Skills training sessions contribute towards the Exeter Award

Exeter Award

Grand Challenges skills training

Grand Challenges skills training sessions take place the week before Grand Challenges Week (29th May-1st June) and prepare you for your Grand Challenges experience. These training sessions equip you with essential skills that will help you excel not only in your challenge, but also help in your degree and after graduation.

All of the sessions are optional, and you are welcome to attend as many or as few sessions as you like, based on which skills you want to enhance. Depending on the Challenge you are attending, you may also be recommended towards certain sessions which will be particularly useful for you. 

You can sign up to any of these sessions by following this link. More sessions will become available to book on to as Grand Challenges approaches, so check back on this page closer to the time!

This session will help you plan and effectively deliver presentations in a variety of contexts.

Presentation skills are vital - you probably need them at University, you definitely need them in business and they are often used as part of the selection process in the graduate jobs market.  

At the end of the session participants will be able to:

  • Identify the characteristics of an effective presentation
  • Structure an effective presentation
  • Identify techniques for maintaining audience interest
  • Identify techniques for coping with nerves
  • Plan and deliver a short presentation

This session will explore team dynamics, help you determine what kind of team-player you are and how to build an effective team.

Team working is an increasingly sought after skill and is much in demand in the world of graduate employment. It may also be relevant to your academic work and certainly if you take part in a club or society.

At the end of the session participants will be able to:

  • Explain the difference between a group and a team, and identify the characteristics of an effective team
  • Gain an overview of key models of team development and team roles
  • Develop a greater awareness of their own role as a team-player and value differences in other team members
  • Identify strategies for building effective teams

This workshop will help you develop your knowledge and understanding of the planning stage of a project. Project planning is an important precursor to the project management stage.

By the end of this workshop, students should have:

  • Understood what a project is
  • Understood that project planning is a key aspect of project management
  • Learnt how to compile a project charter and give a brief overview of a project
  • Understood key concepts such as objectives, scope, deliverables, critical success factors, stakeholders
  • Learnt about the key techniques for planning a project

This workshop will cover the skills and psychology of successful negotiating and provide you with a set of principles that will work not just between you and your housemates but in the cut-and-thrust of business too.

Negotiation is the art of getting what you want and keeping everyone else happy at the same time.

At the end of the session participants will be able to:

  • Define what is meant by negotiation and apply that to a number of different contexts.
  • Identify  factors that can determine the outcome of a negotiation.
  • Plan a strategy for successful negotiation.
  • Understand the principle of ‘win-win’ negotiations.


This session will help you to manage your time more effectively, identify stress points and ways of dealing with them.

If you find it difficult to achieve what you want and feel overwhelmed by the number of things you have to do, this workshop will provide some tools to help you.  

At the end of the session you will be able to:

  • Identify how your time is wasted
  • Identify when you are under stress
  • Develop strategies for time and stress management

This session aims to help you learn how to build new relationships to expand your network of professional contacts.

“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” – how many times have you heard that one?

Unfortunately it’s often true, especially in the jobs market with some reports claiming as many as six out of ten jobs are not even advertised, but arise out of the ‘hidden market’.

Contacts are important, and can help you get a job as well as sustain your career.

At the end of the session participants will be able to:

  • Explain why networking is important
  • Identify networking skills
  • Identify ways of describing themselves and their career goals succinctly
  • Recognise and take advantage of a networking opportunity when it arises

This session covers what digital marketing is, why it is used and the pros and cons of using it.  Students will understand how to launch and manage a campaign, identify, engage with and build their audience and evaluate the impact of a campaign.

At the end of the session you will be able to:

  • Appreciate the value of engagement through digital marketing and understand that it is more than Just posting social media messages
  • To identify the digital platforms best for their campaign
  • Have a clear starting point for launching a project, from initial concept idea to getting it off the ground
  • Understand evaluation techniques for assessing the success of a campaign

Please be aware that as a prerequisite to undertaking this session, you should have basic knowledge of HTML, CSS and preferably have some Javascript experience. If you don't already have this, we recommend that you also attend the Beginners Guide to Website Design sessions, part I & II.

This session will include responsive design, getting and displaying data, and dealing with how to upload to the app and play stores. 

You will elarn how to use services such as phonegap to upload your web files and produce files necessary for app store submission.

You will be required to bring an internet capable laptop/macbook with you to the session. Before the session, you will be sent details of programs to install on your device to enable you to fully participate in the training.

This session on applied writing is designed specifically for students undertaking the ‘Confronting Complex Security Challenges of the Future’ Grand Challenge. We strongly recommend that students undertaking this Challenge attend this session.

At the end of the session you will be able to:

  • Understand the underlying principles behind a SWOT analysis
  • Understand the broad utility of SWOT as an analytical tool
  • Understand the strengths and weaknesses of using SWOT in your own studies
  • Use SWOT as a precursor to Scenario Planning
  • Understand the history of Scenario Planning
  • Understand academic thinking on Scenarios
  • Understand the utility of Scenario planning for effective strategy


The aim of this session is to give you an appreciation of mental health, and to dispel any myths about people with mental heath difficulties to enable you to appreciate the normality of people with mental illness.

This interactive session will help you to make the most of LinkedIn, showing how to develop your profile and take advantage of LinkedIn networks

The session will help you understand how LinkedIn works, what to include in your LinkedIn profile and how to use LinkedIn to make you more employable. In particular, how to develop your networks, how to search for work opportunities and how to improve your commercial awareness.

Aims of the session:

  • Introduce yourself and the purpose of the Interview to the interviewee
  • Phrase questions appropriately to get the most out of the interviewee
  • Understand the importance of reading body language to pick up cues
  • Consider the differences between interviewing for media purposes and interviewing for research
  • Conduct yourself professionally in this context

Aims of the session;

  • To contextualise problem based learning and associated skills and approaches  in the context of Grand Challenges
  • To  identify key skills and behaviours associated with improving learning and performance in education
  • To be aware of key processes associated with effective problem solving and
  • critical thinking
  • To consider interdisciplinary working
  • To consider writing effectively for a range of audiences

You’ll learn how to pitch your idea or service to a customer. Once you’ve validated your idea and worked out who you are aiming it at, this is the next step.  You’ll learn how to tell a real customer story, outline your business model, and pare your business down to the essentials in order to get someone else interested in what you propose to do.

Your research question is fundamental because it guides your research.  In this session you will learn how to write clear and focussed research questions by considering:

  • What ‘problem’ you are trying to solve
  • What research has already been undertaken
  • Why the 'problem' is important

We will also spend time evaluating real research questions, thinking about their scope and how to break down a problem or research question. This will enable us to strategise not only the problems we need to address and the questions we need to ask, but how we can solve them through research.

This workshop offers students the opportunity to learn about the use of entrepreneurial behaviour for social rather than profit objectives.

By the end of this workshop, students will have:

  • Learnt what is meant by social entrepreneurship and what differentiates it from business entrepreneurship
  • Learnt about the qualities required by social entrepreneurs

This course is online and can be accessed at any time.