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University student receives top award for contribution to IT industry

James Weston presentation web

A STUDENT from the University of Chichester has been recognised for his outstanding work in the field of IT at a national awards ceremony.

Undergraduate James Weston was honoured by the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists charity, known as the WCIT, which promotes excellence in the profession. The 33-year-old, from the BSc (Hons) IT Management for Business at Chichester, received a silver accolade at the ceremony for his academic accomplishments and impact in the field.

He said: “It feels great and very humbling to receive the award. The event gave me many opportunities for networking with employers, industry influencers, and other students, and I have agreed to work with one employer on a website for a charity of which they are on the board of trustees.

“The University has helped me to develop academically, personally, and professionally. Our course is a blend of IT, management, and business that gives a good mix of academia integrated with real-world application and the ever-important soft skills.”

The WCIT’s outstanding student awards, now in their fourth year, recognise exceptional under and postgraduates across the UK for their academic excellence, contribution to charity, and for overcoming adversity. Each winner received a £250 grant for their studies.

Armourers' Hall drinks reception

James was commended by judges for his sheer determination to undertake a higher education qualification in spite of challenging mental health and medical complications. He was also praised for his ongoing charitable work with vulnerable and elderly people, including end-of-life care, to help fund his second year of study.

The Chichester student added: “I have managed by sheer determination and also by being proactive in managing my conditions and seeking help when required. It’s really nice to know that efforts that I’ve made had not gone unnoticed by the University.”

The WCIT awards, hosted at the Armourers’ Hall in the City of London, were entered by 12 universities which nominated candidates based on their academic merit and personal qualities.  The University’s Professor Dave Cooper, Head of the Business School, and Professor Seamus Higson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Sustainability & Enterprise), nominated James for the ceremony.

Professor Cooper said: “James has shown strong character and attitude not only towards his own personal learning but also showed care and support towards his fellow students. He always looks for challenges and to extend his own technical and knowledge capabilities."

Group Master Alderman

Professor Higson added: “This award sends a powerful message to others that words simply cannot convey: with personal determination and a desire to help others, a university education and experience can be both transformational for the individual as well as being of great benefit to others. James truly is a model student who is a credit to the University and to his family.”

The accolade represents the first time a student from the University of Chichester has been nominated for a WCIT award. James intends to undertake a master’s degree and a PhD at Chichester on graduating next year and will use the prize money to fund his ambitions.

The winners were presented with the prize by WCIT Master Dr Stefan Fafinski who said: “As well as celebrating academic success, the awards also recognise the remarkable contributions to society these students have made. The fact that they are all acknowledged to be outstanding students makes me very proud to be part of these awards.”

To find out more about the BSc (Hons) IT Management for Business at the University of Chichester visit www.chi.ac.uk/business. Alternatively for more about the Outstanding IT Student Awards from the Worship Company of Information Technologists go to www.wcit.org.uk.

Student speech

Photos by Gerald Sharp Photography.