Reflections from our graduating Occupational Psychology Studentships

Every year we offer studentships at Work Psychology Group (WPG).  This is where Occupational Psychology (OP) Masters students get the opportunity to work with us one day a week, to gain relevant OP work experience, and then carry out their dissertation research in partnership with us.  The studentships are for nine months and competition is fierce.  We’re currently interviewing for the 2020 studentships and thought it would be interesting to hear from the students who held the post last year – Maddie Corker and Izzy McClure – on what they’d gained from the experience.

Maddie Corker

What attracted you to the WPG studentship?

A key motivation for applying for the studentship was to immerse myself into the world of Occupational Psychology and to develop my knowledge, skills and abilities. The prospect of collaborating with WPG on my dissertation was also a key motivator in applying.

What have you particularly valued from the experience?

I learnt a variety of transferable skills, including how to undertake analysis using qualitative and quantitative techniques, and how to work effectively and efficiently from a business viewpoint. This includes meeting deadlines and implementing quality assurance processes. It’s great that I’ll be able to take these skills with me in the future.

I feel that I’ve developed professionally from the studentship experience but I also highly valued and enjoyed the positive and supportive environment at WPG. They allowed me access to a wide range of projects and supported me throughout.

What’s next for you?

I have been lucky enough to gain a Junior OP role. This involves supporting HR functions, designing promotion processes and an array of other activities.

Izzy McClure

What attracted you to the WPG Studentship?

I heard about the Studentship from the Programme Director on my master’s course at Loughborough University and I was really interested in WPG’s portfolio of work. Having done some consultancy work before, mainly with commercial firms, I was excited by the prospect of working with public sector clients and Universities both nationally and internationally. I also liked the fact that the company has a strong research background and is headed up by two prominent psychologists, Fiona and Máire.

What have you most valued from the experience?

WPG is a hub of interesting work and clients. I was impressed by both the breadth of projects that WPG offers and the variety of work I was exposed to. Maddie and I probably experienced 25+ projects during our Studentships!  Every consultant invested time and energy into us – whether that be explaining tasks (and then re-explaining tasks), Skyping us from London/Manchester, or letting us join meetings.  It was really appreciated.

I’ve learned so much. I remember being slightly baffled in my first week by the mix of project codes, acronyms, and item banks. My learning curve felt steep but never painful and that’s because everything was explained in such a clear way. I feel very fortunate to understand Situational Judgement Tests much better and to be able to listen to a conversation about test statistics and follow it!

I was given my own research project for a prominent client towards the end of the year. And I think having the autonomy to work in my own time and schedule meetings with the consultants when I needed it was when I thrived and learnt the most. The work was challenging but I always felt supported.  I would argue few other MSc students in the UK get the advice of several consultants before they begin their project! Even better was the opportunity to go to London and meet the client, which really brought it all to life for me.

What is next for you?

I am sad to leave WPG and the team, but ready to take on the next challenge in my role as an Associate Consultant at Capgemini Invent in London. I’m really excited to take the skills I learned this year, particularly in client management, and put them to use in a different sector. Safe to say I will be talking about WPG for a long time to come.

WPG Associate Director, Analise, explained how the Studentships benefit the whole WPG team: “We really value the new perspectives that the students bring.  And having to articulate our decision making and processes for them, as part of our evidence-based practice, encourages us all to question our own thinking.  Which is always a good thing.”