Three Lancaster students were honoured during the annual Student Employee of the Year Awards last Wednesday, in a ceremony at Slaidburn House.
These awards, held to reward exceptional work ethics and extreme dedication to students on and off-campus, were described by LUSU President Michael Payne as a “crucial part of what the University and the Student’s Union do together in an age where leaving university with a degree is often not enough.” Payne had a large role in the ceremony, presenting two of the three awards that evening.
The first student to receive an award was Carys Nelkon who was highly commended for her work as a team leader in the Sugarhouse. Voted as the official “Sugarhouse Legend” for the academic year 09/10, the award recognised her excellent leadership skills as well as her ongoing contribution to the community through volunteering work with the Rainbows. Payne particularly praised her ability to be “completely unfazed by difficulty” and hailed her as a “stellar member of staff.”
The second award of the evening was for Campus Student Employee of the Year and awarded to Sarah Blair, a member of the LUSU Solutions team (formerly Marketing and Communications). In addition to her role as front of house for the SU, which Payne described as being conducted with “absolute professionalism and dedication”, she was praised for her work in the JobShop, helping other students to find employment. Her involvement in creating an official record of SU meetings was also noted. Despite admitting that many of the tasks performed by this team might be regarded as menial, Payne focused on how she undertook these duties with an exceptionally creative flair.
The final award, for National Student Employee of the Year, was presented by Professor Amanda Chetwynd, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Colleges and Student Experience. Her speech focussed on the importance of work experience to post-university employment, which has been especially highlighted in a recent Confederation of British Industry report. The award was one which passed through a number of stages, through a regional and national panel. It was awarded to Sam Birkinshaw.
Birkinshaw has worked as both a Department of Continuing Education student ambassador and also took part in the Aim Higher scheme, giving disadvantaged students vital experience of campus living in advance of their potential university applications, an area in which Chetwynd felt he has “excelled.” She hailed in particular his ability to design activities which were able to fully involve all members of often extremely diverse groups to create an extremely positive experience during group work.
The final thank you of the evening was given to Julie McLoughlin for her continued contribution and hard work as the LUSU Information Desk Supervisor and JobShop co-ordinator. It was also due to her hard work and organisation that the awards evening took place.