Students Staff

16 June 2014

Big Essex Award celebrates the achievements of our students

The Big Essex Award from University of Essex on Vimeo.

More than 500 students have completed the Big Essex Award this year and successfully charted and reflected on their personal development through the opportunities and experiences offered to them during their time at the University of Essex.

The Big Essex award, supported by Santander and the Chartered Management Institute, aims to help students showcase all of their extra-curricular achievements and provide concrete proof to employers about just how employable they are.

A special evening reception was held in Sub Zero at the Colchester Campus to celebrate the success of all the students who successfully completed the programme.

Created with flickr slideshow.

Director of Employability Dave Stanbury said: "The Big Essex Award has been hugely successful this year. Employers really want to see students can show initiative and have gone above and beyond what they needed to do for their degree. By taking part in the award our students can show they have got initiative in bag fulls."

Petra Wilton, Director of Strategy and External Affairs at Chartered Management Institute, added: "We are delighted to be sponsoring the Big Essex Awards. It is a fantastic programme and is exactly what employers are looking for."

Three awards were presented to students who epitomised the spirit of the award through personal growth and development.

Sohini Banerjee was recognised for her outstanding achievements this year including starting up dance lessons through the Asian Society, putting a show together for International Week and collaborating with Essex Dance to expand the activity for the upcoming year. She also used her photography to support the work of the Students' Union's marketing department. She was also one of the founding members of the Refugee Teaching Program now supported by 46 volunteers and covering more than 520 hours.

She said: "The award was a really good incentive to work hard and expand what I do."

Big Essex Award winners

Elena Weisbrod-Nathanael, Andrew Smith and Sohini Banerjee

Andrew Smith received the Personal Growth award for the way he used the Big Essex Award to become more motivated and involved in extracurricular activities. After signing up for the Award, Andrew volunteered for Holocaust Memorial Week as a Human Book, took on the role of president of a student society, became a Visit Day Ambassador and joined the editing team of The Rabbit. He has since trained as a Peer Mentor and become Publicity Assistant in the Faculty of Social Sciences.

Andrew said: "The award was the extra push I needed as there are lots of good opportunities on campus and now I try to do as wide a range of things as possible."

Elena Weisbrod-Nathanael used the Big Essex Award to develop her career plans and improve her chances of landing a graduate job. Elena completed an internship to complete her Experience hours for the award and gained a wealth of experience and developed a range of valuable skills. This helped her secure a place on the Barclays Graduate Programme. One of the Big Essex workshops was particularly important by teaching her new techniques to deal with interview questions and showcase skills. Elena feels the Award gave her the much needed confidence in interviews and the motivation to gain experience to evidence her skills.

Elena said: "I think taking part in the award really gave me a lot more confidence and helped me articulate my answers in the interview.”

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