Tamara Wiehe School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences firstname.lastname@example.org
Students on our programme – MSci Applied Psychology (Clinical) – are training to become qualified Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners (PWPs) so employment is naturally embedded in the curriculum. However, the existing career development session was originally designed for students on the postgraduate course so it required some adaptation for undergraduates. This is where the MSci Graduate Showcase event came in! I organised and facilitated a 45-minute ‘speed dating’ type event where our previous students who are employed in a range of roles in clinical psychology came to share their experiences and support our current students with their career development.
- To learn about a wide range of career options within clinical psychology from MSci graduates.
- To consider the steps to put in place during Part 4 that will help students work towards their chosen career path.
- Encourage networking between graduates and current students.
Aspects of the original career development session were used to create the new session. It was appropriate to keep the event on the final teaching day of the year as this is when students are close to qualifying and are starting to think about the next steps in their career. However, the original session was created for postgraduate students who are employed by an NHS service so the career options reflected this. Educators used their experience as practitioners to make the session as engaging as possible but we all felt as though it needed a new lease of life. The new event aimed to address these two issues by discussing a wider range of career options in clinical psychology for our undergraduate students and by inviting some of our MSci graduates who are employed in the field back to the University to share their first hand experiences.
After delivering the same session about 5 times over the past few years, I knew it was time to make some changes when it came to planning the event for the current cohort. The following steps took place over the past 4 months:
- Identifying the issues with original session and sharing these with the programme director to see if there was scope to make changes.
- Planning the event with the programme director to ensure it met the learning objectives and remained in line with the national PWP curriculum and BPS standards.
- Contacting some of our MSci graduates to invite them to the event.
- Sharing the plans for the event with our current students so that they had time to prepare.
- Confirming the MSci graduates attendance and sharing ideas on how to engage students during the event.
- Organising the layout of the room so that students were sat in small groups and formatting the activity using the ‘speed dating’ approach to maximise engagement.
- Facilitating the event on the teaching day.
- Evaluating the outcomes to then amend the event for future cohorts.
The event was a success and met the learning objectives!
Our students said that they enjoyed speaking to people who are currently doing the role and a wide range of roles were represented. They learned about how the graduates got to where they are now as they were sat in the same position not too long ago and also where they are heading. It gave them time to think about the next steps in their career.
Our MSci graduates said that the students were engaged as they were asking lots of relevant questions and it also gave them a chance to reflect on how far they have come and where they are heading.
Whilst looking around the room, I felt a sense of pride for how far both my current and previous students have come since I’ve known them. They are all extremely dedicated and passionate about their chosen career path and will go on to make a real difference in the world, what a testament to themselves and the University.
I believe that the event was successful due to three main reasons:
- I created a session that reflected the needs of the students and made sure that the atmosphere was relaxed to encourage engagement.
- The students who took part were engaged and willing to learn from others who were in their position not too long ago.
- The MSci graduates were willing to volunteer their time and expertise for the event.
In terms of improving this event, our students suggested that we could find someone who is currently training to become a clinical psychologist; this is something we will explore when preparing for the event next year. I reflected that we needed to number the tables (simple really!) to aid the transitions when moving the graduates around the room.
Based on the success of this event, we definitely want to continue it with future cohorts. As well as the above suggestions, we will review any further comments that arise from more formal student evaluation and amend the event for future cohorts.