I found myself travelling down on a damp dull Friday morning of 25th April 2014 to attend the Target Undergraduate Awards Ceremony in London which is equivalent of the Oscars in the placement awards calendar!
However the actual journey began earlier in 2013. Two University of Sheffield Civil Engineering students won two Target Jobs Awards in 2013. So the impetus began with a marketing campaign to spread the word to students about these exciting opportunities available to them. From November 2013 we doubled our efforts emailing all eligible students about the awards and the prizes on offer. We used social media with posts on Facebook, Twitter and Linked In, drip feeding different messages up until the deadline at the end of January 2014. We called on all our University departments as well as colleagues in the Student Union who interact with University Societies using plasma screens, and banners on specially constructed awards website page.
|The 7 nominations and myself.|
Fast forward to 25th April and I am proudly sat at the Winter Gardens in Canary Wharf, London to support 7 University of Sheffield students who are finalists in the following categories:-
The Engineering Undergraduate of the Year Award
• Alan Middup studying MEng Mechanical Engineering with a Year in Industry
The Construction, Engineering and Design Undergraduate of the Year Award
• Hannah Reddaway studying Civil and Structural Engineering
• Andreea Nestian studying Civil and Structural Engineering
The Female Undergraduate of the Year Award
• Lorna Tansley studying Law with Spanish
The IT and Computer Science Undergraduate of the Year Award
• Philippa Wisniewski studying Computer Science
The Law Undergraduate of the Year Award
• Bethany Lair studying Law
• Eleanor Mackereth studying Law
After lunch we wait anxiously for the ceremony to begin and the introductory speech by the awards host, Sir Trevor McDonald. Sir Trevor talks eloquently about the importance of education and how much talent we have in the room from all the Universities represented. He tells us a story from his journalist days of attending a rally held in South Africa on the first day of freedom for Nelson Mandela and that Nelson Mandela’s words were “go back to school because you still have much to learn”. Sir Trevor echoed those sentiments and said “read what you can and read widely because the world will belong to those who are well informed”.
|Alan Middup and his award.|
It is fitting end to an inspirational speech and a perfect launch for the awards to begin. Before I know it we have gone through all the categories and I am feeling emotional because Alan Middup has won on behalf of the University of Sheffield for the Engineering U/G of the Year Award. I quickly email the office so they can tweet out the good news and am armed with the camera to take the necessary photographs.
I manage to locate all the finalists to make sure they are not too disappointed and to remind them that this is a major achievement to get this far. The process all the students had to go through to reach the final was exacting, having to complete an application form, psychometric tests, attend assessment centre and go through final interviews. The fact that the University of Sheffield was the most nominated University says everything about the success of our undergraduates and what perfect ambassadors they are.
I am looking forward to repeating and building on our success for next years awards and am already formulating our marketing campaign now!
Student Placement Co-ordinator