Deserving students were presented with valuable work experience placements this week as part of the annual Insight to Business Awards.
The event - now in its fifth year - sees Liverpool Hope University’s Business School joining forces with some of the region’s most influential companies to offer short-term placements to both undergraduates and recent graduates.
The opportunities, which will be taken-up in June and July this year, were awarded to students following a detailed nomination, shortlist and interview process.
And Ian McKenna, Head of Hope’s Business School, said Awards really celebrate the students’ ‘curiosity, energy, their high levels of skills and talent, and their employability’.
Speaking at the ceremony, held at the University’s Hope Park Campus, Mr McKenna added: “We pride ourselves in challenging, and supporting, our students. And the Insight to Business Awards is a central plank in what we’re trying to do in the Business School.
“It’s about increasing the employability of our students while giving them real-life experience working with local, national and international companies.
“Not only do our students really benefit, we hope that the companies who take them on also benefit, and appreciate the quality of our graduates.
“It’s a real feather in our cap that we’re able to run these Awards each year. And this year around 40 of our students were shortlisted for an award.”
The Insight to Business Awards was held live and in-person for 2022, having been forced to move online in 2021 due to the global pandemic.
Some of the businesses offering placements included Everton FC, Liverpool Chamber of Commerce and The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust.
And many of the firms were so impressed by the candidates from Hope, that multiple placements were handed out, rather than just one opportunity.
Lesley Martin-Wright is the Chief Executive of Knowsley Chamber of Commerce. She’s also the High Sheriff of Merseyside and is on Hope’s University Council.
Speaking at the event, she revealed: “These students are bright, articulate and highly-motivated and I think any employer would want to snap them up. When I’ve heard them speak about their courses, what they’ve learned, what they give and get from their time at university, it’s ‘A star’ throughout from me!
“What I really love about Hope is just how much all of the lecturers want their students to succeed. There’s so much energy, drive and determination. And so when I come here tonight, I know I’m going to meet some very talented people who will absolutely make a difference, whatever their chosen career.”
Jordan Wright is Managing Director of LLS, a firm on a mission to train the next generation of multi-sports industry professionals. Jordan is also a former Hope student himself.
And he says that even if an award nominee hasn’t been successful in securing a placement, the process of going through the interview could prove incredibly valuable in itself.
He said: “It’s an amazing process. The students have to build their CVs, they have to stand out from the crowd, and they then have to go through an interview which, we hope, really prepared them for modern-day interview techniques.
“It’s unbelievably worthwhile, for the simple reason that I believe you can’t go through enough of these interview processes because you’re always going to pick up something new each time.
“And as for the placements themselves, we will welcome these students, we will look after them, and their time with us will hopefully stand them in good stead for a career in the business world.”
Hayley Catherall is a Partner in MSB Solicitors, and someone who takes great pride in training and uplifting those new to the world of work.
She added: “I was unbelievably impressed by the candidates this year and I struggled to choose the winner for the placement at MSB. They were all outstanding.
“And I really enjoyed the process of selection, particularly listening to what the students had done for their local communities.”
Among the students winners on the night was Hannah Darling, a talented Business Management and Marketing student.
It’s another accolade for Hannah, from Darwen, Lancs, after she also recently came runner-up in the ‘Student of the Year’ category at the Young Enterprise Awards North West Regional Finals.
Praising the partnerships between Hope and industry, Professor Gerald Pillay, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of Liverpool Hope, said: “The point of being a university is to have graduates who are going on to make a difference. The motto of our university is ‘to educate in the round, in ‘body, mind and spirit’. It talks about an investment in the whole person.
“And that’s why I’m extremely grateful to the companies and organisations who invest in our students through these Awards. You probably don’t realise the huge impact you have.
“These graduates are the agents of change in our world. And remember that this group went through two years in isolation. They missed so much we had taken for granted - and yet they have flourished in adversity.
“To the students - I’m very, very proud of you.”
The winners in full:
Winners: Jade Kelly, Tegan Grugel, Katie Clare
Winner: Lucas Beck
Winners: Jack Jervis, Maisie McKeown
Winner: Liam Boner
Winners: Beth Dransfield and Hannah Darling
Winners: Callum Curry and Kieran Bradley
Winner: Mariam Sibuma
Winner: Charlotte Slater
Winner: Joshua Williams
Winner: George Salter
Winner: Lauren Richardson
Winner: Karys Doherty
Winner: Abigail Miles