Ones to watch: Student talent applauded at UWE Bristol awards

Issue date: 03 February 2016

Celebrating UWE Talent, Thursday 4 February 2016, Marriott Hotel, Bristol

Acclaim from the UN, offers of graduate employment and first class feedback from top regional employers are just some of the successes of the finalists at this year's Celebrating UWE Talent awards.

This annual event recognises the achievements of UWE students who've represented the University through hundreds of work-based learning opportunities including placements, internships and volunteering in local, national and international businesses.

The awards are hosted by the University's award-winning Employability and Enterprise team and supported by employer partners including Filton-based Defence Equipment and Support, part of the Ministry of Defence and one of the region's largest employers, as well as Sword Apak, Screwfix and Sounds Commercial.

UWE's Deputy Vice–Chancellor, Jane Harrington, will open the awards with the key note speech to be delivered by fellow UWE alumnus, Santander Universities Director, Simon Bray. Simon graduated in Economics in 1996.

The ceremony will be compered by Former Editor of the Western Daily Press, Ian Mean, and winners and runners-up will receive cash prizes in front of an audience of industry partners, including Avon & Somerset Constabulary, Bishops Fleming and Opus, many of whom have sponsored an award.

Students have been nominated in 10 award categories by their employer or a staff member.

Final year students Samuel Williams, Beatrice Ubani and Jamie Smithies are all finalists in the category of Faculty of Environment and Technology Placement Student of the Year; these awards recognise the outstanding achievements of UWE Bristol students during their sandwich placements with nominations based on feedback from their employers.

Samuel Williams, BEng(Hons) Civil and Environmental Engineering, Galliford Try – Finalist

Samuel said, “It's really humbling to be nominated after a very intense year on placement. Having engineered various sections of the main South Devon Link Road project, I became site engineer for the £2.6m Decoy Link Road scheme, it was a steep learning curve and stressful at points, however the experience is invaluable and the sense of achievement is immense. With new found motivation I look forward to completing my degree and joining Galliford Try in their infrastructure division.”

Beatrice Ubani, BSc (Hons) Climate Change and Energy Management, Bristol City Council - Finalist

Beatrice said, “It's amazing to be nominated, a great thing to add to my CV and the cherry on the top to a great placement experience. It was a real honour to have the Big Data project I worked on for Bristol City Council, named as a 'Project to Watch' by the UN, especially as I was only two weeks into my placement when I began work on it. My placement exceeded my expectations and the knowledge and new skills I've learnt have really helped me in my final year.”

Jamie Smithies, BEng(Hons) Mechanical Engineering, Sitec Engineering - Finalist

Jamie said, “It's great to be a finalist as I really enjoyed my placement, working on a variety of projects with lovely colleagues who made me feel really part of the team. I got to work on stress tests for aeroplane wings for Airbus and working on this project made me realise the dedication and work ethic required to succeed in engineering. It's improved my performance and technical knowledge and improved my focus for the final year.”

All activities recognised at this event also contribute to the UWE Bristol Futures Award. This is an employability award open to all UWE full-time and sandwich undergraduate students. The award promotes the extensive variety of activities open to students whilst at university, helps them to develop and understand the wide range of skills they can gain and demonstrates to employers how they have built their 'graduate identity'.

Maggie Westgarth, UWE's Head of Employability and Enterprise, said, “The students we are rewarding today are well placed to reap the advantages of the most buoyant graduate recruitment market since 2001. The graduate market is buoyant in this region and nationally. UWE Bristol's links with regional businesses mean that each year approximately 50 per cent of UWE graduates stay in the area to work, making UWE Bristol the largest single provider of high skills workers to the region, with employers including Airbus, the BBC, Aardman, IBM, Hewlett Packard and many regionally based law, accountancy and media businesses. Increasingly graduates are also securing employment in Bristol's thriving SME sector or choosing to set up their own businesses.”

DE&S Director Helicopters, Air Vice-Marshal Julian Young, said: “I am delighted to celebrate the talent of UWE students. We spend £14 billion a year buying and supporting equipment for our Armed Forces, and we owe it to the UK taxpayer to use this money efficiently and to the Front Line to do our jobs well.

“We need people with a huge variety of skills to deliver our programmes from engineers to accountants, and I am pleased that we have more than 50 students at UWE already studying for first and masters degrees, 90 per cent of which are our locally-trained ex-apprentices, and that we have also worked with UWE to promote STEM topics in Primary Schools. So today marks the strengthening of a fruitful and long-term relationship between our organizations.”

Graduate employment levels continue to flourish at the University of the West of England, Bristol (UWE Bristol). Unemployment among recent, full time UWE Bristol graduates in 2014 was only 5 per cent, six months after graduation. Each October, UWE holds the South West's largest Careers Fair 'Meet the Employers' with over 150 exhibitors from a vast cross-section of industries, attended by over 4,000 students in 2015. For further information see UWE Bristol employability in numbers.

For more information on recruiting students and graduates from UWE Bristol please visit our website.

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