Placement Student of the Year

We’re proud of our track record for graduate employability. Surrey has a long history of supporting year-long placements as part of the student experience, with a heritage going back to its founding roots as the Battersea Institute of Technology.

Each year we recognise and celebrate the outstanding contributions of our students during their placement year in industry.

Placement Students of the Year 2021

The Professional Training placement year provides the opportunity for our students to spend 12 months working in industry, commerce, the public sector or in charities. It gives them an insight into their subject and career potential, and early access to professional experience. It can be invaluable in developing work-based skills and helping them secure a Graduate career.

The experiences our Professional Training students have while out on placement is not only remarkable but has significant real-life impact. This year was certainly no exception with the added complications of the COVID.  We had an impressive list of nominations from across all Schools and Departments for the Awards.

This year we introduced four new awards Innovation, Resilience, Sustainability and Trailblazer alongside the Faculty Awards for FASS (Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences) /FEPS (Faculty of Engineering  and Physical Sciences) /FHMS (Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences).  We also invited returning placement students to nominate both for their peers or themselves.

Sustainability Award Winner

The Sustainability award celebrates a significant contribution to the organisation’s sustainability whilst on placement, this could be in the form of Environmental Sustainability or Social Sustainability.

Asini LiyanageBiochemistry BSc

My placement was at Microsoft as a Sales Excellence Manager.

“I would highly recommend a professional training year! It will help you develop a plethora of skills and decide what careers you do and don’t want to pursue; support you in navigating the working world whilst getting your foot in the door ready for when you graduate; give you the opportunity to make connections in the industry and earn an income all whilst building confidence in your capabilities”.

The judges commented on how impressed they were with Asini's achievements and her presentation demonstrated just what a placement student can achieve in a relatively short time.


Trailblazer Award Winner

This award celebrates significant impact on Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion during the placement year, contributing new and innovative ideas in an organisation.

Bethany Bale - Politics BSc

“University of Surrey students should take a Professional Training Year to learn more about what they want to do after University and gain confidence in themselves and their abilities ready for final year and after graduation. It's also often a great way to earn some extra money in the middle of a time when you tend to have none!” 

The judges were inspired by Bethany's achievements and determination on her placement year and enjoyed finding out about how Bethany excelled in her placement role.


Resilience Award Winner

This award celebrates nominee’s determination, ability to overcome challenges and success during the placement year.

Ilhaam Ahmed – Sociology BSc

My placement was at Hayes Recruitment as a Recruitment Consultant.

The judges were impressed by her professionalism, motivation, and management skills demonstrated during the placement year.


Innovation Award Winner

This award highlights innovative approaches whilst on placement which has helped to positively impact on a company.

Jake Dickson – Music and Sound Recording (Tonmeister) BSc

The judges commented on Jake’s new ideas, fresh approaches, and inquisitive nature which he contributed to his placement organisation.

Faculty winners 2021

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

This award highlights the achievements that Students have made whilst raising the profile of their subject whilst on their Professional Training Year.

Ben Uden – Music & Media – BMus Music (Hons)

My placement was with the London Symphony Orchestra as a Development Placement Student

“The Professional Training year is a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn from the best organisations in the world. My time with the LSO proved invaluable, learning, and working alongside their family of supporters. It was the best year at Surrey; a Professional Training Year is vital in keeping up with today’s always-moving world. When you can have as much fun as I did, why wouldn’t you take up such an amazing opportunity? I am eternally grateful to the LSO and the Development department for allowing me to work with them”.

The panel enjoyed Ben's account of his placement year immensely and are delighted to give him the FASS Award.

Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences

This award highlights the achievements that Students have made whilst raising the profile of their subject whilst on their Professional Training Year.

Conor Copithorne Crainey – Chemical Engineering MEng

My placement was with GSK (GlaxoSmithKline) as a Downstream Processing Engineer.

“Working at GSK was one of best experiences I’ve had since coming to university. It gave me the opportunity to put the Scientific and Engineering principles I had learnt over the previous three years into practice. I worked predominately with enzymes, and it was amazing to see the potential of these for use in the production of major pipeline drugs in the future. For anyone considering a placement, I would highly recommend applying - no question it is one of the best opportunities available whilst at university. The skills you will learn, whatever the role, are invaluable and will better prepare you for future graduate roles”.

The panel were also very impressed by the winner’s advanced subject knowledge achieved during placement and the impeccable advice given to future placement students in their excellent video submission.

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

This award highlights the achievements that Students have made whilst raising the profile of their subject whilst on their Professional Training Year.

Dawn Lau – Biochemistry BSc (Hons)

My placement was at CEFAS as Food and Safety Placement student

“A placement year is an excellent learning opportunity, it is a chance for students to learn, experiment, and grow in a professional setting. One might discover their passion for a subject whilst volunteering their help or attending a seminar. Plus, a placement provides the opportunity to create a diverse network with connections that could prove useful when searching for jobs in the future. Chatting with co-workers could give tremendous insight into the nature of the cooperation, their profession, and their field of work. These are critical pieces of information students should know when considering future career paths”.

Dawn's contributions went far beyond her host's expectations for a placement student, culminating in significant input to two research papers.

Highly commended placement students

Sustainability Award: Edoardo Battaglia, Georgie Copping, Heloise Lemaitre, Patrick McGivern, Leila Nichols

Trailblazer Award: Katie Dunham, Mario Grigorov, Ivelina Mladenova, Teegan Zacharias

Innovation Award: Jon Bourne, Emma Brine, Emma Haysom, Samyak Jain, Georgii Piskov, Will Taylor

Resilience Award: Isobel Adamyk, Zainab Babar, William Bell, Adam Easter, Dhaval Jadhav, Rianna Jamieson, Janhvi Sehgal, Antonia Tomlinson

Faculty FASS: Dec Greaves, Samuel Sarjudeen

Faculty FEPS: Emma Gornall, Ethan Hinton

Faculty FHMS: Joshua Schnell and Ashley Williams

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