University celebrates record number of accolades at Educate North.

Posted on 11th May 2017

The University of Chester is celebrating after winning a record number of accolades at the prestigious Educate North Awards 2017, having reached the final list in each category in which it entered. 

Some of the University porters pictured on Parkgate Road Campus with their Student Experience award. Holding the award is Team Leader Malcolm Bate.
Some of the University porters pictured on Parkgate Road Campus with their Student Experience award. Holding the award is Team Leader Malcolm Bate.

Now in their third year, the Awards celebrate the outstanding teams, people and initiatives from higher and further education institutions across the north of England. 

The University won a total of three awards, and was highly commended in two more. (It had been shortlisted eight times, including twice in one category.) The institution is particularly proud of the University of Chester Porters Team, who are believed to be the first such team to win an award for their contribution to the Student Experience. The University’s Sustainability Unit was also a winner for the third year running. 

The winners were: 

  • Student Experience award: The University of Chester Porters (Chester and Warrington).
  • Environmental Industry Award (where the University had two shortlisted entries): The Sustainability Unit.
  • Employer Engagement Award: the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship scheme (Faculty of Business and Management). 

Highly commended were: 

  • UK Leadership Award: Ian White, Domestic Bursar and Director of Hospitality and Residential Services. 
  • External Relations Team of the Year: Marketing, Recruitment and Admissions. 

Winners of the Student Experience award, the University’s Porters were recognised for the significant and vital role they play at the University of Chester. They provide expert, immediate and effective support to many students. With a combined 200 years’ experience between the 16 Porters, the contributions of these frontline members of staff cannot be underestimated, and is appreciated by many across the institution. Team Leader, Malcolm Bate, said: “It goes without saying that the entire University Portering team were very happy just to be nominated for the Student Experience Award, but to actually win it is something else. For the team to win this award is such a high honour and makes us all immensely proud. We are overjoyed that our work has been recognised in such a way. 

“Our work, which is largely unseen and goes on behind the scenes, well after most people have gone home for the day, is almost entirely student centric. We use both tried and tested methods, and look to develop new innovative approaches, to ensure that the welfare of our students, the environment in which they live, grow, study, work, and socialise, are protected and valued 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.” 

The Faculty of Business and Management won the Employer Engagement category for its work leading the way, ensuring that the University of Chester has been one of the first universities in the country to have specifically designed and successfully launched the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship (CMDA) programme. This has been developed and is being delivered by The Centre for Work Related Studies through the University’s well-established Work Based Learning framework. It is also working closely with local partners and employers including SMEs to drive the apprenticeship agenda in the North West. The University’s cohort for 2016/17 comprises 12 CMD apprentices out of just 50 enrolments across the country, bringing an impressive 24% of all available apprentices in the UK to Chester. The remaining 38 apprenticeships are shared out among other Higher and Further Education institutions in the country running a similar scheme. 

The University’s Sustainability Unit is the winner of the Environmental Industry Award. All four members of this small team work tirelessly to create and expand a community that shares information, ideas and experiences and continuously evolves and improves sustainability throughout the University. 

Also receiving recognition at Educate North is Ian White, Domestic Bursar and Director of Hospitality and Residential Services at the University, who was Highly Commended in the UK Leadership Award category. Ian has worked at the University of Chester for 30 years. Just over a year ago, he became Domestic Bursar and Director of Hospitality and Residential Services after a fantastically successful 12 months, which included launching new catering outlets across multiple sites, and steering the University’s 175th Anniversary year celebrations. A key achievement from the last 12 months is the leadership of, and guidance for, a brand new department: Hospitality and Residential Services. This new structure includes the residential out of hours support teams across the Chester, Warrington and Shrewsbury sites, and Duty Tutors (members of staff on-call on a rota basis for student emergencies and welfare concerns). 

The University’s Marketing, Recruitment and Admissions (MRA) team has also been Highly Commended in the External Relations category. MRA is responsible for a significant range of external facing processes and initiatives, many of which are integral to the University’s operations. Central to the 2016 student recruitment and engagement campaign was #MyChesterStory - allowing students to become involved with the institution on social media in their own unique way. This continues to be a successful way of engaging with students and staff alike. 

Additionally, University of Chester Modern Languages graduate, and former paramedic, Emma Woollard, won the University Entrepreneurs Grant for her company, The Language Guys. Emma is also a previous winner of the University’s Venture pitch programme. Venture gives students the opportunity to ‘Create’ a business idea and ‘Collaborate’ with business professionals to ‘Accelerate’ it into reality. The Language Guys offer alternative language classes, relaxed and informal classes with an emphasis on conversation. They teach in bars and restaurants and offer courses such as French and Wine or Spanish and Tapas as well as English classes for speakers of other languages. They teach in Chester and Liverpool and will soon be starting in Manchester. For more information and to book a course, please visit 

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Chester, Professor Tim Wheeler, said: “I am absolutely delighted with this outstanding success at Educate North. The University of Chester swept the board in so many, and such varied, categories. I think I can speak for the institution as a whole when I say that we are particularly pleased for our University porters, who won the Student Experience Award. I understand that this is the first time a security team has been recognised in this way, and it is rightly deserved. They are, simultaneously, first aiders, welfare staff, security, mediators, counsellors, key-holders, drivers, support staff and exceptional ambassadors for the University of Chester, and their award recognition is being celebrated across all the University’s campuses.” 

More details about the awards can be found at