Set yourself apart from the crowd as a WIP Engagement Fellow, ready to navigate ambiguity, uncertainty and complexity with confidence.
Regardless what you are studying, what you know or what you can do, to unlock your potential value and take action, you need the right mindset.
How can an Engagement Fellowship help me?
Engagement Fellowships are authentic experiential learning activities, working alongside businesses and community organisations to explore and develop innovative solutions to their most pressing challenges. This is the perfect opportunity to put your entrepreneurial mindsets to the test, making a meaningful difference to others while enhancing your attractiveness to potential employers. And it's quite different to the placements and consultancy projects you may have access to as part of your degree...
You will be working alongside students from a range of disciplines, at different levels of study and with different work and life experiences. This diversity provides an incredibly rich environment for peer learning and unexpected insights into how you might apply your curricular learning in new ways when compared to working on your own or with other people studying the same thing as you.
It’s a living lab
The work experience component of the fellowship is part of Lancaster University's new flagship engagement model, the Innovation Catalyst, within which every stakeholder is looking to do new things and do them differently, to drive long-term systemic changes to regional economies. You'll be at the heart of these innovation processes and your experience will shape how this evolves and improves over time.
Because this programme focusses developing your entrepreneurial mindset and capabilities, it equips you for navigating VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) environments in future. Anything you learn during this programme will be transferable into any other situation, however different it may be. Your ability to think strategically, take action and solve-problems using your own initiative are exactly the kinds of things graduate employers are looking for.
Core Programme Elements
The programme comprises the following core elements:
Bespoke Development Goals
This programme is all about developing your our personal capabilities and mindset. For this reason, your first activity on the programme will be to identify your baseline Entrepreneurial Competencies using our dedicated self-assessment tool ECHO. This will provide you with a rich and insightful profile, based around the 15 dimensions of the EntreComp Framework, for example Financial Literacy, Planning & Management, Coping with Risk, Ambiguity & Uncertainty, Creativity or Visioning.
This baseline understanding will help you to better understand your strengths and where you can take responsibility with confidence, as well as your weaknesses so you can focus on developing them throughout the programme. At the end of the programme, you will be asked to undertake the assessment process again, which will reveal how you have grown and where to continue focussing your self-development activities. This process alone is incredibly powerful in helping you take ownership of your entrepreurial learning journey.
Your cohort will be attached to one of Lancaster University's prestigious Innovation Catalyst programmes, which bring together groups of SMEs to tackle common issues for their sector or industry within a particular geographical region. The Innovation Catalyst aims to drive positive and sustainable change for the stakeholders to these issues over the longer-term, and your input in the early stages of this process will be invaluable.
You will work alongside your fellow cohort members and these SMEs for up to 100 hours, identifying where you can add most value individually and collectively, before agreeing and implementing your action plans. The work you undertake will be varied, challenging and rewarding, and provide you with lots of opportunities to develop your entrepreneurial competencies, playing to your strengths but stepping outside your comfort zone where required.
Significantly, you will not know what you will be working on until you are introduced to the SMEs at their Activation Workshop where together you will begin to explore their shared problem-space, identify their common priorities and consider where to start taking action.
Mentoring & reflection
Entrepreneurial learning and development is incremental, and often invisible, so it's important to reflect constantly so you can more consciously observe this happening. We'll support you directly in this through regular mentoring touchpoints with our programme lead, ensuring that you've always got a someone to turn to when things get tough, when you need a sounding board, or when you just want to share something you are proud of. These
It's safe to say that at some point you will find yourself outside your comfort zone, unclear about what you are expected to do or how you might go about it. You may have even tried things that didn't work out. This can all be disconcerting, but rest assured this is entirely normal and possibly the biggest indicator of growth. Failing forward is a key element of entrepreneurial learning. Sometimes, you just need to get back up and try again, but when you do, you will always have people around you to help.
As well as the mentoring touchpoints and post-programme reflection, you will be expected to complete a reflective log (or even go public with a blog) as you go along.
What's involved in the application process?
Applicants should complete the online application form which will help us to assess your entrepreneurial experience to date, and what you learned from it, as well as the things that you personally can bring to the cohort. This is important as we'll be looking to pull together the most diverse cohort possible, so we'd advise you to think about what already makes you distinctive and make sure you mention it.
If you look like you've got a lot to offer and to gain from the Fellowship opportunity, we will invite you to attend a short interview, so we can dig a little deeper into what you've told us in your application form.
Before we make our final selection, we'll also ensure all the necessary right to work checks are completed too. Once everything looks clear, we'll announce the final selection.
Will I get any feedback on my application?
We will provide you with some basic constructive feedback on your application whether you are succesful or not. However, if you are not, please understand that this may be simply to do with your potential fit with other applicants to make a cohort, as opposed to some particular weakness or area of under-performance.
We'll let you know if this is the case and keep your record on file for consideration when future opportunies arise. Depending on their similarity to the original opportunity, you may not need to submit a new application, but this is not guaranteed.
How much will I get paid?
All the payment processes and salary standards are managed via the University's Employment & Recruitent Service (ERS) and therefore ensures an hourly rate in line with the National Living Wage. This typically equates to £10 per hour, so if you do complete the full 100-hours available, you will be paid £1,000 over the course of the programme.
Please note payments are made on a monthly basis, based on submission of a weekly time-sheet directly into your bank account.
Is this an online programme?
Every programme will be different, depending on the geographical focus of the Innovation Catalyst you are attached to. Also, every member of your cohort will be have a different study timetable around which they need to fit their fellowship work. For these reasons, we will adopt a blended approach, enabling you take full advantage of the flexibility and accessibility of online interaction via MS Teams, while also ensuring you can engage in-person where appropriate.
Where in-person activities require you to attend a location other the LU campus, travel expenses will be paid upon submission of relevant receipts.
Can I undertake multiple Fellowship opportunities?
Unfortuntately not. This is because there is only funding available for a limited number of fellowships and we want as many people as possible to be able to benefit from them.
Do I have to do the development programme?
The development programme is a core component of the fellowship opportunity and part of what makes it unique. Because you will be operating as a cohort, and we want the cohort to be as unified and capable as possible, all members must attend all parts of it. Your availability to do this will be a factor in your selection.
For all the same reasons, it is not possible to just attend the development programme and skip the work-based component.
How many people will be in my cohort?
Typically EA cohorts comprise of 10 people, although this can vary in line with the number of SMEs engaged in the Innovation Catalyst. While you will be doing a lot of things as a whole group, once you are engaged in the work-based element, you are likely to split yourselves up into smaller teams and task-groups according to requirements. You might work closely with just a couple of other members of the cohort, or with lots, depending on where you personally are considered to add most value.