AGCAS Awards for Excellence

AGCAS Awards for Excellence encourage, reward and share good practice amongst HE careers and employability practitioners, and their partner organisations, by promoting quality, innovative and collaborative projects and high professional standards across the full range of HE careers and employability work 

After careful deliberation by our team of volunteer AGCAS-member judges, we are excited to announce the shortlist for the AGCAS Awards for Excellence 2020.

The nominations have, once again, been of an exceptionally high standard. Congratulations to all shortlisted nominees.

AWARDS FOR SERVICES

Building Effective Partnerships Award

Open to AGCAS member services who are able to demonstrate effective collaboration with one or more organisations, with the ultimate aim of demonstrable benefits for the service’s stakeholders.

Birmingham City University
Higher Level Skills Match is a unique collaborative project positioning Birmingham City, Aston and Newman Universities in partnership with local authorities in Cannock Chase, Lichfield, Tamworth, and North Worcestershire to tackle the gap between the future skills required by businesses, and the skills currently held by the workforce.

University of Hertfordshire
Our Assessment Centre Experience (ACE) is a collaboration between key stakeholders which supports students who may not have the social and cultural capital to navigate recruitment processes.  Delivered via embedded modules in the curriculum to over 3,000 students from across 9 academic schools, it has a positive impact on employability.

University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University
The Digital Marketing Academy (DMA) is a work experience programme co-delivered by the University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University and driven by our employer partners. It addresses the high-level digital skills gap identified by Nottingham City Council, strengthens our links with local employers and supports graduate retention in the city.

Read more about each nominee

Strategic Innovation Award

Open to AGCAS member services who can show the effective design or redesign of the way in which a service is delivered in order to adapt to changes and/or meet new demands, whether institutional, regional or sector-wide. This can also include incorporating the use of new technologies.

Lancaster University
Responding to: ISE research; feedback from employers needing to engage with a more diverse talent pool; and listening to students who are interested in working at companies who champion diversity and well-being, Lancaster piloted, tested and re-designed a brand new Careers event ‘Welcoming Workplaces – Celebrating Diversity in the Workplace’.

Open University
Inside Look is the OU’s digital redesign of face-to-face employer site visits, enabling employer-student interaction on unprecedented scales and overcoming barriers of location, disability and circumstance. It provides unique insights into graduate workplaces to inspire, build confidence and raise aspirations. “I think it will widen everyone’s horizon,” said one participant.

Sheffield Hallam University
Sheffield Hallam has a vision to become the world's leading applied university, shaping students' futures to prepare them for whatever they choose to do. To deliver this ambition we launched the Highly Skilled Employment (HSE) project, a step-change initiative to deliver a truly transformative employability experience across the University.

Read more about each nominee

Supporting Student/Graduate Employability Award

Open to AGCAS member services who can show effective development and implementation of an initiative with the ultimate aim of improving student/graduate outcomes and learning gain. 

Durham University
‘Diversity Matters’ is a whole service approach.  Through investing in staff training and support we were able to develop new opportunities and activities, responding to  student voice and creating a visible message that 'Careers is for everyone’.  This has reinforced our inclusive culture, generated student confidence and enhanced employability.

University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University
The Digital Marketing Academy (DMA) is a work experience programme co-delivered by the University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University and driven by our employers. It addresses the high-level digital skills gap identified by Nottingham City Council, strengthens our links with local employers and supports graduate retention in the city.

University of Reading
The University of Reading created #RDGGrad, an ambitious career development programme targeting final year undergraduate students. The programme increased finalists’ participation in careers activities by more than 1,500 learning hours per year, more than doubling student engagement with career activities at the most critical time of our students’ career journeys. 

Read more about each nominee

INDIVIDUAL AWARDS

Outstanding Newcomer

For an individual who has worked in an AGCAS member service and been a Full or Partner Member of AGCAS for fewer than two years consecutively, who has made an outstanding initial contribution to the work of a member service.

Alisdair McKibben, University of Aberdeen
Since joining the Careers and Employability Service at the University of Aberdeen in October 2018, Alisdair has been an extremely effective careers adviser, educator and co-curriculum programme leader. He has revitalised the University’s flagship internship programme, worked creatively with academics to create and enhance curriculum courses and increased the employability of students through special events and exceptionally good advice and guidance. His early work with senior university managers, academics and employers has made a major impact on the development of the strategic and operational activities of the service, particularly with regard to student employability and internship provision.

Lyn Wakefield, University of Lincoln
The University of Lincoln students and staff along with employers from near and far have benefited from Lyn Wakefield joining the University of Lincoln Careers and Employability Service.  Lyn has an ability to turn a perceived impossible into a very successful and achievable outcome.  Her enthusiasm and creative approach in supporting the students with their career planning, academics with curriculum planning and employers in engaging students should become a masterclass in motivational development.  Her emotional intelligence together with her ability to make time for everyone has earned her the respect and admiration of all those who work with her. 

Mark Lee, University of Northumbria
Mark has made a transformative contribution to the team and wider service.  His enthusiasm and drive to try new things has been infectious and positively impacted on the team.  By encouraging new ways of thinking, other team members have positively engaged in new activities, developing their skills along the way.  Examples include streaming employer presentations on Facebook and embedding virtual reality activities into programmes.  As a Careers Adviser he is the ultimate professional and a credit to the sector.  He has clearly influenced work with academics, a known challenge in universities, alongside directly impacting student outcomes through one-to-one work.

Rachel Pugh, Robert Gordon University
Rachel took up what was a newly created position in July 2018 with the key aim to enhance our employer engagement capability across the university. She has worked tirelessly since her appointment to establish closer links with our employers as well as expanding our employer network. She has promoted a genuine partnership model of working which has been well received by our stakeholders and the positive impact of this is clearly evidenced in the quality and quantity of events we have promoted for our students during this period.

Significant Contribution Award – Individual

For an individual who has worked in an AGCAS member service and been a Full or Partner Member of AGCAS for more than two years consecutively, who has made an exceptional contribution to the work of a member service.

Christel Thames, Brunel University London
Christel has completely transformed careers support, in-curriculum provision and events for Biosciences and Clinical students. Her level of output is extraordinary and is testament to total student focus. She is quick to embrace technology, implementing on-line mentoring, compulsory video interviewing and an innovative curriculum for escalating student numbers. Staff describe her as having significant effects on employment and further study outcomes. Students have nominated her for the ‘Benguin’ (Student–led award) three times and have personally petitioned me to ‘pay her more’ saying they would never have achieved a job or study without her ‘motivational and dedicated support’.

Katie Hill, University of Bristol
Katie Hill enables our Careers Service to support and demonstrate ‘success’ for students and graduates, using digital tools and graduate destination data to develop and inform student support. The outstanding impact of her work aligns completely with the conference theme. As Operations Manager she successfully leads a team which ensures data, systems, web, and communications underpin our student and employer operations. Her strategic approach, can-do attitude, excellent team leadership, and relentless focus on how data, systems, and processes help inform better decisions and more impactful services makes her an absolute star and a model of what operations managers should be!

Maria Dobrzanska, Leeds Beckett University
Maria is one of Leeds Beckett’s Careers Consultants, with a remit to work with one of our academic schools. Over the last year our team has experienced significant change/turmoil, with vacancies in key management roles. Maria has consistently gone above and beyond the call of duty to help students and support colleagues across our team, leading on innovative and inspiring activities, volunteering to contribute to a wide range of team activities, and always bringing a positive and friendly attitude.

Due to insufficient numbers of entries this year, the Research Informed Practice Award and Significant Contribution – Group Award have been withdrawn.

Presentation of awards

This year, we will announce the winners via the AGCAS Awards for Excellence Showcase webinar series. Each webinar will include a short presentation from the service category nominees about their submission, followed by a Q&A and announcement of the winners. Bookings for the webinars will open in late June 2020. The showcase webinar dates and details are below:

Tuesday 14 July 2020, 12:00–13:00
Awards showcased and announced will be Building Effective Partnerships and Outstanding Newcomer. Webinar sponsored by:

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Wednesday 15 July 2020, 12:00–13:00
Awards showcased and announced will be Strategic Innovation and Significant Contribution – Individual. Webinar sponsored by:

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Thursday 16 July 2020, 12:00–13:00
Awards showcased and announced will be Supporting Student/Graduate Employability and the John Roberts Memorial Award*. Webinar sponsored by:

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 *The John Roberts Memorial Award is given to the best student on the AGCAS/University of Warwick Career Education, Information and Guidance in Higher Education qualifications as selected by The University of Warwick Course Director, Phil McCash.

We would like to thank our team of volunteer AGCAS shortlisting judges for giving up their time to judge the nominations and to our sponsors for their continuing support.

If you have any questions about the awards process, please do not hesitate to contact us.

View previous winners