Members of staff from the Estates Department were recently awarded Highly Commended Awards at the AUDE (Association of University Directors of Estates) Awards Gala Dinner at Canterbury Cathedral’s Chapter House.
Sarah Cooke, Head of Customer Services and Engagement, was Highly Commended in the Chair’s Award for Long Term Contribution. Sarah was reocgnised for continually developing her role and contributing within the Estates Department, the University as a whole, and to the local community. Sarah joined the Estates Department in 1989. She was shortlisted alongside three long-standing University Directors of Estates.
The Head of Customer Services and Engagement, Sarah is an excellent example of someone who has continually developed their role and sought to contribute more and more both within the Department, to the University and to the local community. Having joined the Estates Department in 1989 as a Data Operator within the Maintenance section, Sarah spent the early years of her career gaining knowledge and experience in various aspects of the Estates Department’s activities
Most recently, in keeping with the department’s independent approach to value and goal setting, she has been instrumental in developing the CHOICE value system. As a result of her work with Investors in People, Sarah recognised the significance of implementing a set of core departmental values, as these are the essence of the department’s identity and underpin the behaviour of the team.
Sarah has also been closely involved with development of the Estates Management Development Programme (EMDP) specifically targeted at giving managers the right tools to do the job, and which has now been recognised at institutional level.
Community and social responsibility are two key drivers for the department’s outreach work and Sarah has driven these with unswerving enthusiasm and dedication since the outset. This includes organising key annual events to engage staff and fundraising for local and national charities – in particular, the Estates Charity Christmas raffle, which was an idea Sarah developed in 1999, and brings together Estates staff, local suppliers and businesses in collaboration to raffle off prizes to staff with all proceeds going to charity. The charity is selected from many nominated each year by staff members. The department then adopts this charity for the year; and this idea has led to several thousands of pounds going to worthwhile causes.
Emily Mason, Environmental Sustainability Assistant, received a Highly Commended award in the Emerging Talent Award category, for her project, Futureproof. It uses the UN Sustainable Development Goals as a framework for staff and students from across the University to assess the impact of their activities and create bespoke, targeted action plans to improve. By developing Futureproof, Emily has delivered something with far wider-reaching impacts than we had ever envisaged. This approach represents a significant change for the better as Universities are extremely diverse and are not suited to a one-size-fits-all approach.