June 2020

Volunteers’ Week 2020

In celebration of Volunteers’ Week 2020 we wanted to shine the spotlight on some of the great work being done by our alumni community.

Over the past year, more than 1,200 alumni have volunteered their time to support the University of Leeds – from hosting careers workshops, to mentoring current students and attending recruitment fairs around the world. We are incredibly grateful for the hard work and dedication of our alumni volunteers, so from everyone here at Leeds – thank you!

International student recruitment fairs

The University of Leeds has a thriving international student population, and interest in Leeds is maintained through our presence at student recruitment fairs around the world. Success at these fairs couldn’t be achieved without the help of our valued alumni volunteers – last year 95 volunteers represented Leeds at international recruitment fairs in many countries including Brazil, Ghana, Greece, Nigeria and Thailand. Our alumni are vital in inspiring and encouraging prospective students to come to Leeds.

Andrew Kasanga

In February 2020, Andrew Kasanga (MSc Environmental Engineering and Project Management 2016) volunteered at the British Council Study UK Fair in Kumasi, Ghana. This is the third year that Andrew has helped at an event, so we asked him to tell us a little more about his experience:

Andrew Kasanga, alumni volunteerAndrew Kasanga olunteered at the British Council Study UK Fair in Kumasi, Ghana

“The British Council Study UK Fair program was a great event. The University of Leeds staff were very open and welcoming, and they helped to create a relaxed environment in which I could freely interact with prospective students. I know from my own experiences that the University of Leeds has superb opportunities for its students, and I was delighted to be given the chance to share information about these with potential students.

“The culture, people and environment of the University of Leeds makes it one of the best places to get international exposure, helping to equip students with the skills they need to succeed.”

Norhan Mohamed Ahmed

In February 2020, Norhan Mohamed Ahmed (MA Conference Interpreting and Translation Studies 2018) volunteered at the Global Study UK Fair in Cairo, Egypt. Norhan is also planning to represent Leeds at a virtual fair being held in July. She told us about why she continues to volunteer:

Norhan Mohamed Ahmed, alumni volunteer Norhan Mohamed Ahmed with a University of Leeds member of staff at the Global Study UK Fair in Cairo, Egypt

“When I first received an email from the University of Leeds International Office asking if I could help Leeds recruit a new generation of students, I replied, 'You had me at Leeds!'. As part of the international alumni community, I never miss an opportunity to help the University recruit new students.

“At the fair, I felt particularly proud to be able to tell prospective students about the fun I had living and studying in Leeds. I was also able to share details of the support I had received throughout my studies, as well as many happy memories of studying in the libraries and cafes on campus and taking part in activities hosted by the Students Union.

“Thanks to my time at the University, I now consider Leeds to be my second home. The fair was a brilliant experience and I would love the opportunity to participate in future events. I don’t need an excuse to spread the word about what a brilliant choice Leeds is!”

"I don’t need an excuse to spread the word about what a brilliant choice Leeds is!”

Norhan Mohamed Ahmed 
(MA Conference Interpreting and Translation Studies 2018)

First-hand career support

Alumni volunteers at a careers event in Beijing Alumni in Beijing provided information and advice about their careers to more recent graduates

Senior alumni across the world are helping recent graduates by opening their networks, sharing contacts and creating development opportunities. Last year, nearly 170 recent graduates learned from alumni volunteers about their chosen field of work at sector-specific workshops in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhao and Hong Kong.

Chris Lui

Chris Lui (Mechanical Engineering 1982) was one of the volunteers at the Hong Kong workshop last year. Chris also visited Leeds in February 2020 where he shared his considerable commercial experience with Business School students through guest lectures, workshops, and one-to-one career mentoring sessions. He told us a little more about his experience:

“Being a long-timer Leeds Alumni, I was aware of the generational differences between myself and new Leeds alumni when I was given the chance to meet with them last year in Hong Kong and this February at Leeds.

“The large variety of subjects studied by the young individuals; their passion and enthusiasm in life impressed me, big time. University life was such a wonderful time for each one of us, and these encounters meant so much to me as an alumni volunteer. Despite our generation gap, we learnt so much from each other during these events. I feel the energy and motivation to learn when I participate in alumni programs.”

Mentoring future leaders

Alumnni mentor Frances Milner with her mentee, Lewis Frances Milner (Theology and Religious Studies 1993) alumni mentor on the Alumni Leadership Mentoring programme, with her mentee, Lewis

One-to-one mentoring can give students the know-how to thrive in their future career and help them work out what they want to do after graduation. Since 2016, 37 alumni have taken part in the Alumni Leadership Mentoring Programme by helping develop students’ leadership, networking and communication skills in a professional and supportive environment.

Through one-to-one meetings, mentors help students to explore their strengths and weaknesses and how to make the most of them in a professional setting. The mentors also support students with their communication and relationship-building skills. Our students feedback that the programme helps to build their confidence as they begin their career.

Leadership mentors are just some of the 994 Leeds alumni who have given more than 14,000 hours of mentoring time for Leeds over the last three years.