Recently, I had the pleasure of presenting at the EP Awards evening, which Yoyo was sponsoring. Thankfully there was no Oscar-like mishaps and I was able to reward the right person, Sabrina Lannazzone for the highest achiever studying at a European Centre.
So what is the EP scheme?
It’s called the Employability Points scheme and is designed to reward students for everything they do above and beyond their degree. It’s all centred on a points system and you rack up your points depending on the type and quantity of activities you do. Activities can range from work experience to volunteering or getting involved in university events – it’s the activities which develop the ‘soft skills’, so crucial to bridge the gap between education and employment. They can then ‘spend’ these points on experiences.
The fantastic team behind the scheme, who I know work incredibly hard to run it each year, set up partnerships with businesses around Kent who are willing to take on students and offer them ‘experiences’. This could form an internship, some shadowing, work experience, vouchers, training and other rewards. And this is how we at Yoyo got involved. In 2016, we offered a 3-month marketing internship, 2 weeks for a video student and 2 weeks for a budding designer. All three were fantastic, which just goes to show how well this scheme works in identifying and encouraging the very best candidates.
Why have an awards evening?
The yearly awards ceremony is to celebrate the highest achievers and there were some that had done an incredible amount of things outside of their degree, putting the rest of us to shame about our misspent youth. The rewards are specific to a particular area or degree, for instance the person who did the most volunteering hours, or the highest scoring student studying a creative degree. The winners receive iPads and vouchers, all provided by the sponsoring companies.
The ceremony is such a good event to reward these students. To get an award, this isn’t about doing a few hours volunteering on a Saturday; it’s about constantly pushing yourself throughout the year to get involved in lots of different activities. The main reward itself is in becoming a better-rounded individual and through the doors it naturally opens to new opportunities. But who are we kidding, it is always extra special to gain the fame and recognition for all this hard work.
How can businesses get involved?
We see such huge benefits in positioning ourselves alongside our friends at the University of Kent. Not only in gaining access to the talent pool of the future but also taking part in other opportunities from a CSR perspective. Through the relationships we have built, we are able to get our clients involved as well.
The best way to get involved is to sit down with the team, headed up by Marcus Wright – they are happy to come and visit you at your office and tend to come armed with lots of ideas. The details of the scheme can be found here and their contact details are on this page. And if you want to see the details of the evening, they have produced a short highlight video, where you can see me in a fancy suit.
We’ll certainly enjoy working with Marcus and the team for years to come.
Well done again to all the winners of the night.