Three of our 824 PASS Leaders were lucky enough to come with us to the European Leader PASS/PAL Conference. These PASS Leaders were from Pharmacy, Religions & Theology and Chemical Engineering representing our three faculties.
A team of student and staff delegates represented University of Manchester at the 8th Annual European Leader PASS/PAL Conference in Cork, Ireland (November 3rd-5th). This conference saw PASS and Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) delegates from over 30 institutions across Europe come together to share, collaborate and create. The conference was jam-packed with team working activities, insightful sessions for student delegates and plenty of opportunity to develop friendships and learn from schemes across Europe.
This year’s theme was ‘The Power of We’ as PASS/PAL is all about collaborative learning. Our student delegates are working together on a programme of dissemination activities within their Schemes, Faculties and across the institution. One of these activities was a presentation at the most recent Peer Support Network event on December 6th. If you have any further questions please feel free to contact email@example.com
Photo – Left to Right: Lauren - Pharmacy Y1 Leader, James - Chemical Engineering Leader, Giles - Religions and Theology Leader, Zac - Peer Support Graduate Intern, Isabella – Teaching and Learning Advisor (Student Engagement)
Here is what our delegates thought about the whole experience:
What was your favourite part of the conference?
My favourite part of the conference was taking part in the workshops as they made us think about things regarding our PASS sessions that we probably hadn’t given much thought to previously, such as conflict management and different learning styles. – Lauren
My favourite part of the conference was the traditional Irish dancing included on our first night, we were in Ireland after all! - Giles
Learning about other institutions' PASS/PAL schemes, I learnt how to adapt and cater for different personalities within my PASS groups from the conference. - James
What key message from the conference would you share with other PASS Leaders at The University of Manchester?
Integrate PASS Leaders from different schemes to learn from one another - Lauren
Become active and vocal in your scheme. Change in a scheme begins with dialogue created from PASS Leaders, and the scheme wouldn't run without you. Take ownership of what you do! – Giles
We should have themed PASS each week so everyone benefits from the same experience - James
Have you used any of the activities you took part in during your session within your PASS sessions or debriefs?
I got my PASS group to do the speed networking activity, where people pair up and explain to one another how they tackled question 1 and moved on to a new person to tackle the next question etc. It was a great way of giving everyone the chance to solve the questions with each other without necessarily having to share it with the full group from the start. After this activity they felt much more comfortable explaining their answers to the full group. - Lauren
Taking notice of what someone is saying before I respond is something I have used in all of my sessions and debriefs. I have also taken notice of how I phrase questions to bring out the best in my PASS attendees - Giles
From taking part in an activity about managing conflict, I have learnt how to asapt and cater for different personalities within my PASS group - James
There has been a hive of activity during the second half of this semester from both Peer Mentoring and PASS schemes, it has been great to hear about everything that has been going on around campus and long may it continue in to semester two. It is great to see so many schemes working together to put on unique events for their students. Here are some of our student stories of events that have been happening across campus:
European Food Night
One month ago, the German Peer Mentoring Scheme had an ingenious idea of organising a collaboration between the European Modern Foreign Languages Peer Support schemes that manifested itself in to a European Food Night on 30th November… and what a success it was! From 7.30pm a steady stream of people filled the International Society cafe, mingling and circling the room to try a little bit (or a lot) of the diverse selection of cuisines - much homemade - on offer from all over western Europe (even if there were accusations of stereotypes...oops!) Unsurprisingly the sangria ran out first, and all the food was gone within an hour! The raffle got everyone’s hopes up at the prospect of coming home with a giant fluffy bear! It was all over by 9pm, and people went home feeling satisfied by a flavourful festive international gathering. Look out for more events like this is semester 2!
- Elvie Crowe, French Peer Mentoring Student Coordinator
Materials Science PASS Does University Challenge
Year 1 PASS attendees participated in a Materials University Challenge. The scheme’s academic staff ran the whole thing acting as the ‘Jeremy Paxman’ equivalent. The questions used were Materials based, Manchester-themed or Lecturers photographs. Every team had a funny name ranging from the ‘idiots’ to ‘Ping’s poptarts’. The name ‘Ping’ is one of our lecturers which seemed to be the most common theme for the day. The teams contested against each other in a 1v1 and someone had recorded the score. Every main question was accompanied with 3 bonus questions exclusive to the team who had answered the main one correctly. The main question was worth 10 points and the bonus questions worth 5 points. The scores were recorded and the team with the highest points has been awarded a £60 Nando’s voucher.
- Ken Tran, Materials Science PASS Student Coordinator
Maths PASS Christmas Social
As a chance to reward the hard work of the Mathematics PASS Leaders over the last semester a trip to TOPS was organised for an all-you-can-eat Christmas extravaganza! There was a good turnout at the event and everyone felt acceptably full at the end! The festivities continued on in to the night and were a real bonding experience for all. There are plans already being put in place for what to do next semester in terms of socials and helping to boost engagement within the scheme.
- Bernard Cooke, Mathematics PASS Student Coordinator
Focus on… Careers and Employability
This semester, Peer Support worked with PwC, a professional services firm, to give students who act as PASS Leaders, Peer Mentors and Student Coordinators the opportunity to take part in a two-part Personal Development Masterclass run by staff from PwC. The first workshop took place on the 15th November on campus, and students explored ideas relating to the different skills needed when applying for jobs, taking psychometric tests, performing in interviews, and how best to sell yourself through the idea of personal branding. From the feedback received, the participants learnt a lot about psychometric tests and how to prepare for these and started to build ideas relating to the different skills they will need when applying for jobs in the future.
The second part took place in PwC’s Manchester office on the 4th December, where the students developed the skills they had learnt in the first session, and found out more about the opportunities available at PwC. Shaun O’Reilly, who was a PASS Leader for Maths and then a Graduate Intern for Peer Support before working for PwC, gave a talk on how he found his skills as a PASS Leader useful in his development and his role now within PwC. Certificates were awarded to all those who completed the two-part Masterclass during the event, and there was a chance for networking at the end of the session. Over 40 students from all three faculties across the University, from both PASS and Peer Mentoring schemes, and a mixture of year groups took part, and it was a really successful event overall!
Chemical Engineering PASS
The CEAS PASS department have undertaken 2 careers-geared events for PASS Leaders’ benefit. The first was an ‘industrial speed dating’ session, in which we rounded up 9 industrial experience 4th years to network (as happens in speed dating) with our Leaders. All were from different industries such as oil and gas, nuclear and more, giving Leaders a varied understanding of different industries they could potentially go into. A few weeks later we enlisted Ben Carter, the CEAS careers advisor, to give a talk about how Leaders can best sell PASS on job applications, to increase their employability. PASS Leaders were very engaged during both events and were able to gain new perspective on promoting their skills as well as enhancing their employability to suit different sectors.
- Natalie Sarpong, Chemical Engineering Student Coordinator
In Week 10, we invited Ben Carter from the Careers Service to run a debrief tailored specifically for our Leaders. PASS Leaders gain very valuable skills that appeal to employers, but putting them into words can be difficult. Most of our PASS Leaders are second year students who will be going on an Industrial Placement next year, and some of the application deadlines are coming up soon so we wanted to help them get a section on PASS in their CV as soon as possible. Through some group activities and feedback we helped our Leaders become clearer on the skills they are gaining, and maybe some less obvious ones. Throughout the session, Ben asked for some contribution from the Leaders which helped share ideas and also getting them contribution points for our PASS Leader Leader Board as well. We received great feedback for this session and Leaders have received a copy of the slides and also some notes on the points they gave in the session.
- Parul Singh, Chemistry Student Coordinator
Mechanical Engineering Y1 PASS
We had two careers sessions for our Leaders, with session 1 ran by Rachael Mutters who presented the basics of applying for jobs and internships, including going through Gradcracker, the UoM Careers Service, basic CV structure (including tips for each section on what employers look for), and cover letters. Session 2 was run by Karen Butterworth, who built on the previous session by helping the Leaders explore the benefits of the PASS scheme (for example by creating mind-maps in groups) to their own personal development, and how to transfer this to their CVs. This included tips on how to sell PASS to employers and showcase the skills they have gained.
I should also note that the mind-maps from the second session are available to view on our Mech PASS Leaders page, and as the first session was a bit more informal and more of a presentation there isn't any group work to show.
- Fahad Chowdhury, Mechanical Engineering Y1 PASS Leader
Mechanical Engineering Y2 PASS
For our sessions we run ongoing careers advice where students can drop in for any tips on how to improve their CV/Cover letters. Our Leaders have brought along copies of their own CVs and have been able to provide good advice on improvements for our PASSees. As we have several Leaders that have worked at companies including BAE Systems, Rolls Royce and Jaguar Land Rover, we have provided general advice on getting through the various stages of the recruitment process. The students who have come along have been able to receive good advice and improve their chances of gaining employment.
- Alasdair Irwin, Mechanical Engineering Y2 Student Coordinator
Computer Science Y2 PASS
To help the second year students secure placements and internships we ran a CV workshop where students were encouraged to bring their CV. Over 135 students turned up, and we walked through some rules when it comes to writing CVs. After walking through these, we had the students exchange CVs and review them. Talking about what was good and what could be improved; at the end, we asked what do you remember about the potential candidate. It really highlighted how little goes in when reading a CV and that short snappy positives really made an impact.
- Joshua Langley, Computer Science Y2 Coordinator
In Other News
Wellbeing Photo: Congratulations to Nawar Nawazir from Mechanical Engineering PASS for winning the #LearnandDiscover photo competition, you can see his entry here.
Christmas Activity: Congratulations to Ethan Bond and Anna Christa Urquhart from Aerospace PASS and Bridget Nzenwa from Fashion Business PASS for winning the christmas activity photo competition, you can see their entries here.
Peer Support Steering Group – We have an exciting partnership with the Student’s Union this year to create a steering group that will help to influence decisions we make around social activities. The representatives are: Bernard Cooke for Faculty of Science and Engineering, Brenda Stuhldreher for Faculty of Humanities and Farwa Malik for facult of Biology, Medicine and Health. The steering group will meet regularly to discuss social activities, encourage collaboration between schemes and help to organise and plan the celebration evening after party. If you are from a Peer Mentoring scheme and are interested in being a part of the group please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Peer Mentor Training – Our Peer Mentoring training season looms on us again with training sessions happening throughout February. Information about this has been sent out to Student and Staff Coordinators about the recruitment process and we are uploading resources and information to Blackboard. However if you have any questions or queries about recruitment please get in touch with us on email@example.com
Student Coordinators as Trainers – we are also looking for Student Coordinators to help us with our Peer Mentor training sessions! If you would be interested in helping to run training sessions, fill out the Google form here. There will be a training session running on the 29th of January 5pm-8pm to help you prepare for the role.
Thank you all for a brilliant first semester and we wish you a very Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and good luck in your exams!