The Chancellor, Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE with some of the award winners, Lucia Beltrame, Rebecca Todd and Dominic McBride Wilson.

Floella congratulates ambitious students

Five driven students are each celebrating a £1,000 payout to further their careers.

Plans involving specialised courses, volunteering overseas, kitesurfing and football coaching have received funding from the Floella Benjamin career development awards.

The annual awards, now in their fifth year, look to develop students’ employability and give financial support for innovative career ideas.

Paul Blackmore, Director, Employability and Graduate Development at the University of Exeter, said: “I am delighted with the tenacity and innovation demonstrated by this year’s entries. We’ve read some inspirational proposals and I wish all the students the best of luck with their plans.”

The Chancellor, Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE, said: “Every year the students impress and surprise me with their creativity. I was especially pleased to see a number of proposals supporting the development of children and young people. I’m so proud to see our students going out in the world and making a difference.”

The awards are given to penultimate and final year students to help finance an activity which will enhance their employability and further their career plans. This is just one of the initiatives the University has in place to help students improve their employability.

Competition was intense for the five £1,000 awards, with over 60 applications received.

All participants had to submit a costed proposal explaining how they would spend the money and how it would help them achieve their career goal. The entries were judged by Employability and Graduate Development staff and the winners were chosen by Floella.

About the winners:

Lucia Beltrame, BA Management with Leadership, Business School, Yr 2

Lucia has set up a Community Based Organisation called Generation Kisasa, a charity based in Loreto Primary School in Kenya where a quarter of the children have been orphaned by AIDs. The CBO provides one hot meal a day at the school which for many of the children is the only meal they receive. The CBO has also built up a library and plans to improve sanitary conditions, build a well and promote information about health, hygiene and literacy. The Award will fund some of Lucia’s training to help her realise her ideas, fund the development of a website to provide information about the project to encourage more sponsorship, and support the development of partnerships to help more children.

Laura Curran, Law LLB, Tremough Campus, Yr 3

Laura plans to use her Career Development Award to join an Inn of Court, pay for the application for the Nottingham Bar Practitioners Training Course and contribute towards her BPTC fees with a view to becoming a barrister specialising in Commercial Law.

Dominic McBride Wilson, Economics, Business School, Yr 2

Dominic aims to set up a Kitesurf School to enable disadvantaged people to take up kite surfing. Dominic will initially launch with one of Exeter’s Secondary Schools, enabling students to receive coaching in kitesurfing for free. Dominic will use the Award to pay for equipment, insurance and sundries to enable students to participate in this sport.

Rebecca Todd, Sports Science, Yr 2

Rebecca will use her Award to develop her organisation, Futbolistas Girls’ Football Coaching, as a tool to aid the development of communities living in poverty. Futbolistas develops players through girls-only coaching, to help facilitate football development, education and health in Ghana. The Award will be used to provide further training for coaches, maintain the website and pay for equipment. In the future, Rebecca would like to expand coverage of Futbolistas and strengthen the links between players across the world through sports cultural exchanges and tours and offer opportunities to volunteer alongside partner organisations in Africa.

Joanne O’Donovan, BSc Biological Sciences, Yr 3

Joanne will use her Award to fund a week-long introductory course entitled: ‘The epidemiology and surveillance of infectious diseases’, run by the Health Protection Agency, in June 2011. This course will enable her to gain an understanding of diseases of international importance. She then intends to complete a PhD. Her career ambition is to work in infectious disease control.

Date: 28 January 2011

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