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Could work shadowing be your next step?

Work shadowing could be the next step to expand your knowledge, grow your skill set, improve day-to-day working between departments, and share best practice across the University. 

If you have an upcoming PDR, you could discuss with your line manager about how work shadowing could benefit your professional development. Whether you’re interested in shadowing someone or being shadowed there is more information in the work shadowing toolkit.

You can apply for the scheme using this Google Form.

Work shadowing case study- Professor Bob Nichol 

Bob Nichol, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) took part in work shadowing two years ago. After 13 years working at the University, he realised he’d like to find out more about more central University roles. Therefore, he decided to jump straight in at the deep end and ask to shadow the Vice-Chancellor Graham Galbraith.

From his position at the time, as Director of the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation, Bob saw the shadowing scheme as a great opportunity to understand how his work interacted with the wider University and how he may get involved.

Bob met with Graham to discuss what he wanted to achieve from this opportunity, which allowed them to develop a mutual understanding. Bob really feels this is key to the shadowing scheme to ensure it is personal and to establish if you will be able to build a good rapport.

The programme was flexible to suit both sides. Bob was invited to attend three events, including a University Executive Board (UEB) meeting, where he took pride in seeing how passionate the University’s leaders were in supporting and promoting the success and wellbeing of the University. He also attended a Governors’ meeting, where he was impressed at how complex problems were dealt with.

Lastly, Bob was invited to an away day with Universities UK, when 19 Vice-Chancellors of universities around the UK got together. He was impressed at the complexities and diversity of problems discussed, and often there were no easy answers. 

Bob summarised by saying: “I had no expectations going into the programme and just knew that I wanted to know more about the central services provided. Graham was very supportive and we worked together very well. I definitely had a much better appreciation of the difficulty of his role and it was the first of many of a wider programme of development.”

Graham said: “It was a great experience to work with Bob and show him some of my duties as Vice-Chancellor of the University. It’s good to see that this didn’t put him off now that he is the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation)! I felt we both learned a lot from the whole process and would encourage more staff to take up the opportunity to shadow colleagues across the University.” 

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