April 2015 sees the launch of The Gradbridge Award, a unique and innovative concept designed to test and develop students’ soft skills and help better prepare them for the work place.
This Award was conceived following substantial media coverage reporting that employers were becoming increasingly disillusioned with the level of workplace skills that new graduates were bringing to their businesses. Missing attributes such as the ability to work effectively in a new team, to communicate clearly and concisely, to lead and to perform under pressure were all cited.
The team behind Gradbridge felt that their vast experience in instilling these very skills within employees of some of the world’s largest companies, such Microsoft, PwC, Barclays, Accenture, Sainsbury’s and BG, could be honed to provide, for the first time ever, a unique platform to allow students to demonstrate to employers that they possess the attributes and qualities they’re looking for beyond a degree.
The format of the Gradbridge Award is certainly intense. Over 3 days and 2 nights, participants will take part in 5 different stages, working with different teams each time. Each stage is designed to test and develop the key skills required in the workplace. There is a physical component to some stages which adds competition and pressure and teams must develop an effective strategy to complete each stage, often with a need to adapt it quickly as well as needing to solve various puzzles and problems along the way!
All participants carry a chip which will collect data and benchmark their performance against specific attributes including problem solving, strategy, communication and team work. The impartial data and competitive framework of the event accelerates learning as students strive to improve with each Stage. They then receive coaching and training after each Stage, analysing what they’ve learnt, which specific attributes they’ve utilised and how they can articulate and leverage their experiences when speaking to employers.
The event is designed to be challenging and students will learn to bounce back from adversity and embrace new opportunities – just as in their careers. By taking part, students will learn valuable lessons that will stay with them throughout their lives. Every participant who completes the challenge will receive the Gradbridge Award.
The Award offers students the opportunity to stand out from the crowd and demonstrate to employers that they possess the necessary skills to be successful in their career.
Compton Hellyer, Chairman
Compton had a successful career in the city before becoming involved in a number of different businesses as founder, non-executive director and chairman. His business interests are spread across a multitude of different industries but he is particularly passionate about improving the prospects of current students and recent graduates.
He has no doubt of the potential value of the Gradbridge Award to employers: “I believe the Gradbridge Award provides not only a great opportunity to the participant to impress and stand out but also to employers, who will get the opportunity to make a much more informed recruitment decision on a candidate. The option to assess performance over 3 days, how they interact with their peers and how they handle the pressure is not often available in an interview or assessment centre.”