National success for Sheffield Hallam Students at the Student Employee of the Year Awards 2014

After having their outstanding contributions recognised at region level for the Student Employee of the Year Awards, two Sheffield Hallam University students have gone on to have their achievements recognised at national level.

The National Association of Student Employment Services (NASES) recently held their annual conference and awards dinner at Brunel University, London.

The NASES event is designed to recognise and promote the outstanding contributions and achievements of students who combine the balance between employment and study.

English student, Jessica Dodds was announced as a national winner in the ‘Off Campus Above and Beyond category’ for her work at marketing and training consultants Keep Your Fork. Jessica was presented with a certificate and received a cash prize of £100.

Jessica said: “I am so proud and thankful for the award and it’s fantastic that awards like this exist to recognise some of the amazing and inspiring work ethic of students today.

Jessica Dodds receiving her certificate with Faye Smith, Director of Keep Your Fork.

Business Economics student, Ben Plimley was awarded a Highly Commended ‘Off Campus Step Up to Leadership’ award at national level for his work at BSKYB. Ben was highly praised by his manager for achieving results expected from a permanent member of staff in a managerial position.

Castor Merino Perez was also awarded the ‘Highly Commended award’ at regional level for his work as Student Ambassador in the Careers and Employment Centre at Sheffield Hallam University.

Sheffield Wednesday FC were regional winners for the ‘Student Employer of the Year.’ They were nominated by Computing Forensic and Security Technologies student, Joshua Wright, who said without the experience he gained with Sheffield Wednesday he would not have achieved the grades he did in his course.

Student Employer Co-ordinator, Victoria Bacon was named as ‘best newcomer’ to NASES.

The event, which ran on the 8-9th July, was a great opportunity for students to make new connections and discuss employability with other like-minded students and winners.

Sheffield Hallam University would like to give a big congratulations to all the award winners for their hard-work and dedication.

Students and Employers Celebrate Mentoring Success

On the 8th May, the Careers and Employability centre celebrated the achievements of this year’s students and their career mentors, on the University’s Career Mentoring scheme.

Sheffield Hallam’s Career Mentoring scheme is well established and is accredited by the Mentoring and Befriending Foundation. The celebration, hosted by the Careers and Employment team which runs the scheme, marks the end of its 11th successful year.

Students and mentors came together and shared their experiences at the celebration event; an evening which began with tea, cakes and networking, an introduction by the director of QESS, Paul Helm, and the Head of the Careers and Employment service, Pat Quinn, who reflected on the value of mentoring:

“One of the strengths of the scheme is that the meetings take place face to face which the students find invaluable, and they experience first-hand, the mentor’s work environment.”

Five students then read out the accounts they had written towards the end of their mentoring experience, reflecting on their experiences, and sharing them with the audience.

Jacob, a Business Management student whose mentor is Alex Buchanan, Marketing Manager at Thornbridge Breweries in Bakewell, Derbyshire.

Jacob recounts how he was encouraged by Alex to get really involved in some hands-on product development, and the result was the Happy Hamper”, pictured below.

“I actually took Career mentoring to the next level, and developed my final year project at Thornbridge Brewery for my module: Entrepreneurship and Innovation”.

Every participant received a certificate and acknowledgement of their work throughout the scheme, and it was particularly apparent that the students and employers alike enjoyed the opportunity to talk to one another, networking outside of the Career Mentoring partnerships.

Adwoa Ofori-Mensah, a Banking and Financial Management student, and her mentor Russell Robinson from Symmetry Medical Sheffield.

All photographs taken at the Celebration Event were by Vicky Appleton, Student Ambassador, Careers and Employment Team.

Congratulations to all of the students and employers that participated in the scheme. If you would like to know more about the scheme please email the Scheme Coordinator Linda Wilson Alternatively, if you think you would like to be a mentor, or know someone suitable as a mentee, please email

Here are some of the comments that were left on the night!


2014 Student Employee of the Year Awards (SEOTY)

by Victoria Bacon, Student Employment Co-ordinator

As part of the national Student Employee of the Year (SEOTY) awards, the Sheffield Hallam prestigious awards evening took place here on 1 May. Our students, staff and external employers met to celebrate the achievements of our students who work whilst studying.

The SEOTY Awards have been run by the National Association of Student Employment Services (NASES) since 2002 and have grown year on year.

This year has been very successful for our students.  We received a massive 96 nominations and Sheffield Hallam was the top university in the North East and second nationally.

The awards went to:

Off Campus Student Employee of the Year – Above and Beyond

Winner: Jessica Dodds (BA English, final year student) for her work as Marketing Assistant at Keep York Fork, a marketing and training consultancy.

Faye Smith, Director of Keep Your Fork, said: “Jessica has been trusted to work directly with my clients where she is calm, professional and organised.With Jessica’s support we have been able to take on a greater number of retainer clients, generating great increase in business turnover.  I do not think my business would be running today, if it was not for the support, tenacity, courage and professionalism of this young woman.”

Read more on Jessica’s time at Keep Your Fork.

Jessica Dodds

Highly Commended: Charlotte Richardson (BSc Geography, final year)

Off Campus Student Employee of the Year – Step Up to Leadership

Winner:  Ben Plimey (BA Business Economics, final year) for his work as a Customer Experience Advisor for BSKYB.

Shelley Bayne, Customer Experience Manager at BSKYB, said: “Ben was asked to take control of a brand new team entering the department, initially on a short term basis. Ben stepped up and operated as a manager on a full time basis for a period of around 20 weeks. He achieved results that we would expect from a permanent member of staff in a management position; this was exceptional.”

Read more on Ben’s time at BSKYB

Highly Commended:  Helen Ullyatt (BSc Psychology, first year)

Helen Ullyatt

Jobshop Student Employee of the Year  

Winner: Castor Merino Perez ( MSc Logistics and Supply Chain Management, final year) for his work as Student Ambassador in the Careers and Employability Centre.

The Sheffield Hallam University Careers and Employability team said: “Castor is a complete asset to the Careers and Employment service and has undertaken the role of ambassador for the service to a high level; way above the standard that we expected.”

“Being able to have someone like Castor who can be relied upon to give excellent service has meant that we can ensure a professional service can be maintained, even when SHU staff are not in attendance. He will be a great loss to the Careers and Employment Service when he leaves the university this year.”

Castor Merino Perez

Read more on Castors time at the Careers and Employability Centre.

Highly commended:  Vicky Appleton (BA Graphic Design, final year)

Vicky Appleton

On Campus Student Employee of the Year – Above and Beyond

Winner: Akram Abdulqader (BA Business and Financial Management, second year) for his work as Student Ambassador for the Events Team.

Elena Portaluri, who is part of the Events Team at Sheffield Hallam, said “Being able to rely on someone like Akram for extra assistance like this at events is something that goes above and beyond the responsibilities of a Student Ambassador.”

“Not only can I rely on him for extra support, I can rely on him to get the job done correctly. It makes my job a whole lot easier knowing that I have got an ambassador like Akram who I know will turn up to every event; not only to perform his role as a student ambassador as well as he does, but to also support and assist other staff members.”

Akram Abdulqader

Highly commended: Natalie Coaten (BA Business and Enterprise Management, final year)

Natalie Coaten

On Campus Student Employee of the Year – Step Up to Leadership

Winner: Melissa Timmins (BA Public Relations, final year) for her work as Student Assistant – Social Media in Student Learning Services.

Brian Irwin, Head of Technology Enhanced Learning at Sheffield Hallam University, said: “When leading a workshop for 20 of our staff, Melissa did background research into what the good principles of social media were. She designed discussion activities for the group, something she had not done before and delivered a very good presentation in addition to facilitating the activities.”

“The feedback from the workshop has been very positive, with one participant describing it as one of the best workshops she had attended in her years at Sheffield Hallam.”

Read more on Melissa’s time at Sheffield Hallam University.

Melissa Timmins

Student Employee of the YearCommercial Impact

Winner: Liga Apsite (BSc Environmental Management, final year) for her work as Student Assistant at Rotary Engineering UK Limited.

Robert Fennell, Managing Director at Rotary Engineering UK Limited, said: “Liga came to us with excellent credentials and still exceeded our expectations. Her ability to cut through the mass of information and work out exactly what needed to be done was impressive and we would have made little or no progress without her input.”  

“Throughout the project she kept the team up to date on progress and we learned a lot from Liga which will stand us in good stead for achieving the ISO14001 Standard.”

Read more on Liga’s time at Rotary Engineering UK Limited.

Student Employer of the Year Off Campus

Winner: Richard Ford – Sheffield Wednesday Football Club

Josh Wright, studying BSc Computing Forensic and Security Technologies, said: “ Without Richard mentoring me throughout university and at the beginning of my career, I feel that I wouldn’t have achieved the grades I am currently getting as the majority of my university work has been based upon my ‘real world’ experiences at Sheffield Wednesday FC.”

“Working at Sheffield Wednesday FC has given me an extremely varied overview of IT as football clubs have a multitude of operational areas. This varied experience will be very useful for future employers and the amount of responsibility that has been given to me will allow me to have a high level of confidence when starting my new job.”

Read more on Richard’s impact off campus.

Richard Ford

Student Employer of the Year On Campus

Winner: The Outreach Team – Belle Fletcher / Rachel White / Rachel Oliver / Jen Williams / Katie Fowles

Student Mark Pattison (BSc Biology) said: “Through working with the Outreach and UK Recruitment Team, especially these five schools and colleges liaison officers, I have developed into a confident, outgoing professional person, learning skills that have helped me throughout the course of my degree studies and shall no doubt help me in my future career.

“These staff act as role models to current students, future graduates and potential students on a daily basis and are a beacon of employability, showcasing the best that higher education has to offer and raising the aspirations of thousands of young adults in the process. Through working for these officers, I and many other ambassadors have learnt a vast amount in a short amount of time; transforming us from shy students to confident adults in the space of just a few months.”

Outreach Team

All our winners will be put forward for the regional phase of the competition. Regional winners are then considered for a national award and national winners will be announced at the NASES conference in July.  We hope to have a National winner from Sheffield Hallam for 2014

Contact us:

If you want to hear more about Student Employment within the University or would like to advertise a role to students, please contact the Student Employment Team on 0114 225 3940 or email: Tweet us @SHUStudentJobs


How Sheffield Hallam Student’s Union Can Help You

Sheffield Hallam Student’s Union is passionate about social enterprise, businesses or projects that have a clear social or environmental purpose at the heart of what they do.

We are very proud that since November 2012 we have provided funding, support and advice to 32 start-up social enterprises. These social entrepreneurs have tackled a wide range of issues for example:

  • Dan Aid ( ) offers advice to young people about the health risks associated with body piercing
  • Soberistas ( ) an online community specifically targets women who are concerned about their alcohol consumption
  • Risky Roads Project which works with young people aged 13 – 19 years in Sheffield to inform them, and raise awareness of, gun and knife crime, the consequences, and the lifelong effects this has on the victims, families and offenders
  • Dynamic Diabetes helps create suitable exercise regimes for  people suffer from diabetes

During the next academic year we will be running the Innovation Award to offer you the funding and support to start your own social enterprise. Not only is it a great way for you to give something back to the local community but you will also gain some invaluable experience that will also help increase your employability, for more information visit or email .

We also understand the importance of gaining transferable skills and specialist knowledge of social enterprise through hands on work experience. We are currently offering funded placements with two fantastic local social enterprises. Both positions will start mid-June and are for current students or those who are graduating this summer. The closing date for applications is 5pm on Wednesday14th May 2014 for more information visit:

In addition we have also supported three applications for Balloon Kenya which brings exceptional young people from around the world to work in Kenya for 6 weeks with budding local entrepreneurs.

Career Impact: Aiming High

by Kayleigh Gray, Graduate Intern, Careers & Employment Team

Career Impact is a university-wide programme run by our Careers and Employment Service. It aims to provide quality support, industry insight and networking opportunities for students who are high achieving, motivated and ambitious, in their search for employment on a graduate scheme. It also aims to enhance the impression employers have of Sheffield Hallam students, in focusing on employers who seek a high UCAS tariff and may previously have campaigned solely at red brick universities (High Flyers 2014). The scheme also supports students who share these ambitious aims, but may face additional barriers in their transition to work, such as those with disabilities.

Career impact students at the employer networking breakfast, 2013

Fortnightly skills sessions led by careers professionals or employers, focus on aspects of graduate recruitment such as assessment centres, application forms and networking techniques and include an opportunity for participants to share their experiences. Personalised one to one support is also offered, along with networking opportunities. Contact with employers is also facilitated; last year an employer breakfast led to two participants meeting the employers they now work for. Students have progressed onto graduate schemes with employers such as for Transport for London, Nissan, Birdseye and PFK and our current students have already secured places with Tesco and DHL.

A Twister challenge for the mock assessment centre with L’Oreal

This year’s Career Impact students have been attending our regular workshops, benefiting from sessions such as Making Your CVs and Applications Stand Out, with guests from BGL undertaking CV checks; alongside this our students have also experienced a Practice Assessment Centre with L’Oreal, the adventures of which can be seen captured in the photo to the right. The focus of the group is to ensure that Sheffield Hallam University students feel confident applying for graduate schemes.  As a result we encourage employer engagement but we complement it with professional development sessions like Effective Networking and Navigating Your First Graduate Job.

We are currently starting a Level 5 Career Impact group so that students are ready to apply for the graduate schemes which often close before Christmas. If you know any Level 5 students that are motivated, enthusiastic and well-suited to the Career Impact group then please email the Career Impact lead, Caroline Hanson at or the group administrator, Kayleigh Gray at:

Journalism graduates inspire final year students

Over 20 recent Journalism and Media graduates returned to Sheffield Hallam University to speak to third year students about their job-seeking experiences and how they are using the skills they developed at Hallam in their current work.

The graduates who came back for the event are working in a wide range of jobs such as TV, radio, magazines, social media, digital marketing, communications and PR.

Prior to the talk, Pro Vice-Chancellor & Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Computing, Engineering and Sciences Roger Eccleston welcomed the graduates back to Hallam and presented them with certificates for speaking at the event. The graduates then went on to talk to a packed room of enthusiastic third year students about how to be successful in finding work in such a competitive industry. The graduates discussed a number of tips for job-seeking and spoke about their own experiences of getting a job in a subject they are extremely passionate about.

Senior Lecturer in Broadcast Journalism, Philo Holland, had organised the event. He told us: “It was an inspirational day for our journalism undergraduates. There is nothing more powerful than having 24 recent graduates standing in front of them, buzzing about how they’ve found work they love. It’s also a great boost to know that our graduates are finding the skills they learned at University are opening doors in a number of different job sectors.

Hopefully our final year students will feel less daunted about the prospect of job-seeking, and confident that their degree will make them highly employable.

Tips from the graduates

Many of the tips the graduates mentioned are applicable to all career areas, here’s some of the top ones.


  • Everybody has a degree – what can you do to make yourself stand out from the rest?
  • Volunteer at a local charity, write for you student magazine, try and get some work experience at your local radio station.
  • A 2:1 gets you the interview, but work experience gets you the job
  • It gives you something to talk about in the interview and proves you didn’t just sit around waiting for a job to land in your lap

Work Experience

  • Be enthusiastic and make an impression during your work experience
  • Use your initiative; don’t just sit in the corner waiting to be given tasks
  • Do your research on staff and make allies by talking to people
  • Keep in contact with everyone; you may need their help in the future
  • Suggest new and exciting ideas; the worst thing anyone can say is no
  • Don’t just focus on the subject you’re interested in, any work experience can provide you with skills to reference in future interviews.


  • Employers see 100’s of CV’s everyday – how can you make yours stand out from the rest?
  • Create a number of CV’s which can be used for different job roles.
  • Put your online presence on your CV so people can find you – links to Twitter/LinkedIn etc.


  • Use blogging to write about a subject you’re passionate about
  • Don’t be afraid to reference your blog in interviews

Applying for jobs

  • Think outside of the box. Don’t just assume there are no jobs available at a company just because they haven’t advertised online
  • Send emails at 9.30am on Monday morning when people are at their desk checking their inbox. A weekend email will get lost down the list
  • Be patient, you aren’t going to walk into your dream job straight after graduation (unless you’re lucky)
  • Be tech savvy. The more technology literate you are the more desirable you are to a company
  • Find jobs in places you wouldn’t expect.
  • Have an online presence. If you aren’t on Twitter, you’re behind with the times. Remember to keep it professional, employers WILL check on you.
  • Use LinkedIn. A great tool for finding jobs and for employers to find you.
  • Follow agencies and executives on Twitter and LinkedIn. Follow key people on Twitter, people who work in places you want to work, doing jobs you want to do.


  • Use social media to research the people who are interviewing you. Find out what their interests are and research their work history
  • Don’t think that because you’ve had an interview, you can stop looking for jobs
  • Be passionate in your interviews and prepare questions – what question could you ask the interview panel that would make you stand out from the competition?
  • Don’t be afraid to take notes at interviews – shows willingness to learn and a keenness to do that job.
  • Be yourself!


  • Don’t be deterred by knockbacks, learn something from every single interview, successful or not
  • Success consists of going from failure to failure without the loss of enthusiasm

More tips were discussed on Twitter using the hashtag #shugradtalk, and you can also view a Storify of the event.

The event was described as inspiring and encouraging by attendees and was extremely beneficial to all the third year journalism undergraduates who will soon be embarking on their own careers, and hopefully using the tips and advice given to follow in the footsteps of the returning graduates.