Posted Monday 18 July 2016
A group of five human resource management students from Kingston University were so impressed by the impact of the institution's student ambassador scheme they decided to make it the focus of their final year project.
Tasked with providing a solution for a learning and development need within a real-life organisation, the students from the Faculty of Business and Law found inspiration right on their doorstep. They chose to concentrate on further enhancing Kingston University's highly-regarded scheme - which currently has around 300 ambassadors providing support and guidance to potential, new and current students. From sharing their own university experiences and answering questions at open days to assisting at education liaison team events in schools and colleges, the ambassadors are an integral part of the University's drive to encourage young people from a wide range of backgrounds to take up and succeed in higher education.
As part of their project, the human resource management students decided to streamline the ambassador induction process by coming up with creative ideas to engage new recruits and develop activities to improve their confidence and communications skills.
The ambassador scheme has proven to be a valuable part of the Kingston University experience for many undergraduates and the team of student-consultants were able to use their human resources expertise to give a fresh insight into what else the recruits themselves could get out of the programme. They found that many students look to the ambassadors for support and advice and so used this knowledge to help put together a plan of action.
Their ideas include creating a series of interactive activities, workshops and training sessions to be incorporated within the existing student ambassador induction programme. One proposal is to use videos and quizzes to help stimulate discussion around the different leadership styles that the students could adopt in their roles as student ambassadors.
Julia Millette, student ambassador manager within the Kingston University's widening participation team, also worked closely with the group and was able to take them through what she felt were the key areas for development. "Instead of making drastic changes to the existing induction process, they proposed modest modifications that were possible to implement. Their plans have the potential to make a great impact whilst hardly making a dent in the budget."
Ms Millette was so pleased with the outcome that she plans to implement all the proposed changes during the next induction programme in January.
Kingston University human resource management student Jenna Edment worked on the project. She said the team were delighted their efforts were going to have an impact. "We're really proud that the suggestions we came up with are going to be taken forward - it's really satisfying to know the work we did will make a difference," Jenna said. "This was definitely the most rewarding project I've been involved in at Kingston University. It will certainly help when it comes to job applications and interviews because I will be able to demonstrate that I have a range of skills and first-hand experience gained from working on this project."
Module leader Deborah Pinder-Young was pleased that students were given the opportunity to work with a real organisation and said it was vital to provide undergraduates with industry experience. "Giving students the experience of working within a business and addressing real-life challenges is essential if we are to properly prepare them for the employment market," Ms Pinder-Young said.
"All the students on the course were able to work with real companies, which made the whole learning experience more relevant and exciting. The programme is approved by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) meaning that students can go on to become members of the CIPD, which is essential for anyone wishing to pursue a career in human resources."
Find out more about studying BSc(Hons) Business Management with business experience at Kingston University.