undergraduate of the year awards
On Friday 21 April 2023 the targetjobs team celebrated the fourteenth Undergraduate of the Year Awards at East Wintergarden in Canary Wharf. On the day we were joined by 132 outstanding finalists, and over 150 industry professionals and University representatives.
The targetjobs Undergraduate of the Year Awards are an annual competition that aims to find the UK's best undergraduates. This year the awards were, once again, held in collaboration with SHL and each award was presented with the support of one of our graduate recruitment partners. Each partner provided a fantastic prize for the winner of the category they sponsored. This year the categories were more diverse than ever with 13 categories partnered with 11 of the UK's most prominent graduate employers - Aon, AECOM, BT Group, Clifford Chance, Clyde & Co, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Glencore, Ocado, Rolls-Royce, Sky and Skyscanner.
The awards were set up to celebrate UK's top undergraduates in categories related to career paths (such as Future Actuary and Software Engineering) and personal characteristics (such as LGBTQ+ and Celebrating Neurodiverse Talent).
Once a student has chosen their category, they must submit an application, which includes essay questions and online tests provided by SHL. Students who are successful past this stage will then be assessed in person by the award partner.
The 132 undergraduates that made it to the final this year, are the best of the best. Out of almost 5000 applications, these students have demonstrated academic excellence, strong interpersonal skills and the ability to excel in a series of online tests. The quality of this year's applicants was outstanding, and the diversity across the applications was record breaking with 64% of applicants identifying as female, 66% of applicants being from a BAME background and 12% identifying as having a disability.
"The targetjobs Undergraduate of the Year Awards shows us that UK higher education continues to produce gifted graduates with the academic and personal skills needed to be successful in work. The final ten from each category, sitting here today, really are the proverbial cream that has risen right to the top."
Simon Rogers, Chief Customer Officer at Group GTI
The day started with a drinks reception and live music before an opening address from Simon Rogers, CCO at Group GTI (parent company of targetjobs). He began by outlining just how important widening participation is to the company...
"We have always endeavoured to widen the participation from every demographic in this initiative. Over the last 6 months, undergraduate of the year has reached well over a quarter of a million undergraduates from a very diverse set of backgrounds."
He went on to add that "the social campaign has been the biggest and most engaged that we have ever seen in the history of targetjobs, and with almost 5000 having taken part and over 400 making it through to an actual Assessment Centre, it’s been our widest participation EVER, with 160 universities represented."
After lunch, Simon welcomed Sue Perkins to the stage to begin the award ceremony. Sue co-hosted The Great British Bake Off, has presented multiple travel documentaries, is the host of Radio 4’s Just a Minute and has recently been BAFTA-nominated for her Netflix show, Perfectly Legal. She graduated with a degree in English from New Hall (now Murray Edwards College) at the University of Cambridge, where she was also president of FOOTLIGHTS – the world-famous student comedy society.
After sharing her words of wisdom with this year's finalists Sue announced the winners of this year's Undergraduate of the Year Awards.
"We might all be different, but we’re all in this together. And all ways of learning are, and should be, equal."