Keele wins national employability awards

The employability of Keele students has been praised at a recent national awards ceremony, with the University winning in two categories and shortlisted in a further three.

The 2021 National Undergraduate Employability (NUE) Awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of employers, students and universities in undergraduate work experience across the UK.

Keele was named winner of the ‘Best Collaboration Between a University and Employer’ award, for its partnership with Mondrem, whilst student Mehgan Howard was named as the country’s ‘Best Intern’.

Mehgan’s award was in recognition of her successful placement at Stafford-based Aecus Recruitment, with fellow student Rebekah Stevenson ‘highly commended’ in the same category following her internship at Wild Rumpus.

The University was also represented in the ‘Best Student Contribution to a Small to Medium Sized Employer’ category, with Keele students Lydia Martin and Natasha Craven named as two of only five finalists for that award.

The internships themselves were made possible thanks to Keele’s partnership with Santander Universities, who provided funding.

Keele’s partnership with Mondrem, a community interest company based on the University’s Science and Innovation Park, has grown quickly since its launch last year. Initially supporting two students, the collaboration now provides work experience opportunities for eight students a year, within disciplines that are traditionally under-represented within internships.

Speaking recently about his experience of working with Keele, Mike Astbury, Mondrem’s Managing Director, said: “The calibre of interns we have received from Keele University has been very high. We are an innovative company and aim to get the best out of those we employ by giving them full control and responsibility of a set area or project in the business. This provides a role that is exciting for them and also achieves our aims.

“A unique attribute of employing interns is that their minds are not constrained by experience or convention. They are able to look at problems with a fresh pair of eyes. Experience is good but sometimes sticking with a way you know works well, stops you from trying new ways that might work even better.”

Keele’s Careers and Employability team were also nominated for the ‘Best University Careers / Employability Service’ award, whilst Kathy England, Business Engagement Manager, was shortlisted in the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Work Experience’ category.

Lisa McWilliams, Head of Careers and Employability said: “We were delighted to be shortlisted for this award. In a challenging year the small team at Keele has been innovative in its approach to supporting students and graduates. We have created new models, like the Career Accelerator Programme for the class of 2020, and supported the very successful Virtual Internships.”

Terry Dray, Director for Employability and Employer Engagement added: "Keele's excellent partnership with Santander Universities continues to deliver important employability and enterprise programmes. We have really stepped up at Keele during the pandemic, working with some supportive opportunity providers. Our students, staff and the Careers and Employability Team deserve this recognition."

To find out more about the awards, visit www.nueawards.co.uk.

To discover more about the work experience and business support opportunities available from Keele University, visit the Keele Gateway at www.keele.ac.uk/gateway.