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Abigail Hall’s ’employability’ stocks soar thanks to UoN


Described by her current employer as a “real asset”, Abigail Hall was one of the big winners at the University of Newcastle’s (UoN) 2022 Employability Excellence Awards.

The software engineer at Warners Bay business Saphi Engineering took out the Student Employability Excellence Award this week, along with Michael Burton.

Jessica Haugh snared Student Intern/Cadet of the Year and Sarah Williams collected Student Entrepreneur of the Year.

Brittany Sharpe, Alix Loades, Stephanie Kelly and Maggie Fulwood were each named Work Integrated Learning Student of the Year.

The annual awards celebrate the achievements of pupils and the work of staff and industry partners in preparing life-ready graduates, through Work Integrated Learning (WIL) experiences, or professional placements.

“Our university is committed to creating people who are equipped with the skills to succeed,” Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Mark Hoffman said.

“WIL provides students with real on-the-job experience that helps them to develop talents that prepare them not only for their future workplace, but also for life after they graduate.

“We understand that these skills are often learnt away from the classroom and beyond textbooks, which is why WIL is so important.”

It’s a sentiment shared by Ms Hall, who completed her Bachelor of Mathematics and Bachelor of Computer Science degrees at UoN.

“I was fortunate to do a program with Google and a software engineering internship,” she said.

“These really helped me to understand the skills required for the industry.

“The mentorship initiative I did with Saphi, through the uni, also contributed to my overall employability.

“It gave me the chance to come in and talk to the team, as well as director Cameron Owen, and find out what the business was all about.

“From that, it enabled me to land a job [here].

“You just need that one break to get into industry life, which can lead into many different things.

“So, winning the Student Employability Excellence Award feels good.

“Especially, after undertaking all my internship and mentorship programs and knowing it actually contributed to my employability.

“It’s nice to just bring all that together in one award.

“I’m humbled by it.”

Vice-Chancellor Professor Alex Zelinsky AO said it was vital to recognise the impact of staff and businesses in the awards, too.

“A WIL learning experience can give students meaningful, first-hand experience in their chosen field to help them understand the areas that they enjoy the most,” he explained.

“But, for businesses, taking on someone not only gives them practical know-how, it creates a pipeline of future talent, helping companies to identify high-quality graduates and attract and retain students before they graduate.

“I thank them, as well as our staff, for their commitment and dedication.”

University of Newcastle’s 2022 Employability Excellence Awards


  • Student Employability Excellence Award: Abigail Hall 
  • Student Employability Excellence Award: Mitchell Burton 
  • Student Intern/Cadet of the Year: Jessica Haugh 
  • Work Integrated Learning Student of the Year: Brittany Sharpe
  • Work Integrated Learning Student of the Year: Alix Loades 
  • Work Integrated Learning Student of the Year: Stephanie Kelly
  • Work Integrated Learning Student of the Year: Maggie Fulwood
  • Student Entrepreneur of the Year: Sarah Williams 


  • Work Integrated Learning Staff Member of the Year
  • Hemal Patel
  • Cameron Beard and Kim Maund (joint)
  • Meegan McHugh
  • Peter Gogarty
  • Saskia Behan


  • New Partner in Employability: Elekta Pty Ltd

Work Integrated Learning Hall of Fame

  • Hunter School of Performing Arts
  • NSW Health Pathology – Forensic Medicine Social Work
  • The Dietetics Department at Tamworth Rural Referral Hospital Health Campus
  • Snowy Hydro
  • St John the Baptist Primary School
  • Barwon Health
  • Queensland X-Ray
  • Regional Youth Support Services Inc
  • Australian Taxation Office (Newcastle Office)
  • Newcastle High School Cooks Hill Campus
  • Callaghan Colleges
  • Early Links

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