Developing a career: A student’s experience

We do like to hear from ex-students, especially as helping students develop skills and build confidence is at the heart of much of what we do.  It helps us all realise the value of psychology and the skills it provides.  We want the psychology that they are exposed to to be professionally relevant and to help them build their careers.  We know from conversation and feedback that students want to make a difference to the world and to contribute to supporting people in all sorts of different ways.

This year we have a visit from the BPS to review our programme, and we have used this as an opportunity to reflect on the degree and make changes that will enhance the support we provide for our students.  A part of this review will see the introduction of three new pathways, echoing the expertise in the department and the interests of our students.  These are pathways in health, education, and forensic psychologies.  These pathways will complement the psychology programme, building on its strengths in applied psychology.

As we have reflected on the programme, it is nice to look back on the experiences of some of our graduates.  We have been offering placements in education settings through our links with First Campus for 10 years.  These placements have helped inspire students to go and work further in education.  One of of our ex-students, Donna Ward, has kindly written the below about her experiences as a student in Psychology at Cardiff Met and as a volunteer with First Campus.

It’s been three years since I graduated in Psychology from Cardiff Metropolitan, and on reflection, I can honestly say it was an all-round inspiring and supportive organisation. Cardiff Met provided a rich environment that encouraged me to develop personally, professionally and academically. As a BPS accredited course, it provided me with strong research skills, professional work experience through the educational psychology module, and contacts to other organisations to gain further paid experience. All of which has now led to me achieving a position as an Assistant Educational Psychologist, applying for the Doctorate in Educational Psychology.

Student development is at the heart of the organisation. The academic tutors on the psychology course are highly skilled, and compassionate, and use psychology to inform their work with students. A mixture of seminars, lectures, academic workshops, tutor evaluative feedback, and ongoing pastoral support help improve exam performance, essay writing, research skills, and most importantly academic confidence. The relationship I had with many of the staff at Cardiff Met, especially my personal tutor Dr Annette Daly, provided me with the support and encouragement I needed to get through my degree.

The Educational Psychology module fuelled what would become my future career. The content of the module sparked my interest, and the encouragement and feedback from the tutors inspired me to take it further. The module provided the opportunity to train as a student mentor and go into schools once a week and mentor secondary students. From this module I made links with a widening access organisation named First Campus, who aim to improve further education pathways for adolescents. I was offered the opportunity to interview as a First campus ambassador, allowing me gain paid experience delivering a weekly workshop to looked after children (LAC). I still talk about this experience at interview three years later.

I graduated from Cardiff Met feeling like I had developed good research skills and was competent in the use statistical software programmes and methodological analysis. I had developed good essay writing skills, and precision in scientific report writing through the completion of multiple reports, essays and a systematic review. All of which lead to my success in my MSc in Educational Psychology at UCL.  Many of the assignments you complete on the undergraduate psychology course at Cardiff Met are of a similar format to what you will complete on the doctorate course, specifically the systematic review, research reports and final research project. I can honestly say I feel confident that I will be able fulfil the academic demands required for the Doctorate in Educational Psychology.

Donna at graduation with her tutor, Dr Annette Daly.

I graduated from Cardiff Met with so much more than a degree. I graduated with work experience, ambition and desire to make a difference in education. From completing my psychology degree in 2015 and gaining relevant work experience from the educational psychology module and First Campus, I was able to work in an adolescent psychiatric hospital as an Occupational Therapy Assistant, complete my master’s in Educational Psychology at UCL, secure a role as an Assistant Educational Psychologist, which has transitioned into my current role as a Senior Assistant Educational Psychologist. With this academic and professional experience, I am now in a position to apply to the doctorate in Educational Psychology.

 

 

 

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Gweithgareddau Allgymorth + Lleoliad, 2017/18 [] Outreach + Placement activities, 2017/18

Each year we are impressed by the dedication and work of all our students (https://psychcardiffmet.wordpress.com/2017/11/07/croeso-a-chroeso-yn-ol-welcome-and-welcome-back/).  This year, 84 students worked with more than 15 organizations developing new skills, working in multi-disciplinary teams, and learning how to apply psychology to real-life situations.

Here our Placement Coordinator, Dr Mirain Rhys, talks about the opportunities in the course:

The Psychology Undergraduate programme at Cardiff Metropolitan University offers work placement opportunities to those studying in their second and third years. Students complete a placement as part of the ‘Work and Volunteering in Applied Psychology’ (WVAP) module where they can choose to gain experience in one of five Psychology fields (forensic, health, educational, clinical or occupational Psychology). The module always proves very popular as it gives students a chance to apply the knowledge they’ve learnt in their lectures to real life scenarios, as well as give back to their local community.

 We work with a variety of approved placement providers who have been chosen specifically because of the clear links with Psychology. We have placements in mental health wards, schools, charities, the prison service, and students can also use their work place as a placement opportunity. We also work with an organisation to provide students with overseas placement opportunities in Sri Lanka and Bali https://psychcardiffmet.wordpress.com/2014/10/09/the-best-thing-i-have-ever-done-volunteering-with-slv/.

 

Every year, we strive to find exciting opportunities for our students by reaching out to new organisations who are interested in working with us. We ensure that our students are safe and well looked after by visiting each potential placement partner before teaming up, which always proves an interesting and eye-opening experience as it gives the placement team the opportunity to gain a real insight into what experiences the students will have whilst on placement.

 The module is based on a service learning model, where students are encouraged to think about the impact their volunteering has on the wider community. The partnership works well because organisations who rely on volunteers benefit from a steady flow of willing students, and students get a chance to interact with individuals who need their support to develop, which in turn aides their reflective practice for the module – win win!

 Students have to produce a reflective essay about their time on placement. The assignment varies slightly from year 2 to 3 but in essence, it aims to build on students’ reflective skills from the first-year module ‘Psychological Literacy’ by giving students a chance to use real life scenarios for their reflective practice. Reflection is a key skill within Psychology and the programme provides a reflective module in each undergraduate year.

 At the end of the module, students are assessed by their placement provider on their performance whilst on placement. The skills assessed are transferable employability skills and provide students with feedback on areas they do well in and might need to improve before they enter the world of work.

 The best part of being a placement coordinator is hearing about all the amazing experiences students have been involved in. The placement team have the opportunity to provide feedback from students to placement providers at the end of the year, but it’s also great to hear such positive feedback about our students from the organisations we work with – it makes all the hard work worthwhile!

One event we look forward to as a placement team is the Student Volunteering Cardiff annual general meeting. This event showcases all the amazing volunteering opportunities students from all over Cardiff and beyond participate in to help vulnerable individuals within the city in leading their best lives. There is an award ceremony and a chance to hear about how Cardiff Metropolitan University Psychology students have worked hard over the year to provide events such as a gardening club, mentoring and buddy schemes, social clubs and respite care, and some of our students are also lead volunteers and key members of the trustee group. It is a wonderful evening of reflection and admiration from the placement team as we realise how far our WVAP students have come in gaining vital employability and reflection skills, but also making a huge difference to people’s lives just by giving some of their time.

Do come and join us!

Gweithgareddau Allgymorth + Lleoliad, 2017/18

Bob blwyddyn, gwneir argraff arnom gan ymroddiad a gwaith ein holl fyfyrwyr (https://psychcardiffmet.wordpress.com/2017/11/07/croeso-a-chroeso-yn-ol-welcome-and-welcome-back/).  Eleni, bu 84 o fyfyrwyr yn gweithio gyda mwy na 15 o sefydliadau yn datblygu sgiliau newydd, yn gweithio mewn timau amlddisgyblaeth, ac yn dysgu sut i gymhwyso seicoleg i sefyllfaoedd go iawn.

Yma mae ein Cydlynydd Lleoliad, Dr Mirain Rhys, yn sôn am y cyfleoedd yn y cwrs:

 

Mae’r rhaglen Israddedig Seicoleg ym Mhrifysgol Metropolitan Caerdydd yn cynnig cyfleoedd lleoliadau gwaith i’r rhai sy’n astudio yn eu hail a’u trydedd flwyddyn. Mae myfyrwyr yn cwblhau lleoliad fel rhan o’r modiwl ‘Gwaith a Gwirfoddoli mewn Seicoleg Gymhwysol’ (WVAP) (‘Work and Volunteering in Applied Psychology’) lle gallant ddewis ennill profiad mewn un o bum maes Seicoleg (Seicoleg fforensig, iechyd, addysgol, clinigol neu alwedigaethol). Mae’r modiwl bob amser yn boblogaidd iawn gan ei fod yn rhoi cyfle i fyfyrwyr gymhwyso’r wybodaeth y maent wedi’i ddysgu yn eu darlithoedd i sefyllfaoedd bywyd go iawn, yn ogystal â rhoi yn ôl i’w cymuned leol.

Rydym yn gweithio gydag amrywiaeth o ddarparwyr lleoliadau cymeradwy sydd wedi’u dewis yn benodol oherwydd y cysylltiadau clir â Seicoleg. Mae gennym leoliadau mewn wardiau iechyd meddwl, ysgolion, elusennau, y gwasanaeth carchardai, a gall myfyrwyr hefyd ddefnyddio eu man gwaith fel cyfle ar gyfer lleoliad. Rydym hefyd yn gweithio gyda sefydliad i ddarparu cyfleoedd lleoliad myfyrwyr dramor yn Sri Lanka a Bali https://psychcardiffmet.wordpress.com/2014/10/09/the-best-thing-i-have-ever-done-volunteering-with-slv/ .

 

Bob blwyddyn, rydym yn ymdrechu i ddod o hyd i gyfleoedd cyffrous i’n myfyrwyr trwy gyrraedd sefydliadau newydd sydd â diddordeb mewn gweithio gyda ni. Rydym yn sicrhau bod ein myfyrwyr yn ddiogel ac yn cael y gofal gorau trwy ymweld â phob partner lleoliad posibl cyn ymuno, sydd bob amser yn brofiad diddorol ac yn agoriad llygaid gan ei fod yn rhoi’r cyfle i’r tîm lleoliad gael cipolwg go iawn ar yr hyn y bydd y myfyrwyr yn ei brofi tra ar leoliad.

Mae’r modiwl yn seiliedig ar fodel dysgu gwasanaeth, lle caiff myfyrwyr eu hannog i feddwl am yr effaith y mae eu gwirfoddoli yn ei gael ar y gymuned ehangach. Mae’r bartneriaeth yn gweithio’n dda oherwydd bod sefydliadau sy’n dibynnu ar wirfoddolwyr yn elwa ar lif cyson o fyfyrwyr parod, ac mae myfyrwyr yn cael cyfle i ryngweithio gydag unigolion sydd angen eu cefnogaeth i ddatblygu, sydd, yn ei dro, yn cynorthwyo eu hymarfer myfyriol ar gyfer y modiwl – ennill bob ffordd!

 

Rhaid i fyfyrwyr gynhyrchu traethawd myfyriol am eu hamser ar leoliad. Mae’r aseiniad yn amrywio ychydig o flwyddyn 2 i 3 ond yn ei hanfod, mae’n anelu at adeiladu ar sgiliau myfyriol myfyrwyr o’r modiwl ‘Llythrennedd Seicolegol’ blwyddyn gyntaf trwy roi cyfle i fyfyrwyr ddefnyddio senarios bywyd go iawn ar gyfer eu hymarfer myfyriol. Mae myfyrio yn sgil allweddol o fewn Seicoleg ac mae’r rhaglen yn darparu modiwl myfyriol ym mhob blwyddyn israddedig.

Ar ddiwedd y modiwl, caiff myfyrwyr eu hasesu gan eu darparwr lleoliad ar eu perfformiad tra ar leoliad. Mae’r sgiliau a asesir yn sgiliau cyflogadwyedd trosglwyddadwy ac yn rhoi adborth i fyfyrwyr ar feysydd y maen nhw’n eu gwneud yn dda ac efallai y bydd angen iddynt wella cyn iddynt fynd i fyd gwaith.

 

Y rhan orau o fod yn gydlynydd lleoliad yw clywed am yr holl brofiadau anhygoel y mae myfyrwyr wedi cymryd rhan ynddynt. Mae’r tîm lleoliad yn cael cyfle i roi adborth gan fyfyrwyr i ddarparwyr lleoliad ar ddiwedd y flwyddyn, ond mae hefyd yn wych clywed adborth mor gadarnhaol am ein myfyrwyr o’r sefydliadau rydym yn gweithio gyda nhw – mae’n gwneud yr holl waith caled yn werth chweil!

 

Un digwyddiad yr ydym yn edrych ymlaen ato fel tîm lleoliad yw cyfarfod cyffredinol blynyddol Gwirfoddoli Myfyrwyr Caerdydd. Mae’r digwyddiad hwn yn arddangos yr holl gyfleoedd gwirfoddoli anhygoel mae myfyrwyr o bob cwr o Gaerdydd a thu hwnt yn cymryd rhan ynddynt i helpu unigolion bregus yn y ddinas i arwain eu bywydau gorau. Mae yna seremoni wobrwyo a chyfle i glywed am sut mae myfyrwyr Seicoleg Prifysgol Metropolitan Caerdydd wedi gweithio’n galed dros y flwyddyn i ddarparu digwyddiadau fel clwb garddio, cynlluniau mentora a chyfeillion, clybiau cymdeithasol a gofal seibiant, ac mae rhai o’n myfyrwyr hefyd yn wirfoddolwyr arweiniol ac aelodau allweddol y grŵp ymddiriedolwyr. Mae’n noson wych o fyfyrio ac edmygedd gan y tîm lleoliad wrth i ni sylweddoli pa mor bell mae ein myfyrwyr WVAP wedi dod i ennill sgiliau cyflogadwyedd a myfyrio hanfodol, ond hefyd gwneud gwahaniaeth enfawr i fywydau pobl yn unig drwy roi peth o’u hamser.

 Dewch i ymuno â ni!


Elite tennis and a degree in Psychology

Fran Smith is a level 4 BSc Psychology student at Cardiff Metropolitan University. Here, she tells us about another important part of her life, where she’s training as a wheelchair tennis player and how Psychology has helped.

My name is Fran Smith. I’m 18 years old, and I’m an elite para-athlete in wheelchair tennis. I attended my first wheelchair tennis camp on 05/06/17, and currently I am the number 1 junior female in Great Britain and overall number 38 female junior in the world. Currently I am in my 6th month of playing and within that time I have won the British Open Junior Girls Singles and double gold in singles & doubles at the School Games 2017.

It all sounds pretty impressive, right? It might be, but I didn’t sit in a sports wheelchair with a tennis racket and gain the wonderful ability to play. For 13 years I was a tennis player in the running game. At age 16 I had to quit because my body could not cope and the risk of doing severe damage to my legs was too high. For 6 years I have had a battle with my own body and the NHS. In total, I’ve had 6 physiotherapists (2 of which were specialists), 2 rheumatologists, 1 neurologist, 1 ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist and 1 very scared general practitioner (GP). If you were to see me in person you would not believe I have a disability (I’m still waiting for someone to come yell at me in the car park about how I’m unworthy of a blue badge), mainly because I can walk.

Psychology is crucial to me, especially as I’m progressing so fast within my sport. Last year I was sad all the time, more sad than usual, because I had no sport, what felt like nothing to do, no ambition, and basically no life. This sadness led to me living inside my head too much and anxiously over analyzing every detail I was given. Luckily, I managed to pull myself together before I turned into a bed slug for the rest of my life.

My psychology course has helped me in many ways. The obvious one being of how the opposition is going to react in a game; what their expression tells me, their position, their movement, their pattern of play. But there is one even bigger than that; my own psychology. The big element being me living inside my head on court because of course in singles, it’s you and your opponent. I now know that if something isn’t going right on court I need to change it there and then, by thinking what’s going wrong and why.

A prime example is the latest tournament I competed in which was the Wheelchair Tennis Nationals just before Christmas ’17. I lost my first match because I felt like I had a cartoon road runner in my head.  Instead of focusing on my opponent I was too focused on getting my elements right. After some down time after the match I realized that the reason I lost is because too many people came up to me asking what my plan was for the game, how was I going to beat them, what strategies did I have? All that before a match can be pretty overwhelming. Safe to say that by my first consolation match I had given the road runner a boot and replaced it with nothing. I just played tennis. By just playing tennis I won the consolation overall and beat two women I am in direct competition with for a spot on any GB teams. In all honesty, during those two matches it didn’t even feel like I had a brain, I’m pretty sure it was a tennis ball in my head instead.

Obviously, everything is still baby steps towards my goals but one thing psychology does is makes me stop and think. Which if you lack as much common sense as I do, that is a massive thing.

 


A Graduate’s Tale

Even if the weather feels doggedly like winter the days are finally getting longer and spring is upon us. It is a season of growth and maturation.

At the start of the year, the BSc (Hons) Psychology programme held a poster conference for final year students to showcase their research ideas. It was a lovely event, with lots of interactions between staff and students. What is really nice about the event is the chance to see the range of projects that students complete. This year there were projects on social media and mental health, on gender and employment, on well-being and yoga, on fire-spinners and connections to nature, amongst many more. Students demonstrate their concern with community support, the environment, health and well-being. It’s always really great to see how engaged with social matters students are. The poster conference also marks a transition, as final year students show what they are doing as part of the culmination of their studies.

This year, we invited a number of ex-students to come and talk to our current final year students about their experience with us, and also what they have gone on to do since graduation. One of our guests was Jon Mitchell, who spoke about his time at Cardiff Metropolitan (to see a video of the event and Jon chatting please click here https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0xRaErs6DBI&feature=youtu.be)

 

Jon kindly provided a blog to accompany his visit in January. It is really nice to see how he has moved on, and recognises the support and value of what we ask of all students to do.

 

I am now in my third University (fourth if you count a brief adventure into a different field ten years ago), over three different UK countries.  Of them all, I think that I look at Cardiff Met with the fondest sentiments. Presently I am studying a PhD in anxiety and gender issues and before that was a Masters at one of the top ten Universities in the UK but if you ask me, Cardiff Met was the one that gave me the most.

Jon and friends at graduation

During my time there, I remember thinking how dull it was to be studying so many areas and topics that did not interest me; doing assignments that seemed pointless, and in reflecting on things so often when I did not feel the need to. Only now when I look back do I see how beneficial all of this truly was. By studying psychology as a whole, I was able to see which areas actually interested me. Granted BPS requirements had to be met, but the lecturers at Cardiff Met introduced such a wide range of theories and tools that I came away with a broader understanding of psychology than many of my peers at later universities. Completing so many different types of assignment had very much the same effect. I was able to move into other institutions having used most techniques that were introduced to us, or at least having a basic understanding of them. I was therefore able to be more versatile in my ability to generate content for assignments and in work.

I remember thinking that modules based around skills at work were pointless for me. I had already been working for ten years (being a mature student) and was running my own company at the time. Looking back, however, these modules gave me so many more skills than I realised, making me a better manager and enabling me to move into jobs I had previously thought well out of my realm. Even the dreaded “reflective learning journal” helped me to become a better employee, father and person. Trust me, I hated them at the time but they have stuck with me years later.

What sticks with me the most is the feeling of community and support that I received at Cardiff Met. This has not been felt anywhere else, and I know that many of my friends from there say the same thing. At Cardiff Met I was able to ask for help from any of the faculty, was supported and encouraged throughout assignments and was given confidence to speak up. This helped me grow and find my voice as a member of the academic community and gave me a better foundation than I could have ever wished for. Even now I know that I can get in touch with them and they would support me.

Jon has done really well, and we look forward to seeing what he does next, and continue t wish him all the best.


Psychology Society

We have just finished Enhancement Week, which is the first week back after Christmas. The highlight of the week for me was the Poster Conference. All the final year students displayed and talked about their research ideas. It was fantastic to see the variety of topics that engaged with research, and focused on individual, social and community issues. It was also a treat to see the students come together as part of a community and to see their enthusiasm for their work.

As we build communities of students, one thing that is very important is the Psychology Society. A new group is now running it, with support from the Students Union. As staff, we are really pleased to see this, and support them in all their work.

Please read what they have to say below, and more importantly join up and get involved!

Hi everyone, hope you all had a nice break!

This is just a little segment on the psychology society and what we are aiming and hoping to do now and in the future. We decided to restart the psychology society with the hope of providing students, particularly those enrolled on the BSc (Hons) Psychology course, further opportunities to develop their experiences of studying psychology and to hold events which help individuals decide where to take their degree after graduation. In addition, we also wanted to provide opportunities to widen our social networking circles by arranging events involving the psychology departments at Cardiff and University of South Wales, and also other Cardiff Met societies. By doing this, we are also able to welcome those who do not study psychology but hold an interest in the discipline. Each uni holds organises research talks and these are one way we aim to achieve this. The talks cover a wide range of topics within psychology, ranging from psychosis and hypnosis, living with autism and criminal profiling, all of which have been successful with good turn outs. Future talks of a more general overview of forensic psychology and clinical psychology are being arranged. We also aim to provide information to students regarding events and research developments from the British Psychological Society (BPS). The BPS hold a number of insightful events across the country over the year which would be invaluable as psychology students and those who hold an interest, including job fairs, networking events and large scale research talks. By forwarding this information through our society networking sites, such as Facebook and Instagram, we hope they can inspire students to enhance their university experience and supplement their degree with extracurricular events.

PsychSocTalk

Mike and friends on the way to a psychology talk organised by the Society

We hope to be able to arrange large scale psychology trips and social events, BPS related or otherwise, again, to provide something extra along with the degree and for those who are interested in the discipline. Fundraising for such events has been difficult, but we’re slowly finding our feet so you’ll be hearing from us a lot more during the course of the year!

If you have any suggestions for events we could arrange or anything you’d like to see from us, please drop us a message on our Facebook page (Cardiff Met Psychology Society 2017-2018).

Cheers,

Mike, Nadine, Izzy & Thomas

Do get involved!


A Journey through Psychology

As the autumn term draws to a close it is good to take a moment to reflect on where a degree can take people and how it can be used. Psychology is a very broad discipline, encompassing all aspects of behaviour from individual to social perspectives.  The breadth of the academic discipline can feel a little overwhelming at first with so many ways to focus on what we do as humans, and so many ways to explain those things we do.  Once you have got past the initial rush of ideas, theories, and methods, then you need to focus in some areas and think about how psychology might be used and where it might be used.  In the Department, we have an applied focus in what we do.  We want our students to think about how they can use what they are learning in different settings, to try and support people and improve communities and lives.  This can be seen in the placements offered in the degree, and then again in the MSc programmes with their strongly applied work and research emphasis.

What comes after a degree is important, and reflecting on a developing career can help us all to think about what we know of psychology, and what we think we might want to do with the subject that can inspire and frustrate us.  Dan Lawrence graduated a few years back now, and since then has been steadily building his career, completing postgraduate training in forensic psychology with us.  It has been brilliant to see how Dan has progressed over the years, and fascinating to read about his route into a career.  It’s really useful to see this, and see how we can take opportunities that are in front of us.

Reflections on becoming a Forensic Psychologist

My first steps into the ‘world’ of psychology surprisingly stemmed from a keen interest in sports. Up until sixth form I had very little experience or understanding of psychology in its general sense. However, one of my A level choices was Physical Education (P.E.) and one of the modules within this was Sports Psychology which I found fascinating. When it came to choosing my university options I had no idea what to do and ended up picking Psychology at Cardiff Met (then UWIC) as my first choice. I guess my thinking was along the lines of “well I definitely want to play a high level of rugby in the future, UWIC can help with this and that psychology module I did was pretty interesting, so I’ll give it a go”.

The undergraduate degree was a peculiar experience for me.  I remember initially being unenthused about much of the content, which I think related to the broadness of the topics that were being taught. However, my interest didn’t take long to grow and it wasn’t long before modules captured my attention in the same way that the Sports Psychology module had at A level. I noticed early on that it was the programme content which related to mental disorder or crime that I found most interesting (although I also thoroughly enjoyed the Animal Cognition module). This then led me to read about becoming a psychologist and what I needed to do to be one. One thing that was abundantly clear was that, as well as a psychology degree, work experience was paramount. As a result I contacted some people I knew working in one of the prisons in South Wales and I was eventually able to gain a voluntary placement there. I was also able to gain other relevant experience at the time. This along with the Forensic Psychology module in the third year led to my interest in this area to develop further and I knew that in the future I wanted to work in forensic services (either forensic psychiatric or correctional).

justice2-0_web

Next came the Forensic Psychology MSc at Cardiff Met.  My aim initially was to (after gaining more experience) enrol onto the Clinical Psychology Doctorate course, and had not intended to enrol on this course as at the time . After consideration of the various possibilities I decided to do the masters part time whilst also gaining relevant work experience.  I figured that having an MSc would only improve my chances. For me the MSc has been the most enjoyable part of my experience so far. I think this relates to it being focused on the areas of psychology that I find most interesting. I particularly liked the range of modules that related to the forensic application of psychology and the frequent guest lectures that were part of the programme. I found that the lecturers and staff that were involved in this degree were extremely supportive and passionate about the development of forensic psychology. Whilst still enrolled on the masters, I was fortunate enough to obtain an Assistant Psychologist role which would later prove to be invaluable experience.

1_goi_addicted to crime picture

I then applied for the Post Graduate Diploma in Practitioner Forensic Psychology (PGDip) and was fortunate to be accepted for this course. I found this course to be far more challenging (including emotionally challenging) than any of the others that I had completed, which I think was something that I was not fully expecting when I enrolled. I found it to be far less structured and guided than the other courses, which I guess should be expected from a practitioner course as opposed to an academic one, as this certainly encourages autonomy and independence. This is not to say that I did not enjoy the content of the jobs and tasks that I did as part of the PGDip because as I always have, I found the nature of the work that I was doing fascinating and at times, rewarding. There was also some great support available from those involved with the course and the university if needed, which was invaluable. I can honestly say that this course taught me the importance of determination, resilience and making the most of the support that is available, both personally and professionally. Having recently (November 2017) completed the PGDip this marks the end of a long but rewarding journey of studying at Cardiff Met. I am very much looking forward to this next stage in my career, working as a fully qualified Forensic Psychologist.

My advice to others who aspire to work in the field of applied psychology would be to decide early on which area it is that you want to develop a career in. Then make every effort to gain relevant work experience as early as you can, the more the better (you can never pester people enough about offering you experience!). If you are able to gain experience whilst still studying then even better. The ‘world’ of psychology is a competitive place so you need to give yourself the best chance you can.  Also I was always given the advice that at least a 2:1 in my under graduate degree would stand me in good stead for the future, so aim high and work hard! If you know that becoming a psychologist is something that you definitely want then go for it. Stay focused on your goal and don’t give up, even when things are challenging. If I can make it this far you guys can too.

Best wishes and good luck.

A couple of things stand down when reading Dan’s story.  The first is that being interested, and finding that interest, is really important for starting off.  The other thing is that hard work and determination are vital. Dr Nic Bowes, who runs the PGDip Forensic Practitioner Programme emphasises this in her comments:

Dan’s good grounding in Psychology was pivotal in his career progression to become a forensic psychologist.  Gaining a good, deep foundation in psychological theory is essential if you want to go on to practice.  He then completed his MSc whilst working full time in a forensic setting.  This demonstrates both his drive and determination – bit also is very sensible.  It allowed him to experience what it is like to work in a forensic setting and to test whether he thought this was the setting for him.  It also provided some important contacts for him to progress on to supervised practice.  Training in supervised practice is very tough.  It requires students to develop their scientist-practitioner skills.  Students critically reflect on everything they do and every aspect of their practice.  Not just what they do, but how they do it.  Working in forensic settings whilst training is challenging.  Dan’s commitment to his studies and to applying the feedback he received in supervision has been obvious.  He’s going to be a great contributor to forensic psychology practice in the UK and it has been great to be with him on that journey. 

It’s good to see how a career can develop, especially one that will impact on people’s lives.

We’d like to take this opportunity to wish you all the very best for Xmas, and look forward to greeting everyone again in 2018!

Nadolig Llawen a blwyddyn newydd dda!


Datblygu’r Gymraeg mewn Seicoleg

Fel adran Seicoleg, sy’n falch o fod yn rhan o brifysgol yng Nghymru ym mhrifddinas Cymru, yr ydym wedi bod yn awyddus i adlewyrchu treftadaeth iaith llawer o’n myfyrwyr ers nifer o flynyddoedd. Rydyn ni wedi cyfieithu gwaith myfyrwyr, asesiadau a phob math o bethau, ond heb yr ymgysylltiad yr ydym yn ei wir ddymuno. Roedd yn weddol amlwg yr hyn oedd ar goll, sef staff a oedd yn ddigon hyderus i weithio ac addysgu trwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg. Yn ystod y ddwy flynedd ddiwethaf, rydym wedi gwneud penodiadau staff sydd wedi ein galluogi i ddechrau adeiladu’r hyn yr oeddem yn ei ddymuno. Yn y flwyddyn gyntaf, mae gennym yn awr sesiynau tiwtorial a seminarau yn y Gymraeg, sy’n helpu myfyrwyr i weithio a meddwl mewn dwy iaith. Rydym yn cynnig lleoliadau gwaith yn Gymraeg yn yr ail a’r drydedd flwyddyn, gan gynnig cyfle i fyfyrwyr weithio yn y gymuned gyda siaradwyr Cymraeg.

Mae ychwanegu cyfleoedd yn y Gymraeg yn cryfhau ac yn galluogi cysylltiadau agosach â chymunedau ledled Cymru, ac mae’n ychwanegu at amrywiaeth a bywiogrwydd Seicoleg ym Met Caerdydd. Yn y darn canlynol, mae ein cydweithiwr, Dr Mirain Rhys, yn sôn am yr iaith Gymraeg, ei rôl a sut mae hi’n gweithio i adeiladu mwy o gynnwys Cymraeg i’n cwricwlwm.

Seicoleg drwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg ym Met Caerdydd

Mae bob amser yn fy synnu fod rhaid i mi weithiau esbonio fy mod yn dod o gartref lle mai dim ond Cymraeg sy’n cael ei siarad, ac mai Saesneg yw fy ail iaith. Fe’m codwyd mewn tref lle mae dros 70% o’r boblogaeth yn rhugl yn y Gymraeg. Cefais fy addysg yn gyfangwbl trwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg hyd nes fy mod i’n 18 oed. Rwy’n siarad Cymraeg bob dydd ac yr wyf yn ymfalchïo yn esbonio fy mod o gefndir iaith leiafrifol, ac mai fy angerdd am gynhaliaeth ac adfywiad ar gyfer iaith ein gwlad fu’n gyfrifol am fy arwain i’m gyrfa.

Ac nid dim ond fi sydd yn y sefyllfa yma! Addysgir bron i chwarter o’r boblogaeth yng Nghymru trwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg. Maent yn dysgu terminoleg pwnc ac yn cael eu cyfarwyddo drwy’r iaith ac erbyn iddynt orffen addysg orfodol, dylai pob unigolyn fod yn ddwyieithog. Ar ôl i fyfyrwyr orffen yr ysgol, mae addysg yn dod yn ddewis. Mae yna lawer o ddewisiadau i’w gwneud wrth gwrs, a bydd rhai yn penderfynu eu bod am wneud cais i Brifysgol. Yng Nghymru, mae dewis arall yn dechrau ennill momentwm – a ydych chi’n astudio gradd trwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg ai peidio?

Mae’r Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol  yn sefydliad sy’n gweithio ar draws holl Brifysgolion Cymru. Ei brif nod yw darparu addysg uwch cyfrwng Cymraeg mewn amrywiaeth o bynciau. Bu nifer o lwyddiannau amrywiol, a gall myfyrwyr ledled Cymru bellach astudio rhan, neu ei gradd gyfan yn y celfyddydau, gwyddorau, gwyddorau cymdeithasol neu gradd iechyd trwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg. Mae’n gwneud llawer o synnwyr i barhau i astudio yn yr iaith y cynhaliwyd y rhan fwyaf o’ch addysg ynddi. Rydych eisoes yn ymwybodol o’r derminoleg sy’n gysylltiedig a byddwch mae’n debyg yn ddefnyddiwr cymwys o’r derminoleg honno yn Saesneg yn ogystal â’ch astudiaethau gradd. Mae dwyieithrwydd yn eich gwasanaethu’n dda fel myfyriwr graddedig mewn marchnad lafur gystadleuol gyson. Mae angen llawer o weithwyr Cymraeg eu hiaith i lawer o ddiwydiannau i gyflawni eu busnes, ac mae hyn yn arbennig o wir am raddedigion y Gwyddorau Iechyd; Mae seicoleg yn rhan bwysig o’r gwyddorau iechyd. Dychmygwch fod eisiau siarad â rhywun am bethau anodd yn eich bywyd, ond rhaid i chi wneud hynny gan ddefnyddio geiriau a thermau nad ydych chi’n teimlo’n gyfforddus â nhw.

MResiedfoddod

Mirain yn yr Eisteddfod yn barod i siarad am y mythau am Seicoleg.

Rwyf bellach wedi bod yn aelod o staff yn yr adran Seicoleg Gymhwysol ers ychydig dros flwyddyn. Un o gyfrifoldebau fy swydd fel darlithydd Seicoleg sy’n siarad Cymraeg yw cefnogi myfyrwyr sydd wedi cwblhau’r rhan fwyaf o’u haddysg trwy’r Gymraeg a’u bod bellach yn trosglwyddo i brofiad ieithyddol gwahanol iawn.

Eleni, rydym wedi dechrau darparu darpariaeth cyfrwng Cymraeg. Y nod yw paratoi’r ffordd i’r myfyrwyr hynny a allai deimlo bod mynd o gael eu haddysgu yn yr ysgol neu’r coleg mewn un iaith i’w haddysgu ar lefel gradd mewn un arall, yn ogystal â’r holl bryderon eraill sy’n dod wrth ddechrau Prifysgol, yn llethol.  Cynigir tiwtorial dwyieithog i fyfyrwyr blwyddyn gyntaf lle datblygir eu medrau astudio i gyd-fynd â’u darlithoedd cynnwys. Darperir yr un deunydd cyfrwng Saesneg i’r myfyrwyr â’r grwpiau eraill, ond mae gennym drafodaethau yn y Gymraeg sy’n ymwneud â’u sgiliau trawsieithu, un o’r manteision niferus o siarad mwy nag un iaith!

wcommun

Ein nod ar gyfer y dyfodol yw parhau i weithio’n agos gyda’r Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol i ddatblygu modiwlau a gredydir a fydd ar gael trwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg. Rwyf ar hyn o bryd yn ymchwilio i ddichonoldeb datblygu darpariaeth cyfrwng Cymraeg ar gyfer yr ysgol gyfan gyda’r nod o ddarparu data craff i’r Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol ar yr heriau a’r cyfleoedd, o ymgorffori’r Gymraeg i mewn i lawer o adrannau parod. Bydd yr hyn yr ydym yn ei wneud yn yr adran Seicoleg yn helpu gyda’r datblygiadau hyn a bydd mwy o bostiadau blog yn dilyn y datblygiadau cyffrous hyn.

Wrth gwrs, nid pob myfyriwr all siarad Cymraeg, ac nid pawb sy’n gallu ei defnyddio o fewn eu haddysg. Ond bydd yr elfen o ddewis sy’n hollbwysig ym mhob sefyllfa ieithoedd lleiafrifol yn cael ei ymgorffori ymhellach i Seicoleg ym Mhrifysgol Metropolitan Caerdydd fel y gall pob myfyriwr barhau â’u taith addysgol trwy’r naill neu’r llall o ieithoedd swyddogol Cymru.

Yn ystod haf 2017, mynychodd Mirain yr Eisteddfod gyda chydweithwyr o’r adran Seicoleg, a chafodd ei dal ar gamera gan S4C:

Mirain ar S4C yn yr Eisteddfod

Rwy’n falch iawn o’r ffordd yr ydym yn cefnogi Cymraeg yn allanol yn awr, a gellir gweld hyn yn cael ei adlewyrchu mewn sylwadau gan ein cydweithiwr, Dr Delyth James:

Ymunais â’r Adran Seicoleg Gymhwysol ym Mhrifysgol Metropolitan Caerdydd yn 2015, ar ôl gweithio ym Mhrifysgol Caerdydd ers dros ddeng mlynedd. Yno yn yr Ysgol Fferylliaeth, datblygais y ddarpariaeth Gymraeg ar draws pob un o’r rhaglenni ôl-raddedig 4-blynedd ar gyfer y Radd mewn Fferylliaeth, gan ganolbwyntio’n bennaf ar ddatblygu sgiliau cyfathrebu ac ymgynghori myfyrwyr a fferyllfeydd ac ymarferwyr yn y Gymraeg (neu’n ddwyieithog).

Pan ymunais â Phrifysgol Met Caerdydd, roeddwn wrth fy modd dod o hyd i amgylchedd croesawgar a chefnogol i barhau â’r gwaith hwn ac ehangu’r ddarpariaeth Gymraeg i weithwyr gofal iechyd proffesiynol eraill a myfyrwyr seicoleg. Rydym yn cydweithio’n agos â chydweithwyr ar draws Prifysgolion eraill yng Nghymru a’r Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol. Er enghraifft, cyflwynodd Mirain a minnau yn ddiweddar weithdy Cymraeg ar gyfer myfyrwyr Meddygol a Fferylliaeth ym Mhrifysgol Caerdydd ar y testun ‘Dibynniaeth’ (Addiction).

Rwy’n siŵr y byddai Mirain a Dan yn cytuno â mi fod yna brysurdeb gwirioneddol ac ymdeimlad o frwdfrydedd yn y Brifysgol ar gyfer meithrin a defnyddio ein sgiliau iaith Gymraeg o ddydd i ddydd yn y gweithle ac wrth baratoi ar gyfer cyfleoedd cyflogaeth myfyrwyr yng Nghymru ar ôl iddynt raddio.

Mae yna lawer o frwdfrydedd dros gefnogi ac annog ein holl fyfyrwyr i ddatblygu sgiliau ar gyfer y dyfodol, ac rydym yn ymfalchïo yn y gwaith rhagorol y mae myfyrwyr yn ei wneud gyda’n holl bartneriaid lleoliadau. Rydym am ddarparu’r sgiliau angenrheidiol i’r myfyrwyr ar gyfer y dyfodol, ac un ffordd y gallwn ni wneud hynny yw cydnabod pwysigrwydd iaith wrth ymgysylltu â’r cymunedau o’n cwmpas. Mae’r mentrau Cymraeg yr ydym wedi’u dechrau yn cyfoethogi ein hadran, ac mae canlyniadau cyffredinol ehangach i ni i gyd y tu hwnt i’n gwaith bob dydd. Edrychaf ymlaen at ddangos mwy o waith iaith a lleoliadau’r adran!