USW Alumni Awards

The University of South Wales community - graduates and students alike - is filled with people making a difference at all levels of society, worldwide. Be that in business or industry, society or culture – or right here on our doorstep within the University.


The annual Alumni Awards recognise the excellence and achievement of individuals within our network. The actions of our alumni reflect the excellence of a USW education and our mission to provide not only innovative education and world class graduates, but also culturally aware global citizens.

Nominations for 2019, open on Friday 4 January 2019.

#USWAlumniAwards  /  #GwobrauAlumniPDC 

Alumni Awards 2017


Inspiring The Next Generation Award

Awarded to a graduate who has volunteered their support to the University of South Wales, providing inspiration to current and prospective students through single or combination activities including, but not limited to:

  • Giving talks
  • Providing testimonials or personal interviews
  • Becoming a mentor
  • Supporting international recruitment
  • Providing placement for students

Excellence in Service Award

Awarded to a current student or graduate who has shown outstanding commitment to enhancing the connectivity of the alumni and/or student community, and supporting its activities. This may be recognised through single or combination activities including, but not limited to:

  • Arranging reunions
  • Revitalising University traditions
  • Supporting telethons
  • Being class representative
  • Promoting the spirit of community and the value of networking
  • Leading an international alumni group

GOLD Award (Graduate of the Last Decade)

Celebrates a young alumnus/a who has graduated within the last 10 years and who has demonstrated exceptional achievement and/or leadership potential in their chosen profession. The alumnus/a could be making an outstanding contribution in fields including, although not limited to: business, industry, creative arts, healthcare, third sector, culture, media and sport.

Distinguished Alumni Award

Awarded to a former student to acknowledge their achievements and success, be this through personal accomplishment, professional achievement, or humanitarian service. Relevant achievement may occur in a single year or over a span of years, preferably extending into the year of selection.

Emerging Entrepreneur Award

This Award recognises - and provides up to £1000 investment for - a single individual or team of student or graduate entrepreneurs, who are on the road to achieving success through a business or social enterprise. This category is seeking submissions that represent ventures that have been started and operating for four years or less. This would indicate that a product/service is in early to midstage rollout, a business plan is in place, but that the initiative might benefit from additional support to be taken to the next level. Whether it’s a person’s demonstrable entrepreneurial passion for the product, a sense of originality shown, or a product that has clear commercial or social benefit – this award recognises the tenacity and achievements of early stage entrepreneurs, and helps support the future impact of their enterprise.

Kindly supported by Kier Construction Alumni Awards 2017

Accomplished Entrepreneur Award

This award recognises and celebrates alumni - either an individual or a collective - who are creating successful entrepreneurial value and whose activities are making a mark in their respective industry. Whether jobs and wealth are being created, new innovative products and concepts being brought to market, or perhaps the creativity and competition they are encouraging – this Award celebrates success and the contribution that entrepreneurs are making to our economy and/or society; plus the legacy they’re building. This category is seeking submissions that represent ventures that have been operating for more than four years, by which time they will be transitioning into growth and are well on their way to becoming ‘established’.

Contribution to Welsh Life and Culture Award

Awarded to a current student or graduate in, or from Wales, who has contributed to Welsh life, language and culture. The award celebrates the contribution of an individual to the University’s Welsh community and/or to Welsh life, language and culture, be that on a personal or professional level. 

Relevant activity may occur in a single year or over a span of years, preferably extending into the year of selection.


Nomination links

Nominations have now closed for 2018. Category finalists for 2018 can be viewed online >> 

Who is eligible?

As relevant to the Award, all currently enrolled students and all former students who have exited with a University awarded qualification are eligible. This includes alumni from predecessor institutions, from all year groups. This includes the University of Wales, Newport and University of Glamorgan – and all their predecessor institutions too.  Category finalists from previous years are welcome to enter or be nominated for all current categories. Category winners from previous years are welcome to enter or be nominated for all categories, except the category that they previously won.


Who can nominate?

As a community-wide initiative we welcome nominations from graduates, staff and students – all partners in our network. We also welcome self-nomination and nominations from organisations who recognise the excellence of staff members who attended the University of South Wales, or predecessor institution. The nominators of our Award finalists will also be invited to attend the Awards and Supporter Reception event. Nominations can be made in both Welsh and English.

What questions will be asked in the nomination process?

For ease, you can download a summary for all categories here. We encourage submissions to be compiled ahead of accessing the online link and also saved locally to your device or machine. This will avoid the possibility of losing some or all of the details you compile as part of your submission. Once you are satisfied with your submission, please proceed to the relevant online form to submit.

Given the level of detail required, our entrepreneurial categories require submission by the entrepreneur themselves. If you are not the entrepreneur but would like to submit a supporting statement as to why they should be encouraged to self-nominate, you can do this online. For the Emerging Entrepreneur category, the submission is a combination of written statement and short video. Need inspiration?


Where do I nominate?

Nominations (or a supporting statement for our two entrepreneurial categories) can be made online by following the links above. There is no limit on the number of nominations you can submit.


What’s the process?

Nominations will open on Friday 4 January 2019 and will close at midnight GMT on Sunday 21 April 2019. Once all nominations are received, the judging panels will consider all submissions ahead of agreeing a shortlist for each category that totals no more than 4 for each Award. Those shortlisted will be notified at this stage and extended an invitation to our Alumni Awards @ Big Weekend 2019 Gala Dinner being held on Saturday 15 June. Judges will convene a final round of consideration before agreeing a winner for each Award. Nominations can be made in both Welsh and English.

How will submissions be judged?

As relevant to the individual Award, judges will be looking for a combination of factors to help ascertain a category winner. Factors may include demonstrable impact, a sense of community cohesion, sustainability of achievement and value added to the student/alumni network experience. Please refer to each Award for relevant points for each category.

Is there a world limit for submissions?

Yes. Please do not exceed 1000 words. The judges will be looking for quality of evidence, not necessarily length of written submission. If your submission falls short of 1000 words this is acceptable, as this represents the limit.


How are Award winners recognised?

Shortlisted finalists and award winners will be formally announced at our Alumni and Supporter Gala Evening being held on Saturday 16 June 2018 at the Hilton, Cardiff. Shortlisted finalists and award winners will also feature in other channels of communication including on the alumni website, across social media and in print materials.

As in 2017, category winner of our 'Emerging Entrepreneur Award' will also receive funding of up to £1000 from our category sponsor, Kier.  

How do I /we claim our funding if we are category winners for the 'Emerging Entrepreneur Award'?

The category Winner has a six month window to claim up to £1000 funding. Receipts can be submitted or USW can purchase items/services up to a maximum of £1000.


As a successful nominee, what if I am unable to attend the Alumni and Supporter Gala Evening in Cardiff?

While we would of course be delighted to welcome Award finalists to the Alumni and Supporter Gala Evening @ Big Weekend 2018, ability to attend does not affect the outcome of the Awards in any way. Awards would simply be forwarded in due course and the achievement of the Award winner would still be celebrated.

Judging panels


Rachael Barker is Head of Alumni Relations and Development and leads the team that aims to keep the graduate community aware of and engaged with what the University is doing. The Team supports alumni engagement and fundraising through delivering print and social communications, web content and dedicated events and initiatives.

Rachael and the Team also work with current students ensuring that they get the most out of their time on campus - providing opportunities for financial support and connecting students with graduates through co-delivered initiatives such as the 'Career Futures' series.

Rachael Barker, Head of Alumni

Martin Phillips (HND Building, 1984) is a graduate of the Polytechnic of Wales and was our 2017 Excellence in Service Award category winner in recognition of his work to invigorate the 1981-1984 Polytechnic of Wales Football Team, ahead of their 35th anniversary year reunion. Outreach done by Martin has enabled the University to tap into alumni expertise, some of which has supported our student-facing ‘Careers Futures’ schedule. Martin is currently Operations Manager at ENGIE.

Martin Phillips


Emma Forouzan, USW Enterprise Manager. Working as part of the Careers and Employability Service, Emma is responsible for leading the Student Enterprise Team, contributing to the development and delivery of extracurricular and in-curriculum enterprise education and business start-up support across the University of South Wales.  Emma has worked within Enterprise Education for 14 years, prior to this was a partner in a consultancy offering innovation services to SME’s.

Emma Fourozan small

Gareth Jones, TownSquare (formerly of Welsh Ice) . Experienced the pain and joy of founding and leading one of the UK’s largest community of entrepreneurs. Invested time and energy into every facet of the Welsh start-up scene.

 Advisory member on the boards of Properr, Cardiff University Impact Accelerator, Cardiff Capital Region City Deal Strategic Regional Group, and Cardiff Start.

Gareth Jones Small

Caroline Thompson is the newly appointed CEO of BeTheSpark CIC. BeTheSpark is a movement designed to connect like minded people and to bring together innovation and entrepreneurship. It aims to build a community that will help transform Wales, inspire the next generation and ultimately trigger more start-ups, more innovation & commercialisation, more opportunities and more jobs.

Prior to taking up her position with BeTheSpark, Caroline was the NatWest lead for the Entrepreneurial Spark accelerator hubs in both Bristol & Cardiff. Caroline has over 28 years of experience in banking with NatWest in variety of roles – cross division - ranging from Risk & Regulation to Human Resources, and 12 years of experience in leading teams.

Caroline Thompson

Gavin Thomas is a Construction Project Manager with Kier Construction and recently Project Managed the successful completion of the USW Sport Park Facility completed on Jan 2018. Kier have activity sponsored and Judged at the USW Alumni Awards for the last 2 years and Gavin is very pleased to have been asked to judge at such a prestigious event. 

Gavin Thomas

Additional judges announced in due course.