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Triple nomination for University at HEIST Awards

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Published on 27 June 2023

(L-R) Ashleigh Little, Donna Beardmore, Francesca Carey and Wendy Price OBE
(L-R) Ashleigh Little, Donna Beardmore, Francesca Carey and Wendy Price OBE

The University of Sunderland has bagged three nominations at a prestigious marketing awards dubbed the ‘Oscars of higher education’.

The HEIST Awards recognises the most hardworking higher education marketing and recruitment teams in the UK.

The University has been nominated for its efforts in supporting prospective students into higher education in the following categories:

  • Best Widening Participation Initiative 

  • Best Event Experience

  • Best Prospective Student Journey / Experience

Wendy Price OBE, Head of Widening Access and Participation at the University of Sunderland, said: “The Best Widening Participation Initiative is always such a competitive category at the HEIST Awards, showcasing a range of outreach initiatives delivered nationally, so we’re incredibly proud to be shortlisted.

“Gypsy, Traveller, Roma, Showman and Boater (GTRSB) students are currently significantly under-represented in higher education. This shared vision to take positive action and inspire behavioural change led to us creating this innovative programme with St Teresa’s Catholic Primary School, where almost 25% of pupils are from GTRSB communities. Our staff and Student Ambassadors have worked with every pupil at the school to introduce the concept of higher education so that each pupil can make an informed decision about their own future.

"We have thoroughly enjoyed working with the team at St Teresa’s to deliver this programme and look forward to attending the awards ceremony.”

Ashleigh Little, Head of Post-16 Outreach and Recruitment, said: “We are thrilled to have been nominated for Best Event Experience for our Applicant Day 2022. 

“The team worked hard with our academics to create an event that was meaningful to the applicant and that showcased what it is like to study at the University of Sunderland in an authentic way. We are grateful that our efforts have been recognised at this prestigious event.”

Donna Beardmore, Marketing Campaigns Manager, said: “For a number of years, we have been developing how we support and communicate with applicants, and focussing on personalising their journey to ensure they are as informed as possible. It is testament to the work of the team that the campaign has been shortlisted in the Best Prospective Student Journey / Experience category."

The annual HEIST - Higher Education Information Services Trust - event celebrates excellence in marketing, public relations and advertising for universities and colleges across the UK.

Francesca Carey, Director of Home Student Recruitment at Sunderland, said: “Each year, the HEIST Awards provide the higher education sector with an opportunity to share and recognise best practice across marketing activity, student recruitment events and outreach initiatives. 

“At the University of Sunderland, we have made a focused effort to personalise our pre-applicant and applicant experiences, to ensure that each touchpoint from outreach with primary schools to applicant events, is appropriately meaningful and authentic. 

“We are delighted to have made the shortlist in three categories this year and look forward to the awards ceremony.”

Winners will be announced at a Gala evening dinner at the Kimpton Clocktower in Manchester on Thursday 13 July.