A Newcastle University student has landed an award after playing a major part in relaunching a children’s clothing brand.
Natalie Diver, 21, from Hadrian Park, won the top prize at the National Association of Student Employee Awards for her work with Baggers Originals.
The Ponteland-based company produces children’s rainwear and swimwear which folds up into a small bag. The firm took Natalie initially on a 10-week placement arranged by the university’s careers service.
As part of her role, Natalie, who is just about to start the final year of her degree in business management, had to carry out market research to find out if a relaunch was feasible.
Her role was then expanded to include looking after social media for the company and she helped to create a new website through which it is selling the products.
Following her work, the brand is now also selling in stores in Ireland, and Monsoon and Fenwick have agreed to stock the products.
Thanks to her efforts, Natalie was named national employee of the year, and landed the Off-Campus Employee Award both in the North East and nationally.
She said: “It is really nice to see all my effort start to pay off for the company. Working at Baggers Originals has taught me some really important skills, which I will be able to take forward to my future career.
“Throughout the placement, I was also able to apply a lot of the learning from my degree, so I really feel I’ve had a great grounding in the business and that has undoubtedly contributed to me winning this amazing award.”
Angela McLean, managing director of Baggers Originals, who was also runner-up in the Employer of the Year category, said: “Natalie has been intrinsic to the relaunch of Baggers Originals. Thanks to the work she carried out we realised there was a gap in the market that Baggers could fill.
“Her research has proved to be very accurate and our clothes are selling well. She did much more than her job specification and has become a key player in the team.”
Two other Newcastle University students were shortlisted at the awards. Jessica Wright, who studies food and human nutrition, won Student Temp of the Year for the North East and was runner-up nationally.
Meanwhile, Leonie Hondeborg, a media, communications and cultural studies student, was international winner in the regional heats and national runner-up for her work with Silverbean, one of the North East’s largest digital marketing agencies.
Andrew Haxell, assistant director of the careers service at Newcastle University, said: “Natalie has clearly impressed on her placement and that will give her a great career boost. Placements like this are available to all of our students and we work hard to foster relationships with national and regional employers to ensure we match the right student with the right company.”