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A 22 year old University of Salford student is getting the chance to gain valuable work experience during a 12-month placement within the council’s Human Resources (HR) and Organisational Development (OD) function, thanks to a new joint initiative between Salford City Council and University of Salford.

Georgiana Matoianu, who lives in Salford, was one of a group of final-year HR Management students who took part in the innovative initiative, which was launched last September to: improve the student experience; develop the HR Management degree; and enable the council to ‘tap into’ the university’s knowledge base and develop its talent pipeline.


As well as having the opportunity to visit the council and meet the City Mayor with their lecturer Chris Doran, the initiative enabled the students to see the activities of an HR and OD function at first hand. They were also able to discuss what it’s like to work in HR and OD during a Q&A session with members of the council’s HR and OD team.

And to enable the group of undergraduates to put their theoretical knowledge into practice, the council identified seven key project areas on its HR and OD agenda for the students to discuss, before they were asked to choose one as the topic of their final-year assignment project.  


After working on their chosen projects, the group returned to present their proposals to a joint council and university panel, in the hope that theirs would be the one short-listed, and as a result, win them the 12-month paid placement in the council’s HR and OD function, where they could make their proposal a reality. The successful student would also participate in a workshop with the council’s HR and OD team to explore the practicalities of implementation.

Although the standard of the project proposals was exceptional, it was Georgiana Matoianu who finally secured the work placement. This was based on her compelling presentation on a strategy to embed the council’s values within the organisation, to drive engagement and business success.

Fantastic experience

Commenting on her experience, Georgiana said: “It’s been fantastic. I’ve gained real insight into the world of HR and OD and it’s been great to be able to base my assignment on a topic about which I’m passionate. I’m really looking forward to implementing the findings of my research when I start my placement in June and to work with the council’s HR and OD team, which has clearly embraced the values of the organisation in developing this programme.”

Strategic partnership

However, the initiative isn’t just benefitting the students. It’s also supporting delivery of the council’s ‘Great Eight’ key strategic priories, whilst providing the organisation with fresh thinking around key projects on the council’s HR and OD agenda and helping to attract high-calibre individuals to the organisation and profession.  

Commenting on the initiative’s success, Salford City Council’s Assistant Director of HR and OD Sam Betts, said: “It’s rewarding to see the results of this strategic partnership with the Business School. Together, we’ve provided an important practical element to the final year module of the HR Management course to help students decide if HR and OD is really the area for them. In addition, it’s providing us with fresh thinking that will reinvigorate our service and add value in Salford.

“Georgiana’s proposal was outstanding and we’re looking forward to her joining our team to implement the great ideas that were generated after her presentation at the final workshop. We’re also looking at making this an annual programme and will continue to ‘co-create’ the curriculum by broadening the scope to include other business areas.”

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