This ‘SPOTLIGHT ON’ features an innovative approach being used by the University of Dundee to enhance professional development within the Student Union Executive team. The Graduate Careers and Professional Development Certificate is a credit-bearing programme run by the Careers Service to develop resilience and professionalism within the University of Dundee Student Union Executive Team whilst gaining a university qualification.
The year-long programme involves on-line learning as well as face to face teaching through ‘call back days’, with the main topics including self-awareness, reflection and career management skills. Utilising tools such as personality profiling via Insights Discovery and Belbin team roles, students are encouraged to think about their individual goals as well as the team’s goals for the year ahead.
Students participate in group coaching sessions with a qualified coach to help with developing solutions to challenging situations. From an individual perspective they are also given a mentor who is handpicked from a pool of University staff to match with their development needs and help them navigate the complexities of working in this environment.
An on-line portfolio assessment is used to capture the learning gain from their experience and help students prepare for the next step into graduate level employment. The portfolio focuses on setting goals, monitoring achievements, celebrating success throughout the year as well as demonstrating developed skills, researching future roles and application processes.
The programme was developed through collaboration with the Dundee University Student Union (DUSA) Management & Support Team and the Careers Service following feedback from the University’s Senior Management Team and the Executive Team themselves on the need for support to help them develop professionally whilst in their elected roles and prepare them for successful graduate outcomes after their time in office.
The students in our pilot programme have commented on how beneficial the programme was in making them feel supported in their role and allowing them to reach their full potential. On exiting the programme in June 2019 our first cohort have reported 100% positive destinations.
“I have undoubtedly had the best experience of personal development while in a job post. I have loved the structure of the course that has allowed me to flourish as a person. I struggled to value myself personally and professionally while in University and through this course I have come to realise my work and what I contribute to a workplace, a team and to life.”
~ Charlie Kleboe-Rogers, DUSA Vice President for Academia 2018/19
“This course has enriched my term in office greatly. The reflective practice it encourages has allowed me to appreciate and consolidate the skills I have gained in my role. The tangible portfolio outcome from the course will allow me to prepare for job applications and interviews as I now have a resource to draw upon from the breadth of my sabbatical year.”
~ Claire Hartley, DUSA Vice President for Communications & Campaigns 2018/19
“I have developed a lot of things about my character and I have started understanding areas of development in myself, personally and professionally. This level of self-reflection is a skill I was lacking a lot. From an Executive perspective, this programme has brought the team close together, at least from my perspective as a team leader. Through the course we are learning a lot of things about each individual exec member. I believe it is a strong team-building exercise that continues to help the team progress as a high-performance community with a common goal.”
~ Sofia Skevofylaka, DUSA President 2018/19
For further information, please contact Lynsay Pickering, Senior Careers Adviser - firstname.lastname@example.org.