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Award-winning students demonstrate their employability to EU experts

Two University of Leicester students have won the second edition of the EU Careers Challenge.

Loren Cooper and Jean-Vincent Vallée were part of the winning team that were tasked with solving Europe’s challenges around the Digital Agenda. Another University of Leicester student, Lizzie Ahmad, was a runner-up with her team.

The challenge involved drafting a policy proposal, making a short video and presenting their ideas in front of a panel of EU experts in Brussels.

The final round and awards ceremony took place in Brussels on Friday, 13th February and was attended by a number of distinguished speakers, including David Bearfield, Director of the European Personnel Selection Office, who said:

“It was great to see three Leicester students amongst the teams in the final of the 2014 EU Careers Challenge. Congratulations to Lizzie for making it to the final, and especially to Loren and Jean-Vincent who were part of the winning team.

"The Challenge is all about attracting Europe's best and brightest students, and encouraging them to demonstrate the sort of skills needed to succeed both in our competitive selection procedures and, hopefully, their future career with the EU.”

The EU Careers Challenge competition was first developed by the University of Leicester in 2013 in close partnership with the European Personnel Selection Office and since then has grown to include seven countries and 10 European universities with future plans aiming to expand it to all EU member states. Since its origins, the aim has been to equip students with highly valued transferable skills and experience that would make them a stand out choice for employers, as well as to present them with a variety of exciting and challenging career paths within the EU Institutions.

One of the winners, Loren Cooper, said: “It was an eye-opening experience and highlighted the importance of motivation and strong communication skills within a team in order to achieve high quality results.”  Jean-Vincent Vallée added: “We worked quite hard on our proposal and presentation so this is great recognition to win the Challenge. Moreover, our idea might be used in the work of the European Commission, which is even better!”

The University of Leicester’s Career Development Service is being increasingly recognised for its innovative approach to developing the employability of its students, with the EU Careers Challenge being one of many opportunities offered to students to help them develop their experience and skills. The Career Development Service was nominated for Outstanding Student Support in last year’s Times Higher Education Awards, and Leicester is now the 25th most targeted university by Times 100 Graduate Employers.

Bob Athwal, Director of Student Experience at the University of Leicester, said: “The results of the EU Careers Challenge 2014 are great news for our university. It is a further testimony to the fact that we have highly talented students here at Leicester, recognised by the top employers”.

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