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.
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.
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!
As a Psychology department proudly part of a Welsh university in the capital of Wales, we have wanted to reflect the language heritage of many of our students for a number of years. We have translated student work, assessments and all sorts of things, but without the take up that we really desired. It was fairly obvious what was missing, staff who were confident enough to work and teach through Welsh. In the last two years, we have made staff appointments that have enabled us to start to build what we wanted. In the first year, we now have tutorials and seminars in Welsh, which help students work in and think in two languages. We offer service learning placements in Welsh in both the second and third years, offering students the chance to work in the community with Welsh speakers.
The addition of Welsh language opportunities strengthens and enables closer links with communities across Wales, and adds to the diversity and vibrancy of Psychology at Cardiff Met. In the following piece, our colleague Dr Mirain Rhys, talks about Welsh language, her role and how she is working to build more Welsh language content into our curriculum.
Welsh Psychology at Cardiff Metropolitan
It always surprises me that sometimes I have to explain that I come from a home where only Welsh is spoken, and that English is my second language. I was raised in a town where over 70% of the population are fluent in Welsh. I was educated solely through the medium of Welsh until I was 18. I speak Welsh every day and I take pride explaining that I am from a minority language background, and that my passion for our country’s language maintenance and revitalisation led me to my career.
And it’s not just me! Almost a quarter of the population of Wales are educated through the medium of Welsh. They learn subject terminology and are instructed through the language and by the time they finish compulsory education, each individual should be bilingual. After students finish school, education becomes a choice. There are many choices to make of course, and some will find themselves deciding on and applying to a University. In Wales, another choice is beginning to gain momentum – do you study a degree through the medium of Welsh or not?
The Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol (Welsh national college) is an organisation that works across all Welsh Universities. Its main aim is to provide Welsh medium higher education in a variety of subjects. There have been various success stories, and students across Wales are now able to study part or all of their arts, sciences, social sciences or health degree through the medium of Welsh. It makes a lot of sense to continue studying in the language that most of your education was conducted in. You are already aware of the terminology involved and will most probably be a competent user of said terminology in English as well through your degree studies. Bilingualism serves you well as a graduate in an ever-competitive labour market. Many industries need Welsh speaking employees to carry out their business, and this is especially true of Health Sciences graduates. Psychology is an important part of health sciences. Imagine wanting to talk to someone about difficult things in your life, but having to do so using words and terms you don’t feel as comfortable with.
I have now been a member of staff at the department of Applied Psychology for just over a year. One remit of my position as a Welsh speaking Psychology lecturer is to support students who have completed most of their education through Welsh and are now transitioning to a very different linguistic experience.
This year, we have begun to provide Welsh medium provision. The aim is to pave the way for those students who might feel that going from being educated at school or college in one language to being educated at degree level though another, as well as all the other anxieties that come with starting at Uni, is overwhelming.First year students are offered a bilingual tutorial where their study skills are developed to aide with their content lectures. Students are provided with the same English medium material as the other groups, but we have discussions in Welsh which engages their translanguaging skills, one of the many benefits of speaking more than one language!
Our aim for the future is to continue to work closely with the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol to develop credited modules which will be available through the medium of Welsh. I am currently researching the feasibility of developing Welsh medium provision for the whole school with the aim of providing Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol with insightful data on the challenges, and the opportunities, of incorporating the Welsh language into many willing departments. What we’re doing within the Psychology department will help with these developments and there will be more blog posts to follow on these exciting developments.
Of course, not all students can speak Welsh, and not all that can want to use it within their education. But the element of choice which is vitally important in every minority language situation will be incorporated further into Psychology at Cardiff Metropolitan University so that each student can continue their educational journey through either of Wales’ official languages.
In the summer of 2017, Mirain attended the Eisteddfod with colleagues from Psychology, and was caught on camera by S4C:
I am very pleased with the way that we are outwardly supporting Welsh now, and this can be seen reflected in comments from our colleague Dr Delyth James:
I joined the Applied Psychology Department at Cardiff Metropolitan University in 2015, having worked at Cardiff University for over ten years. There at the School of Pharmacy, I developed the Welsh language provision across all 4-years of the Pharmacy Degree plus postgraduate programmes, focusing mainly on developing pharmacy students’ and practitioners’ communication and consultation skills in Welsh (or bilingually).
When I joined Cardiff Met Uni, I was delighted to find a welcoming and supportive environment to continue with this work and expanding Welsh language provision to other healthcare professionals and psychology students. We work closely with colleagues across other Universities in Wales and the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol. For example, Mirain and I recently delivered a Welsh language workshop for Medical and Pharmacy students at Cardiff University on the topic of ‘Addiction’.
I’m sure Mirain and Dan would agree with me that there is a real buzz and sense of enthusiasm in the University for nurturing and using our Welsh language skills on a day to day basis in the workplace and in preparation for students’ employment opportunities in Wales after they graduate.
There is a lot of enthusiasm for supporting and encouraging all our students to develop skills for the future, and we take pride in the excellent work students do with all our placement partners. We want to provide students with the necessary skills for the future, and one way we can do that is in recognising the importance of language in engaging with the communities around us. The Welsh initiatives we have started enrich our department, and have broad consequences for us all beyond are everyday work. I look forward to showcasing more of the language and placement work of the department!
We have been offering volunteering opportunities within the BSc (Hons) Psychology programme for a number of years, and have rapidly expanded the number of organisations that we work with in the last four years. The placement opportunities offered in the second and third year provide students with work experience and helps them develop other practical skills that supplement and support the academic side of the programme. Hannah Rowlands recently published a guest blog (http://studentblogs.cardiffmet.ac.uk/a-day-in-the-life-of-a-third-year-psychology-student/ ) about her routines at Cardiff Met, which made us think it would be interesting to ask if she would write something more specific for us. Here is her blog about volunteering:
I chose to study psychology at Cardiff Met primarily because of it is applied nature. This course stood out to me as it allows its undergrads to develop a range of important employability skills. These skills are developed through the vast range of placement partners on offer!
Hence I chose to do the second year option Work, Volunteering and Placement module. Through this module I could apply for a range of placements Cardiff Met offers, such as placements in clinical settings to charity based community projects. There were so many to choose from and I was really unsure of which direction to head in but eventually I applied for Safer Wales Inclusive Service. This involved one-to-one and group sessions with a focus of encouraging positive lifestyle choices to the service users at risk of sexual exploitation. During the course of this placement I was given the opportunity to complete mentoring training. This consisted of a day’s workshop going thorough all aspects of mentoring, and afterwards we were expected to complete a booklet to evidence our understanding. These were then marked by our supervisors at Safer Wales and we were informed if we had passed the course. This helped me a lot on my placement when advising and mentoring the service users, and will aid me in the future on other projects.
The placement supervision consisted of the placement provider completing an assessment grid evaluating my personal employability skills. Additionally, I had to complete a placement incident report. The focus of this was to evaluate my response to an incident of my choice that occurred during the course of my placement. I had to justify the reasons for my behaviour and what I would do differently in future to respond to a similar situation.
Due to the rewarding nature of this placement I also applied for extra volunteering at Whitchurch Hospital through a charity called Student Volunteering Cardiff. Throughout the volunteering I worked with adults who had an acquired brain injury. This was a really interesting experience as working in a clinical setting allowed me to see the difficulties the patient’s face when having mental health issues.
As you can imagine both of these volunteering programmes helped me to develop many key skills, like working in a confidential manner in professional settings, understanding appropriate ways to communicate with both professionals and service users and my confidence and ability to lead activities with service users. These skills will prove important in my later career in psychology. With this in mind I would definitely recommended anyone to get involved in the amazing number of placement partners Cardiff Met has to offer. Not only will it help you develop important skills and be great experience for your CV, but most importantly it is really rewarding and helps you see psychology applied in the real world!
We think it is great that Hannah recognises how she is developing and building skills. The Module Leader, Alison Walker, added this:
Community based placements offer students the opportunity to apply their learning in a range of contexts and gain valuable experience for their CV, whilst at the same time learning about the issues that impact on the local community. The model used by the department means that students are supported through the application process and are provided with 1:1 support for their individualised assessments. It’s great to see how Hannah recognises how she has developed skills in professional contexts.
Much earlier this year I left the office late, and in the dark outside the Student Union was a small group of students standing in the mud behind a small desk glowing with the soft light of candles. This turned out to be STAR raising awareness of the plight of refugees entering the UK. I was impressed by their support for people trying to make sense of a new culture and helping them to adapt to the country that had hopefully provided them some security.
One of our first year students, Wasim Reza, was standing behind the desk that day, and he has written this blog about the important work of STAR:
Cardiff Met STAR (Student Action for Refugees) is a new society for this academic year. The Society is affiliated with a national charity called STAR in order to help welcome Refugees and Asylum seekers to the UK. STAR national aims to better the lives of Asylum seekers and Refugees in the UK, and they do this through campaigning and educating people about refugees and asylum seekers. STAR is made up of 13,000 student volunteers from over 30 universities from across the UK.
Cardiff Met STAR has held a number of fundraiser and awareness events over the past academic year, for example, a candlelit vigil highlighting how thousands of lives have been lost by refugees and asylum seekers who take an overseas route to Europe from Turkey and Libya in an attempt to flee conflict in their home country. The vigil was held on International Humanitarian Rights Day to emphasize and remind people that all humans have the same rights and that we cannot turn our backs simply because it’s not on our doorstep. Cardiff Met STAR has worked to change the sometimes negative view people in the UK hold towards refugees and asylum seekers by showing the film “Dirty Pretty Things” in which themes of both the humanity and exploitation of refugees are explored.
Cardiff Met STAR has also campaigned to make the routes to Europe safer for refugees and asylum seekers while they are traveling to safer countries by supporting petitions like “Safe Routes Save Lives,” which hopes to ensure that there are adequate search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean. Cardiff Met STAR, in partnership with STAR, sent a petition to Downing Street on behalf of all the societies working with the national charity to gain the attention of the Prime Minister in order to try and make a difference in the lives of refugees and asylum seekers.
The Society helps refugees and asylum seekers improve their English Language skills by sponsoring an informal English conversation club held once a week at the Oasis Centre in Splott. The sessions are broken into two parts, both an hour each. In the first half, volunteers build rapport with the refugees and asylum seekers, getting to know them and their stories (where they have come from, what their cultures are and to explain other cultures to them). The second half focusses on a slightly more formal English class where the refugees and asylum seekers are in a classroom setting in which the they have the time and opportunity to practise their English. The English language club at the Oasis Centre has been a huge success and there have been more than 35 refugees and asylum seekers in the class. It can be a lot for volunteers at times, however it is a very friendly and supportive atmosphere and everyone encourages and helps each other.
Cardiff Met STAR is not just a society within the university as it has had a positive impact on the greater Cardiff community as well. It gives volunteers an opportunity to help refugees and asylum seekers in who may not have received this kind of support otherwise. For students who are not from Cardiff, it gives them an opportunity to get to know the city of Cardiff better and sometimes learn from the refugees and asylum seekers, some of whom have lived in Cardiff longer than the students. It is a learning experience for both parties, and volunteers go not just to teach but also to learn. Many of our volunteers have picked up a few words of other languages, such as Arabic, and it looks good on a CV as it improves skills such as communication, working with people from different cultures and backgrounds, teamwork and teaching skills.
In the new academic year, Cardiff Met STAR will continue the weekly English conversation club as well as holding events and socials in support of Refugees and Asylum seekers across the UK and beyond. We hope to see you next year!
STAR won the Cardiff Met Student Union Society Award this year for the best Contribution to the Community! This is a much-deserved award and recognition of the work put in by all the volunteers. Please do get involved!
In the spring term of 2012 the Department of Applied Psychology ran a volunteering fair for students. The idea was to bring in third sector organisations so that students could find out about different volunteering opportunities. It went well, and while chatting about it later someone had the idea that we could build on the fair by having a full day that would include information for each level, keynote speakers and, of course, the volunteering fair. At the end of February, we held our third undergraduate conference, with attendees from all years and the Foundation in Social Sciences Programme too. We seem to have come a long way in four years.
The day started at 1030 with around 300 delegates in the main hall. Dr Dan Heggs introduced the day, before a brief talk by careers, and then the keynote speaker, who had come all the way from Aberystwyth University. Saffron Passam talked about her doctoral research, looking at employability and identity. Saffron started with outlining a brief history of employability considering a shift in thinking from a focus on the unemployable, to the idea of a career and improving productivity as part of human capital, before introducing the idea of the protean worker who has choice, skills and is flexible. Saffron then talked about the findings from her research, looking at what employability means for students completing degrees. Saffron’s talk was an excellent way to start the day, with a focus on skills and how they can be seen but also as a way of thinking about how psychology can be used to understand and grasp complex issues. Saffron’s enthusiasm and care for her topic shone through, and that was really appreciated by all.
The year groups then went their different ways, for sessions that would help them prepare for the next level of the programme, and also to later meet volunteer partners over lunch at the fair. For students already volunteering it was an opportunity to see other areas of work, and for those considering where they might like to gain experience they could see a number of our partners. There was also an opportunity to find out about Erasmus exchanges and applied projects with partners.
The final session of the day included presentation from Rachel Roberts and Stuart Abbott about the Healthy University initiative, and was followed by the keynote talk by Dr Debbie Clayton entitled Psychology Isn’t Just About Reading Minds. These two showed how we all need to be able to recognise our skills, and to be able to work together to improve our environments. Debbie talked about COAL (http://www.cardiffmet.ac.uk/health/research/Pages/Center-for-Outdoor-Activities-and-Leisure.aspx) and her research in outdoor activity showing how outdoor and green exercise, linking how psychology students have the skills and knowledge appropriate for helping meet policy agendas for the Welsh Government’s Future Generations Act (http://gov.wales/topics/people-and-communities/people/future-generations-bill/future-generations-act-video/?lang=en).
Catherine Harrison from Career Development Services said ‘Being part of the conference and having an information stand at the employability event was a great way of meeting students, talking to them about work experience opportunities and making job applications.’
The presentations at the beginning and end of the day offered an opportunity to critically reflect on the purpose the day, programme and skills gained through it. As always, thanks need to go to Alison, Helen G., Nick, Leanne E., and Shamima, and staff and especially students for helping out on the day. We look forward now to next year!
This year is an exciting year in the Department of Applied Psychology as we witness the launch of the Psychological Literacy Award. The Department has shown a continued dedication to developing graduate level skills and attributes of our students:
We have become increasingly aware that many of our students are involved in activities outside of the academic BSc Programme that are enhancing their skills, for example:
We would like to be able to acknowledge students who are developing their practical capabilities and will be able to do this with the Psychological Literacy Award. The award is separate to the academic qualification of the Psychology BSc (Hons) Programme, but will allow students to develop a range of transferrable skills and practical knowledge about psychology that will enhance their understanding of the discipline.
For some time now the changing nature of the graduate work market has meant that students are under increasing pressure to demonstrate employment skills and psychology students are very well placed to meet the demands of the workplace. It has been acknowledged that “over the longer term, psychologically literate graduates will be able to demonstrate personal and social responsibility that will make them highly valued global citizens” (Mair, Taylor & Hulme, 2013, p. 15). According to McGovern and colleagues (2010) psychological literacy includes: having a critical knowledge of psychology, acting ethically, communicating effectively, taking an amiable skeptic approach to problem solving and applying psychological principles to the broader community. These are qualities and skills that psychology students have which will lead to successful careers. We know that many students are volunteering, enhancing research skills and applying psychological knowledge outside of the confines of the academic degree and we want to document this psychologically literate way of engaging with the world through the Psychological Literacy Award.
The main goal of the award is to recognise the practical and transferrable skills that psychology students apply to develop their professional and local communities. In order to meet the criteria for the Psychological Literacy Award you will need to complete and evidence the following:
- 24 credits from the Participant Panel to demonstrate an applied knowledge of psychological research methods and ethics
- 30 hours of volunteering to facilitate the development of interpersonal and employability skills
- Attendance at three relevant events (such as training courses or guest lectures) to develop discipline and professional
- Attendance at the Department of Applied Psychology Careers Conference to increase employability awareness
- Attendance at the Department of Applied Psychology Student Conference to enhance critical and creative thinking
All students currently enrolled on the Psychology BSc (Hons) Programme will be eligible to take part in the award and will receive a passport for evidencing their activities during induction activities.
Students completing the Psychological Literacy Award will also still be able to complete the Cardiff Met Award, as many of our psychology students have done in the past:
We have worked closely with the Students Union to ensure that the awards synchronise and students are able to use attendance at even
ts and volunteering hours for both awards (e.g. the 30 hours volunteering for the Psychological Literacy Award can contribute to the hours needed for the Cardiff Met Award). More details about the Cardiff Met Award can be found here:
The Psychological Literacy Award will be officially launched on Thursday October the 15th by Professor Tony Chapman, President and Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff Metropolitan University. More details of the launch event will be advertised closer to the time and tickets to the event can be collected from the Taught Programmes Office (D110).
If you would like to find out more about psychological literacy and the Psychological Literacy Award please follow us on Twitter: @PsychLiteracy
Students can also find out more about the Psychological Literacy Award via Moodle.