The Global Professional Award (GPA) is another opportunity which the University of Huddersfield offers for the duration of your course. It was introduced to us during the induction phase of our course to help familiarise us to University life. The program aims to help develop our employability and enterprise skills, global citizenship skills, and to improve my overall wellbeing. Once I have completed the program, I’ll receive an internationally recognised Charted Management Institute (CMI) Level 5 certification.
The certification will likely give an advantage when it comes to applying for graduate jobs. In my case, that would be in the field of Environmental Management. Having the CMI qualification supplementary to my degree will help demonstrate to employers that I can adapt my skills to the workplace setting.
Firstly, Employability and Enterprise - in my opinion, what makes the GPA program different from any other careers-based seminars I've attended. Instead of jumping straight into CV writing, we are encouraged to reflect on our priorities - personal, academic and work. Then we broaden our commercial awareness by exploring what graduate jobs are on offer.
The skills which we learn from the interactive sessions such as resilience and collaborative leadership are put into practice in our daily lives. Whether that's on my course when climbing mountains in the Peak District and being able to work collaboratively on field projects. Or being self-motivated working on my own, at a local supermarket's in-store bakery. Then in my ‘free’ time, I enjoy developing my enterprise skills with my freelance photography business and market stall which supports local charities.
When it comes to creating a CV, we have access to CMI's member resources, and it includes tools to help prepare, write and check your CV. This shows that each session builds upon one another, so when it comes to tackling a task like a CV, it seems less daunting.
Secondly, Global Citizenship Skills are continually being developed. With the world always changing at an unprecedented rate, it can be difficult for our perceptions to change at the same pace. As part of the GPA, we have engaging lectures, where we confront subjects such as privilege, identities, unconscious bias and harassment. Because of conversations like this, it helps me become not only a better person but also a more conscious employee.
Thirdly, for many (including myself), starting university can be an unnerving experience. However, the program allows you to take yourself away from your studies and gives a chance to reflect on your wellbeing. In small groups, led by a staff member, we openly discussed our thoughts, feelings and emotions. Then staff may suggest strategies to improve our resilience and overall mental health. In my view, ‘any success starts with you’, therefore, having a positive mindset will dramatically help with your studies and future career.
In summary, what makes the GPA program an invaluable experience, is that it encourages you to consider your employment opportunities from the beginning of your degree. As a first year student, I feel more confident about my graduate employment prospects and having a clearer picture of what the future might hold.
The workload has been manageable alongside my first year degree work and the hours you need to commit will become less as you progress through your degree, making it a manageable project. However, if you do begin to struggle or fall behind, you will be assigned a GPA tutor to help you reach the deadlines and support you through the process.
If I could summarise the experience in one word, it would be 'transformational.'
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