Gro is all about you developing during your time at university. It is about making sure the foundations of confidence, pro activity, dealing with uncertainty, working productively in the present and managing transition are in place. It is these things that will truly help you thrive in the future: from gaining a diverse range of experiences at university, including securing work experience to succeeding in your degree course and gaining your first job on graduation. Look at the sections below. You know yourself better than anyone. How do you need to Gro?
Before you get started, read the user guide from the top menu for details on how the exercises work. Remember, using Gro should be a positive experience. If, however, the exercises raise questions or issues that cause you concern, please see the Personal Support section for people who can help.
Researching career options and considering your future career direction requires a desire to take control. This section helps you to: understand whether you have an internal or external control philosophy, what the advantages and disadvantages are, advises how to make a shift and provides an opportunity to action plan.
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To get started on the range of activities future recruiters seek requires a degree of self-confidence. This section is designed to help you: reflect on your level of self-confidence and, should you need to, review suggestions and make plans as to how you may go about improving your self-confidence.
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Moving into a career beyond university is partly about the ability to manage the process of moving between different phases of your life. This aspect of Gro is designed to help you: develop your awareness of the change process; learn from past experiences of change and to apply it to future change.
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Many people find career decision making challenging. This can lead to dwelling on past regrets and worrying about the future, rather than focusing on current, productive activity that will help them progress. This exercise points out the pitfalls of living in the past and future; helps you spot your own patterns of thinking; and considers how you can adopt more productive strategies.
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Making decisions about the future is all about your willingness to start dealing with uncertainty. Uncertainty can be disconcerting and there is a range of ways of responding, some of which are more productive than others. This tool helps you to: understand what the different responses are; consider your own typical responses and plan your approach to a future "uncertain" situation.
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It is widely acknowledged that to successfully embark on developing your employability or choose a career that there are some fundamental attributes that need to be in place. If you think some of the headings below represent potential areas of development for you then continue reading about the components of Gro and consider how you can make the most of them:
Although the reasons for developing Gro are about helping students become more employable and more successful at making career choices, using Gro has the potential to benefit many areas of your university experience.
Consider which of these areas of development you feel you would benefit from reflecting on. This may involve looking at just one or two sections. Once you have completed a section you will have the option of printing, downloading or emailing your results, feedback and plans. Gro does not save data for you, so unless you save your work and then return to the same computer, you will not be able to access it again. This means it is important to complete an exercise in one go and to ensure you either print, email or download the feedback so you can use it again.
Remember, if you are reflecting on your own development and establishing any development plans it is a good idea to save this in iLearn which is a secure central place which you can access throughout your degree.
If your reflection results in a small number of aims and tangible activities you can take forward then Gro will have done its job in helping you on your way.
The whole concept of Gro was borne out of reading through various definitions and models of employability, including "The key to employability: developing a practical model of graduate employability" by D'Acre Poole and Sewell, 2004 and "The Heuristic Model of Employability" by Fugate et al 2004.
The Gro project was led and written by Tania Lyden with contributions from Bill Gothard and Sandhya Patel. IT programming was undertaken by Ruben Arakelyan and Chris Flanagan all from the Careers Advisory Service at the University of Reading. The project was funded by CCMS.
Gro consists of five sections. You can complete them in any order. Some sections are quicker to do than others. You don't have to do them all at the same time.
When you have completed a section and clicked submit your results will be stored on the computer that you use to complete the test for up to a whole year (unless you delete your browsing history) and will be accessible to you on that computer provided you the same the web browser. Do be aware that if you stop part way through a section, however, your results won't be saved.
Once you have clicked 'submit' you can't go back and alter your responses unless you delete all the results for a whole section. When you return to Gro after completing one or more sections you will see a gold bar near the top of the screen. The gold bar shows that you have results stored from a previous session. If you want to remove these results, ie to re-do a section, click on 'forget me'.
All your information and results are treated confidentially by Gro and are not shared with anyone else.
At the end of each section you will get an action plan. You can email this to yourself or download it. We'd recommend that you store a copy in your iLearn space for your Personal Development Planning.
Some of the issues that Gro encourages you to reflect on may potentially create some personal concerns or anxiety for you. If you find you are in this position and would like extra support regarding any of the issues covered here then do seek help. You can:
There are a number of reasons why you may wish to contact us regarding your use of Gro:
If so, then please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, stating that your enquiry is about Gro and providing a full description.