Laura-Jane Howard, BA International Business and Human Resources Management

I was thrilled to win a Best Team Leader Award at Enactus UK’s National Competition and incredibly proud of our team, which won an amazing five awards.

Enactus is a global organisation which inspires students to improve the world through entrepreneurialism and its competitions showcase how students are transforming lives. Preparing for the contest and juggling course work was extremely stressful, but I love working with Enactus, it’s so rewarding.

We have launched three projects – the Work Ready Action Programme (WRAP), where students mentor school pupils from Castlemilk, a partnership with Glasgow City Mission, where we are working with staff and homeless people to develop a jam-making social enterprise, and Bling a Ling, where we work with people with learning disabilities to make jewellery.

One of the people we worked with on the jam-making project has already got a job in hospitality, directly because of what he learned while making the jam – it built his confidence and his career path. We make innovative flavours such as strawberry and black pepper and are already stocked in a city café. We hope to expand into making pasta sauces and run pop-up restaurants.

It’s so worthwhile.

When I left school I came to GCU to study nursing but discovered I’m terrified of blood, so I went travelling. I worked in a hotel and the human resources manager there encouraged me to look at that as a career, then I went to work at a party company and loved it and decided to get back into education with a view to working in the business field, too. This amazing programme combines my interests. I love it, and getting involved in Enactus has allowed me to work in the caring sphere, which was my initial path.

Enactus has grown massively at GCU – this year we have impacted on at least 150 people’s lives, last year it was 20. It was inspiring to attend the competition and see the impact all the groups are having on people’s lives.

I have always been involved in volunteering. My dad died several years ago and my mum very recently, so Enactus has been a safety net. Helping other people has helped me to cope, too.