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Final call for postgraduate applicants to free residential skills course

19 October 2012

The ‘Maximising Your Potential’ programme is designed to help postgraduate students develop high-level professional skills including planning, organisation, time and resource management, creativity, and communication. The centrepiece of this programme is a three-day residential course called ‘Personal and Professional Management Skills’ (PPMS), the next of which will be held from 9-11 November 2012, and applications must be received by Friday 26 October.

Easthampstead Park, Berkshire

Image: Easthampstead Park, the venue for PPMS November 2012

PPMS is free to all UCL PhD and Master’s students, and includes meals, accommodation and transport to and from the venue. The point of the course is to offer postgraduates the chance to assess their skills profile in an active environment, rather than talking and thinking about their skills in a purely speculative manner. This is because skill development is an active process: for example, simply attending a lecture on teamwork will not necessarily make you a better team player, but participating in exercises where you can undertake challenging tasks with a group of strangers and then reflect together on the process probably will.

The course leaders take a learner-centred approach whereby activities will be tailored according to the priorities of the course participants. External venues are deliberately used for PPMS because they offer participants the chance to escape their usual environment and take a step back – and Easthampstead Park, the venue for November’s course, is ideal for this, with extensive grounds surrounding the beautiful historic building where participants will stay.

PPMS is both intensive and enjoyable, with a combination of small-group classroom sessions and (non-strenuous) outdoor activities. The process starts with participants thinking about their individual skill development objectives, then progresses to considering how to get the best from working in groups, teams and organisations. A typical timetable might look like this:

Before the course

  • Evening preparation seminar, 5.30pm-7pm (this will take place on 31 October 2012)

Day one

  • Arrival and site introduction
  • Skills-profiling and agenda-setting
  • Team meeting, planning for tasks
  • Informal networking and discussion

Day two

  • Team 'task circuit' and review session
  • Organisational production task
  • Organisational project (~24h)

Day three

  • Organisational project (cont)
  • Project presentations and review
  • Course review and individual action-planning

The course is recognised by all UK research councils as providing equivalent skills training to the national UK GRAD schools.

The Autumn Term course takes place at Easthampstead Park from 9-11 November with meals, accommodation and transport from UCL to the venue and back again all included. There is a pre-course seminar on 31 October from 5.30pm-7pm at the Graduate School Training Suite, Lecture Room (B.09), 66-72 Gower Street. The Spring Term PPMS course is scheduled to take place from 15-17 March 2013.

Page last modified on 19 oct 12 11:10


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