Asthma inhaler project wins student Entrepreneur of the Year award

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Ryan England has been named the University of Kent’s ‘Student Entrepreneur of the Year’ at its annual Employability Points Scheme rewards ceremony held recently.

Ryan, who won the award for his project to customise the appearance of asthma inhalers to make them more child-friendly, was one of a record near 2,500 participants in a scheme that serves to encourage, support and enhance the extracurricular personal and work-skills development of individual students through active engagement in a range of self-selected activities.

These include student mentoring, volunteering, part-time employment, international study and language study. Points are then awarded for each activity and at the end-of-year ceremony students with the highest points are presented with prizes such as training programmes, paid internships and vouchers, all of which are sponsored by organisations or companies.

Coca-Cola Enterprises, Tesco and Enterprise Rent-a-Car are among the 111 leading companies and organisations who offered work experience, internships and skills development sessions as prizes under this year’s EP scheme.

Cristobal Sanchez, of Santander Universities, who were the main event sponsor, presented Ryan with his award which includes a trip to take part in the Global Student Challenge in Virginia, USA, and a fully funded office in the University’s own Enterprise Hub.

Other students who received special recognition during the ceremony include Omoze Ojo from Canterbury and Kieran Watkins from Medway for (jointly) gaining the most number of points. Omoze received her award from Andrew Griggs of Reeves, and Kieran received his from Robin Cooper of Medway Council.

The University’s Chancellor, Sir Robert Worcester, and Tomas Christodoulou, of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, presented the Chancellor’s Prize to Hannah Bignell. She was selected from 23 nominations as the student who had ‘demonstrated outstanding engagement in a university initiative’.

Professor Alex Hughes, the University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor External, said: ‘This scheme helps our students gain valuable experience and I’m delighted that so many leading employers continue to support it in this way. We rely on our partners and sponsors and the success of this evening demonstrates the extent to which they value our students.’

Cristobal Sanchez, of Santander Universities, said: ‘Santander believes education is the future. This initiative encourages enterprise and employability and as a bank we want to invest in that.’

The 111 employers engaged in the scheme this year is a record. They offered a total of 330 rewards to some of the highest achieving EP students.

Other sponsors of the 31 May event included: Skanska, Merlin Entertainment Group, Kent County Council, Russkin, Canterbury City Council, Canterbury Cathedral, aBode, the KM Group, Medway Council, Kent Police, The National Trust, Waterstones and Shepherd Neame.

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