Ulster employers offering top-flight work placements to students have been honoured at a University of Ulster gala awards ceremony at the Jordanstown campus.
Leaders of local and national enterprises attended the third Ulster Placement Employer of the Year (PEOTY) awards at the Jordanstown campus, where senior officers from the University and leading industry representatives presented awards to winners in the 2010 competition which attracted more than 190 nominations.
Employers in the public and private sectors and Ulster students and staff were invited to nominate ‘placement partners’ who had provided exemplary student experience during the past 12 months.
An independent panel assessed the submissions, and in recognition of the very high standard decided to shortlist 18 nominees in six categories.
Each category winner received a crystal award and the remaining 12 finalists received highly commended certificates.
The results were:Placement Employer of the Year Award (6 months plus) - over 50 employees:
Winner – Extern, BelfastPlacement Employer of the Year Award (6 months plus) - up to 50 employees:
Winner – Quad - X, BallymenaPublic sector Placement Employer of the Year Award: Winner –
Northern Health & Social Care TrustShort-term Placement Employer of the Year Award: Winner –
Partnership Care West, Londonderry Placement Employer of the Year Award as nominated by an Ulster student: Winner – Boston Scientific nominated by David Bishop from the BSc (Hons) Biomedical Engineering degree.Placement Employer of the Year Award as nominated by a staff member at Ulster: Winner - Aer Lingus nominated by Dr. Adele Dunn (Department of Marketing, Entrepreneurship and Strategy)
More than 100 guests heard senior University academics praise the important role of quality work experience placement in aiding students’ professional and career growth.
The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Richard Barnett, told guests: “In this University, we are very clear about what we do. We are not a university where students come to spend three years discovering themselves and the meaning of life.
“That is an important part of higher education, but it is not what the University of Ulster is about. what this university is about is providing our graduates with the knowledge, skills and confidence to take on challenging graduate-level jobs, and then to contribute to the further development of their chosen profession. Thats what we are about.
“We are unashamedly about applied and vocational education – and work-based learning is a vital part of that work."
Seamus McConomy, Work Experience Development Officer, said: “The majority of Ulster’s students undertake periods of long or short-term placements as an integral part of their degree. This period of work experience allows students to put theory into practice and increases their employability skills.”
Master of Ceremonies at the showcase event was Claire McCollum.
CAPATION: Placement Employer of the Year Award ( over 50 employees),from left, Joanne Stewart, Chairman of Institute of Directors, Ciaran Traynor, Extern, and Claire McCollum, MC.