Loughborough University hosted the UNITECH Mid-Term-Week 2015 between Sunday 4th – Friday 9th January 2015. This is the second time it has been hosted here since Loughborough joined the UNITECH Programme in 2010, with the first time in 2012 when I was part of the programme as a student. This time the roles were reversed as I was an Academic Partner (AP) and as part of my intern duties organised the event with Kate Everest with support from Dr Adam Crawford and Dr Ashraf El-Hamalawi. We would like to thank Room Bookings (Carmela Valentine and Mike Earl) who supported us in securing the rooms that we needed during the first teaching week back after the Christmas holidays. Catering was provided by the Refresh service from imago which everyone enjoyed and we would like to thank them for their flexibility during the week.
There were 79 students, eight coaches and 20 corporate case advisors who attended overall. This is the second joint module in which the exchange students participate, developing their non-technical core skills and using them in their groups for a case provided by the Corporate Partners (CPs).
The week started off with a Welcome Dinner at The Link Hotel, on Sunday night at 19:00. It was a traditional English dinner with a choice of fish and chips, lasagne or vegetarian lasagne followed by dessert.
On Monday, it was an early start with registration at 08:30, followed by an introduction at 09:00 from Professor Chris Linton, Provost & Deputy Vice-Chancellor. Next, Bob Reed, Senior Programme Manager for the Water, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC), presented the AP lecture on behalf of Loughborough University. This focused on communication skills and how to work in multifaceted groups, relating to his experience in the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Students asked questions at the end and used the skills gained throughout the week in their case assignments. The coaching perspective started at 11:00 with David Ward, main Coach from UNITECH International Society in the Keith Green Building. This was followed by lunch at 12:00 and then at 13:00 the students started working on their case assignments in their allocated groups. At 15:30, we were all invited to the Caterpillar Visitor Centre in Desford, Leicestershire, by one of the UNITECH CPs, Caterpillar. This gave UNITECH participants a chance to learn more about what Caterpillar does and speak to senior engineers and managers as well as graduates. Also, this gave Caterpillar a chance to learn about the talent that UNITECH offers to them as a CP.
From Tuesday to Thursday, the students spent their time gaining some coaching advice and working in their case assignment groups to complete their presentations for Friday. They had an opportunity to discuss some of their ideas that they had worked on since the end of November with their Corporate Case Advisors (CCAs) on Wednesday afternoon.
All groups presented their ideas to all participants on Friday. BPA – best presentation award was awarded to the ZF group and there were several runner ups receiving recognition due to their ideas and the impact they made. The students had a chance to reflect on their work throughout the week at the end of the day with the UNITECH coaches.
In the evening, the Networking Dinner took place at Burleigh Court. This provided the students with an opportunity to network with the CCAs who are CPs as they aim to secure an internship that is a mandatory part of the UNITECH programme. Finally, one of the UNITECH Alumni Association Local Chapter Coordinator (UAA LCC) for the UK, Samuel Nunn, hosted a party at Vodka Revolutions in Loughborough.
Overall, the event was a success with lots of positive feedback from the students about the Caterpillar Visit and the running of the week. Photos from the week can be found here and will shortly be presented in the UAA Digest to the rest of the UNITECH network. More information about the week, including the schedule can be found on the CEDE website (correct as of Monday 19th January 2015).