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UCC EmployAgility Awards Ceremony

11 Apr 2024
Professor Paul McSweeney, Vice-President for Learning and Teaching; David Jones, UCC Career Services; Ghufran Al-Bander, Excellence in Social Responsibility Award winner; Adel Coleman, Graduate Attributes Programme Manager; Professor Stephen Byrne Deputy President and Registrar (Photo: Max Bell)

The UCC EmployAgility Awards programme is a key transition out initiative coordinated through a partnership with the UCC Graduate Attributes Programme and UCC Career Services. This year 239 students achieved an award. 

EmployAgility is defined as being “flexible enough to skill up and manage rapid changes in the workplace.” 

Agile values are now fundamental to how organisations adapt, and as the world of work evolves, the concept of career is radically transforming. Increasingly, modern business demands people with an agile mindset who are customer-centric, collaborative, and able to network as part of multi-skilled teams. Candidates must have the ability to respond and adapt to ever-changing environments and understanding their development of core graduate attributes and values is key to this success.

The UCC EmployAgility Awards is a professional skills development programme, and demonstrates that students have engaged in, and developed professional skills through extra-curricular activities and work experience, all of which will help them to stand out from the crowd when applying for graduate roles and internships.

Students from all four UCC Colleges, from first year through to postdoctoral level, dedicated at least 20 hours to a voluntary activity or initiative this year. Their learnings will support them as they continue to transition through, or out of UCC to embark on the next stage of their journey. Whether that be continuing to explore new interests, entering the world of work, or embarking on further study. Through their dedication to personal and professional development, they have ensured that they are equipped with key employability skills, core graduate attributes, and well-developed values.

All students can apply for the award through six pathways: Student Life, Volunteering, Entrepreneurship, Internship, Research, or the Open Pathway. To be eligible for the award, they must dedicate a minimum of 20 hours to their chosen activity or initiative and submit a final reflective report. 

In this report, students must reflect on the core attributes and values they developed through their engagement with their chosen initiative. This award does not just support them in becoming work-ready but aims to ensure they are world-ready. Their development of core attributes and values such as digital fluency, independent and creative thinking, social responsibility, and global citizenship, enables them to take an active role in advancing the just and sustainable evolution of our communities, our society, and our local and global economies. Through their development of respect, ambition, compassion, resilience, and integrity, they are empowered to create more value than they consume and become an active citizen in society.

Excellence in Social Responsibility Award

Ghufran Al-Bander, Medicine, College of Medicine, and Health. 

UCC promotes a focus on creating awareness of how individual disciplines and fields of study all play a role in shaping future outcomes: social, health, environmental, and economic. Ghufran Al-Bander, winner of this year's Excellence in Social Responsibility Award displayed the capacity to look at broader issues and potential impacts of her field of practice and understands how her actions can enhance the well-being of others to make a valuable contribution to society.

As someone who faced racism in the past, she wanted to create a greater sense of belonging for her fellow students who faced similar discrimination.  She focused her efforts on advancing medical research on student initiatives to tackle health inequities and inspire students from other Irish universities to run similar projects. Through her work with Failte Refugees and Cork Simon, she advocated for the rights of migrants, refugees, homeless people, and other vulnerable groups so they can receive optimal medical care. She led in coordinating Cork's first Derm Day Conference which highlighted the impact of skin conditions such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, and skin cancer, on different skin tones.

She plans to use her ambition, integrity, social responsibility, and ability to recognise and challenge inequality to create inclusive spaces and have conversations that challenge barriers to accessing healthcare. 


Graduate Attributes Programme

5, Brighton Villas, (First Floor) Western Road, University College Cork, T12 EC95