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A Decade of CABS: Reflections on the first 10 years of the Careers After Biological Sciences programme

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These are slides from a talk given at the Higher Education Academy Science Technology Engineering and Maths conference at Manchester (UK) in February 2017.

The talk was a lightly revised version of a presentation given previously in summer 2016. It describes some recommendations derived from ten years of running the CABS careers seminars.

Published in: Career
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A Decade of CABS: Reflections on the first 10 years of the Careers After Biological Sciences programme

  1. 1. A Decade of CABS: Reflections on the first 10 years of the Careers After Biological Sciences programme Chris Willmott Dept of Molecular and Cell Biology cjrw2@le.ac.uk HEA STEM (February 2017)
  2. 2. Careers Awareness • Biological Science = excellent platform for diverse careers • Unlike some courses (e.g. Medicine, Pharmacy, Law) Bioscience is not “vocational” - students may not know some careers exist - they may need help in seeing beyond the “known” pathways e.g. PhD, post-grad Medicine
  3. 3. Institution-specific events • Careers Awareness Careers After Biological Sciences (CABS) • Careers Planning Employability programme
  4. 4. Birth of CABS • Careers After Biological Sciences @ Leicester • Programme started 2007 with support of grant from institutions Fund for New Teaching Initiatives • Ten Years  Ten Tips
  5. 5. 1. Organise careers talks as core of careers awareness resources • Invited presentations = cornerstone of activities • Efficient way to introduce variety of careers
  6. 6. 2. Include Careers from Science as well as Careers in Science* • Aim to raise awareness of diverse roles after studying Bioscience • Not all of our students will go on to be Nobel prize winning scientists Skills learned completing Bioscience degree transferable to broad range of jobs * Osborne & Dillon, 2008
  7. 7. ~70 careers considered 2. Include Careers from Science as well as Careers in Science
  8. 8. 3. Alumni are ideal careers speakers • Natural resonance between current students and alumni “they studied here too, so it must be possible to get a similar job after my degree” • Alumni likely to be willing to come back and visit • Time since graduation important consideration - established - but not decrepit !
  9. 9. 4. Include several talks on same day • Two different models 5 x 2 4 or 5 “twilight” sessions with 2 speakers 2 x 5 2 afternoons with 4 or 5 speakers • Advantages of 2 x 5 model - better for broadening vision - can “bait” session with one obvious career and 3-4 others - some speakers will cry off at last minute (junior employees, young family, etc)
  10. 10. 5. Collate resources about different careers • Any one year of talks can only consider limited range of careers • Over time broad spectrum of jobs can be covered
  11. 11. 6. Make resources available beyond the institution • Resources could sit within institutional VLE but better open access, e.g. on blogging platform • Benefits - graduates (without access to VLE) - bioscience students elsewhere - the institution (marketing potential) • Use combination of social media & web tools • biosciencecareers.wordpress.com
  12. 12. 6. Make resources available beyond the institution Wordpress blog PowerPoint slides on Slideshare.net
  13. 13. 6. Make resources available beyond the institution • Photo of speaker = real life stories
  14. 14. 7. Record lectures (but think what you are going to do with recording) • Recording talks (audio and/or video) captures the content • Video can be shared (e.g. using YouTube or Vimeo) Audio can be shared (e.g. via Soundcloud) • Not necessarily appropriate to make this available • Crude recording likely to require some tidying up - Time consuming? - Jump cuts?
  15. 15. 8. Transcripts add valuable content to pages (but take time to produce) Several attractions of transcript • allows for light editing - tidying up “erms” & “ers” - verbal gaffes - embarrassing anecdotes - reorder slightly • contains more detail than slides alone, but can be read faster than listening to talk • But… even if assistance available transcribing (and/or checking written version) takes time
  16. 16. 9. Cultivate genuine relationships with graduates on social media • Graduates invested 3+ years with us • Ongoing relationship mutually beneficial • LinkedIn? • Facebook? May not feel “friends” appropriate Set up Alumni group • Two-way communication • ~800 members
  17. 17. 9. Cultivate genuine relationships with graduates on social media
  18. 18. 9. Cultivate genuine relationships with graduates on social media
  19. 19. 9. Cultivate genuine relationships with graduates on social media
  20. 20. 9. Cultivate genuine relationships with graduates on social media
  21. 21. 10. Brief speakers carefully • Content of talk: 20-25 minutes - what their current job involves - how they got there from here - top tips for someone considering same role • Expectation re materials you would like to generate - slides - recording lecture - photo • Expenses - amount - mechanism for reclaim
  22. 22. Conclusions • Careers education > careers awareness • “Opportunity awareness” integral to effective careers education, especially in non-vocational disciplines such as bioscience • CABS approach offers a way to develop a body of discipline- and context-specific material for use by present, past and future undergraduates
  23. 23. Feedback “I’m grateful for you putting together the CABS talks during my first and second years – they led me to appreciate that there are a huge number of avenues open to Biological Sciences graduates after the degree. The talks also hammered home how important it is to get organised and start looking early, as I have done with my year in industry and getting my PhD organised. Without the talks I’m not sure I’d have gotten both of these places, because I might not have been looking! The other good thing about these talks, aside from hearing the obvious passion that was motivating the speakers, was being able to talk to each of the professionals one-to-one after the speeches.” 2014 Medical Biochemistry graduate, now doing PhD at Crick
  24. 24. Any Questions? E-mail: cjrw2@le.ac.uk Twitter: cjrw Slideshare: cjrw2 Delicious: chriswillmott Blogs: www.bioethicsbytes.wordpress.com www.biologyonthebox.wordpress.com www.biosciencecareers.wordpress.com www.lefthandedbiochemist.wordpress.com
  25. 25. 11. Better the resources you capture the fewer may attend in person • Our events are optional para-curricula sessions • Attendance often only ~50 students • Compulsory? Would change dynamic • Website is most valuable asset

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