Sometimes the process to achieve the outcome may well be the target, argues one QS student
Personal development planning (PDP) and ePortfolios have been introduced into curriculum activities as a mean of creating reflective capacity and active learning among students which in turn would make them more confident, competent and able to identify transferable skills that would make them more employable.
But, why document our progress on an ePortfolio? And why do built environment students have to learn to create a web page ePortfolio or enhanced CV?
These are some of the questions students may ask when first introduced to PDP and ePortfolios.
Students are often outcome orientated. This means they only see the final product as all that is required, sometimes not realising that the process to achieve the outcome may well be the target, and what they learn from it is what really matters.
The result of an honest and responsible reflection upon learning improves employability and gives students a head start on professional competencies required.
Benefiting the employer
These are sought after by employers while preparing them for membership of professional bodies, such as the RICS, ABE, CIAT and CIOB, which require continuous professional development.
Furthermore PDP is used by most companies involved in the industry as a means of measuring progress and encourage employees to set up targets, continue their professional development and document their progress.
Westminster University defines the expected learning outcomes of this process as:
• Undertake self-assessment, reflect on personal strengths and weaknesses, identify personal achievements and provide supporting evidence
• Set personal targets and plan to achieve those targets
Showcase your skills and strengths
PDP is used by most companies involved in the industry as a means of measuring progress and encourage employees to set up targets
These reflective activities undertaken during the process of PDP and its results can be displayed or portrayed on an ePortfolio which can be used by students to showcase their achievements thus helping them to market themselves in a competitive market.
In the current economic climate it is even more important for students and graduates alike to gear up and demonstrate their skills and knowledge gained during formal academic training
Platforms like ePortfolios give students the opportunity to network, share knowledge and enhance the information contained on their CVs. However, by no means is it intended to be the ultimate graduate recruiter tool.
Make the most of it
As a new initiative there are many challenges and research is required to establish the link between PDP and its findings to professional body accreditation.
Tailored activities need to be designed to match competencies and requirements needed by the construction industry and its professional bodies.
As a student mentor I have had the opportunity to participate in various presentations, workshops and development of ePortfolio templates while helping other students with their PDPs and ePortfolios.
I am convinced that these activities made me more focused, confident, committed and motivated with my career development. I also believe it lead to an opportunity to take a year out placement at consultant EC Harris.
Other student mentors and participants of the PDP and ePortfolio initiative have managed to secure placements and permanent positions at leading organisations while achieving excellent academic results.
Alex Durque is studying for a BSc Honours in quantity surveying at University of Westminster.
Alex Duque's ePortfolio - BSc Honours quantity surveying
Christine Saeverud's ePortfolio - BSc Honours building service engineering
Sophie Hutt's ePortfolio - BSc Honours urban estate management
Massimo De Perzio's ePortfolio - BSc Honours architectural technology