Published: 03 October 2013

Surrey student highly commended in Women in Property Awards

Civil Engineering student Michelle Hicks has been recognised in the highly competitive Women in Property (WiP) National Student Awards.

With women representing just 15 per cent of the property and construction industry workforce, Women in Property – a national organization with 1,000 members – was set up to enhance the profile of women in the sector. Its National Student Awards are held annually to find and celebrate talented future practitioners, highlighting individuals who will become role models for other women entering the property sector.

In this year’s awards, the standard of entries was so high that judges decided to create a ‘Highly Commended’ award especially for Surrey student Michelle Hicks, in recognition of her excellent performance and passion for her discipline. She received her award – along with overall winner Charlotte Collins (studying Landscape Architecture at the University of Gloucester) – at a ‘Best of Best’ awards dinner held at Claridge’s Hotel on 17 September.

Presenting the awards, Sir Bob Kerslake (Head of the Civil Service and Permanent Secretary to the Government’s Department for Communities and Local Government) said: “This competition is what the industry needs, helping to raise the bar among both academia and industry. I know that many of the contenders in these Awards, past and present, have secured work placements and gone on to work in their chosen careers, considerably strengthened by the challenges WiP puts before them. This has got to be good news for the industry as these exceptional young women forge their careers.”

The Awards process spans nearly twelve months: universities are invited to nominate a student, a regional judging panel then selects regional winners, and finally the national awards. As part of their entry, students are required to present a degree project to judges, during which they are questioned on their thinking, motivation and aspirations, and also quizzed on topical or industry issues. The assessment criteria include an entrant’s potential as a role model for other young women entering the industry, and as a future leader. 

The national judging panel described Michelle as having “…raw enthusiasm which ran through absolutely everything.  She had wanted to get involved in engineering and construction ever since she was a child and it was clear to us that she is living her dream. She has a deep rooted passion for what she is doing.”

Michelle said, “This has been an amazing experience.  All the young women I’ve met through these Awards have been great, all really inspired by what they’re doing and it’s fantastic to be a part of that. I’m sure that getting to this final stage will really help when it comes to getting started in my career.”

Julie Fawcett of MITIE (a provider of facilities, property and energy management) and National Chairman of WiP, says: “This is a terrific achievement for Michelle and, while she didn't quite get the top prize, she did really well amongst some very talented young women.” 

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