The tenth, and sadly final, National Council for Work Experience (NCWE) Awards took place at the glittering Merchants Tailors Hall in London recently.
They recognised and rewarded UK employers who provide exceptional internships to students and graduates, both here and abroad. For the past decade we've watched the world of work experience transform with standards reaching new heights and small businesses as well as blue chips stepping up to the mark.
As ever, the venue provided a perfectly suited spot to reward the great and the good, steeped in history with grand surroundings and fantastic food and wine to boot. The NCWE Awards are always a dignified affair with serious players from the world of higher education and human resources coming together to celebrate everything that's good in the UK when it comes to work experience.
If you're a student or a graduate looking to get ahead in the employment stakes then you can't go far wrong with a stint of work experience, giving you the chance to develop your skill-set as well as inform your future career choices.
The award winners have been thoroughly vetted - entries are blind judged and, thanks to a rigorous process, standards are high so all of those who made the final cut have done exceptionally well. The final list helps students and graduates identify companies that are providing truly valuable experiences among an abundance of opportunities that have wide-ranging standards.
From more than 60 finalists, Citi, a leading global financial services company, was crowned overall winner, after taking the lead in its category - Graduate Internship of the Year for Large Organisations. The company's 10-week programme offers opportunities to more than 200 graduates annually and the judges praised the scheme for its remarkable focus on intern development, from job specific skills to wider commercial awareness.
Making up the list of the UK's best work experience providers in their respective categories included BP, George at Asda, Fujitsu and Infosys. Digital agency Clock and charity Change Agents UK both won in the categories for smaller firms. Law firm Nabarro, Cancer Research UK and the University of Aberdeen Careers Services were also among the winners.
While it would be untrue to deem these schemes as the only worthy placements in the country, the final list of winners does give a good indication of the range and breadth of experiences out there that are worthwhile.
If you're looking for a placement at the moment, you should be encouraged by this list. Use it to help inspire your search - don't just focus on the large private organisations, those in the public and charitable sectors also offer fantastic opportunities, not forgetting the smaller businesses that are probably right on your doorstep.
Use your initiative, your network of friends, family, colleagues and university contacts, and if you're interested in a company but they don't look like they offer a formal scheme, contact them directly.
For the full list of winners as well as the finalists visit www.work-experience.org/awards