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PPD and careers
Employability is about more than academic success, and includes the skills and attributes that graduates develop in their learning journey as an aspiring professional
- Dr Paul Walker, Centre for the Advancement of Learning and Teaching (CALT)
At UCL a student's learning journey is overseen by personal tutors.
Typically students really start to think about careers in their 3rd year. Until then it can be largely an after thought taking second place to their academic studies. However, by thinking about the end-goal early, students can:
- Start to map their strengths to their career goals
- Work on any areas of weakness that would be detrimental to them achieving those goals
- Plan their extra-curricular and summer-work accordingly. Knowing where they want to end up will aid them with their module choices and will be motivational during their studies.
Helping students engage with PPD from the start
Helping students to engage with PPD right from the start can negate the stress and panic of suddenly having to produce CVs and write applications where they will need to clearly articulate their strengths and provide evidence for them.
Students that have engaged with the PPD system will be well versed in reflecting on areas of personal strength. Through their PPD profiles they will have to hand specifics on where their strengths lie and what they have done during their time at university to develop areas of weakness. They will have confidence in their ability and be clearer on their future goals. Most importantly, they will be all the more employable for it.
Through the PPD discussions that you have with your tutees you will have access to:
- Reflections on their strengths and weaknesses
- Development plans to show how they have built upon strengths and developed their weaknesses
- An overview of their skills, knowledge and attributes
- Clear ideas about their future aspirations and goals
All this will help you write meaningful references for them, making them stand out as UCL graduates.
Students are free to ask whom they please for a reference. If personal tutors do their job well they will be the first choice for at least some of their tutees.
The content of most references is likely to include the following:
- a statement of the parameters within which the reference is written: how long the student has been known to the referee and the areas in which the referee is qualified to comment;
- the student’s academic history and general contribution to university life;
- comment on the student’s strengths and weaknesses in relation to the job description provided by the employer, and the evidence on which such comment is based;
- the referee’s recommendation.
Certain types of reference request contain specific requirements e.g. criminal convictions must be mentioned in medical references. Personal tutors need to learn the small print as they gain experience, and remember that students can demand to see what has been written about them.
In all references personal tutors should ensure that the information given is up-to-date and accurate. Opinion and fact should be clearly distinguished.
There are legal implications in the writing of references, upon which the College has detailed guidelines: these are given in the Academic Manual (link http://www.ucl.ac.uk/academic-manual/part-5/student-references) and should be read carefully by all personal tutors.
Further resources for PPD (also referred to as PDP) and employability:
Page last modified on 07 aug 13 14:14