It was a glorious sunny morning as I wandered across the university campus to the “re” building where the assessment centre was to take place. Students were beginning to drift in, looking a bit sheepish and nervous about what was in store for them.
As one of the tutors commented when I asked about potential turn out, “well it is early and a very cold morning, so we will just have to wait and see about the numbers.” Personally, I have never understood why students find it so hard to get out of bed in the morning, is it that they don’t see certain activities as being of value or worthwhile?
I mingled with my fellow assessors for a short while, these being from industry, commerce, public sector and a number of freelance consultants, all of whom give of their time freely (and enthusiastically) to support the career management programme at the university.
I observed four groups during the day, each group completing two activities, one a tower building exercise and the other a written exercise requiring extensive consultation and negotiation.
Performance differed from group to group but all participants showed a willingness to try and contribute, some more so than others. However, because of the large number of international students participating one has to “factor in” cultural differences in relation to communication, disagreements and sometimes “perceived” roles in society.
After each activity the assessors usually ask the team for their own assessment of performance before giving “team performance” feedback followed by feedback to individuals where appropriate. It was interesting to watch the difference in performance between the two activities, as all the groups demonstrated that they had listened to critical feedback and improved their performance in activity two.
I think I have been doing this assessment role with the university for the last four or five years (it is so rewarding you lose track of time) and have seen some very good team performances during that time. However, I have to confess that I assessed a group yesterday who gave the best team performance I have ever seen. The group consisted of one Romanian young man, a Chines young man, two Chinese young ladies and a young lady from Korea.
Their performance was outstanding and in particular the Romanian young man who led the team. His communication and inter personal skills were sensational and I thought to myself “why don’t we send this team to lead the UN, with their skills and team working they could solve most of the worlds problems.”
He also had an aura of calmness and confidence about him that I have never seen in anyone his age. It struck me that if he said to me “Id like you to go outside and jump off that cliff into the sea”, I would probably do it, as he would present it so beautifully!
So another programme comes to an end, two days of mock interviews and two days of assessment centres, which take a lot of organising and all credit to the staff, led by Elaine Dean, who devote a good amount of their time to ensure these events happen. I hope the students fully appreciate the effort and commitment that goes into all this, and purely for their benefit.
I also hope that the university hierarchy appreciate the amount of work that goes into fulfilling the universities commitment to an Employability Strategy, which, is required of them by government. Preparing for the transition to the world of work / post graduate education / entrepreneurship is a complex one, and Bradford University have made significant steps forward in meeting this obligation.
I feel confident that I speak on behalf of all the employer representatives participating in saying; long may the programme continue……..and I look forward to 2017.
Photographs (c) Kindadukish 2016