Lecturer wins national award for helping students gain work experience

Best in class: Dr Julie Udell with her award

A University of Portsmouth lecturer has won gold for Outstanding Contribution to Work Experience at the National Undergraduate Employability (NUE) Awards.

Dr Julie Udell, a lecturer in Psychology, took over the role of helping students find relevant work experience about six years ago and the course has since seen a huge rise in excellent feedback from students and employers.

Students she has worked with have also seen a dramatic rise in graduate employment rates, with more than 93 per cent of Portsmouth Psychology graduates in work or in further study six months after graduating.

Dr Udell said: “I feel very honoured to receive this award. I love working with students as they navigate the many career choices that they have available to them. I find it so rewarding being able to provide them with guidance and support, throughout the process, which I hope serves them well in the future, too.”

In the past two years, Psychology has become one of the most successful of all departments and schools at the University for the number of students gaining work experience.

As well as giving careers lectures to students, Dr Udell also trains and supports academic colleagues and champions employability throughout the department.

Head of Psychology Dr James Ost said: “This is really well deserved and a testament to the amazing hard work that Julie and her team put in supporting our students.

“Julie is exceptional in her role. She is innovative and highly flexible in helping our students find work experience, whether that’s a short-term volunteering opportunity or a year-long placement.

“She has built extensive contacts with industry and has the trust and grateful thanks of countless students not just for helping them find a placement, but for being available throughout their placements to ensure they learn and benefit to the maximum degree.

“With Julie’s help, our students are far better prepared for entry into the job market both in terms of their knowledge of the subject and how to apply their knowledge in a wide range of workplaces.”

In 2016, two thirds of final year Psychology students did at least one placement; 12 per cent did two or more; and 169 students volunteered, the highest number from any department in the University.

The NUE award was given to “celebrate the tireless and invaluable contributions made by a particular individual within a university to help students apply and maximise their work experience opportunities”.

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