The Working with Industry Blended Programme was developed in partnership with Kings College London to address 2 specific challenges.
1.) Depending on the study, anywhere from 75%-95% of PhD students will end up with a career outside of Academia. That means that most PhD students will be exploring careers in industry. So, now more than ever it’s important for PhD students to develop transferable skills that will allow them to excel in industry.
2.) PhD students have extremely busy schedules and it’s often hard for them to find the time to commit to anything that doesn’t immediately impact the completion of their PhD.
The Working with Industry Blended Programme was run for 35 Life Science PhD students in the final year of their PhD. It combined a blend of on-line learning, virtual mentoring, self-directed learning, application activities and live interactive workshops. This is a new approach was designed to equip PhD students with a set of powerful tools, skills and know-how, while fitting with their extremely busy schedule. This blended approach that brings together the benefits of on-line skills development and the benefits of live, face to face training.
The Working with Industry Programme was designed to achieve 3 objectives:
- To help PhD students get the job they want after the completion of their PhDs.
- To help PhD students be immediately more effective when working with/in industry.
- To help PhD students more effectively “speak the language” of industry, allowing them to engage with industry with more confidence and for greater impact.
The programme was organised into 4 key modules which were explored over 4 weeks:
Module 1: Understanding Industry – Learners enhanced their knowledge of a specific industry of their choice, while learning a process for understanding the key dynamics of any industry.
Module 2: Understanding Business – Participants learned how to quickly understand the motivations of any business. This helped them to understand how to effectively engage with businesses either as an employee or an external resource. The skills learned in this module will be extremely valuable in any interview process.
Module 3: Communicating with Industry – Learners explored strategies for connecting with key influencers, understanding the context they work in, while developing communication skills to help achieve their desired outcomes.
Module 4: Careers in Industry – Participants explored a range of possible career paths while learning form former PhD students who are currently active in industry. They also learned how to position themselves to be more attractive to potential employers and stand-out from the crowd.
The blended approach includes the following key components:
- Kick-off Workshop (1/2 day) – In this workshop we introduce key concepts and importantly start to establish a cohort effect. Participants learn key tools and importantly they have the opportunity to network with their peers.
- 4 webinars (weekly) – Each webinar lasts about 1 hour and covers a specific module. The webinars are recorded so participants can review later. Each webinar is led by an expert in that specific content area.
- Application Activities – Each webinar concludes with an application assignment participants are expected to complete prior to the next webinar.
- On-line Learning Platform – The course has a dedicated on-line learning portal where participants are able to access additional content that supports each module. The content is a combination of videos, downloadable tools and short comprehension “quizzes”. Participants also upload their completed application activities o the platform.
- Application Feedback – The lead trainer provides individual feedback for each participant’s application activity.
- Final Workshop (1-day) – The final workshop is an opportunity for the participants to come together and apply their new skills in a live setting. Additionally, we typically organise a diverse panel of former PhD students who are working in/with industry in a variety of different ways. This workshop is a fantastic opportunity for additional networking applied learning.
After the initial pilot, this programme is being developed further and will be offered again to King’s College PhD students in 2019. This programme is now being made available to other PhD programmes. Skillfluence is currently developing blended programmes for other subject areas. Contact us for more details.