I was approached by one of my existing clients to design and deliver three bespoke modules to complement their existing skills development programmes. These modules covered networking, impact strategy and employability.
High-skills Adding Value
Industry needs the high-skills of postgraduate researchers yet many of them see themselves purely as future academics. In reality, the numbers who end up in senior academic positions are relatively small. Therefore, expanding knowledge and transferrable skills beyond technical disciplines and academic practices are fundamental. It improves researcher impact in the workplace and helps deliver the benefits high-skills individuals add to the economy. A range of opportunities exist beyond academia and researchers are well placed to create and capitalise on them. Often reluctance to explore more widely is linked to self-confidence, and the absorbing nature of postgraduate research.
The higher education sector client already provides a wealth of support and development routes to address this and wanted to extend their impact by engaging external expertise to support its work with scientists and engineers.
Bringing A Fresh Approach
My business and industry perspectives were fundamental to my client’s requirements; as was the fact I have real insight and experience of successfully making the transition out of academia. They also required expertise from someone who was able to translate this experience in to a variety of tailored, interactive learning and development interventions.
Learning For All
Researchers come from a rich variety of cultural, social and technical backgrounds. Designing workshops which add value for everyone and allow for different learning styles is therefore imperative. Modules were created to expand participants’ horizons, develop transferrable skills and encourage thinking beyond the detail of their research.
In addition, the workshops reinforced that combining their discipline specific technical skills with broad ranging non-technical skills contributes to employability, brings impact to society and the economy and leads to career success.
Participants were asked what they were going do differently following the modules.
Impact Strategy Module
“Think ahead and plan on how and why I am doing what I am researching.”
“Take a more structured approach to understanding and achieving impact.”
“Going to be more confident presenting myself and mix with different groups.”
“Keep more focus on finding networking connection.”
“I am not going to undersell my skills and abilities anymore!”
“Try to improve certain skills which are valuable to employers.”
The Client Said…
“Elaine is fantastic for researchers as she brings the credibility of someone who has succeeded in both research and in the business world. She is the perfect person to help researchers learn how to walk between the different worlds of academia and business, paving the way for them to have a real impact on the broader economy. Most importantly, she does this in a way that is fun, full of energy and empowering for participants.
I would absolutely recommend working with Elaine. She always works hard to tailor material and delivery to meet the needs of specific participant groups. Her energy and enthusiasm are contagious. Participants walk away feeling valued and like they can take on the world!” Head of Researcher Development, Higher Education Institution