The UON Industry and Employability Awards

Something new is afoot at the University of Newcastle. This year UON has decided to recognise members of the students and staff body, as well as industry and employers with the inaugural Industry and Employability Awards.

These awards endeavour to celebrate the holy trinity of students, staff and industry. Think of the relationship as the three arms of a fidget spinner and then you spin it and it all blurs into one because we all work together to achieve goals and such.

Take a minute to get that alarming metaphor out of the way and we can focus back on employability. You hear a lot of cold buzzwords like ‘positive graduate outcomes’, ‘career-readiness’ and ‘global citizenship’ around the place these days, but when you get to the meat of the sandwich the university wants you to be a successful, decent and well-rounded human who can walk into a job and make a difference.

Dr Kylie Twyford, our Careers and Student Development Coordinator, encourages you to get involved in the awards, as they’re an “excellent way to differentiate yourself in the employment marketplace. The awards provide evidence of your ‘can do’ spirit.”

It’s this spirit that employees look for and receiving an award of this nature is a “shining beacon to employers to say, “pick me””.

The UON Industry and Employability awards are an opportunity to celebrate the work-ready excellence of UON students and the contribution of UON staff and industry partners to enhancing graduate employability; an opportunity for UON to reward students and recognise staff who have developed an exceptional level of employability skills as well as industry partners and employers who provide real work opportunities for UON students.

Student Awards

The Student Awards are open to currently enrolled UON students and will be awarded to the students who achieved excellence in enhancing their employability. Kylie advises any student who “put that extra yard in with an on-campus job, embraced the entrepreneurial spirit with a start-up, or went above and beyond in their work integrated learning (WIL) course” to get a nomination in for the following awards:

Student On Campus Employee of the Year

Do you know a student who is also employed by the university in some capacity (AHEM!)? Perhaps there’s a library worker who shelves those returns just right, a tutor or PASS leader who actually makes you want to show up, or someone, you know, who writes words and stuff you like to read. This one is for them.

Student Entrepreneur of the Year

This puppy is for a student who has developed a technological, social or creative innovation; someone who has shown entrepreneurial spirit and is generally a super-smart arse who makes you feel like you should have your life together a little bit more than you do.

Work Integrated Learning (WIL) Student of the Year

Do you know someone who kicked butt during one of their WIL courses this year? This award will go to a student who really got stuck into work placement, an internship, practicum or field experience either in the workplace, community or the University. If you know someone who collected coffee orders, shredded documents and delivered mail like a boss and perhaps even engaged in some seriously relevant, authentic and meaningful work experience on the side, give them a shout out.

Currently enrolled UON students are eligible for nomination. If you intend to nominate someone, please inform them in advance because that’s just manners.

No-self nominations are permitted, you cheeky buggers, although Kylie highly recommends students to “approach staff to nominate them. If successful, the award may just be what clinches you that job after your studies.”

To find the appropriate nomination form head HERE.

Nomination close on Friday the 13th (WWhhhhhooOOOOooOOOOOooooo).

Staff Awards

These awards are designed to encourage and reward staff members who have achieved excellence in enhancing the employability of their students either through WIL or employability initiatives. You know, the teachers who made you not look like a nervous idiot to the outside world.

“Our staff do excellent and significant work increasing the employability of students through either work integrated learning or through activities to increase the students work readiness,” continues Kylie. “The UON Industry and Employability Awards are an excellent opportunity for this to be highlighted.”

UON Employability Initiative of the Year

The professional and academic staff at UON are not just there to set impossible reading schedules and create labyrinthine Blackboard pages, they are also hotwired to make you are a career ready, highly employable global citizen who can kick arse, chew gum and become the leaders of tomorrow. If you know a faculty member or team who have sculpted you into the employability equivalent of a Terminator perhaps shoot them a nomination.

Work Integrated Learning Staff Member of the Year

This hot toddy of an award will go to the professional or academic staff member, or team, who helped prepped someone for the gruelling, flouro-lit reality of work placement. If you know a staff member who either provided some seriously excellent WIL or sat in your corner wiping the blood out of your eyes in between rounds of harsh reality, maybe nominate them and thank them you ungrateful bastards.

Nominations are open to all UON staff, and you should inform the nominee in advance.

To nominate head HERE and click the appropriate link.


Now, there’s no point being employable if no one is going to employ us. The University, as well as being Newcastle’s biggest employer, has a symbiotic relationship with industry. Industry and employers play a key role in preparing us to be future professionals by giving us skills, experiences and resources to strengthen our workplace knowledge and competence. The three industry awards on offer:

  • On Campus Employer of the Year
  • Employer of the Year Start-Up or Small to Medium Enterprise, and
  • Employer of the Year Large Enterprise

These awards are UON’s way of recognising the contribution industry and employers have made to the university and to strengthen the relationships between our campuses and our region.

All current UON staff can be nominator for this category. Nomination forms are HERE.

So, if a student or staff member has made an impression on you (in a good way, not like a violent, literal impression) then get nominating.

Remember, nominations close on Friday the 13th (WWhhhhhooOOOOooOOOOOooooo) so get hassling your nearest staff member for a nomination!