Global full service events agency, SPARK THINKING, has continued its support of Leeds Beckett University’s Events Management Student of the Year, presenting the prize this year to Sarah Wilkes who achieved a First Class BA (Hons) in Events Management. 

Twenty-four-year-old Sarah, from Sunderland, has been a fantastic student according to Dr Lucy Laville, course director at Leeds Beckett’s UK Centre for Events Management, achieving one of the overall highest marks in the year. 

Described as diligent and engaged throughout, Sarah received her prestigious accolade from another Sarah – SPARK THINKING account manager, Sarah Middleton.

“It was an honour to present Sarah with our SPARK THINKING Events Management Student of the Year award,” said Sarah Middleton. “Just from our conversations on the day, I could tell that her degree and work placement experience has really shown her how to be a strategic event manager. She knows the importance of good planning and attention to detail, but she also sees the bigger picture and recognises how an event contributes to an organisation’s overall aims. I’m sure Sarah’s future career will be successful as she grows in confidence and experience.” 

SPARK THINKING – the sister brand of global healthcare events specialist, Ashfield Meetings & Events (part of UDG Healthcare plc) – is highly-regarded in the industry for its award-winning partnership with Jaguar Land Rover and its work with the world-renowned think tank, the Milken Institute, along with other leading brands. The agency is passionate about supporting and investing in future talent in the event industry and has sponsored this award since 2001. 

“Our continued partnership with SPARK THINKING is of vital importance,” says Dr James Musgrave, the head of Leeds Beckett’s UK Centre for Events Management. “The award is aspirational as the company gets involved across all our degree programmes, embedding a culture of excellence within our students. It supports outstanding talent and enables graduates like Sarah Wilkes to commit to a career in the event industry.” 

Sarah Wilkes will now begin her career at the same Newcastle-based events agency for which she completed her placement year, where she was quickly recognised as an important member of the team. Longer-term, she would be keen to pursue an in-house role in the voluntary sector.

“Achieving the Events Management Student of the Year is incredible, and it’s a huge honour to receive it from such a well-known, creative events agency as SPARK THINKING,” said Sarah Wilkes. “This recognition from SPARK THINKING will undoubtedly contribute towards my career development and I’m just excited to start contributing to my agency as a fully-qualified member of the team.” 

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Molly joined the editorial team in March 2019. She has several years’ experience working in broadcast and journalism, as well as marketing and PR. Past experience includes working for the BBC and independent publishing houses. If you have a story you think Molly might be interested in, please email: