University honoured for inspiring students from all backgrounds across the globe to achieve their academic dreams

The University of Sheffield has been honoured at the Times Higher Education (THE) Awards 2014 for providing exceptional support for international students, early career researchers and students from all backgrounds after scooping a trio of titles.

The prestigious awards for Widening Participation Initiative of the Year, Outstanding International Student Strategy, and Outstanding Support for Early Career Researchers recognise the University’s outstanding support in inspiring students to achieve their academic dreams and providing the best foundations for their future careers.

The accolades further strengthen Sheffield’s position as an international centre of excellence and ambition after being voted number one in the UK for Student Experience earlier this year.

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, Professor Sir Keith Burnett, said: "To win all three awards is a wonderful achievement and a fantastic way to end such a successful year.

"I am delighted that the #weareinternational campaign was chosen as the first ever winner of the International Strategy award. In many ways our work here has been at the service of far more than simply our own university. We have spoken out for our educational values with our students and partners across the UK.

Apprentice"International students are vital to our universities, to our research, to our communities. They are innovators and friends. Three-quarters of the British public say they agree with us – counting students within immigration targets is wrong and damaging.”

He added: "I am also thrilled that the work of the University of Sheffield and in particular our Advanced Manufacturing Research Training Centre on advanced vocational education has been acknowledged with this wonderful award.

"Our apprentices show what is possible when universities and companies come together to address real skills needs in the context of world-class research.

"To also be praised for our support of early careers researchers is a fantastic acolade which highlights the University's backing of individual career ambitions."

The Widening Participation Initiative award reflects the exceptional achievements of the first full annual cohort of 250 Advanced Apprentices employed by high value manufacturing companies within the University’s purpose built state-of-the-art Training Centre.

The apprentices are employed by manufacturing companies keen to benefit from the high-quality training in the practical and academic skills that manufacturing companies need to compete globally.

Companies that work with the University range from global leaders such as Rolls-Royce and TATA to local high-tech supply-chain companies, and the University has agreed progression routes through undergraduate study in Engineering up to doctorate and MBA level.

AMRC Training Centre Director of Training, Alison Bettac, said: “We are delighted to win the Widening Participation Initiative of the Year Award.

“We believe we have created a blueprint for bridging the manufacturing skills gap and promoting social mobility at the same time. Many of the Training Centre apprentices would never have considered going to university.

“In addition to getting a high-quality vocational education, skills and access to employment, they are also taking the first step on a road that could lead to undergraduate and post graduate degree courses, funded by their employers.

“Our apprentices tell us they value being employed. They also say that if they do go on to study for a degree, having a ready-made understanding of how industry works gives them a sound foundation for their studies."

The University was also recognised for leading a groundbreaking campaign to highlight the crucial value of international students to the UK which has now been backed by over 100 universities, education institutions and international organisations.

The pioneering #weareinternational campaign, which was jointly founded by the University of Sheffield’s Vice-Chancellor and the Students’ Union President, has been a galvanising force within British Higher Education.

We are internationalDeveloped with the support of Universities UK, the British Council, the NUS and the UK Council for International Students, the campaign continues to work with the Home Office and Cabinet Office to produce films which reinforce the message that the UK actively welcomes talented students. The campaign has also been endorsed by the CBI and the British Government’s GREAT campaign.

International Officer, Jose Diaz De Aguilar, said: "Sheffield Students’ Union has long since led the way in championing the rights of international students. The work from countless students, officers, staff and The University of Sheffield has allowed us to be where we are today, building on the momentum of years of work to launch our new collection of campaigns.

"I am enormously proud of the #weareInternational campaign and the innovative collaboration with the University of Sheffield. Our commitment to advocate for international students continues to gain strength and support across the UK.

"There should be no borders to academic success, and our new campaign ‘Education not Migration’ will be another example of our vision to create a higher education sector and campuses that have no borders.“
The Union launched its ‘No Borders’ earlier campaign this week to challenge the Government’s immigration policies. The e-petition sent to the Home Office is lobbying for the removal of international student numbers from net migration figures.

As well as international students and those from disadvantaged backgrounds, the University received an award for the Think Ahead scheme, a research-led framework for the professional development of researchers, supporting individual career ambitions in and beyond academia.

Mirroring the drivers of the research environment, the scheme is by design collaborative and promotes interdisciplinary working. Think Ahead operates a 'productive partnership' model at all levels, utilising expertise from within and beyond the University.

Sarah Fulton, Director of Research and Innovation Services, said: “We are delighted to have won this award; it is a worthy recognition of the depth of quality and breadth of scope of our professional development offering for early career researchers.

“Through the Think Ahead framework, we are supporting individual career ambitions in and beyond academia and equipping researchers with the skills and ways of thinking which are highly sought after by employers and academia. Congratulations to all involved with Think Ahead.”

The award winners were announced at a special ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London last night (27 November 2014).

Additional information

The University of Sheffield
With almost 26,000 of the brightest students from around 120 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.
A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.
Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.
In 2014 it was voted number one university in the UK for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education and in the last decade has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes in recognition of the outstanding contribution to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life.
Sheffield has five Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.
Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.


For further information please contact:

Amy Pullan
Media Relations Officer
University of Sheffield
0114 222 9859