Lancaster student winner of Undergraduate of the Year Award

William Bowler, First-Generation Undergraduate of the Year

A Lancaster University student has been announced as a national winner in this year’s TARGETjobs Undergraduate of the Year Awards.

History student William Bowler won the First Generation Undergraduate of the Year Award 2020 with HSBC, announced in a virtual awards ceremony hosted by Countdown co-host, Rachel Riley.

William, who is about to begin his third and final year at Lancaster, said he was “shocked and elated” when he was announced as the winner.

He applied for the award last year in the First Generation category, sponsored by HSBC, as he was the first person in his family to go to university, and had always been interested in a career in banking.

He said: “In all honesty, at every stage of the process I thought that 'this would be the last round', especially after one round where I had IT difficulties during a virtual interview my camera decided to rotate 90 degrees. I want to say a massive thank you to the Lancaster University careers team, especially Matthew Howard whose guidance and advice was invaluable and was most certainly a huge factor in the outcome.”

William was invited to an assessment centre at HSBC in Canary Wharf, and a few weeks later received a phone call offering him an internship.

He said: “The internship itself was a truly incredible experience where every day was different. As an intern from a non-business degree everything was new to me, so I truly did learn something new every day.”

William was announced as the winner at a virtual ceremony held on 4 September.

He added: “The virtual ceremony was so well organised by TARGETjobs and it was great to talk to stakeholders of HSBC and of course to meet Rachel Riley. I could not believe it when they announced my name, I was so shocked and elated, but also did not completely process it until after the event.

“Looking forward, I'm working hard at my internship and want to make the most out of the last few weeks before returning to university. I'm looking forward to my breakfast with a senior manager and the one-to-one mentoring, which will be invaluable going forward to help with my personal development and career pathway.”

Undergraduate Careers Manager Matthew Howard said: “To be crowned the TARGETjobs First Generation Undergraduate of the Year is an incredible achievement. William thoroughly deserves this award, he is an excellent example of our ambitious, talented and naturally proactive students. All at Lancaster University are absolutely delighted for and proud of William.

“Further congratulations to all our finalists. A total of eight Lancaster undergraduates made the national UK finals – the University’s best result to date in the awards.”

The awards, now in their 11th year, received more than 4,500 entries from 140 universities across the UK.

Back to News