The difference your time and expertise made

Thank you to the 1000 alumni volunteers who dedicated over 10,000 hours of their time, supporting more than 8000 Sheffield students during the 22/23 academic year.

Sheffield alum and student at the 2023 Northern City Connections smiling at the camera

Through the diverse volunteering opportunities provided by the Campaigns and Alumni Relations department, Sheffield alumni have had the chance to re-engage with the University and its students. Having once been in their shoes—excited, intrigued, and uncertain about post-degree life—alumni are able to inspire the next generation of professionals. Each opportunity has allowed them to guide and share their professional journey with future graduates, demonstrating the many paths a Sheffield degree can offer. 

This commitment has yielded impressive results for the 22/23 academic year, leaving a lasting impact on students:

  • 1,000 dedicated alumni volunteers
  • A remarkable 14,000 hours contributed to support students
  • Over 8,000 students positively influenced

Here are some of our most recent activities:

Northern City Connections (NCC)

There is nothing scarier than the unknown, especially if you are about to graduate! This year, Northern City Connections brought together the faculties of Arts and Humanities and Social Sciences, with an impressive participation of 58 students and 28 alumni. This insightful event allows students to hear directly from Sheffield alumni and their respective organisations, learning more about their career paths and the incredible potential their future holds.

  • 100% of alumni would recommend volunteering at this type of event 
  • 100% feel valued by the University as a result of their participation
  • 100% felt that students were very engaged 
  • 100% of alumni enjoyed participating in NCC

The day's agenda featured three workshops and an evening networking session. Beginning at The Wave, the University of Sheffield's newest and most sustainable building, the first workshop focused on marketing, led by Sheffield alumna Samantha Avila Ricci. The second workshop, hosted at Channing Hall, featured Dr. Kay Graham, a Policy Director in the Department of Education, and Saffron Howdle, a Fast Streamer (Project Delivery) within the Civil Service. Both shared their career journeys, current roles, and reflections on their time as students. The third workshop, held at DLA Piper, provided students with a firsthand experience of the working environment, allowing them to ask employability-focused questions to DLA employees, Molly and Kathleen. The event concluded with an outstanding networking opportunity hosted by alumnus Jon Kenworthy, Partner and Head of Corporate at DLA Piper, and Rich Norman, Commercial Litigation Partner at DLA Piper.

Sheffield alumnus and student talking at Northern City Connections

Reflections on the event

City Connections is a wonderful initiative and one that I personally and DLA Piper are proud to support. I really appreciated the interest shown by the students in understanding the opportunities available to them in future employment. They were well prepared and asked thoughtful, considered questions.”

Jon Kenworthy

LLB Law 1996Partner and Head of Corporate at DLA Piper

What an inspiring, fruitful evening. It was a pleasure to talk to such motivated, thoughtful, positive, curious and engaging students. I was glad to hear lots about their hopes and aspirations for the future, as well as sharing my experience in building my career post uni and giving, I hope, some valuable nuggets of advice, information and guidance.”

Lucy Owens

BA Modern Languages 1992Coach and facilitator at Lucy Owens Coaching

I am delighted to support Northern City Connections. As the first person to attend university in my family, I recognise some of the challenges this group of students may face. Enabling them to get under the skin of a range of professions and make connections with people working in them is so brilliant.”

Dr Kay Graham

BA (Hons) Geography 1992  and PhD Geography 1997Deputy Policy Director at the Department of Education

NCC has shown that even a language degree can lead to something as polar opposite as law.”

Amy-Lee Oscroft 

BA Linguistics and Japanese Studies Sheffield student

NCC has helped me to discover different avenues of work after graduation.”

Ziona Quaye

LLB Law with Spanish Law Sheffield student

Coach Cafe

Building a strong professional network is crucial, and Coach Cafe makes it easy. This online initiative connects Sheffield alumni with students, who are looking for a similar career path. This year's first Coach Cafe session focused on careers in pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and health, with nine alumni volunteers coaching 74 students. It's a fantastic opportunity for graduates to share experiences and offer advice tailored to those specific industries.

Coach Cafe logo

The first session was a complete success! 93% of the participating students reported gaining a better understanding of careers in those industries.

Check out students’ feedback

I decided to join Coach Cafe because I wasn’t sure about what future prospects I could have as a first year, but this session has really inspired me for what the future could hold. I feel a bit less overwhelmed and underprepared now."

Mary Ivie Okunwague Blessing

1st Year Biochemistry Sheffield student

I have learnt a lot from the Coaches, especially Iain, Daria and Mohammed. Their professional experiences and kindness inspired me to work and study harder. And this Coach Cafe programme gave me a direction, a general idea of the career development, what skills I need to build-up for this role, and more importantly, after hearing alumni experiences, their stories encourage me and push me to keep progressing."

Yujin Wang

International Health Technology student