Sheffield Hallam University named Outstanding Entrepreneurial University of the Year
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The university took the title during the 17th Times Higher Education (THE) awards last Friday in London, edging off competition from the likes of University of Edinburgh and Oxford Brookes University.
Popularly dubbed the 'Oscars of higher education', the annual awards are the biggest celebration in the calendar, attracting hundreds of entries throughout the UK and Ireland for the first time this year.
The university said their win was attributed to ongoing investment in entrepreneurial and employability themes across its operations, including its teaching, regional partnerships, and research programmes.
Their key initiatives include a Highly Skilled Employment project that has ensured all 350 undergraduate courses include work experience or work placements at every level, so that every Sheffield Hallam student benefits from real-world work-based learning and the largest free student consultancy service in the UK, which has contributed nearly £5 million to the local economy over last seven years.
Additionally, the university supported Class of 2020 graduates by including offering virtual interviews and internship opportunities and start-up support.
The approach was further enhanced during the Covid-19 pandemic as the institution pivoted its business offer to support the local economy and communities most in need.
Meanwhile, Hallam i-Lab, a 150-business incubator for students and graduates, counted 2,730 student enterprise interactions in 2019–20, including 133 workshops, 485 one-to-one appointments, and 56 new trading businesses.
The judges praised the university for its 'comprehensive approach' to embedding entrepreneurship.
"Sheffield Hallam demonstrated how it had pivoted from a series of initiatives to a strategic approach that impacted every part of the university,'' they said.
John Gill, THE editor, said: "The Times Higher Education Awards have been recognising outstanding achievements in UK higher education for the best part of two decades, but never before have they shone a light on the level of effort and creativity that was demanded of universities throughout the 2019-20 academic year.
"The response required, and delivered, in the face of a global pandemic was unique, and many of the awards submissions reflected those unprecedented circumstances.
"But universities’ great strength is not just that they respond to circumstances, but that they also provide a level of constancy at times of uncertainty and change."