What Is The Hallam Award?
If you’re a student at Sheffield Hallam you’ve most likely received emails or seen posters about the Hallam Award, but you might still be wondering what it is and how you can get involved.
Put simply, the Hallam Award is a personal development scheme which rewards students for completing and reflecting upon extracurricular activities. This could mean part time jobs, society roles, volunteering, caring responsibilities or a number of other things that you may already be involved in. It’s easy to sign up, and the Skills & Development team at Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union can give you advice and support if you have any questions.
Yuvini Hettiarachchi moved to the UK from Sri Lanka to study Marketing Communications and Advertising at Sheffield Hallam, graduating in November 2017. She completed the Hallam Award to Gold level during her studies, and now works for the University’s marketing team.
Yuvini decided to give the Hallam Award a try after a fellow student, who was involved in many of the same extracurriculars as she was, had a positive experience with the scheme. “I knew that she was really happy she did it,” Yuvini said. “She really enjoyed it, so I thought I should do it too.”
Yuvini was on a placement year when she began working towards the Hallam Award, and found that many of the activities that she was involved in at the time were relevant to the scheme.
“We had a little placement student network that we formed ourselves,” Yuvini said. “Just for our development, and to try our best to get onto as much training as we could. Within that we really encouraged each other to get started on it, and to apply and reflect on our skills. We also had to reflect anyway for our placement itself, so I thought it was a good combination of both.”
As well as the placement network, other activities that Yuvini reflected on for the Hallam Award included organising events for GoGlobal and acting as a ‘Super Mentor’ for Culture Connect. Yuvini notes that some of the major areas she focused on for the Hallam Award - events management, communications and cultural awareness - are all relevant to her new job role as a Global Marketing Officer.
Yuvini says that the skills she gained on the Hallam Award have proved incredibly useful to her since graduation.
“I think one of the biggest things for me was realising the impact that I had on the different activities that I undertook,” she said. “Because I think it’s very easy to say ‘I was part of a society’ or ‘I came up with the idea’, but the Hallam Award really lets you reflect on the results of what you've done. I think that’s transferable across job applications and all the other things that I did afterwards, because it was really useful to identify my skills.”
Yuvini also talks about the Hallam Award’s focus on STAR - a common method of interviewing that asks applicants to identify the ‘situation, task, action and result’ of an activity they have completed. She found that becoming familiar with this technique during the Hallam Award helped her during job applications and interviews.
“It is really useful because a lot of times now it’s not just CVs and a cover letter,” she said. “They actually want supporting statements, and it’s really important to be able to identify the task that you did and the result of it. I think the Hallam Award from the beginning really focuses on STAR and how to use it effectively to get results.”
Getting The Most From The Hallam Award
So how can students find success on the Hallam Award, when they’re also busy with their studies and other commitments? While she was completing the Hallam Award, Yuvini accessed support and resources offered by Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union.
“I went down to I think one or two of the workshops, and I also submitted my first draft for someone to take a quick look and let me know their feedback,” she said. “I think sometimes it’s good to get another pair of eyes to see if you are really being critical or just describing things. So that was quite useful.”
She also suggests completing the Award at a steady pace. “I think it’s just about making time to work on it consistently,” she said. “When you sign up I think it’s really important to keep recording what you do every day and the impact that you have, and how little changes happen. I think that’s important for the bigger picture, understanding each skill and what impact you had.”
New Year, New Skills
The Hallam Award has gone through some changes this year - the Students’ Union is now working in conjunction with the University to run the scheme, and participants now focus on ‘graduate attributes’. There are twelve key employability skills to choose from, including adaptability, curiosity and resilience. Hallam Award applicants select two of these for each level of the award, and reflect on how the skills they have gained during extracurriculars relate to their chosen attributes.
Yuvini thinks that any students considering the Hallam Award should give it a go.
“I think definitely that what you do during the Hallam Award is very useful for everything that you do after, for all the graduate jobs and placement opportunities that you’re looking for, because you can apply the same kind of skills,” she said. “It’s relatable for so many different things, and it’s a good transferable skill to be able to reflect on what you’ve done and to take that forward. A lot of people do extracurricular activities, there’s so many students who do them, and it’s a way to get a little thank you from yourself really - because you’ve done all this. It’s a recognition of the impact that you’ve had in the Hallam community and beyond.”
If you’re thinking about doing the Hallam Award take a look at the new website for more information, or pop into The HUBS for a chat with one of the Skills & Development team.
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