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New skills initiative is a ‘gamechanger’ for Bristol students

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New skills initiative is a ‘gamechanger’ for Bristol students

Students can now build, track and evidence the skills they learn at the University of Bristol through an interactive online platform.

Launched today, the Bristol Skills Profile helps students develop themselves in nine areas so they can thrive both at university and after graduating.

Building skills alongside students’ technical and theoretical knowledge has long been a key part of learning at Bristol.

But using the latest data from employers and global NGOs, the Bristol Skills Profile brings together these learnings into a pathway of key skills. It helps students assess strengths and weaknesses, learn new skills and take 20-minute assessments to prove they have developed in these areas.

Students can then use their skills profile when applying for jobs. Skills they could showcase include teamwork, using language effectively, problem solving, organisation, fostering good physical and mental health, digital skills, career planning and more.

The Bristol Skills Profile was launched at an event attended by over 100 University educators and hosted by the Careers Service, which has instigated the initiative.

Speaking to the crowd, Prof Tansy Jessop, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education and Students, said that studying at university should give students “real meaning and purpose”.

“Bristol Skills Profile has enduring value, it speaks to the whole person as a student,” she said. “It’s not about one aspect of a person, it’s about the whole human being: cognition, emotions, heart and head, the knowledge they learn and the analytical skills they derive.

“It speaks to the idea that soft skills matter as well as technical skills. You do need to know your stuff to build bridges and aeroplanes, but you also need to know about persuasion, negotiation, and teamwork.

“Bristol Skills Profile is gamechanger for students and a step change for the University.”

Prof Jessop added that the skills profile will give students a “realistic perception” of their strengths and skills gaps. “It’s about self-awareness,” she said.

The skills platform was built using data from employers and organisations like the World Economic Forum, the Higher Education Policy Institute, Wonkhe and the Institute of Student Employers.

The skills profile is simple and intuitive for students to use. It outlines nine high-level skills, broken down into digestible parts, in reader-friendly language. It aims to prompt reflection, conversation and self-awareness.

The skills students learn at Bristol embrace academic and intellectual skills, as well as the interpersonal skills which really matter in bringing ideas to life. Uniquely, it encompasses skills about being proactive in managing wellbeing. It also enables students to identify how well they are doing, for example if they are proficient or advanced at a skill.

Stuart Johnson, Director of the University’s Careers Service, told the crowd that Bristol Skills would “future proof” students as they head out into the world of work.

Meanwhile, Nicole Antoine, University Undergraduate Education Office, talked about the student perspective on skills, University Physics Professor Annela Seddon about the academic perspective and James Darley, CEO at Transform Society, about the employer perspective.

The event also featured a panel discussion on skills with employees from across the University, and discussion groups.

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