All first and second year students in 2011-12 are strongly encouraged to participate in the Aberystwyth University PDP Portfolio which is located on the Blackboard virtual learning environment.

This is an online system of guidance and advice which will help you maintain contact with your personal tutor, careers advisers, and other non-teaching sources of information throughout your time at Aberystwyth. Whilst there is never too early a time to be thinking ahead about future careers, it can sometimes be difficult to manage this productively alongside the pressure of day-to-day academic work. The PDP Portfolio provides a system in which you can note down questions, and aims, and points for discussion with your advisers as you go along, returning to it as and when suits you to take your planning further. The system is intended to complement your academic work, and to help you to build up a robust sense of the skills and abilities that your studies are developing, and how these will be of use to you in so many ways after graduation.

The PDP system is implemented at Departmental level through our network of Personal Tutors, one for each student, and other employability events outside the Department. These include the Year in Employment work experience scheme which is open to you in year 2 and the Career Development Programme sessions offered to you in each year of your undergraduate degree.

The benefits to you from participating in personal development planning at university include:

  • Increased awareness of the full range of skills you are acquiring through your degree programme.
  • You will be able to identify development needs in your skill profile making it easy to take remedial action.
  • You will reflect on attainments, attitudes and progress to date and be able to improve.
  • It will help you make appropriate choices for further study.
  • Development of your awareness of what employers want and how your degree study gives you a competitive advantage.
  • Finally, and very importantly, PDP will help you identify ingredients for a CV that reflects your full range of graduate level skills.

The Personal Tutor system

Each student is assigned to a Personal Tutor in the Department the moment they register with us. The Tutor will be a member of the academic staff but most probably not someone actually teaching any of the courses you will be studying in any particular semester. Students first meet their Personal Tutors in their offices on the Monday of registration week [12 noon on Monday 26th September 2011], and they are encouraged to meet up with them once or twice a term thereafterwards These meetings can be used for all sorts of purposes, to discuss varieties of teaching and learning styles, the best combination of modules, progression from one year to another, examination technique, the balance between study, paid work and leisure, and the opportunities for study abroad or for further study at Masters level after graduation.

You are strongly encouraged to see your personal tutor to discuss PDP early in the first semester, and in Semester 2. The PDP Portfolio on the Blackboard site includes an academic self-appraisal process and action plans. Your personal development planning and meetings with your academic tutors can be assisted through using these resources.

Your Future Career

It is important that you forward your End of Year Summary Report form (found on the "My Department" page of your PDP Portfolio) to your personal tutor. This form will be put on your personal file and will enhance the Department's ability to provide references for you, both for short-term temporary employment, your work experience placement (if relevant) and, after graduation, for more permanent career employment.

You will be reminded about this and given further details of how to do it nearer the time.

The PDP is designed to help you and will be most effective if the thinking process it entails, the various meetings with tutors and so on, can be organised to meet certain basic deadlines. This will encourage you to check on anything you've forgotten, and allow us to double-check that you've gone through all the thinking stages as well.

To participate fully in PDP, students should:

  1. Complete Semester 1 sections of the PDP Portfolio before 30 January 2012.
  2. Make a 10-minute appointment to discuss this with their personal tutor.
  3. Complete Semester 2 sections of the PDP Portfolio before 4 June 2012.
  4. Complete at least one action plan (academic, career or personal) before 4 June 2011.
  5. Print off a hard copy of the Semester 2 Academic Work form.
  6. Make a 10-minute appointment to discuss this with their personal tutor during the tutor's office hours before the end of Semester 2.
  7. Download and sign a copy of your End of Year Summary Report and give this to your personal tutor by 28th May 2012.