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The SEOTY Awards, which are run by the National Association of Student Employment Services (NASES), recognise and promote the outstanding contributions and achievements of students who effectively combine part-time work alongside their study commitments.

Three Chester students were previously selected as award winners at the institutional level of the competition; they then went on to win at the Student Employee of the Year North West Regional Awards and, at the SEOTY Awards dinner which took place in Birmingham recently, they were also announced as national award winners.

Mohammed Hashim Anwar, Kirsten Colley and Alice Dunford achieved the highest number of regional awards the University of Chester has ever won and then all went on to win at a national level too -  making this the best year the University has ever had at the SEOTY awards.

Mohammed Anwar, from Wrexham, is a Master’s student on the Sports Coaching and Development course, based on the University’s Warrington Campus.  He won the ‘Step up to Leadership - on Campus’ national award and at the institutional level of the competition; he was also announced as the overall Student Employee of the Year 2019 for the University of Chester.  Final year Economics with Politics student, Alice Dunford from Whitchurch, won the national award for ‘Commercial Impact - On Campus;’ and Kirsten Colley from Chester, who is a third-year student of Music, achieved her national win in the category of ‘Freelancer’ which was a newly introduced category this year.

Mohammed was chosen by NASES as the national winner in the ‘Step up to Leadership’ category for his work as a Fitness Instructor on the Warrington Campus, where he was employed through UniJob.  UniJob is a scheme run by the Careers and Employability team within the Student Futures Department at the University of Chester, which provides students with paid employment opportunities on Campus. 

Mohammed said: “I was absolutely ecstatic to have been nominated for the national awards in Birmingham. It had not fully set in that I was attending a national awards event until that very day. Being able to attend the Winner’s Workshop was very insightful and, looking around at everyone who had been nominated for different awards, they had undoubtedly earned the right to be there through hard work and determination.

“It was a privilege and an honour to attend the SEOTY Awards dinner and witness everyone winning an award for their hard work and contribution to their respective universities. I was shocked to have my name called out for winning ‘Step up to Leadership’ and to have my work recognised. My aim is to take risks and show people my results, not my plans.”

Kirsten Colley was selected as the national winner in the new ‘Freelancer’ category for her achievements as a Dance Instructor with Stay Beautiful Performance. Kirsten is Managing Director of and Dance Teacher/ Performer with Stay Beautiful Performance.  

Kirsten said: “I am honoured to have received the first SEOTY award for Freelance.  Not only was I surprised to win, but I was very grateful just to be nominated by Sally Tyler (Bounce Studios) and Nicola Rook (Bespoke Dance and Function) for recognising my work for them. The workshop provided gave a refreshing insight into working professionally. The SEOTY awards dinner was a beautiful night and it was clear a lot of effort had been put into the evening.”

Alice Dunford was chosen as the national winner in the ‘Commercial Impact’ category for her work in the role of Events and Promotions Assistant, also with UniJob, assisting with the delivery and facilitation of the University’s TEDx event.  As she was unable to collect her award in person, it was accepted by Adam Crane, Employer Engagement Co-ordinator at the University of Chester.

Alice said: “I was thrilled to have received the NASES Student Employee of the Year - Commercial Impact on Campus. Albeit, this award should also be afforded to my fantastic colleagues at Careers and Employability at the University of Chester for their guidance throughout my employment.

“Importantly, these awards prove that jobs, no matter how big or small, are not just about the financial reward, but also personal and professional development. It is wonderful to have received this award as my accounting and finance career begins. I hope other students see these awards as motivation to consider employment at the University and get involved with campus-wide projects.”

Diane Appleton, Head of Careers and Employability at the University of Chester, said: “The SEOTY Awards shine a spotlight on the impact that our students make to their employing organisations or their customers. We are delighted that all three of our students who made it through to the finals were winners in their category. Alice, Mohammed and Kirsten are well-deserved winners and to be nationally recognised for their work is an amazing achievement. I’d like to congratulate them and all our students who were nominated this year. It has been a privilege to read their nominations for the huge impact they have been making whilst also studying full time.”

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