Your Employability Skills and SBS
At Bangor, we place a high value on your acquiring transferable skills-skills that will be useful to you in a wide range of careers. The following are some of the transferable skills which we help students acquire during their period of study at the School of Biological Sciences. Though learned as part of an SBS degree, these skills are useful in many environments.
There are four aspects of communication that we teach: (a) taking part in discussions, (b) making presentations, (c) selecting and synthesising information, and (d) writing different documents. All components are embedded in the curriculum, with support for making presentations available through the School in the form of the Biological Sciences' Seminar Practice Sessions.
From an optional refresher course in maths, to modules on experimental design and statistical analysis, we coach students on the use and interpretation of numerical data; we also provide them with mathematical tools.
From basic use of the mouse and keyboard and file-handling, we teach students to learn how to use the full potential of information technology. As well as communicating via electronic mail and the Internet, students learn to use word-processors, spreadsheets, and graphics and statistical packages. Students are encouraged to participate in the European Computer Drivers Licence (ECDL); this provides external recognition for achieving a basic level of competence in seven key areas of IT.
Working with Others
We stress three necessary skills when working with others: (a) how to divide a task fairly and efficiently among a team of people; (b) how to assess group contributions; and (c) how to relate to people as colleagues. In a variety of different settings (e.g., practicals, workshops, projects) students often work with one, two, or more other students. Students also have the opportunity to work closely with a member of staff during their project.
Improving Own Learning and Performance
Complementing formal assessments, students learn how to assess their own strengths and weaknesses, and how to act on these assessments. This experience, in combination with formal instruction, assists students to develop a range of management skills. Thus they learn:
- Task management-this involves learning how to break large tasks into linked components.
- Time management-this involves learning how to work to deadlines and to make effective use of one's time.
- Stress management-this involves learning how to cope with or prevent the pressures associated with workload.
- Information management-this involves learning how to seek out and respond to new information, and how to keep track of it.
Students are initially given much guidance; this is gradually reduced in order that students are able to develop autonomy. For example, practical handouts are at first detailed and give many ideas; these are slightly decreased in each subsequent practical such that, by their final year, students can design their own experiments during their honours projects.
Students learn the rules of scientific endeavour, including accuracy, truthful reporting, and striving for knowledge and understanding.
Many students undertake projects which are carried out outside the university (e.g., in Industry, Research Institutes). Students can thus expect to make contact with potential placements, and to learn how to deal appropriately with the people with whom they come into contact through these placements.