Monday, 27 June 2011

Staff pages revamp

By dannyasmith
I'm struggling to find time to think about our staff pages, which are desperately in need of a revamp. I'm hoping that putting up a quick blog post will help me gather my thoughts and perhaps gain some inspiration from helpful commenters...

I've had a quick look at: Durham's, Lancaster's, Manchester's and Warwick's (some of you will know why I started with these ;) I didn't get many ideas from them but it has made me think we need to make our DLHE data more prominent (currently it's tucked away in the Career Development pages for students). Also, advice for personal tutors (Durham) seems a good idea, as does a link to JobShop (Manchester's Jobs On Campus). But the best site I've found for staff pages is Exeter's, which includes:

  • a staff guide to employability
  • how they work with colleges/departments
  • a section for Careers and Employability Reps (we call ours Careers Tutors)
  • they also have some materials for group tutorials - but I need to figure out how they use these
So, I might be borrowing some of these ideas. What else do we need?

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

New front page progress

Since putting up a post about We need a new front page and getting lots of useful comments, Matt and I are much closer to the finished article now. There's a screen shot below - the main changes have been:
  • getting rid of the three themes above the images which looked like they should relate to the images below but didn't (thanks Steve)
  • added space for an additional 'featured' image (thanks Marta), which we'll change every week
  • changed 'what's hot' to 'featured' (thanks James)
  • reduced the size of the 'follow' links (thanks Jonny)
  • also added some explanatory text underneath each of the three audiences (this is draft - would be interested in opinions)

Need to decide on the portlets to the right now. Are there any other changes we need to make at this stage?

Friday, 10 June 2011

Being the one with their foot in the door

Richard put a copy of PwC's employability guide on my desk earlier in the week, it's titled Being the one with their foot in the door. I was interested in it because I'm trying to think about how to identify employability in the curriculum and wondering whether competencies will help. In the introduction to the guide the Chairman of PwC says:
[...] this Employability Guide [...] explains the different competencies you need to join us. You might have developed many of them through your studies. Others could have come from part-time work or summer travel. Or from somewhere else altogether. What’s important is that you can recognise the skills we’re looking for, and then come up with a good example (or two) to show you’ve got them.
Later on their Head of Strategy and Talent says:
Academic study gets your foot in the door; employability skills push it open to a far wider range of opportunities. They make your potential contribution to our business unique. Consider these skills and experiences your personal business card.
What's really useful is that not only do they list the competencies they are looking for in any potential recruits, they also suggest where they might have been developed. So here are PwC's 10 Competencies and useful prompts to help potential recruits think about where they can find the evidence for these and identify any gaps.

Coach and develop yourself and othersHave you pushed yourself to achieve things that go above and beyond?
Have you ever changed the way you did something after getting feedback?
Have you taken the time to feedback to others?
Have you had work experience or done voluntary work?
Have you developed new skills outside of your degree?
Communicate with impact and empathyHave you made something simple for others to follow?
Have you used your powers of persuasion to get funding or agreement for a proposal?
Have you presented on your course or to a club or society?
Have you ever spoken in front of an audience?
Have you written speeches, manifestos or business cases?
Can you think of a time when you made a point of taking on board different opinions?
Be curious: learn, share and innovateHave you used your initiative to achieve a goal?
Have you made time to learn something new outside of your course?
Do you go to events that are all about knowledge sharing or learning?
Have you shared what you know with other people on your course?
Have you ever come up with a new and better way of doing something?
Have you been to employer presentations or skills sessions to explore your future career?
Lead and reinforce team successHave you been adaptable in order to work better with others?
Have you taken part in a voluntary project that relied on everyone pulling together?
Do you belong to a sports team, club or society?
Have you led a group?
Can you think when you worked in a team to achieve a common goal?
Do you know what qualities you can bring to a team?
Build and maintain relationshipsHave you got to know your careers advisor or course tutor?
Have you networked with people from other courses or universities?
Did you get to know a customer really well?
Have you built good relationships with others?
Do you go to a club or society regularly, rather than once a year?
Have you made (and maintained) useful contacts on a work experience placement?
Show you have courage and integrityCan you think of a time when you worked well under pressure?
Ever undertaken a mundane task with real enthusiasm?
Do you always turn up on time?
Do you put 100% into every application form?
Have you handled conflicts or differences of opinion well?
Have you kept your cool when dealing with a difficult customer?
Manage projects and moneyHave you juggled different priorities to meet a deadline?
Have you handled lots of different pieces of course work at the same time?
Have you adapted positively to a new process at work?
Have you ever put a backup plan into action?
Have you looked after an organisation’s finances?
Be open minded, practical and quick to adaptHave you taken on board suggestions from others?
Have you picked up a shift at work at short notice?
Have you been happy to stay late to get things done?
Have you adapted to changes at work?
Have you put yourself in a situation you’re not used to?
Have you tried new things that are outside your comfort zone?
Build and use commercial and technical know-howHave you looked into the kind of professional qualifications you might do with us?
Have you thought about who your dream client would be or what it would be like to be a CEO?
Have you gone the extra mile to understand how a company or industry operates?
Do you take an interest in business and current affairs?
Are you curious about what makes a business tick?
Do you understand how your degree could make a difference to our business?
Caring about client serviceHave you come up with ways to do things differently?
Have you thought about how you can make a club or society better?
Do you take a real interest in your parttime job, how the company works and who its competitors are?
Have you looked into how PwC operates as a business?
Do you work hard to make things better?
Have you ever gone out of your way to do something positive for others?

Table text (c) 2010 PricewaterhouseCoopers LPP

Of course not every graduate wants to work for a professional services company (thankfully) but many of the competencies do seem to be transferable. I'm wondering if a synthesis of these and the SHL competencies would be a useful framework to help us identify and develop employability in the curriculum. And I think the questions to prompt students to think about where they can find the evidence will be useful for students, departments and us as a careers service to help us to think more broadly and more strategically about what interventions are required.

What do you think?