Make sure you are ready for whatever comes your way, with enhanced commercial awareness, creative problem solving and project management capabilities.
How can Engagement Academy help me?
It will help you to develop key skills in preparation for whatever work-based learning opportunities you have access to as part of your degree, or whatever work pathway you might explore when you graduate. You’ll use this experience to develop your confidence to navigate uncertain situations to help your host or potential employer achieve their goals. You’ll demonstrate that you bring more than just your degree knowledge and can apply it all in meaningful ways.
It's transferrable and practical
The things you'll learn, practise and develop in this programme can be applied in any context. Accelerate your social or environmental activism, impress assessors in a competitive selection process and develop yourself and your outlook through this programme. Even if you don't know what you want to do after university, you will be equipped with a solid foundation of tools, approaches and mindsets to draw on.
‘It's hands-on and interactive - you get to network with people from different backgrounds and learn so much’ Engagement Fellow - Cohort 1
It's social and interactive
All of our lives have been transformed by COVID-19, and reports are already beginning to emerge about the impact on students and other young adults, particularly in terms of social anxiety resulting from this period of isolation and collective uncertainty. Our sessions - be they in-person, online or mixed-mode - provide safe spaces for you to top up your confidence; meet other people who care about the same things as you, make new friends and expand your personal network.
There is a lot riding on any work-based learning opportunities you take up whilst at university. You have to learn to represent yourself and the University professionally in everything you do, find ways to apply what you've been learning in your degree, and you need to be able to describe this and what you learned from it through whatever assignments you'll need to complete afterwards. This programme will give you a boost in all of these areas.
Core programme elements
The programme content includes the following core elements that are designed to help you develop certain skills.
Whatever organisation you find yourself working for...whatever the industry, public or private sector, large or small, wherever it is in the world...you will need to understand what it does, how it works, how it makes money and uses its resources, and where your own role fits and adds value.
Our first goal is to help demystify "how business works", using the Business Model Canvas to look at organisations you are interested in or familiar with. You’ll feel that business concepts and language are more accessible, regardless of your current level of familiarity. With these insights, you will always be able to give great answers to the common questions 'what do you know about what our organisation does?' and 'what can you bring to our organisation?'
Organisations solve problems for customers, and they are themselves full of problems to be solved. They love and need problem-solvers; people who can use their own initiative, judgement and strategic thinking to improve things that aren't working as well as they could, or spot opportunities to do new things in new ways to create new value.
Our second goal then is for you to experience ‘Human Centred Design’, a team-based approach to understanding challenges and the people affected by them. You’ll learn to generate a range of potential solutions to prototype and test out to meet real needs. You’ll feel able to propose potential solutions to customers for feedback towards further testing or finding ways to implement them in sustainable ways. You’ll leave with new approaches to tackle problems and opportunities of all shapes and sizes, and confidently lead innovation processes, regardless of your role.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. You will ‘nibble the edges' of some of the useful principles and approaches that will help you take a Project Manager Mindset. If you are going to deliver change, or take on small or large and complex pieces of work, then your ability to apply these approaches will be invaluable.
Our third goal then is to make this as practical and easy to adopt as possible, introducing the Team Alignment Map as a simple planning and management tool to help you break down large pieces of work into smaller ones, to manage the resources and inevitable risks, and ensure everyone knows what they are doing and how to deliver your shared objectives.
The biggest challenge we hear from students is in group work. Group dynamics can mean the loudest voices dominate. This can be a challenge in the workplace too! Great work doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Great teams need to learn to do great work. The best teams thrive when the stage is set for collaborative processes to draw on diverse perspectives; the collective genius of every voice.
Our fourth goal then is to create a psychologically safe space where everyone’s contribution is valued. We’ll share and value what we all bring. We collaborate on ideas about good and bad team culture; we’ll create our culture and values for learning. We’ll work visually to make thinking and ideas tangible to others. We will build collaboratively to craft shared clarity and direction. You’ll see new ways to collaborate and decision-making in teams to craft shared clarity and momentum.
Applications for our Engagement Academy are closed.
Applications are currently closed for the Engagement Academy.
How can I sign up?
Engagement Academy applications are now closed.
How long is the programme?
The Academy programme is delivered across a minimum of 12-hours, but we adapt the structure of the delivery to increase opportunities for participation; so for example, it could run across six two-hour sessions, or four three-hour sessions, etc. Sometimes this is in the daytime, sometimes evenings or weekends. We'll try to accommodate your ability to participate.
Is this part of the Engagement Fellowship?
The Engagement Academy and Engagement Fellowship are different, but are mutually compatible. We'd strongly recommend anyone considering applying for a Fellowship opportunity to sign-up for the Academy programme as it's been designed to specifically prepare you for it. In fact, where we have a lot of competition for Engagement Felllowship places, we will give priority to anyone who has completed or signed up for the Engagement Academy, as we know that your performance as a Fellow will be significantly enhanced.
Is this an online programme?
We will run the programme in the way that gives the most people the opportunity to participate. If we can run a programme full of people who can attend in-person, then we will. However, where people can commit to joining the programme online, we'll faciliate them to join in via a mixed-mode delivery model. If we only have applicants who can attend remotely, we'll run the sessions online using MS Teams.
When should I do this?
There are no bad times to do this, but we'd recommend anyone who is preparing for placement, internships, company projects, our Engagement Fellowships or anyone looking for work to do this programme in advance. We also run a programme over summer to give a boost to UG leavers and imminent PG leavers. If in doubt, drop us an email and we can discuss this.
Will this count to my Lancaster Award?
All Work in Progress activities can be used to count towards your Lancaster Award, and this is no exception. Just don't forget you need to have wrapped that up before your final year!