‘World class’ Departments secure UK first

Posted on 15th January 2009
The University of Chester's Student Support and Guidance and Careers and Employability Departments have been declared ‘world class' after being awarded the maximum five stars in a rigorous assessment by one of Europe's leading quality management organisations.

The high-profile recognition is the first time that any university in the United Kingdom has been awarded five stars at Recognised for Excellence level by the British Quality Foundation (BQF), the UK national partner of the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM).

Mark Bell, Levels of Excellence Manager for BQF, said: "You have every reason to be proud of this achievement, as five-star organisations are few and far between. Indeed, you are the first UK university to achieve five stars through Recognised for Excellence. This is in the region of world class."

The five-star award follows a rigorous three-day assessment by independent consultants, who judged the staff, leadership and processes in both departments to be outstanding. They also praised the work of staff as inspiring, and their single-minded dedication to supporting students and meeting their needs.

Student Support and Guidance provides a wide range of services to the University's student body. These include: counselling and welfare support; financial guidance; medical liaison; disability support; student safety; student development, mentoring and volunteering; and advice on diversity and equality.

Careers and Employability provides information, advice and guidance to help students make the most of their time at the University and plan for their career. With a strong track record of graduate employment, graduates are also able to use the service to help find a job or discuss a career change.

Professor Tim Wheeler, the University's Vice-Chancellor, said: "We're absolutely delighted with this well-deserved accolade and recognition for the outstanding contribution made to the work of the University by Student Support and Guidance and Careers and Employability.

"This is a fantastic achievement by a first-class team, so ably led by Dr Lesley Cooke, the Dean of Students."

The BQF was formed in 1993 to improve organisational capability and performance. One of the channels they use to deliver this is the Recognised for Excellence programme, which is underpinned by the EFQM Excellence Model.

The EFQM Excellence Model is an internationally-recognised framework for assessing and continuously improving organisational performance against recognised criteria across all its activities. It is the most widely used organisational framework in Europe.