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Q: What is the difference between the student and staff approaches to skills training?
A: There are differences in the Research Councils' approaches to staff and students, so this question may be particularly relevant to those who have recently come up through the UCL Graduate School system or similar and are wondering how the staff system differs.
RCUK's overall approach for all early career researchers, both research students and research staff, is based on developing researchers' skills at the level of individual needs.
Researchers arrive at UCL with differing skills sets, and as they advance through their research career it is necessary to both accrue new skills and enhance existing skills portfolios. Research staff, particularly if they have come through the UCL Graduate School Skills Development Programme (or similar), might find that they are already at an advanced level with regards to some areas. The Staff Development and Training programme for research staff has been developed to engage with individuals' skills at whatever level they might be. Different opportunities are available compared to the research student programme; exploring personal and career development from a staff perspective and learning alongside other research staff will also be a necessarily different process.
There is also a different set of relationships and responsibilities between a Higher Education Institution and a student or member of staff. Staff are employees and the entire gamut of employment legislation, custom and practice etc. also needs to be considered.
Research students at UCL use the key self-development tool of the Research Student Log; their skills development needs are analysed in dialogue with their Supervisory team. Research staff are also encouraged to plot their continuing development programme. As members of UCL staff, this process is supported by line managers and by induction, probation, the Staff Review and Development Scheme, Organisational and Staff Development, Careers Service etc.
There are some people who are both staff and UCL Research students. In this situation, individuals need to consider the training needs of both their roles and ensure that they pursue a commensurate amount of skills training.
23 November, 2011