Students recognise work of GCU staff member

Wed, 10 Jun 2020 16:19:00 BST
David Grimm gave his thoughts on why Rachel was a worthy winner of the
David Grimm gave his thoughts on why Rachel was a worthy winner of the "Super Support" award

A staff member has been recognised by students for the second year running, thanks to her work with GCU’s care-experienced community.

Rachel Hyslop, who works with GCU Outreach, picked up the Super Support Award (Non-Teaching Staff) at this years Student Association Teaching Awards.

In her role as named contact for care-experienced students, Rachel helps individuals transition into university life through a number of ways - including a staff/student mentoring scheme.

She explained more about her job and the surprise at picking up the award for a second time.

Rachel said: “Part of my work is to make sure vulnerable students feel comfortable about coming to GCU and are then fully supported around campus throughout their time here.

Some of the students are in their 20s now and I’ve known them since they were 15 years old - that’s really lovely for me.

It’s that sort of job where I’m taking on that parental role and always thinking, ‘what would I do if this was my child?’”

She added: “I definitely wasn’t expecting to win again. I was unbelievably gobsmacked but also felt incredibly privileged and delighted.

I’m so proud to be drawing attention to this amazing group. It’s so important to raise awareness around care-experience to other members of staff and also making people aware of our role as a corporate parent.

The students motivate me every day to go to work and do the best I can for them. When someone then says thank you or nominates you for an award, it really is humbling.”

One of those students who felt the impact of Rachel’s work is GCU’s Care-Experienced Officer, David Grimm.

He explained: “When I was still in college and looking to go to university, my friend put me in touch with Rachel and she supported me with my application and the whole UCAS process.

That support has continued throughout my first year at GCU - she’s very just very approachable and always has time for a chat.”

David, who nominated Rachel for the award, added: “The importance of her work is immeasurable. Care-experienced students aren’t the biggest demographic in the University but it’s important we’re represented and Rachel has really done that for us.”

Rachel is involved with students across all three schools at GCU, impacting on a range of programmes. Social Work lecturer David McKendrick explained the benefit of Rachel’s work from a staff perspective.

He said: “The most important part of teaching and learning is the development of a trusting relationship that allows opportunities for people to explore personal issues in a supportive and encouraging environment.

Rachel provides a space where care-experienced students can access support in a sensitive way - which encourages personal growth and development.

We are extremely grateful for her dedication, thoughtfulness and hard work.”

You can follow Rachel’s work on twitter @GCUCares or find out more about the support available to care-experienced students at GCU by clicking here

By Ross Clark
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