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Friday 9 May 2014

SU Employability and Enterprise Awards

Nick Hillman, Director of the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI), joined staff, students and business leaders to celebrate innovation, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit at Southampton Solent University’s Employability and Enterprise Awards 2014.

The awards recognise employers, staff, students and graduates involved in a range of innovative real-world learning initiatives within volunteering, business start-ups, work experience or placements and the University’s own graduate associate scheme.

During his welcome, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Richard Blackwell praised the nominees for making the judging panel’s job so difficult.

He said, “The panel, which included representatives from the University, ABP Ports, the LEP board, Hampshire Chamber of Commerce and the city council, were blown away by the truly excellent examples of innovative real-world learning, and inspirational entrepreneurial talent that Solent continues to nurture and produce.”

The winners are:

Outstanding employer contribution to real-world learning

Lesley Strachan, Programme Leader in Marketing, and Julia Potter from Coalporters Amateur Rowing Club

Outstanding staff employability initiative

Joint winners: John Barfoot, Academic Leader (Built Environment) and Christina Dinsmore, Senior Lecturer in Business Strategy

Outstanding staff enterprise initiative

Serkan Ceylan, Senior Lecturer in Economics and Business

Student/graduate start-up business

Joint winners: Broken Physics Productions (Emma Leighio and Craig McDougall) and Highline Aerial Media (Mikey Oldfield)

Graduate associate of the year

Michael Hill, now working for Ordnance Survey

Student work placement/experience of the year

Craig Burrows, BA (Hons) Business Studies -work placement at GE Healthcare
Lukasz Stupka, BA (Hons) Football Studies with Business, was highly commended.

Student volunteer of the year

Odelle Hogg, BA (Hons) Business Studies, who volunteered at The Polygon School in Southampton

The winners also receive a cash prize of up to £5,000, which can be used to further their initiatives or personal development.

The key note speech was given by Nick Hillman, previously special advisor to the RT Hon David Willetts MP, the Universities and Science Minister. Mr Hillman praised the real-world learning and entrepreneurial flair that he had first encountered at Solent during a visit to the University a couple of years ago. Speaking of his visit to the University’s renowned Warsash Maritime Academy, he said: “I was impressed by how hands on, vocational and relevant to industry the facilities are. It is the clearest example of a university really delivering for industry.”

The event was run by the student-led events company, Solent Works, which was developed from funding, received from one of last year’s Employability and Enterprise awards winners.

In his closing remarks, Solent Vice-Chancellor Professor Van Gore CBE said: “This fantastic event represents the very best in what can be achieved in developing students for diverse careers. These students can feel confident about going out into the world of employment with the skills and experience they need to work within industry. I am extremely proud of the achievements of all these outstanding winners.”