they can turn to. It was found that adults were much more likely to face harm as a result of going missing, despite going missing less frequently. The group generated their recommendations based on this research which included the promotion of support groups and improving the partnerships with local charities as well as engaging with communities that are typically less involved with the police. The students in this group were able to influence ongoing research into an important problem area for the county and see a real positive benefit to the work they put into the project.
The Vulnerable Children Challenge
The final project with Lincolnshire Police sought to examine the risk factors regarding vulnerable children across the county and their likelihood of being victims of exploitative crimes. The student team worked together to analyse the effectiveness of Lincolnshire Police’s current preventative schemes alongside a breakdown of the materials that Lincolnshire police use as guides for approaching these kinds of crimes.
At the close of the project the team successfully used the data and resources they found to provide a range of useful recommendations for Lincolnshire police going forward. These included re-assessing some of the wording used in literature to ensure that parents can better safeguard their children. Online safety was also a key concern with members of the team highlighting ways in which the police’s website could be altered to not put those reporting crimes at risk.
The solutions the students came up with were presented to members of the Lincolnshire Police team in a collaborative online call in which the students worked together with the police to suggest how these changes could effectively be implemented going forward.
As a result of the students’ hard work and collaborative work with Lincolnshire Police, all 6 projects have been nominated for a national award in policing innovation with the East Midlands Policing Academic Collaboration!
After the success of their first Graduate Skills Builder project, Micronclean wanted to investigate how their company culture supports their employees at work.
Micronclean have invested a great deal of resources into the development of their SKIEs initiative (Stewardship, Knowledge, Innovation & Excellence) which is used to support employees by providing strategic direction, informing business decisions, and ensuring the customer is firmly at the centre of everything the business does.
To explore this, the project team developed a collaborative survey with Micronclean which was then distributed to all employees.
Once the results had been analysed, a series of case-study interviews were conducted to investigate the findings further, uncovering insights into the company’s culture. It was found that over 90% of respondents were proud to work for Micronclean and would recommend them as an employer. The findings of the students’ research informed a series of recommendations such as:
- Improving staff communication channels to be more accessible for all members of staff.
- Increased development of SKIEs initiative for new employees to better embed their company culture.
- Developing agreed and actionable goals for all employees.
In this project, the students had the opportunity to assess and reflect on how a company’s culture can support their employees at work and use this to consider how this might impact their future career prospects. The group also benefitted from a formal presentation that was delivered to a panel of Micronclean’s managerial team.