At the end of last week, I was out of the office, volunteering at Open Day.  I LOVE Open Day, even though you’re on your feet all day, even though it can get really busy and a little bit stressful, even though it really rained this year, it is such a good day.  Every time. This is because Open Day is what it’s all about; it’s a big fat reminder of why we’re here.  Seeing students through our doors, supporting and helping them through the ups and downs and thick and thin, and then seeing them graduate, after all that hard work and effort, ready and hungry for the working world.  You can’t help but feel good about that.  I’d recommend that everyone volunteer, it’s really well organised, the team in Marketing & External Relations do a great job, and to be honest it just makes you feel good.  Contact Jen Birdsall (j.b.birdsall@salford.ac.uk)if you fancy giving it a go.

Open Day is full of smiles, excitement, anticipation, curiosity, questions,  a little bit of anxiety maybe, and a stream of Peter Pans looking younger each year, or maybe I’m just getting older…the less said about that the better.  This is our chance, as a University, to get our metaphorical glad rags on, turn the charisma up, and make that good first impression, because it’s a big and important decision for those potential students, probably the biggest they’ll have made so far, and an expensive one at that.

I won’t bang my ICZ drum all that much this week.  You’re getting it now.  It’s clear that providing students with opportunity to learn, play, make, apply their knowledge in the working world, do a placement or an internship, link with industry partners, take part in some research, is all good stuff.  This is saying to students come here, have fun, work hard, be more employable, take home more than a degree, take home your Salford learning experience and just a little bit more, an edge against that other person being interviewed for the same job.

I went to a workshop run by Paul Rowlett and Sam Grogan a few  weeks ago that was about just that added value.   They call it Salford Curriculum+, and it’s brilliant!  It’s kind of the ICZ little sister.  We’re talking about giving our students more for their money, helping them to develop and learn the skills needed to be more employable and applying those in an actual working environment.  It’s learning goodness who doesn’t love that!  Gill Molyneaux (G.Molyneaux@salford.ac.uk )is your contact should you want a piece of that pie.

Anyway, the workshop set me thinking, why should that added value stop with the students?  We can all develop, learn and ultimately be more employable.   I’ve asked to be involved in one of the Salford Curriculum+ workstreams, because I’ll learn more, develop new skills, and may be help make actual change, yes for those students coming to Open Day next year, but for me and my working life and for any potential first work impressions I may need to make in the future.

It will be my Salford Work+, just like volunteering for an Open Day is.  It’s personal development, continuous improvement, and usually it’s having a nice time with nice people, and it makes coming to work fun and worthwhile.   There is so much opportunity at Salford, and you really get out what you put in.  So I’m putting in a bit more.  You should too.

icz@salford.ac.uk