Daniel O'Connell - Work Preparation: what can PDP offer?

Daniel O'Connell - Work Preparation: what can PDP offer?In a recent article (Feb 2012) for the BBC, Hannah Richardson, a BBC News education reporter, wrote a recent article for the BBC that was titled: “Students: ‘Better at cracking jokes than taking risks’.”

The background and data for her article came from  research -- a psychological assessment to test 60 characteristics needed for the world of work -- undertaken with 1000 UK students to determine what strengths they held for an accounting firm named Ernst and Young (EY), a firm which receives 18,000 applicants for 800 graduate trainee posts, and 700 internship placements each year. Using a psychological assessment to test 60 characteristics needed for the world of work. What emerged from this research has strong PDP overtones.

EY stated that only 25% of the graduates interviewed had the necessary skills to work for them, and indicated that the main key attributes that they had searched for in potential candidates were the skills of relationship building and problem solving; with a secondary tier consisting of demonstration in determination, resilience, and the ability to thrive and work hard in difficult situations. Stephen Isherwood, the head of recruitment for Ernst and Young, explained further: "We need to know that they are going to be able to cope if they are sent half way across the world to work on a client project."

The research indicated that students performed well in the above-mentioned areas of problem solving and building relationships; as well as having a sense of humour, showing pride in their work, and being true to themselves. However, they fared poorer in the vital areas of recovery from set-backs, overcoming fears, risk-taking, quality time-management, and making themselves stand out from the crowd.

The previous paragraph highlights the skills that are the core domain of PDP. As students progress through their study plan, it is imperative that these skills are integrated into their development as a tool to project confidently into their future. As is slowly becoming more apparent in the times we now live in, nothing can now be taken for granted. Rising high-unemployment, in tandem with an ever-increasing population growth has begun to drastically narrow the range of possibilities for graduate students. To emphasise this point Stephen Isherwood stated: “High youth unemployment meant that getting a degree from a good university was no longer a guarantee of getting a job.”

This has reverberations not just for the UK, but throughout Europe, and beyond. These are uncertain times, but what is offered to students in PDP is a lifeline to access, evaluate, and incorporate strategic competencies to make a successful transfer from academia to the professional fields. In short, to “stand out from the crowd.”

(PDP - Personal Development Plan)

WUP 02/03/12