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Employment Minister Stephen Farry has commended the University of Ulster for its ongoing commitment to boosting skills and employment opportunities for its students and graduates.

Minister Farry was speaking at the annual Ulster Placement Employer of the Year Awards ceremony.

Annually, over 2000 University of Ulster students undertake a placement, with approximately 1200 students completing a year-long paid placement with businesses across Northern Ireland and internationally.

Minister Farry said:  “I congratulate the award winners and commend employers and the University of Ulster in the proactive steps they are taking to support our young people.

“Graduate employability is a key theme of my Department’s Higher Education Strategyand one of its key outcomes is to ensure that, by 2020, all higher education students will have the opportunity to avail of a work placement, whilst undertaking their degree.This is a challenging target and the support of employers will be critical in ensuring its successful delivery.

“I believe that the benefits to employers will be enormous. They can be confident that graduates will be equipped with the abilities, knowledge and skills to help grow their business and support our local economy.”

University of Ulster Vice-Chancellor, Professor Richard Barnett, said: “Ulster is recognised locally and nationally for high quality teaching and skilled, talented graduates.

“The development and promotion of work based and placement learning at Ulster underpins our teaching and learning strategy, providing our students with opportunities to develop industry relevant skills in a wide variety of different settings in the UK and internationally.”


Notes to editors:

Employers from the public and private sectors, university students and staff attended the Awards ceremony, now in its sixth year.

An independent panel assessed the submissions, and in recognition of the very high standard decided to shortlist 19 nominees in six categories out of over 180 nominations.

The winners in each category were:

Placement Employer of the Year, more than 50 employees


Placement Employer of the Year, up to 50 employees

INC Marketing

Placement Employer of the Year Public Sector

Bryson Care West

Placement Employer of the Year New Partner, nominated by a University of Ulster staff member

Legal Support Project

Placement Employer of The Year, nominated by a University of Ulster Student

B/E Aerospace UK Ltd

Placement Employer of The Year, nominated by a University of Ulster staff member

Barnardos Strabane Family Centre

Master of ceremonies at the showcase event was television broadcaster Lynda Bryans.