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The CDA is an employability award that aims to provide recognition for students who take part in a variety of extra-curricular activities during their time at the University of Chester. It is designed to enable students to reflect on their experiences, articulate their skills and enhance their employability whilst aligning with the university’s Citizen Student strategy.

The CDA has three award levels, which are The Chester Difference Award, The Chester Difference Plus Award, The Chester Difference Excellence Award. The students will work towards achieving different pathways to help them with employability and will receive an award based on how many they complete.

This year’s celebration took place online with Matt Baker, Musical Director of the University’s choir compering the event. Matt received an honorary Master of Music (MMus) from the University in 2019 for his outstanding contribution to the arts. He introduced musical entertainment from students Josh Hollinrake and Kate McCollough as well as inspirational speakers from external companies, with which the University’s Careers and Employability department works. Matt congratulated and introduced all the students who took part and who shared the benefits of the scheme.

Diane Appleton, Head of Careers and Employability, said: “It’s great to see so many students and graduates participating in and progressing through the Chester Difference Award. 2020-21 saw a re-design of the award, which is strongly aligned to the skills needs of employers. Participants not only develop skills through their extra-curricular activities but have to demonstrate how they are able to articulate the skills. They can therefore be confident that employers will value the key skills they have gained and having been through the CDA process they will be able to continue to develop and reflect on their skills throughout their careers.

“At the celebration event, it was inspirational to hear of participants’ journeys through the CDA as well as their commitment and dedication to develop their own skills and contribute to the University and their community.”


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