I was approached by the lead of a Centre for Doctoral Training to design a workshop which would encourage its high-skills STEM researchers to think and explore beyond academia.
High-skills Adding Value
The client recognised that many postgraduate researchers see themselves only as future academics (as academia is all around them). Yet the number reaching senior academic positions is relatively small. Expanding knowledge and transferrable skills beyond technical disciplines and an academic setting is fundamental to improving their impact in the workplace and delivering the benefits high-skills individuals add to the economy.
Bringing A Fresh Approach
My external perspective was fundamental to the client’s requirements; as was my real-life insight and experience of harnessing the power of a PhD to build a successful career beyond academia. Following client consultation, a bespoke module was designed and delivered as an addition to an existing skills development suite.
Learning For All
The team came from a rich variety of cultural, social and technical backgrounds. Designing a workshop that added value for everyone and allowed for different learning styles was imperative. The module was developed to expand participants’ horizons and show them that the creative thinking and innovation which is so crucial in their work can also be used in an industrial or entrepreneurial setting and contributes to employability. It also encouraged them to step outside their ‘traditional comfort zone’ and consider other options.
Participants were asked what they were going do differently following the workshop…
- “Believe in myself”
- “Going to start what I’m trying to achieve rather than procrastinate”
- “Thinking out of the box without being frightened”
- “Realised I’m quite interested in being a social entrepreneur”
- “Keep my eyes on project goals. Try not to get stuck in details”
The Client Said…
“Elaine designed and delivered an extremely useful interactive workshop for our postgraduate researchers which showed that many of the skills they had could bring them a successful career in industry or help them become entrepreneurs of the future. The researchers found this very thought provoking and gained a lot from the workshop and follow-up conversations”. Research Director, Higher Education Institution