Student Employee of the Year Awards success!

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Congratulations to four of our students and graduates, who have been recognised at the National Association of Student Employment Services (NASES) Student Employee of the Year Awards.

International Business Management graduate Cieron McAllister, who is 24 and from Ipswich in Suffolk, has won the Student of the Year Regional Award for the ‘Commercial Impact Off Campus’ category, having previously won the University of Chester Institutional Award. Business Management graduate Sophie Bailey, aged 23, from Chester, is also a Regional winner, having won the ‘Step up to Leadership Off Campus’ category. (Both were still students at the time of their nominations.)

For the first time in the history of the Awards, NASES has selected Highly Commended nominees at the regional level of the competition and two of our students have received this accolade. They are final year Business Management student Melanie Smith, from Whitby, who was Highly Commended in the ‘Above And Beyond Off Campus’ category, for her work as Office Co-ordinator with Welocalize. Psychology Master’s student Katherine Saxby, from Wrexham, was also chosen as Highly Commended in the ‘Freelancer’ category, for her work as a Freelance Complementary Healthcare Practitioner. 

The Awards recognise and promote the outstanding contributions and achievements of students, who effectively combine part-time work with their study commitments.

Cieron McAllister was nominated by Lynne McKie, Director of Global Sales Strategy and Operations at Welocalize. He was selected by an impartial panel as the regional winner in the ‘Commercial Impact Off Campus’ category, for his work as Assistant Manager of Global Sales Strategy and Operations. 

Cieron said: “Honestly, I’m quite surprised, as I never win anything! Although I feel proud of myself now that I have been chosen as a winner and I am appreciative of my employer for putting me forward for the award – it’s really encouraging. Working part-time during my studies helped me become more organised and to develop my prioritising skills. It was hard work at times, especially during my final year at University, but being able to manage my time effectively was really rewarding and proved to myself that all it comes down to is determination and effort.”

Sophie Bailey was also nominated by Lynne McKie of Welocalize. She was chosen as the regional winner in the ‘Step up to Leadership Off Campus’ category for her work in the same role of Assistant Manager of Global Sales Strategy and Operations. Sophie said: “I’m so incredibly pleased to have won! After completing my internship, I asked to take the lead on training sessions for the new interns and be their mentor throughout their internship. This was a huge step up for me and I am so happy that my efforts in this role have been recognised in such a way! I have benefitted from working part-time whilst studying, as I have gained a wide range of invaluable, industry-relevant experience which has helped with assignments and prepared me for life after university.”

Lynne McKie, from Welocalize, said: “We are so pleased that both Cieron and Sophie are regional winners.

“This is in recognition of the outstanding performance Cieron has made in always going the extra mile, showing excellent levels of work, coming up with and delivering on innovative ideas, managing taxing projects and his overall commitment to Welocalize while based in Barcelona and, latterly, in Chester. Efficiency is one of the most powerful skills Cieron has been able to bring to the team. His contribution in the design and improvement of the various sales reports he has been assigned to has been critical to the Welocalize Sales and Marketing Teams.”

She added: “Similarly with Sophie, there is no question that she has shown initiative and demonstrated her growing leadership skills. Sophie has set up her own processes to gather information and ensure accuracy of figures, working fully independently. Additionally, she wanted to be involved in delivering the induction sessions, with new students. The sessions went very smoothly and allowed us to transition work to new interns on time. Sophie is a strong team player and project ownership, showing initiative and leadership of juniors are growing strengths, that come naturally to her.”

As regional winners, both students were awarded with a certificate and £60 in online shopping vouchers.

Melanie Smith and Katherine Saxby were also awarded with certificates and £30 in online shopping vouchers.

Another first for the University is having an award winner at institutional level in the ‘Best Employer’ category of the SEOTY awards. Claire Hastewell, Business Service Manager with Custerian, was nominated for providing outstanding support and development opportunities for a part-time student employee. Final year student Marketing Management student, Brenda Martinez, who made the nomination, has worked as an Outcome Support Assistant for Custerian during her studies. Claire said: “What an honour and delight it was to not only be nominated for the SEOTY award, but to win at institutional level!  We at Custerian believe that the most important part of your business is your people. Investing time in development and training ensures that they deliver the best outcome, whilst having that passion and drive to constantly improve and grow their skills. Brenda came to us initially through the Santander Internship programme and then approached us for part-time work, whilst continuing with her studies the following year. She was a great asset to the team and in return we ensured that we were able to cover elements of her course and provide guidance where needed. We look forward to watching her career develop over the coming years.”

Head of Careers and Employability, Diane Appleton, said: “Our winners, Cieron, Sophie, Melanie and Katherine should be extremely proud of their amazing achievements. Putting this into context, they saw off competition from almost 400 student nominations from around the country which is no small feat! This is a real testament to the hard work, commitment and dedication demonstrated by all of them in their roles and we congratulate them all and wish them the very best for their future.

Claire Hastewell
Claire Hastewell

“We are also delighted for Claire and for Custerian that the quality of the experience and the support given to Brenda on her internship and subsequent part-time role has been rewarded in this way. We really value the partnership we have with employers in the local area and it is clear to see that both students and employers hugely benefit from our internship programme. Congratulations to Claire and many thanks for offering such a great opportunity to our students.”

As winners at the regional level of the SEOTY awards, Cieron McAllister and Sophie Bailey’s nominations will be considered at the national finals stage (the date for which is yet to be announced), where they stand to win £100 in prize money.