Continued professional development eportfolio


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Continued professional development eportfolio

  1. 1. C33009371 | P a g eContinued Professional DevelopmentEportfolioIntroduction:This Eportfolio will aim to reflect upon my; personal, career and academic development during mythird year at university. Whilst evaluating my development, through the use of numerous diagnosticactivities and various other sources of evidence, an action plan will be developed to aid continualdevelopment of the lifelong learning process. The Lifelong Learning Program (2010) defines lifelonglearning as ‘the development of human potential through a continuously supportive process whichstimulates and empowers individuals to acquire all the knowledge, values and skills they will requirethroughout their lifetimes’. This is acknowledged by Honey (2007) that personal developmentthrough lifelong learning is a reflective process which enables an individual to plan their continualprofessional development (CPD). Therefore, it not only enhances social inclusion, active citizenshipand personal development, but also competitiveness and employability (Commission of theEuropean Communities, 2006; Kumar, 2007).Development of personal, academic and career skills are all important aspects of CPD. This workhowever, will priorities career and academic work over personal development throughout my thirdyear due to the large amount of academic work and difficulties many students are facing whenlooking to gain employment (see The Telegraph, 2013). The national occupation standard on skillsactive (2010) offers help in managing skills in the sport and leisure industries.Where am I (Beginning of year 3):In order to evaluate my development through my final year of study it is firstly important toestablish my current position an approach identified within Hawkins (1999) tactic one. Through theuse of various self-audits I can analyse my current position in terms of my career, academic andpersonal skills, these include:Appendix 1 - BBC Big personality test (BBC 2011)Appendix 2 – Personality workbook 1Appendix 3 – Graduate skills workbook 2Appendix 4 – Reflective writing is evidence of reflective thinkingAppendix 5- Honey and Mumford Learning Styles (Honey and Mumford 1992)Appendix 6- Assessing your skills workbook 3Appendix 7 - VARK test results (VARK 2011)
  2. 2. C33009372 | P a g eSummary of my Current Skills:Although it is evident from the self-audits that I have a number of key skills in relation to the threeareas I was also able to identify possible areas of development:My Aims and Objectives:After assessing my current skill position against career, academic and personal requirements, it’sthen important to analyse the direction I want to go down in order to be the most successful(Cottrell, 2003). I have purposefully selected goals that are not only weaknesses but also mystrengths as they will be what stand out to employees (Corfield, 2009).The goals for year 3
  3. 3. C33009373 | P a g eThe goals I have set are as follows and when relevant these are related National OccupationalStandards (NOS) (appendix 8).Career: Aim to develop a number of key career skills which will enable me to target specific jobsthat I want in Leeds.Objective 1: Ensure that I enhance my C.V through the use of the university careersoffice.Objective 2: Establish a number of contacts within the Estate agent sector as a resultof my research and application of jobs–NOS A311.Objective 3: Gain relevant work experience in the area of work that I want to go intoIt was apparent from the Employability fair (Appendix 9) that I attended that there are a number ofkey steps when graduates are looking to gain employment. Within this literature a high quality C.Vand a vast range of contacts with a chosen are important if a graduate is to secure a job that isrelevant to their studies, which will help me when looking to gain career employment.Academic: Aim to achieve a 2:1 classification from my degree once I finish universityObjective 1: To develop as a researcher by writing criticallyObjective 2: Become more confident in my ability to present as an individual by thetime I finish university –NOS D210In order to justify the selection of these objectives, it is important to acknowledge the importance ofcritical analysis when looking to achieve a 2:1 classification. As 3rdyear have numerous presentationswith the addition of individual presentations, I acknowledge there is a need to improve this skill inorder to get the best grade possible.Personal: Develop my pro activity skills which will help in career, academic and personal areas.Objective 1: Be more proactive in my goals in order to make them happenI have only decided to do one personal goal, as at this moment in time my priorities are career andacademic goals. This personal goal has been chosen as it will also aid me in the academic and careersectors.
  4. 4. C33009374 | P a g eAchievement of Goals:Career:My overall aim within my career development was to gain a number of transferable skills that wouldenhance my career development and allow me to use them in a specific job.Objective 1: Ensure that I enhance my C.V through the use of the university careersoffice.C.V’s are the first impression potential employers will get of you as a possible candidate whenlooking to gain employment (Bright & Earl, 2008; McGee, 1997). It is acknowledged by Brown et al(2000) that the ration of graduates to aspiration jobs is 29 to 1 highlighting the need for a good CV.Jenner (2000) suggests that graduate recruiters on average receive 68 applicants for each positionbut only 1 in 10 applicants will get an interview; these are usually the applicants with the best C.V’s.After looking at the literature around C.V’s I recognised that my initial CV was very basic and couldbe improved.The first issue I addressed when looking to improve upon my C.V was the structure. In order todevelop my C.V, I arranged a meeting to seek feedback on my current C.V with one of theuniversities careers officer who gave me a number of ideas on how to develop my C.V:Appendix 10- Feedback from careers officeDuring the employability fair there was numerous sessions running over the two weeks which Iattended a CV session called how to market yourself effectively.Appendix 9- Employability Fair(Mcbride, 2007) suggests that added qualifications and extra-curricular activities within a C.V arealso vital in order to stand out. Sports and team games are also seen as added value to a CV (Bright,2011) I therefore undertook a number of programmes to enhance this area of my C.V Including:Played lacrosse 1stteam in the most successful season they have had & part time estate agent workFinally from the CPD workshop session that I attended around ‘Selling Yourself’ the element thatstood out the most was tailoring you C.V to the specific job that you are applying for. In specificrelation to Hawkins (1999) tactic 4 around a client based approach to selling myself I now ensurethat my C.V is now tailored specially to the job I am applying for.Comparison of My C.V’s:Appendix 11- My CV improvements
  5. 5. C33009375 | P a g eObjective 2: Establish a number of contacts within the Estate agent sector as a resultof my research and application of jobs–NOS A311.According to Hendricks & Raffele (1998) 80% of job opportunities are placed within the hidden jobsmarket and it is acknowledged that the way many of these jobs are taken through internalemployment or networking activities. Graham (2007) suggests graduates can use 3 ways ofnetworking: firstly, through personal networking such as friends or family, secondly throughuniversity by using lecturers and careers advice and finally by new external contacts. I have decidedto use this theory as it will also add the completion of career objective 3. Through the Work BasedLearning module I was able to get a part time job in a rock climbing centre through the networking.Opportunities created as a result of Academic Activity:During my Work Based Learning module in second year I did 120 hours work placement for City Bloc.Whilst on work placement I not only got to network with the mangers of City Bloc but also with TheWorks indoor skate park managers and business adviser Mark Taylor. The link below show throughthe work placement I was able to get part time work after the placement finished.Appendix 12- Work Based Learning networking with City blocI did my dissertation on City Bloc as well so I have kept in touch and they would contact me if a fulltime job arises.Opportunities Created through Personal Activity:I Have used Linked In, as a tool to access professionals in the estate agents business so I can get themost up to date tips on business success. Throughout the year I continually aimed at increasing mycontacts as I was introduced to new networks through my academic and external activity:Appendix 13- LinkedInDespite this it is felt that I could have utilised the LinkedIn tool to a greater extent to extend mynetworks and therefore potential opportunities and as a result of this will be considered within myaction plan.Personal Contact: Through a personal network I was able to contact the manager of the estate agentDee Atkinson & Harrison by using what resources available as according to Hawkins (1999) it’s whoyou know that can give you an advantage over other graduates.
  6. 6. C33009376 | P a g eObjective 3: Gain relevant work experience in the area of work that I want to go intoAfter deciding that estate agency is the job that I would like to go into, I looked for jobs in estateagency but the vast majority of jobs were looking for previous experience in estate agency. I haveused my networking skills to gain relevant work experience.Appendix 14- Gain relevant work experience in the area of work that I want to go intoThis work experience has already helped me in applying for jobs as I have already had 1interview with Haus in Headingely and they mentioned the best thing on the CV was therelevant work experience. The work that I have arranged to do with Dee Atkinson &Harrison is scheduled to finish on 21stof June and I will then be looking for a full time job inLeeds for an estate agents role.Career goals conclusion:When reflecting on my career development I feel that I have substantially improved on my careerposition since the beginning of year 3. I now have a clear direction, networking ability, contacts andan improved C.V. However, I also acknowledge that fact that I must continue to work on my careerdevelopment to improve areas of weakness as a part of my lifelong learning and as a result I haveidentified a number of activities that I could utilise to further enhance my career ability which areidentified within my action plan:
  7. 7. C33009377 | P a g eAcademic:The main aim within my academic development was to achieve a 2:1 classification from my degree.This has been a constant aim of my since the beginning of university, but with greater importancedue to the significant value of third year and the fact that this outcome will only be achieved once Icompleted my degree. I therefore set a number of objectives that I think will help me achieve thisaim.Objective 1: To develop as a researcher by writing criticallyCritically analysing literature within academic work is increasingly important during university and in3rdyear this is what is needed to get a 2:1. If I am to achieve my overall aim of my academic goal, asit is common factor that is continually highlighted within every module’s grading criteria (GradingCriteria Appendix 15). The literature (Kane 2003; Goatly 2000) that in order to critically analyseacademic work, then a wide variation of reading has to occur from different sources to gain evidence
  8. 8. C33009378 | P a g eand support your particular argument. I felt that this was often an area of weakness and afteracknowledging this my work improved drastically. To show the difference between the amounts ofreading around a subject to be critical is an example for two 2500 word pieces of work shown inappendix 16.Objective 2: Become more confident in my ability to present as an individual by thetime I finish university –NOS D210Collins and Robson (2011) stated that employer complain not about the quality of knowledge oftheir new graduate but the need for better generic skills, especially in the confident presentation ofself-projects as noted within NOS D210. In relation to this statement and self-audit around myperson skills I felt this was an area I could develop through my final year of academic studies.As identified within my areas of development as an area of weaknesses, through research I aimed toadopt a number of different strategies to improve upon my presentation skills (Bradbury, 1997;McCarthy and Hatcher, 2002). The key strategies included;- Cleary stated aims and objectives- Plan well in advance and practice- Take a professional approach- Use clear communication strategies.After reflecting on my presentation skills once I had adopted these strategies I felt that I hadimproved upon my ability to present. I feel through being at university my presentations skills havevastly improved as in first year I would read of the screen a lot but now I am able to talk to theaudience but I still feel I need to assess the reactions of the audience to see if the message is gettingacross. According to Greusel (2002) & Theobald (2011) presentations are successful when you cansee the audience is taking the information on board and are fully focussed to your work. Reflectingon the presentation work that I have done over 3rdyear I have improved a lot as in the individualpresentation for managing change I scored 62 which is the highest grade I have scored in apresentation. I feel this was down to using the structure of McCarthy and Hatcher (2002) keystrategies as the feedback was that it was a very clear presentation to follow.Academic Action plan
  9. 9. C33009379 | P a g ePersonal:Objective 1: Be more proactive in my goals in order to make them happenAlthough I have identified this as an area of personal development, this will also have a positiveeffect on my career development as NOS C259 is based around effective time management & proactivity. Fischer (2000) argues that learning doesn’t just see benefits in one area of a person but in allareas.It became apparent early within my third year that I needed to improve my pro activity skills if I wassuccessfully manage the heavy work load with the addition of choosing a job I want to go into andthen the job searching process. As I decided I wanted to be a estate agent and didn’t have anyexperience I then had to organise when and how I could work with part time before I got a full timejob in Leeds. Results from Gradplus (2012) research shows that one of a student’s weakest skills istime optimisation & pro activity. Appendix 17 shows the stages I went through in looking for a jobwith being pro active.During my dissertation I had a timetable of when I was going to do all the sections of work. Mytimetable needed to be organised and I needed to be proactive as I was not only doing quantitativeresearch but qualitative research as well and they were very time consuming to get the data and
  10. 10. C330093710 | P a g ealso then analyse the data fully. As I was doing an interview with the manager of City Bloc I neededto proactive and give him a week’s notice of when he could do the interview or he would get to busyshown in appendix 18.I was originally unsure whether I wanted to go travelling to Australia when finishing university orstay in Leeds and get a job in Leeds. To be proactive I listed all the strengths and weaknesses ofgoing travelling and this helped me make up my mind on what I wanted to do and I decided to stayas shown in appendix 19. I decided to stay I wanted to have enough money to be able to doeverything I wanted to while I was out there so in order for this I proactively listed all the things Iwanted to do when I was out there and how much everything would cost baring food and where Iwould stay so I had a rough idea of how much money I will need to do everything when I am outthere shown in appendix 20.Overview of goalsShort term goals:To make sure my academic writing is critical. This is also a long term goal as there is a possibility thatI may do a post graduate degree after finishing university.Gain relevant work experience is short term as I plan to get a full time job after I finish with DeeAtkinson & Harrison.Mid term goals:
  11. 11. C330093711 | P a g eImprove my CV is a midterm goal as I will improving it when I finish work for Dee Atkinson &Harrison as this will be really helpful for me to get a job in estate agency but also I will keepimproving it in case I find a different job that I would enjoy more and want to apply for that to.Long term goals:Presentation skill will need to be constantly worked on as while being an estate agent I will need topresent the house in the best way in order for the unique selling points of the house are seen andmake it more likely to be purchased.Proactive skills will also be long term as they will be needed to cost up all outgoings to what iscoming in to make sure that I am saving enough money for bills as well as having the goal of going toAustralia and having the money to do everything I want to do while I’m there.Networking is also a long term goal as this is constantly being improved so I will keep doing this allthe time.Coaching Process:I have used the coaching sessions to help analyse where I am with all areas but I foundcareer to be the most helpful as it had the most changes during the time of the coachingsessions so it had the most to talk about as shown appendix 21 and 22.
  12. 12. C330093712 | P a g eReferencesBradbury, A. (2006) Successful Presentation Skills. 3rd ed. London: MPGBright, J. & Earl, J. (2008) Brilliant CV: What Employers Want to See and How to Say it. Harlow:Pearson Education Limited.Collins, M., & Robson, S. (2011) Ensuring employability by degrees: The leisure review. [Internet],Available from: <> [Last Accesses26/04/2012]Commission of the European Communities (2006) Adult learning: It is never too late to learn.Brussels. COMCorfield, R. (2009) Successful Interview Skills: How to Prepare, Answer Tough Questions and GetYour Ideal Job. 5th Ed. London: Kogan Page Limited.Cottrell, S. (2003) The study skills handbook. 2nd Ed, Palgrave, McMillian, Basingstoke.Fischer, G. (2000) Lifelong Learning - More than Training. Journal of Interactive Learning Research,11(3) pp.265-294.Goatly, A. (2000) Critical Reading and Writing: An introduction Course book. Routledge, London.Graham, D. (2007) The Impact of Networking Skills Training on Job Search Behaviors and Attitudesof Graduate Students Relative to Personality. Denvor: University of Denver.Greusel, R. (2002) Architects Essentials of Presentation Skills. New York: John Wiley & Sons.Hawkins, P. (1999) The art of building windmills: career tactics for the 21st century, Liverpool.Graduate into Employment Unit.Hendricks, E. & Raffele, F. (1998) Successful Business Networking. Worcester: Chandler House PressHoney, P. (2007) Continual Personal Development. Maidenhead. Peter Honey PublicationsKane, T. (2003) The Oxford essential guide to writing. Oxford: Oxford University PressKumar, A. (2007) Personal, Academic & Career Development in Higher Education (SOARing tosuccess), UK. RoutledgeLifelong Learning Program. (2010) Lifelong learning Program: About the Program, [Internet],Available from: <> [Accessed06/11/2011].McGee, P (1997) How to write a CV that works.Oxford, UK. How to Books Ltd
  13. 13. C330093713 | P a g eMcCarthy, P., & Hatcher, C. (2002) Presentation skills: the essential guide for students. London, UK.Sage PublicationsSkills Active. (2012) National Occupational Standards, [Internet], Available from:<> [Last Accessed24/04/2012].The Telegraph (2013) Slump in graduate jobs market hits six-in-10 ex-students. [Internet] UnitedKingdom. Available from:<> [Accessed 13th April 2013]Theobald, T. (2011) Developing your presentation skills. London, United Kingdom. The Sunday timesSchuller, T., Preston, J. Hammond, C., Brassett-Grundy, A. and Bynner, J. (2004) The Benefits ofLearning, London. University of London,CIS (2010) Continuous Professional Development. [Internet] United Kingdom. Available from:<> [Accessed 19th May 2013]