Last night saw EC staff attend the University of Southampton Excel Placement Awards. The evening was a celebration of the experiences of Southampton University interns during their summer placements. EC’s very own intern Alex Khawam, who worked in the company’s marketing department, was sourced from this programme. The Excel scheme was welcomed by EC as it allowed local SME’s to access high talent and give them that much needed work experience to kick start their careers. This particular partnership between EC and Alex has proved particularly fruitful as Alex is now a permanent member of the EC team and is being sponsored to study for his Level 5 Certificate in Professional Marketing with the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

The Awards ceremony held in Central Hall located in the heart of Southampton was well attended and it was clear that winning an award would not be easy as the 184 students involved in the scheme would all be vying for the top accolades. The ceremony started off with a bang with some rousing speeches from three Excel placement students and then it was time for the announcements of the winners. The Excellence award was first to be announced and would be given to the student who has demonstrated,

“The will to win and the desire to succeed”.

Out of a total of 98 nominees, 3 names made the final short list, of which Alex was one of them. Unfortunately Alex just missed out but to be short listed as a finalist was still quite an achievement. After a few more awards were announced the most prestigious award was next; The outstanding achievement award, given to a student who has made,

“A significant contribution that has enabled the student to demonstrate specific skills and qualities that have been of direct benefit to the host employer”.

Competition was even fiercer for this than the Excellence award and all nominations were again whittled down to a final shortlist of just 5. Again Alex made the short list and unfortunately again, he narrowly missed out.

The final award was for Host of the Year, out of a number of nominations, EC made the short list for the final 3, but unfortunately just lost out to Eaton.

Although EC brought no trophies home, it was a significant achievement to have even been short listed for not 1, but 3 awards and  being the most nominated finalist  out of a vast number of applications. A bittersweet night for Alex and EC, but a good start to the upcoming awards season and a result that EC can build upon.

Well done to Alex and everyone who took part in the Excel scheme and a huge thank you to the University of Southampton Careers department for not only putting on a great evening, but also playing matchmaker and finding us an employee who has become an integral part of the EC family.