Personal Development Plan - Daniel O'Connell - Wittenborg UniversityAccording to a 2012 International Labour Organization (ILO) report, the number of jobless people around the world rose by 4 million in 2012 to 197 million, and is expected to grow further  -  indeed, as of this time of writing, that number has jumped to approx 205 million.

Furthermore, as revealed by Global Employment Trends (2013), 6% of the world’s workforce was without a job in 2012, with long-term unemployment continuing to grow. Further data pointed out that a third of Europe's jobless had been without work for more than a year.

As this trend in downward economic growth has been around for some time now, these grim statistics are not entirely unexpected. So, for those preparing and planning for their future, what can be done in the face of this? If, as Paul Brown from the UK’s Prince's Trust aptly stated: "Having a job is a really significant factor in how happy you are", then it becomes imperative that all concerned in education become familiar with integration of personal development into the curriculum.

Increasing the employability factor at Wittenborg UniversityThe Higher Education Academy (HEA) in its series on Learning and Employability (‘07) incorporated PDP into a paper titled PDP and Employability. Many points are presented, with a strong emphasis on teaching staff itself becoming more involved in the actual process, and thereby enhancing student employability. Furthermore, under section “Getting students to take PDP seriously” the paper highlights- from among many points - the importance of recognising the value of PDP as a forward-looking process toward employment rather than a look-back to what was previously done. The key words are involvement and process. Within a process, one’s true involvement demands attention, and this in itself brings solution(s).

When facing statistics such as above, those with a highly developed sense of personal development and involvement will be undaunted - they will be the ones who will be better equipped to see opportunities, not problems. Their perspectives, honed by involvement in their own development, will automatically generate more creative perceptions. This in turn will lead to more fulfilling experiences. This perspective-perception-experience could best be summed up in a simple but powerful quote: “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” (Dyer ’09)

This is a core issue for PDP.

Originally from Ireland, Daniel O'Connell is tutor and student coach at Wittenborg University. He has developed a programme of Personal Development that students follow throughout their studies at Wittenborg. PDP is primarily focused on preparing students for their careers after their studies in Apeldoorn, and is a challenging and practical aspect to the curriculum.

WUP 7/2/13

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