NUE Awards | Finalist Luke Szpiek’s speaks on his experience and why placement students should nominate themselves

The NUE Awards are a great opportunity to evidence future employers the high calibre student they are. In addition to succeeding during studies, the ability to evidence an Industry known award, such as the NUE Award, shows the impact you have had during your time at University. For Luke, he is able to not just discuss his Placement year experience and the valuable skills, insights and knowledge that he has gained, but also that he was picked as one of the 5 highest achieving Placement students in Higher Education that academic year. What a marvellous accolade to truly help you shine to your future employer! Read on to hear why you should nominate yourself for a NUE award.


Why did you decided to nominate yourself for a NUE Award?

I decided to nominate myself for the NUE awards because the feedback I was receiving, and my output at my placement, lined up with the NUE award’s criteria for a ‘best’ placement student, which was to make a measurable impact to a medium to large sized business.


What was the highlight of your placement and how has this impacted your future career aspirations?

The highlight of my placement was probably working on devising a new data architecture strategy for my organisation, which required interviewing multiple departments on their specific requirements, and producing a consolidated set of objectives.
This has impacted my future career aspiration because it exposed me to an entirely different category of jobs within organisations which I am looking to move into, product/project management.

Please can you outline the process of nominating yourself.

To nominate myself, I considered all of the major ‘tasks’ I had undertook over my placement journey, and described them as succinctly as possible alongside, preferably quantifiable, outcomes of those actions.
To ensure that my nomination covered all of the requirements, I took a good look at their submission criteria, and highlighted the important parts, making sure that I was discussing them when relevant.

How did you feel when you found out that you had been successfully shortlisted?

I was glad that hard work was being recognised.

What was the highlight of attending the NUE Awards night for you?

Networking with the other nominees was definitely the highlight of attending the NUE awards. It was great to connect with other conscientious individuals, and discuss experiences of doing an industrial placement, and their take on the main issues discussed at the conference.

What advice would you share with future Placements students considering making an NUE Award self-nomination?

Often times, you think that an award’s criteria couldn’t possibly fit you. But if it happened to me, then it can sure happen to you. You’ve not got anything to lose, and perhaps a lot to gain, by trying.
As for actually making your application, try to focus on quantifiable achievements, such as ‘increased turnover by x% over y period’, and, where possible, include quotes from senior staff you’ve worked with, such as ‘x was the most impressive placement student I’ve worked with in the last y years’.