17 June 2011

Big e Awards recognise workplace skills developed at University of Essex

Alex Guntert receives award from Vice-Chancellor Colin Riordan

Hard working students making a difference through their extra-curricular activities have gained official recognition through the University of Essex’s Big e Awards.

The awards are part of the University’s work to ensure students have the right employability skills to pursue the careers they aspire to. Nearly 40 students were shortlisted in the eight categories from across our Colchester and Southend campuses.

The award winners were:

  • Enterprise - Emma Flaherty
  • Student Activity - David Giles
  • Peer Support - Alex Guntert
  • Work Related Learning - Adriana Alexandru
  • Student Ambassador - Vicky Scott
  • Student Employee - Radoslaw Zimny
  • Frontrunners - Mark Maher
  • Volunteering - Magda Abramowicz

See pictures of all the Big e prize winners here

Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Riordan presented the awards. He said: “We have so many students doing incredible work in the University and in the wider community and these awards celebrate their achievements.

“The Big e Awards gives university recognition to students who have achieved exceptional standards in a particular extra-curricular activity and we hope this will help illustrate to employers the outstanding potential and ability of our students.”

Emma Flaherty, who won the Enterprise category, said: “I applied for the Big e Award after being actively involved in the Essex Entrepreneurs Society as the President and the Team Leader of SIFE Essex. In this role it was my responsibility to lead up to 52 students in participating in various projects over the last year. Projects ranged from volunteer work in schools, helping the local community find employment and an international project based in Sierra Leone.”

Emma was also part of the University team which reached the final of the Prince's Trust - Million Makers competition.

Nightline co-ordinator Alex Guntert, who received the Peer Support Award, said: “I'd like to think that I received the award on behalf of Nightline and our volunteers, as recognition of all our input into the service. Through our combined efforts we were able to sustain and improve Nightline's service, and impact positively on university students' welfare. In contributing to a welfare service you do not necessarily expect to be given such an award; I am very grateful for receiving university recognition for Nightline's and my own achievements.”

The University is committed to developing the employability of students by providing a wide range of extra-curricular opportunities.

To guide this work an Employability Framework has been developed to outline the skills and attributes that help make a person more likely to choose and secure a career they will be satisfied and successful in.

The Big e Awards ceremony was organised through a partnership between the Research and Enterprise Office, the Careers Centre, Learning and Development, Student Support, Communications & External Relations and the Students’ Union.

Prizes were donated by the Academic Section and Santander Universities provided overall financial support for the event.

The University provides a wide range of extra-curricular opportunities including studying abroad, placements, enterprise activities, work experience and volunteering. The development of professional skills is also being built into the curriculum where appropriate.

The Employability Action Group is working to develop further employability initiatives and is looking to establish a system of recognition for student achievement which aligns with national proposals for a Higher Education Achievement Record (HEAR).

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