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June 2013
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Daily Archives: June 3, 2013

‘Graduate Success: The HEAR and Now’ – A Capp Reflection

Posted by: Celine Floyd, Managing Psychologist, Capp


The AGR, in collaboration with the AGCAS, and BIS, published last week a summary of their recent research on the Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR) and supporting social mobility in graduate recruitment. In today’s blog, we reflect on the findings of this report and share Capp’s insights and thinking on some of the key points raised.


Social mobility has been on our clients’ agenda for some time, and we have seen for ourselves that whilst ‘social mobility [is] on everyone’s radar, many [do] not know how to tackle it’.


At Capp, we empathise with our clients’ challenge of sifting high volume applications, and understand the attraction and efficiency of selecting on the basis of University degree classification, and even university itself. However, our mission is to encourage alternative methodologies.


As pioneers in strengths-based assessment, our vision is to help organisations assess and identify those graduates that are the right fit – on both a competence level, but also in relation to their energy and motivation level.


To do this effectively, but in a quick and resource-friendly way, is a challenge – and one Ernst & Young, and Nestle, use our Situational Strengths Test, to solve.


In line with our drive for data here at Capp, we are collecting social mobility data  for our graduate recruitment clients as we speak. Our data gathering is in line with government recommendations, and our hope is to explicitly use this data to inform attraction campaigns in the future. The AGR report was a fascinating lens on our attraction work, and indeed our work with University Careers Services.


To read that ‘Many graduates leave higher education with few clear career ideas, [and] lack awareness of the wider job market and how to access it’ really resonated with us.


We have supported our clients to have a presence on campus, and for this presence to be of a generous, and giving nature. By this, we don’t mean free pens and paperweights – we mean real, meaningful, and life lasting giveaways.


Helping students to understand their strengths, and then what this means for their career choice, we see as a powerful win-win situation. Candidates learn more about which industries and organisations suit them, and organisations encourage applications that are genuine and thought-through.


It was a pleasure to read the summary report, and we thank the AGR, AGCAS, and BIS for their research and dissemination of findings. Economic climate, university fees, unemployment, Generation Z and the digital age all conspire to make the industry of graduate recruitment the most challenging we have ever seen, but also the most exciting.


We feel privileged to be able to support our clients, including Nestle, Ernst & Young, Barclays Wealth and Morrisons, to help all students, including the disadvantaged, reach their full potential through deploying their strengths to deliver results for their organisations. We look forward to what we can all achieve together.

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Strength Spotting with Tribal People in West Bengal

Posted by: Alex Linley & Avirupa Bhaduri


In this latest despatch to cover her work on realising strengths with the people of West Bengal, Avirupa shares with us the experience of Sunita, who participated in a strengths workshop in Ayodhya hills, in West Bengal, and was able to transform her perception of her life and the good things that she had in it.


However, the month did not start so well for Avirupa, as we read below…


“While March ended is a happy note for me, April turned out to be ‘the cruelest month’, without a trace of poetry! It started with me going down with viral fever right after returning from Bankura, followed by a series of such cases in my family. It is quite a common phenomenon during season change, but a pain nonetheless. So most of the month was spent on visits to the doctor and pharmacy.


By the time everyone was fit to join school/office/college etc., I had my workshop scheduled in Purulia. I welcomed the opportunity to get out of the city to the hills. The weather is usually unbearably hot in summer, so I was prepared to face the heat!! But a mild breezy night greeted me as our train reached Purulia station at 11 p.m. We reached the guest house, our halt for the night and venue for the next day post midnight.


This time the workshops were arranged in the lap of the hills. The hills have special names for the local tribals, for whom they are considered deities. We were in Ayodhya hills, which is one of the many small hills that are part of Chhotanagpur plateau of West Bengal.


The soil here is arid, red in colour. Hardly any food crops grow here, but the region is rich in minerals. Most of the rain-fed rivers dry out during summer and winter. The majority of the population are tribals.


The delegates start coming from early morning. Our first session started at 10 a.m. Like Bankura, here also the focus was awareness of rights. My session was post lunch. This time I repeated the Bankura formula, and identified the pilot group in the beginning. Unfortunately there were few past delegates.


So, I presented them with the idea of strength and got our colleagues to talk about their own strength. The project leader is an avid climber. He talked wonderfully about his passion for climbing and how that is linked to his strength of not only as adventure and competitive but also resilience and creativity.


We had many meaningful conversations on strengths earlier and I was glad to see another instance of a person warming up to the idea of strengths. On that note I threw the session open for audience participation on a strength spotting excercise. I had some surprising answers.


A man said “I like to grow flowers. God knows how difficult it is in this soil, but I love watching the first bud and my heart swells with emotion when I see the bloom. I have always been fascinated by the riots of colours of palash shimul in spring.”


I didn’t know where to categorize this genuine appreciation and love for beauty of nature, but I thanked him for sharing such a lovely original strength.Then like before I asked them to form teams. Then I introduced them the “strengths bank” game.


The delegates participation was great. All the teams could talk about the strengths of their members with varying degree of success. However, I found one woman Sunita Mandi very interesting, I remembered her from our last workshop. She was the one who had come despite having a minor accident while on the way to the workshop. She seemed much less shy this time and was leading her team for strengths bank.


After the session I had a one to one conversation with her. She was unexpectedly reticent in the begining. I had to put in a lot of effort before she started to open up. At first she was only talking about the troubles of her life. She is 23, been married for 8 years but childless. So she is tortured at home by her in-laws who call her infertile, and have even hit her occasionally. She cooks for all 10 members of her family and also does most of the household chores.


Then I probe about the good things of her life. At first she was hesitant to find any. Then with positive persuasion she started to talk about how her husband loves her, and he has been a pillar of support to her. He has even suggested to live separately away from his family (which is a huge issue among families).


She then said that she has finally found her strength and worth in helping others, being associated with the Action Aid project. She became visibly happy, smiled and her pace of speaking increased, she became excited to talk about how she never realised that helping others was her calling, and how she forgets her depression of childlessness through the good work.


I am once again convinced about the display of the power of strength talk and how it enlivens postive spirit. At the end of the conversation Sunita invited me to her home in the hamlet of “Bandhughuti” which was about 3 kilometers from the venue, near the water dam.


On the way back to the station, I visited her home, met her husband and was treated with yummy juicy tangy sweet piyal fruit, which grows wild locally. I tasted it for the first time and loved it. I promised her to be back again soon.”


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