I am now completing my final year at Sheffield Hallam University, in which there has definitely been an emphasis on readying students for the world of work, while also giving us the best possible preparation and insight into what the APC is all about.
Throughout the professional studies module, we have been asked to submit a shorter, more condensed version of our case study. We have then had an interview that follows broadly the same process as the final assessment. This has enabled me to find minor issues in my submission that may otherwise have been overlooked, while the mini interview and presentation allowed me to pick up on any shortcomings I may have. I believe this process of evaluation is crucial, at this time especially, as it gives me the chance to deal with any issues that have been flagged up to my supervisor. Working together, we can ensure that these are resolved before the final submission.
As we move closer to that stage, we have here at Assent a process of setting up mock interviews and presentations using different members of our own team and other external assessors in a three-person panel. By using different mock assessors who may not know me particularly well, we will be able to get different, honest views on where I am at, and where I may fall short when it comes to the real thing. These external assessors will also be able to probe me on competencies that I may not have conveyed particularly clearly in my actual submission, which in-house assessors may overlook as they know my skill set.
During this final year of university, I have had the sense that all the work we are doing is geared towards ensuring students will not be fazed when it come to the final APC assessment. In the conservation module, for example, our first assessment was a presentation on a topic of our own choice that we had to give to the entire class. I feel that this is highly beneficial since it is a way of exposing us to situations that we may not be used to, while providing us with skills that will also help us in the workplace.
As I was preparing myself for this assessment, it became clear that not only did I find it very useful to practise giving the presentation to friends and family, I also enjoyed imparting the knowledge I have gained to others. So I agreed with my supervisor that, once we had established some specific areas for improvement, I would work to produce several presentations that I could give to different members of my support team over the next few months.
In the workplace, my supervisors have taken various measures to ensure that both my training and my actual work are successful. Although my APC is obviously important, I must not lose sight of the fact that I am employed by a business that has targets and budgets to meet.
Some areas in my required knowledge base unfortunately cannot be achieved through the work that we do at Assent, though, one of which is looking at safety at sports grounds. But this is an area that is covered by local authority building control. Thanks to the skills and breadth of knowledge of the staff at Assent, we have been provided with several hours of training on this topic, carrying out mock walk-throughs at Salford City FC and being placed in theoretical situations such as what extra precautions should be taken by stadium staff when there are strong winds or rain. Although this is not an ideal substitute for actual matchday experiences, it is a good alternative to ensure we are not left with gaps in our training. We have also carried out similar sessions looking into dangerous structures.