We've had an outstanding year
We’re celebrating after picking up all three of the prestigious Times Higher Education awards we were nominated for.
Our pioneering #weareinternational campaign won Outstanding International Student Strategy, and an award for Widening Participation Initiative of the Year reflects the achievements of the first full annual cohort of 250 Advanced Apprenticeships employed by high value manufacturing companies in our Advanced Manufacturing Research Training Centre.
We also picked up Outstanding Support for Early Career Researchers for Think Ahead, a framework for the professional development of researchers, supporting individual career ambitions in and beyond academia.
Outstanding International Student Strategy
Our win for #weareinternational has rewarded a pioneering campaign that came about after both our Vice-Chancellor and President of the Students’ Union wanted to make clear that international students are welcome in Sheffield and the UK. With an increasingly negative debate around immigration, they agreed they would lead a shared campaign to counter these negative impressions.
From the beginning, the campaign was collaborative and had the full blessing of Universities UK who also recognised the need for a sector-wide voice to challenge negative associations.
Our Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Keith Burnett said: "It is wonderful that the #weareinternational campaign has been chosen as the first ever winner of the Times Higher Education International Student 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.
"Ensuring the UK is welcoming to overseas students is fundamental to who we are as a University, and there has never been a time when it was more important to say so. We are determined that the debate around immigration must not damage our wonderful tradition of learning from one another as vibrant international communities in our universities and that international students are not and should not be thought of as migrants.
"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.”
Students’ Union International Officer, Jose Diaz De Aguilar Puiggari, 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 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.”
"I would like to congratulate Sheffield Students’ Union and The University of Sheffield on winning the THE award. I am very proud to be part of the #weareinternational and #educationnotmigration campaigns and would like to praise our joint collaboration as the key to our success.”
Widening Participation Initiative of the Year
The award for our Advanced Manufacturing Research Training Centre completes a successful year for the new initiative, during which the first cohort of 250 advanced apprentices started their engineering careers.
These apprenticeships are a first amongst any research-intensive university in the UK and are employed by global leaders such as Rolls-Royce and TATA, and by local high-tech supply-chain companies.
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, instead of going direct to university and then struggling to find a job. 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.”
“I hope my apprenticeship will be a platform for me to reach my goal of achieving a master’s degree in engineering physics and be on my way to becoming one of the best engineers in the country.”
Tom – Technical Apprentice, ATI Allvac
“Since I started I have grown rapidly as a person and an engineer. I am now producing jobs for companies such as Rolls-Royce. I would recommend the AMRC to anyone who is willing to put the effort in to become a first class engineer.”
Anthony – Apprentice, JRI
“If I were 16 and had 100 choices of where to study, I would choose here. In the future, I believe people will say that the AMRC produced a new kind of engineer.”
Hamid Mughal, Global Director of Engineering at Rolls-Royce
Outstanding Support for Early Career Researchers
Think Ahead is unique in the sector as a framework for the professional development of researchers, supporting individual career ambitions in and beyond academia.
It is collaborative and operates a productive partnership model at all levels, utilising expertise from within and beyond the University.
A team of nine experts lead the framework, which, since it was launched in 2012, has offered support to more than 1000 research staff and more than 4000 postgraduate researchers.
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.”
Janet Metcalfe, Head of Vitae and one of the judges, said: “We were impressed by the depth and breadth of professional development provision for early career researchers, supporting research careers and fostering interdisciplinarity through the Think Ahead programme.”
Our Researcher Professional Development team spans Research & Innovation Services, the Careers Service and the Faculties.