York Award Gold

As with York Award, York Award Gold requires you to complete a reflective application form, where if you reach the required level, you will be awarded a recognised certificate from the University to demonstrate your employability.

As a step-up from the York Award, York Award Gold will mean that you are:

  • Taking the lead in your professional and personal development
  • Learning how to reflect on your achievements
  • Considering your values in relation to career decisions
  • Better prepared for job applications and interview


Who can apply?

Who can apply?

You will be invited to apply for the York Award Gold in the Autumn Term of your third year. Postgraduate students (Research or Taught) can choose to apply for either York Award or York Award Gold.

If you did not complete the York Award in your second year, you can still apply for York Award Gold but you will need to complete an extra ‘catch-Up’ section in addition to the Gold application form.

When you register to receive your application form you will be asked which version of the application you need.  If you are unsure, please check your E-Vision profile (evision.york.ac.uk).  If it reads ‘York Award not yet achieved’ then you need to complete the ‘catch Up’ version of York Award Gold (choose this when you sign up for the application).

If your E-Vision York Award status reads ‘Completed stage 1’ then you do not need to do the 'catch Up' version.

Note - PG students do not need to do the 'catch up' version.

Application form summary

The assessment process for York Award Gold requires you to submit a reflective application form answering the following three sections:

Section 1 - Activities undertaken

You will need to list key activities you have undertaken during your time at York so far eg. volunteering, work experiences, society membership.

Section 2 - Reflective writing

There are three reflective pieces for you to complete in this section (max 600 words each), relating to common areas of student experience: work and/or volunteering; personal interests and/or hobbies; and academic studies. 

To help guide your answers each piece is split into three parts, similar to stage one of the York Award.

For each of the reflective pieces, you will be asked to choose one area of skill or competency to reflect on, from the list of six available.  In total you will write about three of the areas below, one for each reflective piece:

A. Took the initiative or demonstrated an innovative approach
B. Adapted your style of communication to suit a particular audience
C. Made a difference within or outside of the university
D. Sought to address an area of weakness or overcame a significant challenge to you
E. Developed leadership or project management skills
F. Worked with others to achieve a common goal

Section 3 - Values

In the final section you will be asked to write a short piece about your values (approx. 250 words).

a. What have you learnt about your values during your time at the University of York?
b. How do you believe these values will influence your career decisions, now and in the future?

You might want to consider discussing: experiences which have shaped your values; experiences which have helped you to better understand your values; examples of times when you have been aware of your values affecting your decisions or choices.

Have a look at our learning materials on reflection and values.

Learning materials

York Award Gold requires you to write three reflective pieces and then to consider your values in relation to potential career choices.

To help you prepare your application please make use of the learning materials via the link below.

York Award Gold - reflective writing and values learning materials

York Award Gold and the related learning materials are based on the Gibbs theoretical model of reflective learning.

‘It is not sufficient simply to have an experience in order to learn. Without reflecting upon this experience it may quickly be forgotten, or its learning potential lost. It is from the feelings and thoughts emerging from this reflection that generalisations or concepts can be generated. And it is generalisations that allow new situations to be tackled effectively.’ (Gibbs 1988)

Example answer

This example will give you an idea of how to answer the York Award Gold questions.  The answer is in three parts using the Gibbs model.

Academic studies - presenting to a peer group

1. Description - approx. 100 words
What happened? Briefly describe the experience (activity/project/event)

Answer: In my second year I worked with four others in my seminar group on a small business project plan. I was asked by the tutor to deliver a presentation. We prepared the presentation as a group but I delivered it to about 30 other students. The presentation was ten minutes long and I used PowerPoint along with some handouts. We had also made a short video to show, adding variety to the presentation. At the end of my presentation I took questions from the rest of the seminar group and the tutor gave me feedback.

2. Feelings and evaluation - approx. 200 words
What were you thinking/feeling? What were your reactions?  What was good and bad about the experience?

Answer: I had always been nervous about presenting and was now faced with standing in front of a lot of people and presenting my groups’ findings. I felt such a responsibility to the rest of the group and wanted to back out of doing the presentation. I suggested that someone else present but was told everyone would be asked to present at some point. I felt silly trying to back out, so I thought it would be best to take a deep breath and get on with it!

The actual experience of presenting wasn’t as bad as I was expecting it to be, I think the fact I was well-prepared helped. I was very nervous and felt that I was visibly shaking the whole time though which was embarrassing.

I found the question and answer section at the end the most enjoyable part of the experience. The subject of small business start-ups greatly interests me and it was good to hear different viewpoints and discuss the subject with the rest of the group. It was also encouraging to see that everyone was interested in what I presented.

3. Conclusion and action plan - approx. 300 words
What did you learn about yourself? What general conclusions did you draw from the experience?
How might you apply these conclusions in the future? Are there any actions you can take right now?

Answer: Through this experience I learnt several things about myself. Firstly, that it’s healthy to be nervous about presenting to others, it meant that I cared and wanted to do well! Secondly, I learned from the tutor’s feedback that I appeared calmer than I felt on the inside and this has made me feel more comfortable about standing in front of an audience. I was nervous about being criticised by the tutor but their feedback was actually really helpful and made me feel more positive about improving in the future.

I also learned that because I was confident with the material I was delivering, I enjoyed the presentation more. However, one useful conclusion I can draw from the experience is that you can be too well prepared and this isn’t always a good thing. In my practise sessions in front of a few friends I had far too much information on my slides and kept losing track of where I was. This also meant I wasn’t looking at the audience enough. So I cut down the information and used the slides as memory joggers rather than a script. I still struggled with this a bit and forgot a few things, so my tutor made a helpful suggestion for the future - to try using cards with a few extra notes on to prompt me if I forget.

In terms of actions I can take - I have already signed up to an improvisation class in my college! I think this will help to develop my confidence being in front of an audience and without a script and should be fun too. I also want to learn more about using PowerPoint in more interesting and interactive ways so I’m not just talking at the audience.

For Employers

York Award Gold requires students to reflect on their personal and professional development during their time at the university of York.

A student who has gained York Award Gold has taken a proactive approach to life at university, taking the lead in their own professional and personal development.  They have undertaken a range of self-led extracurricular experiences, often with a high level of responsibility, alongside their degrees studies.  These experiences will include work experiences (paid and/or unpaid) and personal development opportunities.  They have also learned how to write reflectively about their achievements, evaluating their transferable skill set and considered their values in relation to career decisions.

Contact us.  If you have any York Award questions please email: award@york.ac.uk