Employability Awards 2021

The University of Derby’s Employability Awards celebrate students, staff and external partners who have made highly significant contributions towards student employability during the academic year 2020-21.


All of our involved parties were invited to make nominations which were then judged by an independent panel against the proposed awards criteria. This year 141 nominations were submitted in total, the most we have ever received. Thank you to everyone who took the time to nominate and congratulations to all nominees!

Message from the Vice-Chancellor

“It gives me great pleasure to support this celebration. Whilst we cannot be together for our annual event, it is important for us to reflect on and celebrate the achievements of the academic year. The wide range of experiences evidenced throughout these awards denote an outstanding testament to the enthusiasm and passion in the personal development of our students. Your personal efforts and work experience build your individual journey and, as importantly, contribute to the community. In what has been a challenging year, your achievement and success is a shared experience and one that we have great pleasure and pride in celebrating. I wish you every success for the future.”

Professor Kathryn Mitchell DL

Celebrating the Awards

As we are unfortunately unable to host our annual event we have moved the celebrations online and will be revealing the winner of each award during a week-long celebration across our social media. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and use the hashtags #DerbyUniSuccess and #UoDcelebrate to get involved.

Read on to find out more about each award and to see the names of shortlisted nominees.

Four students holding certificates and smiling at Employability Awards
Four students smiling and one holding a certificate at Employability Awards

Academic Employability Champion

Academics are at the heart of what we do as a University and their support in developing our students’ employability is invaluable. Students and staff were invited to nominate for this award which recognises those who have championed employability throughout this academic year.

  • Aimee Whitton – Life and Natural Sciences
  • Andrew Baird – Life and Natural Sciences
  • Barend Slabbert – Arts, Humanities and Education
  • Caroline Harvey – Life and Natural Sciences
  • Christie Eaton – Business, Law and Social Sciences
  • Debbie Alston – Life and Natural Sciences
  • Elizabeth Eate – Health and Social Care
  • Erica Bellamy – Health and Social Care
  • Giovanna Di Monte-Milner – Arts, Humanities and Education
  • Iride Azara – Business, Law and Social Sciences
  • Jackie King-Owen – Health and Social Care
  • Janey Charlton – Arts, Humanities and Education
  • Jeanette Lewis – Life and Natural Sciences
  • Kaye Howells – Business, Law and Social Sciences
  • Laura McLennan – Life and Natural Sciences
  • Laurice Fretwell – Life and Natural Sciences
  • Leo Broadley – Arts, Humanities and Education
  • Rebecca Hill – Law, FE Division (Buxton & Leek College)
  • Sanita Nezirovic – Life and Natural Sciences
  • Sean Lowton-Smith – Life and Natural Sciences
  • Sharon Bell – Arts, Humanities and Education
  • Sheena Bevitt – Business, Law and Social Sciences
  • Tom Outram – Life and Natural Sciences
  • Valerie Derbyshire – Centre for Student Life

Be The Boss - Enterprising Student/Graduate

The Be the Boss Programme offers our enterprising students and graduates the support to set up their own business with a programme of activities along with access to business advice to help get them started. This scheme has seen fantastic uptake since its launch with over 130 businesses created.

  • Danniebelle Gunter – Social-ISE
  • Theano Kyriakou – Bebico
  • Tyra Tucker – Culture Scoop

Community Engagement Award

The University works with a variety of community and voluntary organisations across the city and region that provide volunteering and work experience opportunities for our students and graduates and give them the opportunity to make a positive contribution in the community. Staff and students were invited to nominate organisations for this award.

  • Children First Derby (Danny Smith)
  • Derby Occupational Therapy Society Committee (Emma Rodrigues, Lauren Scarisbrick, Jade Nixon)
  • Safe and Sound (Tracy Harrison)

Employer Engagement Award

As a University we work with a wide variety of organisations across many sectors and disciplines that provide a great range of opportunities for our students and graduates. Careers and Employment Service staff were invited to nominate organisations for this award.

  • Derby Theatre
  • Derbyshire Constabulary
  • Enterprise Rent a Car (Abigail Marsden and Monica Fowler)
  • GSK (Joshua Carney)
  • Kiwa (Craig Dasilva and Russell Corbyn)
  • Knights plc (Louise Thorne)
  • NOVUS Foundations for Change (Richard Wakelin)
  • Peak Ecology (Katie Hadwin and Amy Slater)
  • Prince's Trust (Helen Borrington)
  • PwC (Katherine Gibbins)
  • ReAcon (Jonathan Cooper)
  • Teach First (Hannah Smith)

Futures Award Student of the Year

The Futures Award recognises extra-curricular, employability related activity including Volunteering, Union of Students and Social Media. University staff and external partners were invited to nominate students who had made an impact through their work for the Futures Award.

  • Jade Nixon
  • Katherine Baxter-Brown
  • Nina Cupric
  • PAL Ambassadors - Charlotte Eaton, Mariame Thiam, Meg Jeffrey, Emma Wattam, Tara Karami, Vicky Bradley, Teresa Sketchley, Tyne Whyman, Jayne Kent, Indre Zigelyte
  • Sophie Pegler

Graduate of the Year

This new award has been introduced to recognise a graduate who has demonstrated commitment to their early career development. They may have secured a graduate job, undertaken an internship, accessed personal development through careers appointments or events, gained experience in a voluntary role, or been a role model to other students and soon-to-be graduates.

  • Alexander Wood
  • Hayley Beaumont
  • Hazel Mutabazi
  • Kira Barnett
  • Tom Machin

Mentee of the Year

Our students who take part in the Employer Mentoring Scheme are matched with an experienced professional who can share their knowledge and skills. They have the benefit of talking to employers to gain an insight into their industry and discuss their own future employment potential. All of our current Mentors were invited to nominate their Mentee for this award.

  • Amy Fry
  • Kloe Miranda
  • Nika Kuzmenkova
Student Nigel Duffus standing with a certificate at the University of Derby Employability Awards 2019

I was absolutely delighted to win the Student Employability Award. Celebrating student success in this way is a great encouragement; it shows you what is possible, and gives you valuable insight into the many opportunities available to excel in your career.

Nigel Duffus
Student Employability Award winner 2019

Mentor of the Year

Our Employer Mentoring Scheme is a long standing and popular scheme, offering students the opportunity to be mentored by a professional from our local business community. All of our current Mentees were invited to nominate their Mentor for this award.

  • Ben Crane
  • Christie Eaton
  • Heidi Barlow
  • Jeanette Lewis
  • Jennifer Wyman
  • Johanna Westwood
  • Jon Cooper
  • Mark Faghy
  • Ruth Richardson

Student Employability Award

This award recognises students who have worked hard to develop their employability skills, either through engagement with their curriculum or specific opportunities, with the goal to make themself more employable. Careers and Employment Service staff were invited to nominate for this award.

  • Emily Fisher
  • Freya Padmore
  • Jo Edwards
  • Kara Fitchett
  • Katie Alberici
  • Natasha Yelland
  • Quynh Anh Vo
  • Simran Kaur Chohan
  • Weronika Kolodziej

Student Employment Agency - Student Employee of the Year

Our Student Employment Agency works as a temporary recruitment agency for both internal departments and external employers. All managers who work with the service were invited to nominate students who had worked for them, demonstrating their skills and understanding in a professional environment.

  • Evie Adams – Outreach
  • Katherine Ann Harper – Careers and Employment Service
  • Lauren Wynter – Marketing

Student Volunteer of the Year

Volunteering is a great way for our students to develop employability skills whilst making a difference in the community. We encourage our students to undertake volunteering outside of their studies. Charities and Community Organisations who have hosted our students and graduates as volunteers were invited to nominate for this award.

  • Aislin O'Broin – National Trust Kedleston Hall
  • Alexander Wood – Gaming Potion, Tean Youth Club, SCVYS
  • Charlotte Walsh – National Trust Kedleston Hall
  • Harpriya Pahal – Taraki
  • Hazel Mutabazi – NCS
  • Joseph Webster – Union of Students
  • Kelly Rawson – Safe and Sound Derby
  • Lucy Bellchambers – Crow Wood CIC
  • Millie Gackowska – Salcare
  • Molly Waldron – CommUNIty Chesterfield
  • Sophie Worrall – Just Drop-In

Work Experience Employer of the Year

This award recognises employers who hosted students either through the Derby Internship Programme, Driven or the curriculum embedded micro-placement. All students who had completed an internship or micro placement were able to nominate their employer for this award.

  • Andra Health (Rose Smith)
  • Bridge the Gap (Jennifer Wyman)
  • CommUNIty Chesterfield (Jenny Raschbauer)
  • External Affairs UoD (Bev Crighton)
  • First Steps ED
  • Lubrizol (Mike Harding)
  • The Marylebone Project
  • Pirelli
  • Rural Action Derbyshire
  • Social-ISE (Danniebelle Gunter)

Work Experience Student of the Year

This award recognises students who have completed a micro-placement in curriculum or an extra-curricular internship through the Derby Internship Programme or Driven. All businesses that had recruited an intern and organisations that had hosted a placement were invited to nominate a student or graduate that had made an impact on their organisation.

  • Abbie Jean-Baptiste – Liberty Staffordshire
  • Annabella Tague – Simply Nutrition Derby
  • Caitlin Skevington – The Redhill Academy
  • Chelsea Mansell – Forensic Science, UoD
  • Freya Padmore – Careers and Employment Service
  • Katie Patmore – Music On My PC
  • Lucy Arrowsmith – First Steps ED
  • William Frederick – Helping Hooves

Save the date

We’re excited to be hosting our third Careers Connection Week from 15-23 October 2020. This is a fantastic week of employability activity including the annual careers fair and volunteering fair, webinars, alumni panels, social media takeovers, virtual employer insight visits, employer endorsed skills sessions and more.

If you are an employer or charity interested in finding out how your organisation can be involved in the week of events, or would like to discuss working with us more broadly, find out how our students and graduates can help you or get in touch with us at employerteam@derby.ac.uk.