It’s new, it’s improved and it’s now launched for the second year.
What is the Manchester Leadership Programme?
The Manchester Leadership Programme is unique to this university, and focuses on the challenges of operating in a world where leadership decisions need to take account of social, economic and environmental sustainability. There are two parts:
- Access to high quality learning resources, including an on-line unit with contributions from politicians, charities (eg. the CEO of Oxfam) and academics (eg. the President of the University & Professor Mel West).
- Community volunteering, to put the learning into practice and to give something back to the community in which we operate.
Our undergraduate programme has grown from 80 participants in the first year to a projected 1300 next year, and last year we ran a pilot Manchester Leadership Programme for Researchers (MLP-R). It was a great start, with researchers taking a tailored on-line unit, and working in interdisciplinary groups to complete a poster and presentation for an end of course event – but we think we can go one step further this year.
The Programme for 2010
The new programme will be open to 35 current PhD researchers. It starts on 21st April (you must be available on this date for a workshop), and continues with you completing the on-line unit over the next month. You then have until January 2011 to complete the group project (though hopefully much sooner).
You must work through an on-line unit (tailored to suit researchers) which includes group discussions. However, we’ve learned from last year and the compulsory parts are now much shorter. (It was a bit long last year – I know, I tried it!) Feedback from last year’s researchers commented on the high quality of the on-line learning resources, so if you want to experience good use of e-learning with a view to a career in academia or education, this is great start.
Real Group Community Projects
You’ll still get to work in interdisciplinary groups – but this year you’ll be working on real projects for community organisations.
Lindsay, our Volunteering Manager, has sourced a range of projects from local organisations where they need the help of a bunch of smart researchers, who can use their project management, analytical, research, communication (and teamwork) skills to deliver a finite piece of work. (It will probably be doing more than community gardening but I don’t have any action shots of our volunteers “thinking”.)
We’ll expect each researcher in the team to devote at least 20 hours to the project but this can count toward your total volunteering hours. Also, the 20 hours may be spread over 6 months or even longer, depending on the project.
This is exciting – but high risk for us. If the groups of researchers don’t deliver, we risk losing any further support for all our undergraduate volunteering from the organisations involved. Therefore, if you decide the programme is for you, you’ll have to convince us you’ll stick with it and produce the goods.
Commitment to Volunteering
We’re also looking for commitment to continue your volunteering beyond the group project. There are three levels of award –
- Bronze Award for 20 hours volunteering (which you would get if you completed the group project, plus the on-line unit)
- Silver Award for 40 hours volunteering (ie the group project plus another 20 hours)
- Manchester Leadership Gold Award if you do a total of 60 hours volunteering (over a whole year)
Those who can convince us they are aiming at the Gold award will have the best chance of getting on the programme (we’re more likely to believe thought through plans rather than enthusiastic promises).
Improve Your Employability
Obviously we hope you want to do this programme because of what you’ll learn and what you can give back to the community. However, it has the added benefit of improving your employability:
- Many employers look favourably on volunteer work in prospective employees – particularly in the corporate world
- It’s essential if you want to get into any job in the charity sector
- It demonstrates your commitment to public engagement as a researcher
Want to Know More?
Applications opened this week, and close on Friday 5th March.
If you want to know more, there’s a lot more info on the MLP website.
There’s also an information session on Friday 26th February (not March, as it says in an e-mail you may have received), 12.15-1pm, 5th floor, Crawford House (that’s above the Careers Service) where Sam and Colette will be able to answer questions.
Alternatively, just add a comment to this post and I’ll be happy to answer here, or respond to you personally without publishing the comment on the blog, if you tell me that’s what you’d prefer.
Look forward to reading all the applications and meeting thirty five of you at the kick-off session in April.