Placement students celebrate successes at inaugural awards evening

Students returning to De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) from their year in industry were welcomed back in style as the university hosted its first-ever Placement Graduation Event.  

The event, organised by DMU’s award-winning Careers Team in the Vijay Patel Building, shone a light on the successes and contributions that students made while on placement during the 2022/23 academic year.

Placement graduation crowd

In total, 11 awards were handed out to students on a night, which also included a panel discussion with representatives from Sainsbury’s, Primark and Leicester-based architecture firm, Brown Studio.

Speaking at the event, DMU’s Vice-Chancellor Professor, Katie Normington, said: “I spend a lot of my time talking to employers who take students from De Montfort University and they always tell me that they have a real ability to see a challenge, and to go for it.

“On average, students who complete a year-long placement raise their own degree by around 10 per cent – that’s a whole class.

“I am sure you will be able to take what you have learned this year and apply it to your courses. You’ve spent the past year being ambassadors for the university, and have done a fantastic job.”

Footwear Design student, Bailey Westbury-Charlton, spent a year working for footwear brand, Shuropody and was the first to win an award on the night.

The company was taken over during his placement and he went from assistant buyer to working across brand and merchandising – and has continued to work for Shuropody part-time while he completes his final year.

“It was a great experience,” he said. “It was pretty full-on and gave me so many opportunities to push myself and get that experience in buying, merchandising and working on the new ranges. I’d totally recommend doing a placement, it’s made a big difference to me.”

 Bailey Westbury-Charlton award win
From left to right: Emily Smith, Maja Sharratt, Flavio Moreira, Hollie Drury and award-winner Bailey Westbury-Charlton

For Ameera Eliyas, undertaking a placement with New Balance meant moving from her hometown of Leicester for the first time. Working as a finance intern in the company’s Manchester office, Rucha – who studies Business Management – believes the opportunity has helped her discover what she wants to do with her career.

Ameera said: “Initially, I worried accounts might not be for me but when I was there – surrounded by such a nice team – that it put me at ease. I was meant to spend my whole year in receivable accounts but I was able to work in payable accounts, which I think I prefer.

“If there is a vacancy there, I’ll definitely be applying because I would love to go back.”

Rucha Jayendra award win
Ameera Eliyas with her award

Forensic Science student, Laura Anthony also made the move out of Leicester for her placement. She moved to Northern Ireland after securing a role as a Quality Control (QC) Analyst at Norbrook Laboratories.

She said: “I identified quantities of the active ingredients in each of the products that they were selling. It was a really good learning curve and allowed me to develop both my soft and analytical skills.”

Laura Anthony Award win
From left to right: Estet Aseke, award-winner Laura Anthony and Rumanah Khalifa

During the event, Lesley Hadfield, Senior Merchandiser at Sainsbury’s, Rebecca Maltby, Early Careers Lead at Primark and Browne Studio directors, Pyndi Shankar and Chris Brown all joined DMU’s Sam Dalby, Placement Manager in the university’s Arts, Design and Humanities (ADH) faculty for the panel discussion.

The industry experts all shared their tips for securing graduate roles, including how to make applications stand out and good first impressions.  Above all, the panel stressed that graduates need to be their authentic selves and passionate about the industry they’re applying to.

After the event, Rebecca said she was encouraged by the students’ successes and ability to rise to the various challenges working in industry can pose.

She said: “It was so nice to hear the stories from students tonight and share some of the experiences they gained.

“We have had six students from DMU this year and three last year. They’ve all been brilliant and Katie’s speech about the student’s passion really resonated with me because that is what I have seen from our own cohort of DMU students.”

A full list of DMU Placement award-winners by faculty can be found here:

Arts, Design and Humanities, presented by Jill Cowley, Dean of the ADH faculty and Rebecca Maltby, Early Careers Lead at Primark.

-        Bailey Westbury-Charlton

-        Meryn Parry

-        Daphne Wright

Business and Law, presented by Simon Heaton, Senior Lecturer in Career and Professional Development and Poonam Powani, National IT Manager at ALDI.

-        ­Ameera Ehyas

-        Sanam Samgi (not collected at the event)

Computer, Engineering and Media, presented by Deepa Rughani, Placement Tutor within CEM and Antonios Pavlakis, Lead Developer of StaySafe.

-        Harry Drummond

-        Ali Siddibeh Kurubally

-        Matthew Harvey

Health and Life Sciences, presented by Kaushika Patel, Deputy Dean for the HLS faculty and Rehana Sidat, CEO of Jamila’s Legacy.

-        Rucha Jayendra

-        Gilbert Amoateny

-        Laura Anthony

Posted on Tuesday 31st October 2023

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