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De Montfort University and the University of Bristol were among the winners at the 2018 AUDE Awards which took place on 10th April 2018 at the annual AUDE conference, this year held at the University of Kent. Each year the awards celebrate and highlight the achievements of universities and best practice in the industry, including those who lead the way in estate and facilities management.
The full list of winners, below, highlighted exceptional work across teams, campaigns and individuals. Held at the Chapter House of Canterbury Cathedral and hosted by BBC TV’s Gyles Brandreth (Chancellor of the University of Chester) the awards recognised long-standing achievement alongside the energy and commitment of those newer to estates and facilities management.
Umesh Desai, Director of Estates at De Montfort University (DMU), has led a Campus Transformation Programme two-thirds funded (£90m) by the development of a new type of bond. With the university campus buildings interwoven so regularly with the best of historic Leicester – from the Castle to the Magazine and St Mary de Castro – it has been a key part of DMU’s strategy to work under the theme “Promote and Improve Our City”. The aim is to become “the partner of choice within our city, rooted in Leicester’s past, but with a dynamism and boldness that will help to define Leicester’s future”. The completion of Leicester Castle Business School as part of the transformation plan is the perfect example of the strategy put into action. After its closure as a courthouse in 1992 the Castle was on the Historic England Buildings at Risk Register. But its refurbishment has brought new life to this part of the city. The school now hosts more than 500 students, many of them international, drawn by the combination of high quality teaching in a modern work environment, added to the undoubted interest and intrigue of operating from a medieval castle with links back to Richard III and beyond.
Other parts of the overall transformation plan are uncompromisingly modern, such as the redevelopment of the waterside Vijay Patel Building. From a student perspective, it has again seen great success in a short period, with student applications for art and design courses rocketing, as students from across disciplines including fine art, textile design and architecture enjoy the cross-fertilisation of creative ideas that are possible in such a well-designed space.
“De Montfort doesn’t want to be fenced off from the city,” said Umesh Desai. “Our buildings are part of the public realm. For instance, the pedestrianisation of Mill Lane has created a great new way for walkers and cyclists to connect around this part of the city. And we have the privilege of working amongst the best of the city’s history. We want to bring new life to an area associated with Leicester’s landmarks. The Estates Team worked on a wide range of projects under the programme. 2017 saw completion of project after project, and all completed with the absolute minimum of disruption to the city and to the academic life of the university,” Umesh said.
Paul Smith, Deputy Director of Estates at the University of Bristol, believes the Working Well campaign took on a life of its own and succeeding well beyond its initial scope. It began as a health and wellbeing campaign geared towards operational staff at the university and aimed to engage staff in a positive way about their own health and wellbeing, to give them new ways to manage their health, and in the process reduce sickness absence.
“The Working Well campaign introduced a wide range of approaches to help staff get and stay healthy,” Paul Smith said. “So, for instance we introduced pedometer challenges, discounted physio sessions, ‘taster’ gym passes and resource cards that helped the user think about issues from stress to healthy eating. The engagement from staff has been phenomenal and some great ideas came in, such as self-sponsored walking lunches. Yoga and running groups have been set up, and a university team has now completed both the Bristol 10k and the Bristol Half Marathon.
“The campaign was practically focused too, looking at common health concerns on campus, and taking a targeted approach to try to fix them. Scrubber-drier machines have been introduced to replace mopping in many areas, reducing the risk of back and wrist pain, while body armour for Security Officers was reviewed, with new kit weighing 30% less than the old – again reducing the risk of physical discomfort for staff at work.
“With so many positive outcomes across the campaign, we are now keen to think of this as just ‘phase 1’ and we’ll continue to work throughout 2018 to build on what we’ve achieved. Working Well is a cost-effective and innovative style of management that helps to show how we can flourish and improve our service even in the toughest of financial environments.”
Toby Ward, Head of Estates Development and Projects at Sheffield Hallam University was keen to nominate Sinead, who joined his team six years ago after a career in financial services, as she’s flying the flag for everyone who wants to choose a different path midway through their working life. “Sinead has been great in the way she has taken on new challenges,” Toby Ward said. “She gets things done, she makes something work better. This may have been a career switch for Sinead, but she is excellent at grasping a project and helping others to come up with the right answer.”
Sinead has worked with an external company to develop an engagement toolkit which is already having positive feedback from students and university colleagues as it helps them understand building design processes and comment in a meaningful way at an early stage. She works across the whole university, helping those without a construction background, such as academics, research teams or operational staff, to comment on and input to design plans long before the first brick is laid.
Chichester graduate Sean MacEnri has been working on major projects for the University including a new £35million Engineering and Digital Technology Park (TechPark) located at its Bognor Regis campus. He is responsible for sourcing more than half-a-million pounds worth of furniture and fittings, dealing with specialist suppliers in negotiations “from scratch”.
The TechPark will specialise in STEM subjects to drive a regeneration of the coastal region, providing educational opportunities for a broad range of students and jobs in sectors identified as a priority in the government’s recent Industrial Strategy.
Sean said: “It’s all about the detail for me. Students and commercial partners need to know we are equipping our new buildings with the best. The TechPark will include specialised media and film production spaces, and for editing, green screen, and animation. It needs to be state-of-the-art so the University can increase its capacity, introduce cutting edge courses, attract the brightest students and really have the impact on the town and the university that we are aiming for. I’m really looking forward to launch in September 2018.”
The Give It Don’t Bin It (GIDBI) campaign has grown from small beginnings in 2008 to become the UK’s most successful student re-use campaign. At the end of term time, as students disperse across the country and indeed the world, they are urged to donate unwanted items for re-use or re-sale. With a residential student population of more than 70,000 the city was dealing with a considerable problem with abandoned items. In those early days the mountain of unwanted items – from clothing and cookware to electrical items and food – was an eye-opener. For the first time, instead of being thrown away, these items were donated to charities and waste items were recycled. From those early beginnings the campaign has grown every year, and it now runs in a network that covers the whole of the universities’ footprint across the city. The campaign’s main charity partner The British Heart Foundation (BHF) has now raised more than £1m from goods donated as part of the campaign.
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