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Students impress at showpiece Outdoor Conference

UCLan Outdoor students made a big impact at the recent Institute for Outdoor Learning (IOL) Northwest Conference 2015.

A group of 2nd and 3rd year undergraduates attended the event, presenting research ideas and dissertation data to expert audiences.

Feedback from the conference was extremely positive, with employers and practitioners praising the students for their exceptional skill levels, highly relevant work on reflective practice and professional development and their ability to show critical awareness across a challenging range of studies.

Tim Deighton, IOL Northern Region Professional Development Coordinator, said: "Our senior IOL Officers and conference attendees noted the quality of the research projects your students presented - their professionalism, knowledge and industry relevance.

"It was noticeable how engaged the IOL audience were with your students, many of whom are employers in the North West, and their feedback was outstanding – several of them specifically mentioned to me how great it was to have student input at this type of event.

"The research into older adults and their relationship to the outdoors was particularly well-received. This is a very pertinent subject and showed a development of the ideas that you and Professor Ashton of the Royal College of Public Health outlined at last year’s conference. You were all a great credit to UCLan."

Final year student Hannah Smith was attending her third IOL Conference, and has used the experience to develop dissertation ideas and boost her future career prospects.

She commented: "This event opened a pathway for me to publish a new theory I've created, with people there saying my research is relevant to undergraduate and postgraduate students at different universities across the country.

"I believe as ambassadors of UCLan we were helping shape discussion within workshops of theory and practice with high level managers or practitioners. Thanks for creating this opportunity to expand our opportunities above the undergraduate level, with the focus on high level research and careers.

Senior Lecturer Dr Mark Hickman said: "The quality of the students' research proposals was very high this year, and this reflects the hard work they invest in this project.

"It's very encouraging to see students engaging so knowledgeably and confidently with sector professionals and to receive such positive feedback. Once again, Allison Inkster played a pivotal role in making this a success, and I would like to extend my thanks from all concerned."

UCLan Outdoor Division are still hoping to host the Inaugural North West Higher Education Outdoor Students' Conference, possibly during 2015, with support from the IOL.

To view a selection of images from the event please click here.

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