Skip to content

The University of Chester’s Careers and Employability Service led The Chester Difference Award (CDA) celebration event at the Garret Theatre. It was co-hosted by graduates Cherelle Mitchell (who is a former Chester Students’ Union President), and James Bullen. Speakers included: Diane Appleton, Head of Careers and Employability at the University; Sophie Fearnall, representing Contact the Elderly; Kerrian Clatworthy from Santander Universities and Dr Chris Haslam, the University’s Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic, Recruitment, Quality and the Student Experience.)

Now in its sixth year, the Award celebrates a wide range of extra-curricular activities undertaken by students in addition to their academic work. This includes part-time work, volunteering, employability training, additional short courses, as well as being a captain or committee member of a Chester Students’ Union club or society.

There are three levels of Award attainment: The Chester Difference Award; The Plus Award; and The Excellence Award. Each level demonstrates a huge commitment, as students balance their studies with a varying amount of hours dedicated to making themselves stand out. More than 162 students completed the Award this year, including 40 who received the highest level, The Chester Difference Excellence Award.

Three students also spoke of their experiences: Monica Escobedo, a first year International Tourism Management student, who received The Chester Difference Award; Walter Elchmanar, a third year Chemical Engineering student, who received The Chester Difference Excellence Award and Niamh Roberts, a final year Tourism Management student, who also received the highest level of the Award.

Monica said: “As a mature, international student, the CDA helped me achieve my goal of getting involved and taking advantage of every opportunity that came my way. It has truly helped me make the most out of my time at university while also enhancing my employability. Since I’ve only just finished my first year, I’m already working towards The Chester Difference Plus Award and can’t wait to see where the next two years of my university journey take me.”

Walter said: “The CDA has allowed me to better understand how I am as both a student and as a person. I have been able to develop a confidence in myself that I wouldn’t have imagined before university. It has helped me to further develop the skills that I had come with from college and to create a platform to better prepare myself for the industry post-graduation.”

Niamh said: “The CDA provides a great opportunity to receive recognition for your extra-curricular activities, whilst enabling you to enhance your employability skills and I cannot recommend the scheme enough. Through completing the CDA, I have improved my transferable skills, built a network of contacts and become more self-assertive, learning to say ‘yes’ to every opportunity that comes my way. The scheme has opened doors to various opportunities, even helping me to secure a 12-month management internship with Marriott in Florida, upon graduating in November. Overall, I have found it extremely rewarding and would highly encourage other students to get involved with the scheme.”

Diane Appleton, Head of Careers and Employability at the University of Chester, said: “The Chester Difference Award celebration evening is always a highlight of the Careers and Employability year, as it gives us the opportunity to recognise and celebrate the achievements of our students. Students have many reasons for getting involved with the CDA and the activities they participate in help them make the most of their time at university. It is always amazing to hear how our students have gone above and beyond to make a difference to themselves, but also to the University of Chester and their local communities, through their activities and achievements.”

Share this content