HE STEM PROGRAMME UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM EPS GRAND CHALLENGE SKILLS AND DEVELOPMENT LOGBOOK

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1 HE STEM PROGRAMME UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM EPS GRAND CHALLENGE SKILLS AND DEVELOPMENT LOGBOOK Content taken from the University of Birmingham Careers and Employability Centre >Progress> skills and development tools Reflecting on your own personal development, your ambitions and your future is a key part of recognising your potential. This is called Personal Development Planning (PDP). PDP is defined as 'a structured and supported process undertaken by an individual to reflect upon their own learning, performance and achievement in order to plan for their personal, educational and career development'. First you need to analyse your skills, learning styles, aptitudes, interests and job expectations in order to provide clues to the type of career that might suit you. There are online resources which can help you to do this, e.g... Learning styles: 16 questions and it is a quick and easy way to help you assess your approach to learning and working out what is your preferred learning style. Go to to take this test Soloman and Felder s Index of Learning Styles can be completed online and helps you think about learning on four dimensions (active/reflective, sensing/intuitive, visual/verbal, and sequential/global). This one is found on This questionnaire helps people think about their preferred learning style under the categories of: activist, reflector, theorist or pragmatist. This is at and to complete this questionnaire you have to pay 10. Personality types: Take a 10-minute online test: This test is based on a model of vocational choice which suggests that people with particular interests and styles tend to favour certain types of jobs. What is your leadership style? Try out and discover what kind of leader you are and what are your strengths and weaknesses when working with others. Inspire Leadership, on will help you discover what kind of leader you are. This quiz will help you understand what you value in work and what inspires you to take on responsibility. Make sure you print and keep a record of your results. Psychometric tests on will allow you to see what values you hold for your future career. 1

2 Use these to start your development plan and complete the following Skills sections at regular intervals throughout Grand Challenge and for your reflective essay. You will be expected to complete your log book about skills development in at least three of the main sections: Personal Development, People Skills and General Skills. Each time you make a note of your skills, record the date on which you do this, or when you can attribute the development to have taken place. Include pre-existing skills where you feel this is relevant. 2

3 NAME: Contents PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT... 4 Self-Awareness... 4 Critical Thinking... 5 Leadership... 6 Creativity and innovation... 7 Initiative & Entrepreneurship... 8 PEOPLE SKILLS... 9 Interpersonal skills... 9 Teamworking skills Communication Ethical and environmental awareness Cultural awareness GENERAL SKILLS Planning and organisation Analytical skills ICT skills Numeracy and financial awareness Commercial awareness PERSONAL ADDITIONAL COMMENTS

4 PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT Self-Awareness Self-awareness and Emotional Intelligence both relate to the ability to recognise and understand your own strengths, weaknesses, areas for improvement and emotions. Self-awareness also implies an understanding of the impact that your behaviours and actions have on others. An important aspect of this area is reflection : the ability to take time to look back, evaluate and make sense of your learning, actions and s. Main attributes of self-awareness include The ability to read one's emotions and recognize their impact while using gut feelings to guide decisions. Self-management involves controlling one's emotions and impulses and adapting to changing circumstances. Also includes the ability to know who we are and what we want. Social awareness the ability to sense, understand, and react to others' emotions while comprehending social networks. Relationship management the ability to inspire, influence, and develop others while managing conflict. Systematically reflecting on your own strengths and areas for development Ability to articulate the contribution you ve made in a particular area Evidence of awareness of areas to be improved and areas you are good at Learning from mistakes and how you might improve a similar task in the future Complete your own notes about your self-awareness 4

5 Critical Thinking Critical Thinking is the opposite of taking things at face-value. It is about examining facts and assumptions, evaluating their worth and drawing conclusions to formulate an opinion. Problem solving involves the ability to resolve challenges by identifying and analysing relevant factors to come to logical and effective solutions. Both critical thinking and problem solving are at the heart of your academic work and include: Comprehending the key points, assumptions, arguments and evidence presented. Comparing the similarities, differences between the ideas and evidence under consideration Making logical connections between different ideas, opinions and facts Evaluating the credibility and worth of sources of information. Understanding and evaluating others arguments, and to constructing arguments of one s own Identifying and resolving the dilemmas using ethical principles where appropriate Applying what you have learnt to develop arguments, draw conclusions, make inferences and identify implications Justify your argument when questioned, tested or examined. Main attributes of critical thinking and problem solving include: Open mind Analysis Questioning Research skills Empathy and understanding of a different point of view Complete your own notes about your critical thinking skills 5

6 Leadership Leadership has a wider definition than is generally appreciated; it is not about simply about telling other people what do, or being dogmatic. You can use a variety of methods to achieve the same result depending on the task, context and people involved. Leading involves knowing who you are, having a vision for the future, working with others to develop trust and co-operation in order to achieve the desired goals. A good leader will: Resolve conflict, keep calm in a heated situation and work with those involved to take the issue forward in a constructive and positive way. Lead by demonstrating what to do to achieve a goal or being the first person to undertake a difficult task. Use initiative or creativity to see a gap in the market and work with others to bring them round to your way of thinking Take responsibility to head up, monitor and deliver a project to achieve specific results to a deadline. Hold a position of significant responsibility e.g. society president, Academic representative for year group Main attributes of leadership qualities include: Awareness of own leadership style Vision Motivation Ability to see the bigger picture Gaining trust and building allegiance within a team Forging or facilitating effective teams Giving and receiving feedback Influencing and persuading Making decisions Complete your own notes about your leadership skills 6

7 Creativity and innovation Both creativity and innovation imply an ability to come up with an idea or a course of action on your own. Creativity is the ability to think laterally, imaginatively and to make connections. Innovative individuals look for change and alternative viewpoints and have the ability to explore and try out something new. Both these competencies are highly valued in the professional world, as they are essential for progress and improvement. These attributes are linked to Problem solving and Initiative and you can creative people often deliver improvement by suggesting new ideas or a new approach to an old problem. Creative attributes include: Being able to articulate ideas Working independently Exploring alternatives Taking the risk to try out ideas Flexibility and adaptability Thinking outside the box Complete your own notes about your creativity and innovation skills 7

8 Initiative & Entrepreneurship These terms include an ability to demonstrate an original approach, creativity, collaboration and risk-taking. Innovation is the opposite of being monitored and told what to do; it can also involve seeing a gap or an opportunity. Entrepreneurship sometimes has a more specific focus, such as the ability to organise, operate and assume the risk for a business venture, and these skills link directly to Creativity/Innovation; and Commercial Awareness skills. Taking responsibility, self-belief, selfawareness and risk-taking are important attributes. Entrepreneurs will: Set up a new society or enterprise Take part in the SPEED Programme Organise fund-raising, charity events Set and evaluate their own targets Set up a project or piece of academic research Show strategic thinking Write an effective business plan Complete your own notes about your enterprising skills 8

9 PEOPLE SKILLS Interpersonal skills Having good interpersonal skills is the ability to interact with others and establish effective relationships, an essential part of everyday life. Also referred to as people skills, interpersonal skills include the ability to communicate effectively, and listen to others in order to recognise and understand their perspective, beliefs and values. It is also about having the confidence to express your own ideas and having a positive attitude with others. No matter how well you work, connecting with people is crucial from a successful career. Skills include: Getting support from other students on campus during a campaign or as a leader Establishing a good relationship with your tutor and professors Having a good attitude at networking events and interviews Be friendly and confident Ability to relate to people from a wide variety of cultures and backgrounds Attributes of people with good interpersonal skills will be: Understanding of self and self-image Understanding others, their beliefs and values Effective communication, both expression and listening skills Negotiation Giving and receiving feedback Confidence Being friendly Complete your own notes about your interpersonal skills 9

10 Teamworking skills Teamwork is the ability to work effectively in a group to achieve shared goals. It is one of the most important skills as very little work can be done without collaborating and co-operating with at least one other person. Working in a team means understanding individual responsibilities, coordinating and sharing activities as well as providing mutual support. Team players often: Maximise the different strengths and skills of team members so that a greater variety of task or goals may be achieved Successful collaboration with those form different cultures (See cultural awareness) Promoting and facilitating good working relationships Take an active role in conflict resolution Evidence of the use of praise, constructive criticism, goal-setting Evidence of reflecting and evaluating your effectiveness in a team Attributes of teamworking skills include: Effective communication skills Reflecting on and understanding team roles Understanding of self and self-image Understanding the different stages of a team s development Empathy (getting on someone else s wavelength) Building effective working relationships Working with people outside of your comfort zone Negotiation Giving and receiving feedback Managing conflict Complete your own notes about your team skills 10

11 Communication Effective oral and written communication is at the heart of all employability skills. It is essential to have the ability to understand as well as convey ideas, suggestions, proposals and information to and from individuals and groups. A thorough understanding of purpose, tone and audience are allimportant; this is especially true of presentation skills. Communications include: Written/oral work which convey complex concepts Evaluation and feedback of written and oral work Evidence of reflection and self-evaluation Conflict resolution Distilling a range of data, views and opinions Evidence of excellent presentations Main communication skills include: Structuring communication in a logical, systematic and formal way Balancing speaking and listening in two- way communication Empathy Awareness and interpretation of body-language Analysing the needs of an audience, colleague or client Ability to adapt tone and material being delivered depending on the audience The accurate and appropriate application of Information and Communication Ability to use Technology (ICT) effectively Complete your own notes about your communication skills 11

12 Ethical and environmental awareness Today, ethical and environmental awareness are key aspects of the working world and organisations look for graduates who understand core values and can act by ethical principles. This means you should be aware of relevant rights, environmental policies and virtues that impact on you area of work, and should understand what you believe in and what morals you want to live by. This is not only important for your professional life, but will also guide you in your personal development. Main attributes include: Self-awareness Understanding of your environment and basic rights Appreciate the importance of environmental issues in today s world Critical thinking Awareness of social responsibilities Empathy Complete your own notes about your ethical skills 12

13 Cultural awareness Cultural awareness is the ability to recognise and appreciate the values, traditions and beliefs that influence various cultures and behaviours. It is not just about working with people from other countries. Educational, ethnic, religious, gender, sexual orientation and workplace culture are all relevant. Cultural awareness is also the ability to understand, communicate and interact with people across cultures. Main attributes include: Empathy Communication Self-awareness Critical awareness of own values and belief systems Networking Examples of awareness would be Going on a placement abroad/in another culture Learning and using a foreign language Demonstrating an understanding of issues relating to a multicultural society Working outside of your comfort zone Awareness and appreciation of the skills developed through cross-cultural interaction Complete your own notes about your cultural awareness 13

14 GENERAL SKILLS Planning and organisation In life, as well as in your professional environment, it is essential to organise yourself, to avoid stress, and unnecessary work. Planning skills is the ability to define, manage and prioritise tasks effectively, set goals, meet deadlines and manage workload. Planning and Organisational skills can include time management, setting goals and priorities, decision-making, attention to detail: Evidence of time management beyond just meeting academic deadlines Demonstrate successful multi-tasking over a period of time Evidence of prioritising activities Ability to reflect on and evaluate the effectiveness of the use of time in order to maximise efficiency in completing tasks and commitments Evidence of maintaining flexibility and balance between academic work, part-time work, personal life, and interests Main attributes of planning and organisation include: Self-awareness Ability to set goals Critical analysis of tasks in order to prioritise Ability to identify resources necessary Ability to follow a project through to the end Assertiveness Flexibility Being systematic Complete your own notes about your planning and organisational skills 14

15 Analytical skills Having analytical skills is the ability to research and analyse, critique and synthesise information in order to resolve a question or problem. It is closely linked to Critical Thinking and Problem Solving. To be analytical you need to examine an argument or data, and evaluate its validity and credibility. You will develop your analytical skills mostly through your academic degree, and they will be extremely useful, in any career you chose to go into. As an analyst you may have: Outstanding academic achievements Successfully researched a project or dissertation Researched and selected occupations and organisations you d like to apply to Evaluated the credibility and worth of sources of information Attributes of analytical skills include: Research skills Critical thinking Problem solving Questioning Having an open mind Being able to spot inconsistencies Complete your own notes about your analytical skills 15

16 ICT skills ICT skills are about understanding and applying a range of computer programmes, software and other applications. These include: word processing, spreadsheets, databases, power points and search engines. In additional to technical skills, associated skills include creativity and analytical skills to apply the right ICT skill to an activity. Basic ICT skills are required in any position. People with high ICT qualities may: Design and develop a website Use appropriate software to solve a problem or to communicate an idea more clearly Complete your own notes about your ICT skills 16

17 Numeracy and financial awareness Numeracy is the ability to use and apply numbers in a variety of tasks. It involves developing confidence and competence with numbers and measures, as well as an understanding of the number system, a repertoire of mathematical techniques, and an inclination and ability to solve quantitative or spatial problems in a range of contexts. Numeracy also demands understanding of the ways in which data are gathered by counting and measuring, and presented in graphs, diagrams, charts and tables People with high numeracy and financial skills may: Provide evidence of data manipulation to solve a complex problem. Explaining how you created and managed a budget Ability to understand or create complex numerical models Complete your own notes about your ICT skills 17

18 Commercial awareness Commercial or Sector Awareness is having an interest in business or relevant work sectors and an understanding of the wider environment in which organisations operate. It can include an understanding of the business culture, policies and processes, including an awareness of the need for professionalism, efficiency, cost-effectiveness, customer care and knowledge of the market place/sector in which the organisation operates. This can be closely linked to social, economic and environmental awareness. Commercial awareness includes: Understanding of what a makes a business successful Marketing Human resources Management skills Business finance Current commercial issues Awareness of political and economic factors which affect the business sector Complete your own notes about your commercial awareness 18

19 PERSONAL ADDITIONAL COMMENTS You may have further comments to make about your s within Grand Challenge and how your skills and understanding have developed. Use this section to note these and refer to them within your reflective essay and feedback. 19

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