Posted: Mon 13th Jul 2020

Innovative careers programme aimed at building Future Leaders proves major hit online for people living in or visiting the wrexham area
This article is old - Published: Monday, Jul 13th, 2020

An innovative programme at Wrexham Glyndwr University which links students with key employers to hear their insights on leadership has proved a major hit after moving online.

The Future Leaders programme usually runs on-campus during the summer months at Wrexham Glyndwr University, and offers a range of students from across the university’s courses the chance to speak to Chief Executives, company bosses, key employers and more – as well as identifying, developing and honing their leadership skills.

Due the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, this year’s programme and its content has been moved online.

However, this has not stopped the programme from attracting leaders from across Wales and beyond – with regular sessions with key employers who discuss their leadership insights and take part in Q and A sessions and more.

Among those who have joined this year’s sessions is Tegryn Jones, the Chief Executive of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority. Mr Jones previously worked for the General Teaching Council for Wales, Swansea University and Urdd Gobaith Cymru.

Before joining the National Park Authority he was Chief Executive of Keep Wales Tidy – where he developed the Tidy Towns Initiative, led the expansion of the Eco-Schools programme and Blue Flag Award and campaigned to introduce the Carrier bag Charge.

He said: “This was the first time I had presented to the group and I think using video conference was an effective way of enabling someone from Pembrokeshire to talk to a group of students in Wrexham. The students were very engaged and asked a number of thoughtful questions.

“They are starting out on their leadership journey and it is important for them to see that their role as leaders is to support and get the best out of their team. There is no one effective leadership style and they are going to need to adapt to circumstances and how others respond.”

While the coronavirus pandemic may have wrought some unforeseen changes to the way that the Future Leaders programme has been designed and delivered in 2020, Mr Jones believes that this year’s participants may actually find that current events provide a major learning opportunity in themselves.

He added: “I think that everyone is learning at the moment and even experienced leaders are needing to learn new skills and approaches to deal with the current situation.

“There is a great deal of uncertainty and situations change on a regular basis – therefore leaders need to make decisions based on the current available information, but be flexible enough to adapt as those circumstances change.

“Communication, both internally and externally, has become more important than ever.

“In some respects future leaders have the benefit of experiencing this unique environment and they will be able to use this experience to develop their leadership approach and skills.”

Consultant Rachel Hughes-Turner, who delivers the Future Leaders programme for Glyndwr, added: “The Future Leaders programme bridges the gap between study and the workplace by providing pragmatic modules that help students to consider all aspects of leadership. Nominees come together from different areas of study to share knowledge and experiences so that they will have a real impact in their chosen areas of work.

“Undoubtedly the virtual nature of this year’s course posed a few head-scratching moments!

“However, it brought with it many benefits too. Firstly, students and external speakers were able to attend from a wide geographic area – indeed this was the largest cohort to date.

“Secondly, thanks to the technology, we were able to make extensive use of break out rooms, polls and chat – making the sessions just as interactive as a face to face session would have been.”

And Neil Pritchard, Careers Adviser at Wrexham Glyndwr University, added: “Moving events, guidance and more online has proved a major learning experience – as Tegryn noted in his presentation, we’re all discovering new skills and approaches right now.

“However, I’m pleased that we have, once again, delivered a successful programme under those challenging conditions.

“As we do each year, we’ve linked up our students with key employers and leaders across Wales and the UK, – and this year, that experience means they’ve also gained first-hand insight into how businesses and organisations are leading their staff through these challenging times.

“I’d like to thank Tegryn for joining this years’ sessions – and all the employers who have lend their time and expertise to the Future Leaders programme.”

The WGU careers team is providing full online support to students throughout the pandemic – including telephone and online guidance appointments, career planning, CV and application form reviews – and online courses such as the Future Leaders programme.

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