On the 25th June, I attended my SuPA ceremony at the National Glass Centre in Sunderland. SuPA stands for the Sunderland University Professional Award. It is an award that is recognised by employers and gives recognition for the experience you are gaining outside of and in relation to your degree. (If you are a University of Sunderland student click here for more information).
I successfully passed my SuPA award in June this year and was invited to attend a formal ceremony to show this. I was asked to speak at the event and am now known as a SuPA hero. I even have my own picture to show it! (P.s. It says Social Work as that’s the course I was on when I was completing the award.)
It was smart wear, but when I arrived people were in dresses that you would wear when you go out for drinks. I was standing in tights, a suede dress and a blazer. How I wish that I’d dressed like I would for graduation, I even had the perfect dress! Anyway, it was a celebration of my achievements as well as the other 67 successful individuals, all of which I was proud of. There were many more applicants, but we were successful, so I definitely felt lucky to be there.
The afternoon began with Pimms, something I didn’t indulge in, as I don’t drink at events such as this one. I instead had a very posh looking bottle of water. It was a humid day despite there being clouds outside, so the room was warm even before everyone was in! Everyone started piling in and some networking got underway! I was anxious but I made a few connections! I got some tips from the event photographer which was helpful! I took my place in my seat, which to be honest looked like I was sitting at a wedding as I had a proper place card.
To start off the event we had an introduction from Tom Davie, who is the Head of Sunderland Futures and the Careers Employability Service at the University of Sunderland. He gave congratulations and thanks, but without him, we wouldn’t have the award so a big thank you to him.
Next we had Oliver Pritchard, the Assistant Director of Student Learning and Support at the University of Sunderland, who gave a speech about the importance of SuPA and then Karen Marshall, the Skills and Engagement Lead for Accenture who gave a brilliant presentation on the company and on the importance of professional development and employability skills. I really enjoyed all of the talks because it made me realise the impact of having something like this on my CV.
It was then time for four people to talk, including myself. I let the other three SuPA heroes go first, simply because I was really nervous. I was speaking in front of employers whose companies I am interested in, for example the Sunderland Echo and in front of some people who I really admire.
Eventually it was my turn and I did it…all 2 and a half minutes with only a few stutters.
After what seemed like an eternity speaking, it was time for the certificates which were presented by Kirsten Black, the Director of Student Learning and Support at the university. I was the last name on the list because of my first name, as that’s the way the ceremony ran. I walked up on stage and received my certificate with a massive smile on my face. The certificate looks amazing actually. It looks like a graduation certificate, which has pushed me even more!
The ceremony was then drawn to a close by Tom Davie and we had group and individual photographs, which wasn’t fun for those scared of heights (including me) as we had to stand on the glass ceiling of the centre! To bring the event to its peak we had food and a chance to network with the employers that were there. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to speak to any of the companies I was interested in, but I will be contacting them in the near future to ask about opportunities.
All in all, it was a great day! It’s something I won’t get to do again, so I made the most of it! A big thank you to two individuals, they know who they are and to Sunderland Futures and the Careers and Employability Service, I couldn’t have done it without them!
If anyone is reading this and thinking about the SuPA then go for it. It was challenging but it’s worth it. If you still aren’t sure, then pop into the Careers and Employability Service at the Gateway Building!