Saturday, November 10, 2012

Gregynog : year 14

Gregynog is a country house owned by the University of Wales. It is near Newtown and is on the whole a nice place to be.

The Computer Science Department at Aberystwyth have run career skills events there for at least the last 15 years. I have missed 2 and I think they started when I worked for SGI/Cray. The aim of the weekend is to equip the students for interviews for an industrial year between their 2nd and 3rd years. So what were my overall impressions?

  • C.V. were much better than last year. Still some sloppy wording/typo's, still some people who had done "stuff" but not put in the CV. Still some students who had little content to put in beyond their course and school experience which was disappointing, but on the whole students seems to be taking this work thing much more seriosuly than a few years ago and were interesting people with a lot to say.
  • The students we spoke to today came across better than those of the past few years. There were no lemons this year. They were all interesting in their own way. For many this is their 1st experience of being interviewed, so is a little scary, so we do try to be sympathetic, but if at some point they don't feel uncomfortable, the mock interview was not challenging enough
  • Standards of dress was head and shoulders above previous years, students just took it seriously and far more this year dressed up as if they were in a real interview.
  • General behaviour standard was just better, there were not idiots, no one who was obstructive to interview and we encountered not a hint of arrogance which was so nice. Some students did drink a fair amount on saturday night, but did not make a pain of themsleves. Though congradulations to the student who got so drunk on Friday night he was asleep on a sofa at 10am on Saturday morning, you are an example to us all, not sure an example of what.
The high points for me this year were being given a singing lesson as a group and being analysed for my psychological type according to the work of Jung.

This weekend is a solid example of best practise in higher education and something that other insituations (or even departments in Aberystwyth) could embrase to the benefit of students from any subject.

Couple of changes I did suggest is that the students do need to see an example of how to conduct one's self in an interview and get some help in how to set personal goals.