Students Staff

11 September 2015

Essex wins top national employability award

The University of Essex’s Frontrunners scheme has won a top national award for helping students secure vital work experience which supports their personal development.

The Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) named Frontrunners the employability project of the year at the national Awards for Excellence.

The award, sponsored by Prospects, recognises outstanding initiatives which help transform the employability of students by developing new, creative and collaborative approaches.

One judge was so impressed by Frontrunners they urged other universities to follow Essex’s example.

Director of Employability Dave Stanbury said: “Frontrunners keeps going from strength to strength. This is now the third major award that it’s won showing why the University is rightly proud of this impressive programme.”

Frontrunners: Anda on her Frontrunners research placement.

Frontrunners is a unique placement scheme which offers Essex students the opportunity to develop their employability skills by taking part in exciting and meaningful paid, on-campus work experience.

Placements provide a secure and supportive work environment integrated with training and a high level of supervision and mentoring.

The project has received incredibly positive feedback from students and graduates who have benefited from Frontrunner placements.

Judges praised the Frontrunners scheme for being “creative, well planned and a good solid approach to employability”.

One judge said: “The scale and breadth of Essex’s Frontrunners programme is truly impressive”.

Another added: “All universities should follow suit!”

Osei Downes, VP Education at Essex's Students’ Union, said: “Frontrunners is an amazing scheme that has enabled students to significantly grow and develop their skills. This has been a perfect example of the value we can deliver to students through University and Students’ Union partnerships as helping prepare students for securing good employment is at the heart of everything that we do.”

Radu Manac, who completed a Frontrunner placement with Essex Business School and is now completing a PhD at Essex, said: “Taking part in Frontrunners was great for my CV. I learnt lots of research skills, how to work successfully in a group and the importance of completing projects on time.”

Winners were presented with their awards at the AGCAS Annual Conference for Higher Education and Employability Professionals conference dinner and awards ceremony in Warwick. The award was presented by Mike Hill, Chief Executive of Graduate Prospects.

Frontrunners helped the University win the Outstanding Support for Students Award at the Times Higher Education (THE) Awards and won the Local Impact Work Inspiration Award at the East of England Responsible Business Awards in 2013.

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