Gold award for uni students from Luton who went the extra mile

Lauren Shand with University of Worcester  Pro Vice Chancellor Students Ross Renton.
Lauren Shand with University of Worcester Pro Vice Chancellor Students Ross Renton.

Two students from Luton have received awards from the University of Worcester in recognition of their efforts in undertaking extensive voluntary work and extra-curricular activities alongside their academic studies.

Lauren Shand, 20, who has just completed the final year of her degree in psychology and sociology, and Connor Egan, 20, also a final year student studying physical geography, both successfully achieved the Gold standard in this year’s Worcester Awards.

Connor Egan with University of Worcester Pro Vice Chancellor Students, Ross Renton.

Connor Egan with University of Worcester Pro Vice Chancellor Students, Ross Renton.

Lauren, pictured with Ross Renton, Pro Vice Chancellor Students, said: “I feel really proud to have been able to receive such an amazing and valuable employability award. The Worcester Award helped me develop a range of skills during my last year at university, and I know it will help me long after, which I am very grateful for.”

The Worcester Award has been devised by the University of Worcester to help students broaden their range of experiences and boost their future employability. It is awarded at three levels: Gold, Silver, and Bronze.

To earn Gold, Lauren had to undertake a diverse range of activities.

The former Luton Sixth Form College student added: “Perhaps one of the most worthwhile experiences was the course on sexual violence intervention that I took as a personal development opportunity. We learned how to become ‘active bystanders’ and how to intervene and help people who might be suffering.”

In order to achieve the Gold-standard, students have to demonstrate extensive engagement with work experience and personal development activities, as well as giving a presentation and attending a panel interview with local business leaders and members of University staff.

Connor, a former Cardinal Newman Sixth Form student, went further than most. He said: “As one of my activities I travelled to South Africa to work as a research assistant on the conservation project Operation Wallacea. “Closer to home, I worked in a school for a time, and as a member of the local council’s flood risk management team.

“I also attended a range of workshops with the University’s careers team which helped me understand how best to showcase these experiences and stand out from the crowd in the jobs market.

“Receiving the Worcester Award has made me feel more positive and confident about taking the next step in to the world of employment. The process inspires you to challenge yourself and so develop the skills necessary to impress future employers.”

This year 811 students registered for the award, with a record number of 265 completing the course, of which 130 achieved Gold.

Ross Renton, Pro Vice Chancellor Students at the University, said: “We are delighted that so many students have achieved the Worcester Award this year. We are so proud of all those students who have managed to achieve great things during their time here at the University of Worcester. The range of additional and voluntary activities will greatly enhance their future employability as it gives firm evidence of their motivation, as well as the skills and experiences they will be expected to demonstrate in future job applications and interviews.”

The University of Worcester has one of the best graduate employment rates in the Country, being in the top 10 for ‘sustained employment with or without further study’ in the government published Longitudinal Educational Outcomes data, which looks at employment rates 1 3 and 5 years after graduation. Over 97% of Worcester graduates are working and/or studying six months after graduation.

For information on courses at University of Worcester visit www.worcester.ac.uk or for application enquiries telephone 01905 855111 or email admissions@worc.ac.uk