30 October 2019
The Best University Society 2019
Brought to you by RateMyPlacement.co.uk, the National Undergraduate Employability Awards reward and celebrate the outstanding achievements of employers, students and universities in undergraduate work experience across the UK.
The Best Society Award, sponsored by Enterprise Rent-A-Car, acknowledges societies who have shown a real passion for supporting their members with employability skills.
As well as the exclusive title of Best University Society in the UK, the winning society will receive £1,000 in prize money. Brand new for this year, all nominees will also receive an invite to a webinar with top application and employability tips from both RateMyPlacement and Enterprise Rent-A-Car.
We spoke to 2019’s Best Society, Warwick Engineering Society, about their win…
Can you tell us a bit about your society?
Warwick Engineering Society was founded back in 2010 as a platform to represent the interests of engineering students. Since then, it has rapidly grown into a society that caters to anyone with an interest in science and technology. We strive to help our members get the most out of their time at university.
Our activities are plentiful and diverse, aiming to appeal to as many as possible. Here’s a brief overview of what our society does:
- Weekly interactive career workshops for CVs, interviews etc. delivered by our partner firms
- Biannual conferences, attracting 500 delegates each, themed around relevant fields in science
- Borderless – a forum centered on issues of diversity in the engineering industry
- Weekly outreach events aimed at promoting university and STEM among school-aged children
- Site visits to employer factories and offices across the country
- Inclusive social events for members, including an annual ball
What are your society’s biggest achievements?
We’ve grown from a small departmental society to one that has a massive reach not only at Warwick, but across the region. We have developed many different events over time, gradually expanding our portfolio of sponsors and partners.
It must be said though that our crowning achievement has come from the hard working executive teams that have slowly developed this society into what it is today, each building on the work of the previous while adding something valuable to the society’s legacy.
It is this continuity that has led the society to be recognised nationally multiple times recently, having been shortlisted at the NUE Awards 2018 for Best University Society and winning the award in 2019.
We were also awarded the Impact on Campus Award at the Bright Network Society of the Year Awards 2019 and shortlisted for Best Academic Society at the National Societies Awards 2019.
How did you hear about the NUE awards?
The University of Warwick already had a reputation for strong student societies, with one of the previous winners of the award being Warwick Consulting Society. Having spoken to some of their members, we decided that we were interested in applying for the award as well.
What made you want to apply?
The opportunity to have our work recognised was a major factor for us; the sponsorship from winning would also allow us to expand the scope of our events. We were also excited at the prospect of meeting other dedicated society representatives from around the country, as this could be a great way to exchange ideas and network.
How did you find the Enterprise-Rent-A-Car judging day? What did you learn about Enterprise?
The judging day was a really memorable experience! We had the opportunity to speak with representatives from other societies and take part in several interesting activities.
Overall, it was an informative and engaging event; props to the organisers for their hard work!
Prior to the event, we knew some basic facts, but nothing a quick Google search wouldn’t turn up. Actually visiting the offices and speaking to representatives was a great way to learn more about the history and culture of the company. In particular, we got to hear about some of the opportunities offered by the company, which were relevant not just to us, but also our members.
What did you think of the NUE Award ceremony?
The ceremony was a very well organised, professional event. There was a memorable panel session about employability from a student perspective and an inspirational talk from Dame Kelly Holmes!
On top of that, there were many opportunities to network with representatives of companies nominated for other awards, which was really valuable to our society. Overall, it was a brilliant experience, massive thanks to the organisers for their efforts!
What did it feel like to win?
It was amazing and thrilling to hear our society announced as the winner! Meeting Dame Kelly Holmes was fantastic as well. Walking up to the stage and accepting the award was truly unforgettable.
How has your society spent the £1,000 prize money?
Our society has used the prize money for two purposes. Firstly, to expand our inclusivity-themed conference, Borderless. Secondly, we have used the money as a new source of funding for student-led projects.
We hope that both of these investments will allow the society to be more open and inclusive to anyone who has an interest in science, technology and engineering.
Why should societies nominate themselves for the Best Society Award 2020?
The opportunity to be recognised for one’s work outside their studies should not be missed. Furthermore, it is really valuable to speak to other members from top societies around the country; there is a lot that can be learned and shared. The nomination process isn’t difficult, so it’s worth a shot; at worst, it will be a positive learning experience.
What tips would you give to new societies when nominating themselves for the award?
What is your society doing to improve itself? What are the next steps? These are two key questions that helped us determine what to include in our submission for the nomination. Perhaps most importantly, make sure that your passion for your society comes across! Try to demonstrate your society’s impact and convey why you think it is important.