Warwick Law School News
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Warwick Skills Portfolio Award: Tried and Tested
First year law student Aidan Chan has become the first law student to successfully complete the Warwick Skills Portfolio Award (WSPA) this year.
The WSPA scheme helps students to develop skills that are not only valued by employers but also useful more broadly for students in their personal lives whilst studying at Warwick.
Jane Bryan who acts as the Law School WSPA coach, providing one to one feedback on the reflections of those students taking part told us, “WSPA is really useful and can all be done online at your own pace - which is a great thing at the moment given the circumstances - it will help our students to see all the other opportunities available to them at Warwick beyond the Law School. I couldn’t recommend it enough.”
Aidan who is studying on our three year LLB saw the WSPA being promoted at the start of term one and decided to explore the opportunity further. He has learned a lot from completing it and would recommend it to his fellow students.
We asked him a few questions to see what the WSPA entails and how demanding it really is.
1. Why did you choose to complete the WSPA?
I thought it would provide a chance for me to enrich my experiences by encouraging me to adopt a critical approach when undertaking activities of my choice. While the WSPA was not my main reasoning for doing the activities that I did, I knew that it would add this valuable, albeit simple, extra dimension.
2. What did it involve?
After partaking in certain webinars and workshops that qualify as WSPA activities, I had to use three of them to reflect on. The reflection process was continual and began immediately after partaking in the activity. The initial reflection set out the "action points" that I aimed to achieve, which should be specific and attainable. The second and third reflections checked my progress for each of the action points I set and allowed me to honestly analyse what I did well or failed to do.
Following this analysis, I then set further goals I wished to attain, made improvements according to aspects of my plans I found impractical or beneficial, and continued with the implementation of my adjusted action points. This process has carried on beyond the completion of the award as I use this as a mental check-list for what I should be doing regardless of what activity it is.
3. What did you gain from doing it? What are the benefits?
Two of my WSPA activities were focused on my career development, one being a CV workshop for law and the other being a cover letter workshop. These activates combined with WSPA to help kick-start my thought process regarding what career path I would like to take and what I would need to do to succeed.
The reflections will not themselves get me anywhere, but they genuinely motivated me to follow up on attending these events by providing the opportunity to critically evaluate my motivations and next steps. Some of my action points included reading the news regularly online, reassembling my CV to be more tailored for the positions I will be applying for, and applying for volunteering activities and law firm open days. All of these action points have the common purpose of building up my CV and preparing myself for any future applications I may like to make. Of course whether or not I succeed is up to myself and not WSPA, but it has helpfully guided me in the right direction.
4. Did you enjoy it?
There is something oddly satisfying about mashing my keyboard while openly reflecting about my experiences and goals. It might not be the most glamourous activity, but there is a lot of value in it, especially as a starting point to all activities.
5. Was it time-consuming?
There are 3 reflections for each of the 3 activities, along with the initial and concluding reflections. I spent 7-10 minutes doing each reflection and spread those reflections out over a period of 3 months. I definitely did not feel burdened by this and the need to reflect constantly kept me thinking positively towards achieving the next step of my action points.
6. What would you say to other students thinking about completing it?
There isn't a lot of pressure in doing the WSPA and the benefits of using the reflections in a critical manner are absolutely worth the minimal time commitment. Pairing the reflections with activities that are interesting or beneficial to you personally will make the most use of your efforts in completing this.
If anything, it helps you focus on what you want to achieve. The WSPA team is also very helpful and encouraging, they send you reminders, suggestions and personalised messages to help you along the way.
Find out more about the WSPA scheme and get started here: https://warwick.ac.uk/services/skills/awards/wspa/