Cardiff Met graduate and former Learning and Teaching Development Unit Student Intern Amanda Evans was shortlisted for a UK-wide award after impressing her employees at Cardiff Met and winning the regional Welsh Student Employee of the Year.
The Student Employee of the Year Award aims to recognise and promote the outstanding contributions and achievements of students who effectively combine part-time work with their study commitments. They have been co-ordinated on an annual basis by the National Association of Student Employment Services.
This year, for the first time UMAX Jobshop at Cardiff Met Students Union entered into Student Employee of the Year Awards calling for students and employers to nominate.
Amanda, one of 3 regional winners from Cardiff Met has become an integral part of the University's Learning & Teaching Development Unit (LTDU), while studying towards her BSc (Hons) in Speech and Language Therapy.
According to Nicola Poole, her employee and mentor, 24year-old Amanda introduced an online peer learning network to support Personal Development Planning (PDP), which has contributed to an increased level of retention of students on her course within the first year of implementation and has also been instrumental in boosting an increased level of satisfaction with the whole induction process.
Amanda first became involved three years ago with the LTDU-funded induction programme and set up the online network which was then developed to include an online journal club.
Nicola Poole, who along with Sophie Leslie from Cardiff Met's LTDU, nominated Amanda for the Above and Beyond award category, and said: "Amanda's idea was to create an online journal club that would work like a book club but every 6 weeks instead of a book being reviewed, a journal article and a Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists publication article would be reviewed.
"Amanda carried this out by setting a number of guide questions for the students to build their discussion around. The articles chosen were based around themes that linked to their academic studies.
"This idea was unable to be fully embedded within the timescales of the original contract but Amanda has continued to voluntarily develop and embed the online journal club in her own time. The journal club worked asynchronously, so students could choose when to engage with the club even though this meant a far bigger workload for her. She also provided a summary sheet of discussions for all students who took part in the club for each cycle.
"We nominated Amanda as she met the criteria of being an outstanding student making a huge impact working in the organisation and going above and beyond on a regular basis."
Amanda fulfilled the placement both as a paid intern and also on a voluntarily basis prior to engagement with the scheme and developed an original idea of her own to support the PDPskills of critical thinking and analysis.
She was awarded a place on the Teach First Emerging Talent Programme last month at Brunel University for winning the regional heat in recognition of her fantastic employability skills. The course focused on gaining a better understanding of how to apply skills and experiences in the wider graduate recruitment marketplace while seeking to understand and further develop leadership qualities.
The online journal club has become sustainable thanks to other student volunteers and is a legacy Amanda leaves the University now that she has graduated.
Amanda, from Cardiff, said: "I was very surprised to be nominated for the award - I didn't expect to be. I just very much enjoy creating resources and trying to enhance SLT students' experience so it was a great bonus to be nominated for the award. I was even more shocked to have won.
"It was a brilliant feeling to know that my work (and enthusiasm) was recognised elsewhere other than the SLT programme and I very much appreciated Nicola and Sophie for putting me forward for the award. However, without them I wouldn't have been able to get journal club up and running! So a lot of it is down to them!"
Student Employer of the Year Award- Cardiff Met Winners
Sophie Down – Institutional Winner for Jobshop Temp Award
Nicola Poole – Institutional Winner and Regional Winner for the Employers On Campus Award
Amanda Evans - Institutional Winner and Regional Winner for Above and Beyond Award
Bilal Puri - Institutional Winner and Regional Winner for Commercial Impact Award