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 2022

The Professional Training Placement Year (PTY) provides the opportunity for our students to spend 12 months working in the 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. 

Each year we recognise and celebrate the outstanding contributions of our students during their placement year in the industry. Returning students can nominate themselves or, peer nominations for the Sustainability, Trailblazer, Inclusivity and Resilience Awards, and Directors of Employability/Senior Placement Tutors nominate students for the Faculty Awards. Students’ experiences while on placement are not only remarkable but have significant real-life impacts. 

Each winner receives a prize, and certificate for use on their CV and LinkedIn profiles, and the award will be shown on the student’s final transcript when graduating.  

Students currently on placement and returning to their final year will be contacted via email (by the PT Award Team) advising when the Professional Training Award 2023 applications open in October 2022.

Arunan Tharmalingam

Sustainability Award Winner

The nominee should have made a significant contribution to the organisation’s sustainability whilst on placement. This could be in the form of environmental sustainability or social sustainability.

The judges commented on how pleased they were to hear that the technical experience gained at the University, underpinned the knowledge used in your workplace. Congratulations on presenting your findings to senior management and for helping the company to save a quarter of a million per year in the future – a very impressive achievement.

Arunan Tharmalingam

We’re pleased to announce that the winner of this award is Mechanical Engineering student Arunan Tharmalingam, who worked as Research and Development Engineer at Plastipack Ltd.

We asked Arunan why students should take a Professional Training Year?

"I think students should definitely take a Professional Training Year because it gives them a real insight into the field with invaluable experience. It also gives them an opportunity to put into practice learned knowledge and skills. There will be challenges in the working environment, but that is what will get them out of their comfort zone and allow them to build on their confidence. They will get a chance to see if you enjoy their role, helping them narrow down what they want to do in the future."

Lina Meqbel

Trailblazer Award Winner

The nominee should have done something whilst on placement to identify and/or implement a new innovative change that positively affected their organisation and/or community.

The judges were impressed by her achievements in investigating the treatment of cancer and the encouraging advice to new placement students on how best to use their initiative and time wisely.

Lina Meqbel

We’re pleased to announce that the winner of this award is Biomedical Engineering student Lina Meqbel, who worked as a Product Development Engineer at ANGLE. 

We asked Lina why students should take a Professional Training Year?

"University of Surrey students should take a Professional Training Year to use their initiative and time wisely to develop personally and professionally, by gaining transferrable skills and broadening their technical knowledge. It is a great opportunity to be surrounded by a team of professionals who inspire and guide them to overcome all arising challenges and help them explore potential career paths that are most suited to their interests. It also teaches them to accept challenges with an adventurous spirit and maintain a high level of professionalism.” 

Allison Gould

Resilience Award Winner

The nominee should have completed their placement year despite facing difficult circumstances these could be personal, professional, or both.

The judges were impressed by how they showed resilience and perseverance during a tough placement year. Taking great effort to make improvements to company processes and how projects are approached. They gave great advice to new placement students on how to approach their placement year.

Allison Gould

We’re pleased to announce that the winner of this award is Accounting and Finance student Allison Gould, who worked as a Bid & Framework Management Placement Student at Centerprise International. 

We asked Allison why students should take a Professional Training Year?

"There are many reasons why taking a placement year was one of the best decisions I ever made. Professionally, I acquired loads of transferable skills, and being in an IT firm I learned countless amounts about an industry I had never experienced before. On a personal note, I learned about who I am and my strengths and weaknesses, and it helped me decide on the direction to take my career. Overall, I highly recommend a placement year to anyone considering taking one as it gives you a glimpse of what it’s like to be a working professional."

Chizoba Nnaedozie

Inclusivity Award Winner

The nominee should have made a significant impact on equality, diversity, and inclusion in their placement year, where they have helped influence the culture of the organisation they worked with or implemented something new to meet diverse customer needs.

The judges commented that their presentation was both amazing and interesting, showing the promotion of inclusion within the workplace and for BAME employers and students. They were peer-nominated by a fellow placement student.

Chizoba Nnaedozie

We’re pleased to announce that the winner of this award is International Hospitality Management student Chizoba Nnaedozie, who worked as a Communication and Digital Assistant at BWHR and NinjAfro. 

We asked Chizoba why students should take a Professional Training Year?

"I got several opportunities to support the ongoing promotion of inclusion in the workplace and have fun with it. I believe it’s a privilege to have such an opportunity. I feel if I never considered a placement year, I would not have gained and developed skills that are helpful to me to date. My advice to students considering professional training year is to know, that this is the right time to show great resilience and prove to yourself what you are truly capable of.

Faculty winners 2022

jasmine-day

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

The student could have made a significant contribution to raising the profile of their subject area whilst on placement, or who have made outstanding contributions to their own development as a professional through their Professional Training Year.

The judges were impressed with her knowledge of law which assisted her to understand and listen sensitively, and objectively to give both practical and emotional support.

Jasmine Day

We’re pleased to announce that the winner of this award is Law and Criminology student Jasmine Day, who worked as a Research Intern at Streetlight UK.

We asked Jasmine why students should take a Professional Training Year?

"A Professional Training Year provides students with invaluable experience, helping you to make a better-informed decision about which avenues you wish to pursue once you graduate. Students will have the opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge in a professional environment as well as build strong connections within the industry. Having experience within your prospective future career is an excellent addition to your CV, which can really make you stand out against competitors. I honestly could not recommend this experience enough and I will forever be grateful for the opportunities that my placement at Streetlight UK has provided me with.

elisavetha sergeev

Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences

The student could have made a significant contribution to raising the profile of their subject area whilst on placement, or who have made outstanding contributions to their own development as a professional through their Professional Training Year.

The judges commented that she demonstrated the impact her degree course and area of study had helped her throughout the Placement Year. Using the STAR method, she clearly shared her message to the audience.

Elisavetha Sergeev

We’re pleased to announce that the winner of this award is Aerospace Engineering student Elisavetha Sergeev, who worked as a Mechanical Design Engineer at Stanhope-Seta.

We asked Elisavetha why students should take a Professional Training Year?

"A year in placement has improved my confidence and working diligence in a professional setting. The technical and soft skills you gain while being on a placement year are vast and applicable to any scenario, even if the job isn’t exactly what you wanted to do, the experience is irreplaceable. There will be plenty of opportunities to meet new people, learn about the industry you are working in, and how different departments interact to attain a certain goal or develop a product.”

alexander hargreaves

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

The student could have made a significant contribution to raising the profile of their subject area whilst on placement, or who have made outstanding contributions to their own development as a professional through their Professional Training Year.

The judges were impressed with their research and congratulated them on the published papers relating to the CoronaVirus. They gave great advice to new placement students about making the most of the PTY and expanding their repertoire.

Alexander Hargreaves

We’re pleased to announce that the winner of this award is Biochemistry student Alexander Hargreaves, who worked as a Biochemistry Research Assistant at PHE. 

We asked Alexander why students should take a Professional Training Year?

"I encourage every student to complete a placement year. It is a fantastic opportunity for early development providing the experience of a true work environment and the chance to contribute to projects that push the boundaries of your field. Importantly, it allows you to learn and apply key academic skills directly to your knowledge so achieving many personal career goals, all of which will enhance your application to further study or employment."

Highly commended awards

Sustainability: Kirill Rain and Josh Fearns

Trailblazer: Alana Croucher, Benien Issa, Ben Luxmoore, Giles Billenness, Laura Reilly, and Maria Baczynska. 

Inclusivity: Janet Luo and Manpreet Kapoor. 

Resilience: Akshaya Mohan, Anna Maria Manti, Isabel Dewey, Joanna Jackelin Karayannis, Klaudia Wojciechowska, and Sharna Piercy. 

FASS Faculty Award: George Nipah, and Rumyana Ashkova. 

FEPS Faculty Award: Artur Rybak, and Roxanne Liu.  

FHMS Faculty Award: Denise Cordeiro Soares, Josephine Lawrence, and Kylie Townley.

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