The Gold Award is a one-year personal and professional development programme that helps you to reflect on your experiences and develop the skills you are gaining from your co-curricular activities. It focuses on your lifewide skills development.
Your Gold Award activities can include anything from part-time work to volunteering in the community, from running your own business to putting on an exhibition, from being a Students’ Union officer to running a sports team, from mentoring your peers to running a society; basically any activity where you are developing skills.
The Gold Award is open to all UG and PG students (incl. taught and research students).
All UG and PG taught students can record the Gold Award on their Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR)
What you gain from The Gold Award
Completing the Gold Award:
- Increases your self-awareness and understanding of your strengths and weaknesses
- Helps you to improve your attributes and skills, for instance presentation skills, organisation skills and self-confidence
- Enables you to reflect on your experiences and what career you want to do in the future
- Adds something extra to your CV
How it works
To achieve the Gold Award you will need to complete six elements:
1. Your Personal Development Record (PDR) is the main document in which you record your skills/attributes, reflect on your development and career thinking. It is a record of your progress and a space to think about your strengths and weaknesses.
2. The Co-curricular Activities you choose are entirely down to you. You may already have a part-time job, a volunteer position or you may decide to try out something new that will help you to develop your strengths in an area relevant to your career choice. You can do several activities to count towards the minimum 40 hours.
3. You need to attend a minimum of 4 Workshops of your choice (e.g. How to Think and Write Reflectively, Improve Your Time Management, What Makes a Good Leader?, How to Present with Impact, Understand Your Learning Style: How to Be a More Effective Learner).
4. You will be asked to reflect on your learning and development throughout the year in a visual way and use creative practice as a tool for thinking about your career. This Creative Element can include photos, scrapbook, video, blog, shoebox, piece of creative writing, poster, story board, cartoon or piece of music.
5. You will need to complete a LinkedIn Profile so that you can build a professional network and access professional opportunities.
6. Towards the end of the scheme, you will submit a short video reflecting on your Gold Award experience and learning during the programme.
Finally, at the end of the academic year, we will celebrate your success and achievement at the Gold Award Show where we exhibit your Creative Elements.
How to sign-up to the Gold Award
If you are interested to sign up attend one of the Introductory Gold Award workshops running at the beginning of each academic year in October. Dates are published on the Gold Award area on learn.gold.
If you have any questions email the Gold Award Coordinator, Dr Katarina Lezova at goldaward (@gold.ac.uk).
Rodrigo Camacho, Music
How was the Gold Award for you?
The Gold Award was a very very interesting journey! I have developed a greater sense of self-awareness... I feel generally more independent and autonomous.
How do you think the Gold Award has prepared you for the future/boosted your employability?
It made me keep a regular rigorous track of all the things I have been doing independently from my academic career and also it helped me developing my networks in a better concise, cohesive stronger way.
What advice would you give to a student thinking of joining the Gold Award?
Be proactive, be strong, think divergently, calmly believe in you and your ideas, act today!
Eleanor Bamber, Social, Therapeutic and Community Studies
What advice would you give to students?
Go for it, give it a chance! In order to move forward, a person cannot stay safe in the shallow water but must dive into the deep. (A tad cheesy I know, but I've found it to be true so far!).
Tell us about your Gold Award journey and the skills you have developed.
The Gold Award journey was not difficult by itself, however juggling keeping up with my course, a part-time job and the Gold Award was a bit more of a challenge!
I think one of the main skills I have developed through undertaking the Gold Award is time management; ensuring I give myself enough time to work on assignments whilst having a busy social life and keeping up a job at university.
I also wanted to find out more about what inspires me so as to make informed decisions and therefore increasing my self-awareness, which is of up most importance as I intend to enter into a therapeutic career direction.
How do you think the Gold Award has prepared you for the future/boosted your employability?
I find that identifying and putting into words my interests, strengths, weaknesses, skills etc is never easy – which I guess is the point of the Gold Award, getting ahead of employers so that you feel ready with the answers to such questions that they’re going to throw at you in interviews.
I feel the more knowledge you can get your hands on about yourself and about what the employers will be looking for, the better and it will hopefully boost your confidence at being able to present yourself and therefore boost your employability.
Lisa Burford, Social, Therapeutic and Community Studies
Why were you interested in the Gold Award?
As a mature student leaving full time employment to embark on a new chapter I wanted to engage with all opportunities University life had to offer.
The Gold Award appealed to me on many levels, such as the structure which enabled me to assess my strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and realistically plan and implement ways to enhance my skill set and challenge myself to progress. Having a plan in place alongside my busy study schedule armed me with a clear set of objectives to meet within an obtainable time frame.
I also wanted to use the opportunity to meet people from other Departments and courses, having regular contact with Katarina [Gold Award Coordinator] was really beneficial in hearing about voluntary opportunities, such as the Dedicated Listener service, attending the training and carrying out voluntary work on Campus provided ample opportunity to meet students on different courses to mine.
What activities did you include?
Student Representative. My fellow Social Work Student colleagues elected me for this role. I made a conscious effort to speak to all of my colleagues and let them know they can feed back any concerns to me to pass on to the course convenor. I also showed moral support and encouragement to colleagues and friends on my course. Following meetings with the course convenor I attended a stake holders meeting and met with the Department Student Coordinator to give feedback and voice any concerns.
Voluntary work at Lewisham Family Action, Siblings Together Buddy. Following assessment, interview and Safeguarding and Child Protection training I worked with another buddy to facilitate contact between siblings living in different care settings.
Dedicated Listener training and voluntary work. I attended evening and Sunday training events to gain further understanding about the role of a dedicated listener and participated in role play activities prior to working on Campus as a dedicated Listener during the pilot of the project during the exam season.
National Citizen Service. I attended a four hour assessment following a job application for summer work. The assessment included responding to various scenarios in relation to young people, giving a presentation, and a one-to-one interview. I was offered the role of Assistant Programme Leader, which I accepted and worked during the summer break.
What sorts of skills did you develop?
My confidence has grown through gaining the Gold Award as I have pushed myself to engage with extra-curricular activities involving role-play with people I hadn't previously met and giving presentations to people applying for the same role.
This has also improved my ability to manage my time and allow myself to gain experience opposed to thinking all of my time at university has to be dedicated to my Social Work studies. Of course all of the extra-curricular activities are relevant to my degree and have promoted a positive sense of wellbeing for me. All of the skills I have gained are beneficial for professional and personal development, as a social worker in training it is important to engage with activities outside of work and/or study.
Would you recommend the Gold Award?
I would recommend the Gold Award due to the fact that the format allows you to identify areas you want to build on for yourself, by doing this the thought of attending activities pushes you outside of your comfort zone to actually attend. It is complimentary to your studies, it isn’t time consuming, and it is a framework to use to make the most out of your University experience.
What were the most valuable aspects?
For me, all aspects were valuable, however as I’m not from South East London, volunteering in the local community gave me knowledge and insight into the Family Action Service in Lewisham. I have work experience in Wandsworth and all Boroughs operate differently so prior to going onto placement in my second year of study this experience has proved extremely useful.
Has the Gold Award impacted on you for the future?
Yes, I will use the framework to plan and achieve goals for my second year of study. Also having the Award and my Personal Development Record gives me motivation to continue challenging myself and gaining new experiences.