press release
Published: 09 March 2020

Surrey wins award for best university work placement service two years in a row

The Employability and Careers team at the University of Surrey has won the National Undergraduate Employability (NUE) Award for the Best University Placement Service (Over 500 Placements).

Each year the University of Surrey’s pioneering Professional Training placements give over 1,200 students the opportunity to spend a year working in industry and other organisations to develop their professional, academic and personal potential. The University places particular emphasis on these placement years as a means of increasing employability, enabling students to be more adaptable, resilient, globally minded, confident, entrepreneurial and digitally savvy in the workplace.

For the second year in a row, the Employability and Careers Team have been recognised for their support and approach to maximise these placement opportunities. The Best University Placement Service (Over 500 Placements) award celebrates the tireless and invaluable contributions made by a centralised university placement service in the UK to help over 500 students apply and maximise their work experience opportunities. Surrey’s was described by the judges of the NUE Awards as running ‘a well-drilled and successful placement programme with over 1,200 students going on placement every year.'

The National Undergraduate Employability (NUE) Awards celebrates the outstanding achievements of employers, students and universities in undergraduate work experience across the UK. The eleventh annual award ceremony took place on Friday 28 February at etc.venues in London.

One of the highlights for judges was the successful collaborative project ‘Employable Me’ which worked with the Students’ Union to highlight how skills developed by actively participating in clubs and societies can contribute to transferable skills and help with the job searching process for placements. As part of the project, the team ran a series of workshops with 98% of attendees saying they would recommend it to a friend.

The judges were also extremely impressed by Surrey’s supportive placement blogs and social media FAQs offered to students, and their exceptional ‘on-placement care’, with quarterly newsletters on topics such as health and wellbeing, money advice and accommodation.

Frances Gow, Head of Employability and Careers, said: “Employability is incredibly important across the university and we pride ourselves on offering Senior Placement tutors in each academic department, who liaise with the Placements team for their subject areas.

“Collaboration is key for us and 2018-19 we worked with the Accommodation Team in order to prioritise housing on campus for 308 returning placement students. We also introduced a fresh approach to the way we engage with employers, creating events calendar filled with employer-led skills sessions from some of the largest and most recognisable names in graduate recruitment including PwC and Morgan Stanley.”

Watch the short video below to see what Sophie and Olivia gained from their placements at BMW and EA Games.

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