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1 Preparing for your placement, and an Introduction to Reflective Thinking (BIO2021/MST2017 students) 22 nd October 2013

2 Session Overview Hopes and fears for placement. The reflective cycle - and how it can help you to get more from your placement. Planning for placement - setting goals and action planning using SMART. Preparing for placement – practicalities and professional conduct.

3 Hopes and Fears With the person next to you share one or two ‘hopes’ – things you will gain or enjoy from your placement (why have you chosen to do it?!) and one or two ‘fears’ or concerns you have about any aspect of your placement. Be prepared to feed these back to the whole group.

4 2013 Association of Graduate Recruiters reports average 85 (up from 83 in 2011) applicants per graduate-level vacancy - leading to alarmist coverage in the media – but it’s not all doom and gloom! 60% of jobs unadvertised – so networking can be key. Think of what you can do to give yourself an edge over other graduates in your chosen field. “Schools and colleges, higher education institutions and employers all need to help students understand that getting a degree is not enough on its own – the graduate labour market can be fiercely competitive. If they understand what employers are looking for and work to develop the skills and attributes they value, graduates will have an edge on the competition.” (Future Fit: Preparing graduates for the world of work, 2009). “Nearly half of recruiters caution that graduates who have had no previous work experience at all are unlikely to be successful during the selection process and have little or no chance of receiving a job offer for their organisations’ graduate programmes” (High Fliers Report, 2013) Your placement is a great opportunity! “Being able to articulate, and sell those skills to an employer is an employability skill in itself. […] It is not just the possession of knowledge or skills that define a graduate and the contribution she makes to the workplace, it is the capacity to articulate them, to think about how they relate to other forms of knowledge and skills, and to reflect upon the different domains in which they may be applied.” (Wilson Review of University-Business collaboration, 2012)

5 Why reflect?! It will help you to achieve more on placement It will help you to achieve more for the module (and in other modules?!) It will help you to identify your strengths and weakness – developing a better understanding of yourself and hence what you might want to do It will help you to develop employability (graduate) skills which you will be able to transfer to different contexts Keeping a record of your reflection will help you not only for this placement and this module, but when applying for other placements/jobs and beyond “We do not learn from experience…we learn from reflecting on experience.” (Dewey, 1933)

6 The Reflective cycle: Learning from your experiences at placement What? Reviewing and recording reflections (structured blogs on eportfolio) So what? Interpreting, contextualising, making links and generalising Now what? Planning and experimenting (goal setting and action planning) Act! Doing and experiencing Adapted from Rolfe et al’s reflective model (2001)

7 Plan (‘Now what’ ‘what’?) Research placement organisation – look at their website, think about other policies that might be relevant to the sector; Think about your career aspirations – use Prospects, National Occupational Standards etc to research skills you will need;Prospects National Occupational Standards Think about personal strengths and weaknesses in terms of knowledge, skills and experience – what can you bring to your placement and what are your development needs? Set challenging (but attainable) personal goals!

8 Personal goals Set goals to help you develop transferable and subject- specific skills. The graduate skills you will be developing through this module (regardless of placement context) communication, teamworking, personal enterprise and planning and organising. Challenging goals will help you achieve more from your placement, stay on track and engage in more focused reflection and planning (and succeed on this module!) Think about how you will know whether you have successfully achieved the goals you have set.

9 Identify factors relevant to career aspirations through research (Careers Service– ‘Exploring Occupations’ is a good starting point) Look at the types of skills, qualities and experience you will need to succeed in careers relevant to you.Exploring Occupations Critically appraise your strengths and weaknesses in relation to the graduate skills framework for the module. Identify aims and objectives (and relevant policies) through researching placement and the sector they are part of. Areas of overlap help you to identify personal goals.

10 Personal goals: mutually beneficial Placement aims and objectives, policies and practice Your career aspirations and identified strengths and weaknesses

11 SMART targets Specific who/what/when/where? Measureable qualitative/quantitative evidence Achievable - placement context Realistic - for you Timebound (meaningful deadline/s)

12 You may have more than one SMART target for each personal goal, depending on the scope of the goal. The key difference between a goal and a SMART target – a goal identifies the what – the SMART target/s come later and specifies how (and when, where, with whom) Example personal goal: “Develop my communication (verbal and non-verbal) skills by improving my ability to explain scientific and technical goals to a non-expert audience” SMART targets

13 Example SMART target Specific - Run a lunchtime session (1 hour) on the project I am working on to inform the rest of my placement organisation about key facts and why it is important. This will be to a mixed audience (scientists and other staff ) so I will need to avoid jargon and communicate more complex aspects of the project in an accessible way, whilst being prepared for more technical questions. Measurable - I will measure understanding by asking for a show of hands at the start and end of the session asking who has heard of/understands five key phrases relating to the project. I am aiming for at least 80% positive responses for each phrase at the end of the session as an indicator of success.

14 Achieveable - I have my supervisor’s support - it is part of her role to ensure understanding of this project. I have agreed my idea with her, and she will help me to find a location and to promote the talk. My talk will happen at a busy time of year for most staff so I will need to consider how to encourage attendance. Realistic - Although I have never addressed a group of adults in a semi-formal setting before I will research presentation techniques and practise to gain feedback on clarity in relation to the key messages I wish to convey, as well as how I am using voice, body language and visual aids to reinforce key messages. Timebound - Session is planned for 15 th March (four weeks) so I will ensure it is ready by 8 th March to allow time to gain feedback and adapt as necessary.

15 Reflect (So what?) What happened? What was the situation and what was my task within it? What were the results? What went well? What went badly? How did my actions benefit my placement and myself? So what might I do again in the future? What might I change, and how? So what do I need to do to bring about these changes? development – research (from reading and/or taking advice or observing ‘experts’), training, practice… Now what? - How has this impacted on my personal goals?

16 Structured blog entries (eportfolio) How successful was your planned action in achieving your goal/target and helping you to progress towards your goal? Reflect upon what you have learned in your placement How has the use of research (placement, personal and skills-based) underpinned your development?

17 How would you make a good first impression at your placement/when meeting an employer?

18 Preparing for placement What, when, where? Practicalities including access, dress code etc – ask or err on side of caution if unsure! Be open to suggestions and prepared to make contacts – remember names if possible! Remember you are representing not just yourself but also your degree programme and the University Be professional and remember the importance of a good first impression!

19 Your initial visit to the placement Discuss and agree role, duties and performance standards, as well as opportunities beyond core duties Discuss personal goals and how these relate to your role on placement Establish lines of communication (email, phone etc – important if you need to change arranged visit times) Ask relevant questions Use Preparation for Placement form in your handbook before and during your initial visit/meeting.

20 What next? Start researching career aspirations, strengths and weaknesses; Attend sessions on interview technique, etc; Start researching and applying for placements, remember to approach all communication with potential ‘employers’ as the opportunity to build relationships and network; Set challenging personal goals at the start of your placement, use SMART targets to progress and REFLECT as you go along!

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