By Katherine Evans
As an early career psychologist, still new to the world of occupational psychology, I was lucky enough to take part in the Future Work Centre’s session about developing new psychologists at the Division of Occupational Psychology (DOP) annual conference last week in Nottingham. This was a great opportunity for me to share my past experiences as a student, worried about finding a job at the end of my master’s course, and what it’s like to be a trainee on the Future Work Centre’s development programme, Pathway.
It’s well known that today’s graduate job market is tough, and this trend is certainly no different in occupational psychology. Jobs are scarce, and even competition for unpaid internships is plentiful. But there’s another challenge too – while our MSc programmes equip us with the academic theory and knowledge we need, students are generally not taught the professional skills needed to be a successful practitioner or to meet the minimum requirements of potential employers. This means that there is often no clear path for talented but inexperienced new graduates of occupational psychology. As a result, many move into HR, work for test publishers, or end up doing something completely unrelated.
I feel extremely fortunate to have been offered a role at the Future Work Centre, and to be able to undertake their development programme, Pathway. This programme aims to create well-rounded occupational psychologists with all the necessary skills to be successful practitioners. I spend approximately 20% of my working week on developmental activities, such as attending sessions on topics like coaching skills and finance for psychologists, and working on my BPS Chartership entries. What the Pathway programme really means for me is that I can be confident about my future; after three years on the programme, I know I will be well equipped to continue my career in whatever direction I choose to take.
While unfortunately it’s not possible to take every occupational psychology graduate onto the Pathway programme, the Future Work Centre is dedicated to making development available to as many future practitioners as possible. That’s why we’re opening up the Pathway programme, meaning that graduates will be able to sign up for individual modules from the programme, and organisations will be able to incorporate it internally to develop their new talent. So, whether you want to improve your commercial awareness or go through the BPS Chartership process in a supportive, group environment, the Future Work Centre can help with your professional development.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the Pathway development programme, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org