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April 23, 2024, by brzms6

Gaining employability skills alongside my PhD

By Chloe O’Dowd, Philosophy PhD student.

During a PhD, you have the opportunity to do various training courses. In this blog, I will be talking about the various training courses that the University of Nottingham offers to PhD students and the positive impact they have on your future.

Where do you find them?

As a PhD student, there are a multitude of training courses that you can partake in to develop both as a student and in a broader personal sense. These can be found from either The Researcher Academy, which put on various workshops and additional training and from the ‘Short Courses for Staff and Students’ webpage. These courses can be either in person on a set date and time or available as an e-learning course which can be taken at your own pace whenever you have the time. They are an easy way to boost your knowledge of various topics. In addition, the Careers and Employability Service offer online career development courses to boost your employability skills, these can be accessed on Moodle.

What sort of training is available?

At the Researcher Academy, they offer courses on Research Fundamentals, Innovation and Knowledge Exchange, Public Engagement and more. These courses can be accredited, and you would get a certificate of completion after attending. Many of these will be offered as in-person training, so you ought only to sign up for them if you know you can attend. This shows employers that you can work on your own initiative to further your learning and develop additional skills.

On the ‘Short Courses’ page, there are far too many courses to list, so I am going to tell you about some that I have completed. Most of the training that I have done has been through the e-learning courses, which are much more flexible. These courses included The Dangers of Sitting, Diversity in Teaching and Learning and Presenting with Power. All of which I learned something from. Some can help with your degree and future career, such as the teaching-focused ones and others can help with your personal development, such as the wellbeing courses.

Why should I do these courses?

Extra training is a really great thing to do whilst you have the opportunity, as once you have a career, you will probably not get as much time to do so.

One reason that I really enjoy doing these courses as it allows me to do something productive with my time when I am feeling a bit too tired to engage with my thesis. It helps to tackle feeling guilty for not doing thesis work, as you are doing something productive with your time that will help boost your career success.

Another reason to utilise this great resource is that it can help to boost your CV, whether you are going for an academic job or not. The accredited training courses in particular are a great way to show that you spent your PhD years fruitfully. They also show that you are skilled at learning and are willing to spend time improving yourself and gaining more skills.

Skills I have learned

When looking at my future career, I can firmly say that doing these training courses have provided me with essential skills. I have learned how to effectively decipher different ways of communication which will be useful for research projects, in which I will have to work as a part of a team. Other skills that will benefit my career include, how to make teaching materials more accessible, how to be confident when presenting and how to succeed in project management. Whilst these skills are more obviously useful for a career in academia, they can easily be transferred into various other career paths.

If you’re a PhD student looking to gain extra skills to boost your CV, start your search today for free courses provided by the Careers and Employability Service. 

Posted in PhD Students