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Celebrating the seeds of a successful university and local business partnership – University of Reading

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Celebrating the seeds of a successful university and local business partnership

Release Date 30 October 2009

The University of Reading, has presented awards to the top students from its summer work placement scheme.

The Summer Enterprise Experience & Discovery scheme (SEED) is run by the University of Reading's Careers Advisory Service and offers valuable paid summer work experience for students, as well as providing local companies and organisations with welcome additional resources.

Companies, organisations and not for profit charities take on students for eight weeks over the summer to work on a specific project. Placements see students work on specific jobs within their skilled area. Local businesses profit from having access to bright, enthusiastic undergraduates, who are able to dedicate their time and skills to strategic projects that will be of lasting benefit to the company.

At the end of the scheme, which includes two full days training for the students with a professional trainer, the students showcase their achievements. The Finale on 27th October was attended by representatives from the host organisations, academics and senior representatives from the University.

The Overall Winner was Emma Lovett who worked with Alexandra Road Community Day Nursery, a local charity run daycare setting. Emma raised £15,000 from a council grant for the nursery to develop a new garden for the children which would not have been possible without her. She also ran a successful fundraising carnival for the nursery and helped put together a welcome guide and marketing materials for new children and parents. Emma was awarded a cash prize of £500.

Carol Derham, University of Reading Communications Manager and a judge at the final said: " Emma demonstrated the enthusiasm and skills that make University of Reading graduates so employable. She not only successfully completed the original project that was given to her by the nursery by attracting £15,000 in grant money, but went on to support them by running their fundraising day and provided much needed administrative help. She was a very worthy winner.

Emma Sowden, Employability Projects Manager at the University of Reading's Careers Service said: "All of our SEED students were winners this year, full of energy and passion for their projects and greatly appreciated by their hosts. Emma was selected as overall winner as she came out of the project with so much more than she hoped for and has clearly made a huge impact on a small charity, reliant on fundraising for their resources.

"We are really looking forward to running SEED again next year. With backing from the University's Alumni Office we will offer 20 local small & medium sized enterprises and charities a £450 bursary towards supporting their own SEED projects. SEED is a fantastic opportunity for students to apply their academic experience and transferable skills while gaining valuable work experience in the local community.

Prizes were awarded by Director of Student Services, Jennifer Ghandi. The judges were Carol Derham, Communications Manager, Kate Hough senior Business Development Manager and Tommy Gilchrist, VP Education, RUSU.

ENDS

Further information from James Barr, Press Officer, on 0118 378 7115

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