Graduate of the Year 2014: Meet the Finalists

Posted on September 9, 2014 by

With your help, we’ve managed to whittle down the number of applicants for Graduate of the Year from over 1,000 to the final six, one each from Brazil, France, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia and the UK. These candidates are still in with a chance of winning the title of Graduate of the Year, along with a cash prize, a top internship and more. The winner will be announced next Monday, the 15th of September. Read all about our global finalists below!

Name: Renato Tadeu Rodrigues
The Faculties of Campinas (FACAMP), Brazil
Proudest Achievement: 
Alongside the academic commitments of his degree, Renato spent much of his time at university engaged in entrepreneurial projects. He developed a way of improving the delivery of food at the university, jointly reducing the usage of plastic bags and benefiting local producers, communities and the environment. Inspired by a passion for technology and the start up world, Renato also worked tirelessly to promote student engagement in innovative technology projects by building connections between universities and businesses.


Name: Thomas Laszczynski
Age: 21
University: Pantheon-Sorbonne University, France
Category: Academic
Proudest Achievement: Thomas graduated in Business Economics and Management at the Pantheon-Sorbonne University in 2014, at the top of his year. He has now been accepted to do a Masters in Finance at Paris Dauphine University this year. Thomas is a natural entrepreneur: as a child, he began to earn money by selling coins and celebrity autographs on eBay and started his first company at the age of 16. Heavily involved in student politics, he founded his own association within the university and was a member of the central council of La Sorbonne to defend the student cause. He was also a member of the Paris Council of Youth until June 2013 and appeared on a France 4 documentary about entrepreneurship. Thomas is also a real globetrotter, who enjoys traveling off the beaten track and has visited North Korea twice, as well as South Korea and Iran.

Name: Kirsten Romme
Age: 23
University: VU University Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Category: Academic
Proudest Achievement: Growing up in a small town in the south of the Netherlands hasn’t stopped Kirsten from completing her MSc in Business Administration with honours at a top Amsterdam university this year. And she hasn’t wasted the scarce free time that was left either: in addition to her studies, she has completed an Honours program, participated in numerous student committees, worked as a research assistant and travelled across South America. Regretfully, she couldn’t quite find the time to learn how to tap dance just yet. Kirsten’s dream is to work as a management consultant for a Big Four firm. Always one to look to the future, Kirsten informs us that working as a dog walker in New York City and swimming in a pool of spaghetti are both near the top of her bucket list. After winning the Graduate of the Year competition, that is.

teresadomaszewskaName: Teresa Domaszewska
Age: 25
Name of university: Wrocław University of Technology, Poland
Category: Academic
Proudest Achievement: Teresa studied Pharmaceutical Biotechnology and finished the Masters programme with a distinction for her dissertation. Teresa’s academic portfolio is very impressive: she completed internships, participated in research studies (the results of which she presented at conferences), took part in in Stem Cells Summer School and Winter School of Immunology and learned about various biotechnological companies’ projects in Europe. The pinnacle of her experience in the scientific field was a year-long internship at the University of Virginia, USA during her Masters studies. There, Teresa worked on the development of new drug options for treating dengue fever, as well as influenza. In September she is starting her PhD, in which she will be working on the drug-resistant tuberculosis mycobacterium which plagues Third World countries and keeps on returning to Europe. Outside academia, Teresa has also been very involved in her local community:  volunteering with the Wrocław Philharmonic and organising charitable collections on behalf of the Kairos Foundation.

Name: Ekaterina Mavrina
Age: 21
University: National Research University – Higher School of Economics, Russia
Category: Academic
Proudest Achievement: Proudest achievement: Ekaterina has entered the competition while studying at the University of A Coruña’s International Summer School where she is taking a Multivariate Statistical Analysis course. Some might say that it is a rather unusual way to spend summer but for Ekaterina constant self-development and following a dream has become a way of life. A couple of years ago she got inspired by fellow students who enrolled into international exchange programmes despite of being afraid of cultural differences & language barriers. A year later she secured a placement at the University of Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Spain to broaden her knowledge in International Economics. Ekaterina believes that a dream job should be interesting, dynamic and bring value to the society, while constantly forcing to use your abilities and develop new skills. Finding this type of job might prove challenging for a graduate in Nizhny Novgorod, especially when you hold a degree with merit from a top tier research university, speak English, Russian and Spanish fluently and have a number of successful projects in your portfolio. Graduate of the Year competition is a stepping stone for Ekaterina towards getting her dream job!


Name: Hannah Donkin
Age: 21
University: University of Sheffield, UK
Category: Creative Arts
Proudest achievement: Known affectionately as ‘Donk’, Hannah was recently awarded a first class honours degree in music as well as the BMus prize for highest overall mark and a Pro Vice Chancellor’s commendation. She also received the Philip John Lord prize for best composition portfolio. Whilst studying for her degree, Hannah fundraised over £4,000 and undertook expeditions to Mount Everest and Mount Kilimanjaro for a children’s charity as well as volunteering as a team leader in which she recruited and managed a team that raised a further £32,000. Hannah was also Secretary of the Music Society and worked part time as a piano teacher, in addition to regular performances as a soloist, an accompanist and with various University ensembles.

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Graduate of the Year UK finalist – VOTE NOW!

Posted on September 1, 2014 by

Over the past two months we’ve received so many fantastic entries to our Graduate of the Year 2014 competition that we are struggling even to choose a selection of finalists… So we are asking YOU to help us! We’ve shortlisted six candidates from UK universities and are asking you to vote for your favourite graduate by 11.59pm on Sunday the 7th of September. The graduate with the most votes will become a finalist in our global competition. So, without further ado, meet our brilliant candidates:


Name: Hannah Donkin
Age: 21
University: University of Sheffield
Category: Creative Arts
Proudest achievement: Known affectionately as ‘Donk’, Hannah was recently awarded a first class honours degree in music as well as the BMus prize for highest overall mark and a Pro Vice Chancellor’s commendation. She also received the Philip John Lord prize for best composition portfolio. Whilst studying for her degree, Hannah fundraised over £4,000 and undertook expeditions to Mount Everest and Mount Kilimanjaro for a children’s charity as well as volunteering as a team leader in which she recruited and managed a team that raised a further £32,000. Hannah was also Secretary of the Music Society and worked part time as a piano teacher, in addition to regular performances as a soloist, an accompanist and with various University ensembles.
Inspired by: Her parents
Spirit animal: The bear
Vote for Hannah here!

1012324_10151658857970589_1660918199_nName: Ayla Iridag
Age: 22
University: University of Dundee
Category: Politics
Proudest achievement: When it comes to being active within the university community, Ayla has done it all, having participated in several sports teams, helped to form a new university society and been a Student Ambassador for the university. Her proudest achievement, however, is her work for the Dundee Student Law Clinic, which offers free and confidential legal advice, assistance and sometimes representation to members of the public. Ayla took over the running of the clinic (on a fully voluntary basis) at the end of her undergraduate studies, having volunteered there in her final year. In her time there, she has worked to overhaul and streamline many of the processes and procedures at the clinic, whilst also maintaing an advisory role and attending several court cases and tribunals to represent members of the public. She also worked closely with the University’s REACH project, which aims to encourage the ambitions of underprivileged youths, all at the same time as holding down a part-time job!
Inspired by: Baroness Hale, the most senior female judge in UK history
Spirit animal: The arctic fox
Vote for Ayla here!


Name: Michelle Kimberly Jamieson
Age: 23
University: University of the West of Scotland
Category: Academic
Proudest achievement: Having recently graduated at the top of her class with a First in Psychology, Michelle has devoted a lot of time to her passion of volunteering and helping others alongside her studies. Michelle volunteers as a Community Support Network Counselling group facilitator at SAMH, a Befriender at Greater Pollok Integration Network and a Pen friend for Human Writes. She spent several months of her summer working with a charity in Transylvania that takes in orphaned children affected by HIV/AIDs, intellectual disabilities and poverty. She has also spent some time with Headway as a group worker with individuals with complex head injuries, with St. Andrew’s Ambulance as a first-aider, as a Research Assistant at Mellow Parenting and with The Rucksack Project, Glasgow. In her volunteer work Michelle aims to raise awareness of several social and psychological issues such as specific mental health issues, social inclusion, health problems, human rights, advocacy and poverty in Scotland. Michelle has won several awards for her work, both social and academic.
Inspired by: All the medical professionals and specialists who helped her cope with her SpLD Dyscalculia, and by all the people she has met during her voluntary work
Spirit animal: The owl
Vote for Michelle here!

Chris Knight Samply

Name: Chris Knight
Age: 23
University: Leeds Metropolitan University
Category: Entrepreneur
Proudest achievement: Chris already has many successes to his name, having run initiatives as diverse as a t-shirt printing business, a student club night and a popular monthly house music night while at university. His latest venture, a product sampling smartphone app called Samply, beat over 250 other entries to win the Leeds Enterprise Awards. The app, which aims to make product sampling more efficient for brands and more rewarding for consumers, is due to launch in October 2014 and has already secured Coca-Cola, Warburtons, Red Bull, Diageo, Nestlé and Kellog’s as strategic partners!
Inspired by: His father
Spirit animal: The hummingbird
Vote for Chris here!


Name: Hannah Witton
Age: 22
University: University of Birmingham
Category: Social
Proudest achievement: On top of studying for her degree and receiving a First, Hannah has been running her own successful YouTube channel for three years. Giving young people advice and help with sex and relationships, Hannah’s profile has gained over 50,000 subscribers, as well as a 10,000-strong following on Twitter. She loves communicating with and helping people from all over the world, some of whom may have no one else to speak to about these important issues. Hannah loves being her own boss and hopes one day to be the British equivalent of Tina Fey or Amy Poehler.
Inspired by: Caitlin Moran
Spirit animal: The badger
Vote for Hannah here!

IMG_20140601_145002-1Name: Alice Beckley
Age: 22
University: University of Wolverhampton
Category: Academic
Proudest achievement: Alice turned her back on a professional football career to go into cancer research, after having been diagnosed with cancer herself in 2010. Striving to ensure that others do not have to go through the same experiences she has had to endure, Alice has excelled in her studies, being recognised as The Paycare Trust’s highest achieving biomedical scientist at Wolverhampton in second her year. Furthermore, she was named Cellular Pathology Student of the Year, as well as being awarded with the President’s Prize by the Institute of Biomedical Scientists due to her outstanding academic record. Alice has also spent time volunteering for Macmillan Cancer Support and hopes one day to be a Professor of Oncology at the Institute of Cancer Research.
Inspired by: Nelson Mandela
Spirit animal: The owl
Vote for Alice here!

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Adzuna Job Market Report – August 2014

Posted on August 26, 2014 by

UK sees annual salary growth
Manufacturing drive boosts recovery in Midlands and the North

Click here to read the full Job Market Report for August 2014

Good news abounds in the job market as both advertised salaries and vacancy numbers are up year-on-year from 2013 figures. UK wages have reached 2013 levels for the first time this year, increasing 0.9% since last July to £33,873. Competition for available roles continues to fall – Adzuna data shows that in July there was an average of only 1.14 jobseekers per vacancy.

Salaries are on the rise in every UK region except London, where wages have fallen 1.0% year-on-year. The North East, West Midlands and Yorkshire were among the regions with the highest wage growth in July, giving hope that the UK’s strong North-South divide is beginning to soften. Though competition for jobs in the North is still far higher than in the South, the number of jobseekers is falling throughout the country as unemployment figures stay low.

July also saw strong improvements in the manufacturing and graduate jobs sectors — very welcome good news for the North of England and for those who have recently left university.

 Table 1: Vacancy and salary trends in the UK

June 2014

July 2014

Monthly Change

Annual change from July 2013

UK Vacancies





Av. Advertised UK Salary





Salaries across the nation

July saw month-on-month wage growth in all regions except London. Though salaries in the capital have fallen by 1.0% in the past year, the salary slide here is showing signs of slowing. On the other end of the scale, wages in Wales continue to increase, rising 18.7% since July 2013, leaving the average wage here pushing £30,000 for the first time in two years. Wages are also on the rise in many regions in the North of England, buoyed by an upsurge of activity in the manufacturing sector.

Table 2: UK salaries by region


Average Salary

Annual change




South West England



North East England



West Midlands



Yorkshire and The Humber



North West England



Northern Ireland



Eastern England



South East England



East Midlands







£41,564 -1.0%

Manufacturing surge in the North

The manufacturing sector in the UK has seen a recent boom, with both vacancies and salaries greatly increased. Wages in the sector are up 15.9% from July 2013 to £29,507 – a two-year high for the industry –  and the number of job openings has almost doubled in the past year to 15,912.

Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, explains:  “Whilst the UK has somewhat lost its mantle as the Workshop of the World, there is no denying that manufacturing in the UK is finding its feet once more as the bedrock of the British economy. Much of this positivity centres on manufacturing hubs in Northern England, as the North’s combination of cheaper running costs, spare labour capacity and cutting-edge innovation is beginning to ensure the economic recovery is felt across the nation.”

Graduate salaries grow

graduate-jobs_1683917cJuly marked the third consecutive month of growth in graduate salaries, as average salaries for entry-level positions reached £24,870. It’s not only graduate salaries that are seeing a boost: the number of graduate job vacancies have near tripled year-on-year, up from 5,550 in July 2013 to 14,746 in July 2014.

Where are all the jobs?

While Cambridge tops the chart for the Best City to Find a Job yet again, with more than eight advertised vacancies to every job hunter, fortunes for job seekers in the North of England are gradually improving. Although most of the hardest places to find work remain to be in the North, competition is lessening in many of these towns. In Sunderland, the number of job seekers competing for each position continues to fall: in July 2013, there were over 30 jobseekers per vacancy in the city, this month that figure is down to 11.63. On the other hand, levels of competition for jobs in Swansea are increasing as more and more job seekers enter the market here, attracted by rising salaries.


All past Adzuna Job Reports can be viewed here. If you have any questions about Adzuna data, please contact us: our resident data geeks will be happy to help.

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