Enhancing PASS leaders' employability skills through reflection
Whilst the benefits for students attending Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) have been widely acknowledged, the benefits for its leaders have not been as clearly evaluated. This paper will explore how the more senior students who take on the role of PASS leader can develop employability skills through a programme of activity that formally rewards students for their participation and assists them in articulating their competencies. The paper presents the findings of a project undertaken by a cross-disciplinary team at Ulster University which focused on the benefits for PASS leaders and, more explicitly, on graduate employability skills such as communication, teamwork and leadership. Students were required to reflect on the PASS process and plan for subsequent sessions whilst also engaging in a series of skill-building activities (games and various practical exercises) which focused on those facets of employability that are of direct relevance to the PASS experience. Quantitative and qualitative methods were employed to evaluate the impact of the PASS programme: initial findings suggest that the programme served to enhance students' perceived competence in respect of some employability skills (e.g. spoken communication) but, more generally, served to raise their awareness and highlight their limitations in some areas. This paper suggests that the process of reflection has helped them to better articulate these skills and identify the steps needed to further develop them. As such, this project has provided research evidence to support the effectiveness of the PASS process and a collection of materials to support the further development of its leaders.
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