Author – Francesca Walker, Senior Lecturer, Lancashire Business School, University of Central Lancashire (UK)
The research undertaken by the University of Central Lancashire’s Business School into the reasons why students were opting out of placements Beyond Placement Extinction (2010) revealed the level of support that the student of the 21st Century requires in order to obtain not just a work placement, but also a graduate role. As a direct result of this research, a number of support and development mechanisms were put into place across the school. One of these mechanisms is the highly ambitious programme, LaunchPad.
Developed in 2010 and run for the first time in 2011, LaunchPad is an extra-curricular leadership development programme for students within the Lancashire Business School. The programme is highly competitive and is open to only the most committed students who are chosen via an intense selection programme. Students entering the second year of their studies can apply for one of the 20 places; if successful they then remain on the programme until graduation.
During the two-year period the students will develop a range of skills including:
- Team working
- Personal branding
- Effective communication
- Problem solving
Each student is required to undertake either a 48 week placement or a ‘live’ project in which they work with a company on an identified issue. Included within the LaunchPad programme is an overseas study tour. Another major element of LaunchPad is that it provides successful students with an additional qualification, a Certificate in Leadership from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and membership of the IoD, together with an industrial mentor.
The workshop aims to provide delegates with:
- Some key messages to those delegates working with or wishing to further develop highly motivated students;
- An opportunity to learn how we gain employer mentors;
- The opportunity to share good practice;
- An interactive experience in which views are shared and recorded;
- A number of visual tools to access which show (a) the views of employers and (b) how creative students in a highly competitive market need to be.