In February, our Enterprise Programme Director, Ann Davidson, opened the LEVEL-UP! Conference at the University of Aberdeen. She challenged attendees to think about future proofing their degrees and what skills they would need to impress employers. Ann also facilitated an afternoon workshop looking at “what innovation will look like in the future?”.
We asked Berit Braun, a 1st year IR and Spanish Student and part of the conference team, to give us an insight to what happened at the event.
Initially set up to supplement the professional and personal development services in place at the University of Aberdeen already, LEVEL-UP! soon evolved into an intense two-day practical skills boot camp with talks, workshops, networking activities and a panel discussion.
About 120 delegates attended the event and benefited from the expertise that our speakers from all over the UK and Europe shared with them. Specific workshops with a lot of direct interaction between speakers and the participants allowed the conference to provide everyone attending with functional tools and hands-on techniques rather than generic advice.
The perfect start was given on the Saturday morning with a talk by SIE’s own Ann Davidson, who provided some answers to a seemingly insoluble dilemma: If the jobs we will have one day don’t even exist yet, how can we prepare for them? It turns out, simply being ‘adaptable’ is not enough anymore – it is all about being ‘agile’, prepared and ready for everything. With this in mind, delegates went into the first workshops, which included the Benefits and Practicalities of Mentoring, Mindfulness and its Role in Everyday Life, How to Develop Confidence and Establishing a Business. Further guidance and inspiration on how to motivate oneself and set goals was given after lunch by amputee mountaineer Jamie Andrew – a talk that a great number of delegates mentioned to be a highlight of the conference. For the second workshop session, delegates chose from the following topics: Pitching, Written Communication, Preparing a Winning CV, Intercultural Communication and finally Future Proofing your Degree/Skills held by Ann Davidson.
The second day began with an interactive talk on body language and voice management by Mike Carter, one of the UK’s leading experts on the topic, after which delegates felt prepared to attend their third and final workshop – on offer was Improvised Speech, Pitching, Problem Solving, Personal Branding through Social Media and Career Development. Rounding off a successful weekend, the panel discussion featured three young entrepreneurs who tackled the issue of how to be successful and execute ideas. Panelists shared their personal experiences and it became clear that two things are needed: courage to actually act on ideas and a humbling willingness to fail. Encouraged and with a strengthened set of skills, delegates re-entered ‘the real world’.
Someone labelled LEVEL-UP! as the “most useful weekend of my life”, but the success of the conference made another thing clear: PEOPLE ARE AWESOME! – And when they get together, share ideas and collaborate, magic happens!
For more on the SIE Innovation and Education programme, visit our website.