Published: 01 June 2017

Celebrating success at the Professional Training Student of the Year Awards

The University of Surrey recently hosted the Professional Training Student of the Year Awards to recognise and celebrate the outstanding contributions of Surrey students undertaking a placement year in industry.

On 28 March 2017, the University of Surrey hosted the Professional Training Student of the Year Awards to celebrate the achievements of Surrey students during their Professional Training placements.

The 28 talented finalists were chosen from 1,075 students who were on placement in 2015-16. Their placement experiences ranged from working in Peter Gabriel’s personal recording studio, to designing skyscrapers, working in the legal justice system, carrying out research on airline pilots, organising trade shows, and working in the arts, creative and charity sectors.

There was tough competition across departments but Mechanical Engineering student Benjamin Karkera took the top spot as “Student of the Year” 2017. Ben completed his placement at BAE Systems, working in the Submarine Engineering base in Barrow, Cumbria.

During his time at the base, Ben worked across three engineering departments, gaining experience across a range of different areas. His responsibilities included responding to in-service issues, engineering design, experimental design and testing, and software development supporting research in non-destructive examination (NDE).

One of his supervisors at BAE Systems said: “Ben has been an excellent addition to the team, he picked up issues and requirements from previous engineers and continued their work, as well as adding his own value in solving the problems and moving us forward in a prompt fashion. As his knowledge of specific systems increases, and with his enthusiasm, he would undoubtedly be a good member of any engineering team he joins in his career.”

Ben commented: “It was a great privilege and quite a surprise to have been awarded Student of the Year at the 2017 Professional Training awards. I don’t often put myself forward for these type of things, but it has been a great experience, and nice to feel that my work, and the work of everyone who helped me, has been recognised."

The evening was really enjoyable, and both the students and staff seemed to enjoy chatting and finding out about everyone’s experiences. It was great to speak to people from a variety of backgrounds and doing widely different subjects and placements, as well as the members of staff in a more personal way.

Dance and Culture student, Elodie Lafosse was the overall Student of the Year runner-up for her outstanding work during her placement as a Projects and Social Media Assistant at One Dance UK.

Faculty winners included Economics student Mohamad Wazzi who worked as a Research Assistant for the Bank of England, Physics student Ben Anderson who worked as an Atmospheric Plasma Development Engineer at Fourth State Medicine Ltd, and Biomedical Sciences student Kaitlin Day who worked as a Research Assistant at the BASE Facility at Monash University, Australia. Chemistry student Aoife Luscombe won the Highly Commended category for her placement at Home Office, Centre for Applied Science and Technology.

The University of Surrey is proud to have so many talented students making positive contributions during their placements. We pioneered our Professional Training placements 60 years ago and continue to be a world leader in providing these opportunities to our students. Over the past five years, more than 2,300 partner organisations have worked with us to give our students valuable work placements, and our incredibly strong track record for graduate employability is a direct result of this.


Discover more about our pioneering Professional Training placement scheme and read our student profiles to learn more about the student experience at Surrey.

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