Embedding into the curriculum –large group workshops
To support critical thinking about employability, the Career Development Plan forms the basis of a compulsory year-long 20-credit module for all first year UG students at the Management School. Given the reflective nature of the Career Development Plan, the current makeup of the module is a conscientious effort to move away from predominantly lecture-based content. As a result, the module features two immersive large-group workshops (we had 388 students at the last one) alongside a small number of lectures and tutorials to encourage collaborative working between students, teaching staff, placement returners and careers advisors.
The two large-group workshops feature exercises and group tasks to provide an active, engaging and stimulating introduction to career planning in a safe and non-judgmental environment. Students are encouraged to get to know themselves better and identify where they see themselves fitting into the world of work. For example, students may be asked to visualise their future work-self or take part in a World Café activity where they hear what others think about the different perspectives of the career development planning process. Students are also able to choose from a number of breakout sessions in recognition of their different aspirations. These have included an opportunity to talk with an entrepreneur about what their life is like or to hear from students who have recently returned from their year in industry about their experiences.
In addition to the focus on self-awareness, there is also a focus on getting to know the job market. Concentrating on the type of role, organisation, industry or sector in which students might want to work encourages conversations about the value they could add and how they could demonstrate it. As such, we offer opportunities to try out a mock assessment centre and receive feedback on performance, learn about some of the best sites to find placement and graduate roles, and share insights into how recruiters and employers make decisions. The large group workshops are heavily supported by the dedicated careers service at Sheffield University Management School known as the Employability Hub to ensure that not only are students introduced to critical thinking about career planning by academic teaching staff, but they are also signposted to relevant services and offered the most up to date careers advice.