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Personal & Professional Development

 "Change is inevitable.  Growth is optional."

Personal effectiveness

Personal & Professional Development

Personal & Professional Development

Personal & Professional Development

A suite of courses designed to help you build interpersonal skills and manage your career

Personal development

Career development

Development to support your own wellbeing and that of those you work with.  Visit the Colleague Wellbeing and the  Student Wellbeing – Advice for Staff pages for more information


Positive Mindset Toolkit

Join Clinical Psychologist Vikki Barnes to help you foster a positive mindset and continue to learn and grow from your experiences (“to be your best self no matter what you are going through”) in and beyond the current working situation.

The toolkit involves six distinct but interrelated topics: Stay ConnectedFind the CalmMindfulnessFind BalanceGratitude and One Good Thing. Please see below to view Vikki's webinars on each of these topics.

  1. Stay Connected
  2. Find the calm
  3. Mindfulness
  4. Find Balance
  5. Gratitude
  6. One Good Thing

Mindfulness Groups for Staff at the University of Exeter

 About Vikki

Vikki is a practising Clinical Psychologist and an Alumna of the University of Exeter.  Vikki has a substantial online following and presence and is renowned in the sector for her approach to a positive mindset and solution focus. For more information please visit Vikki's social media.

It is vital to our University community that everyone understands the core principles of equality, diversity, and inclusion; and that we continually build on our skills and knowledge as individuals. EDI is an ever-changing landscape, and there are frequent personal and professional development opportunities offered so that our community can stay up-to-date in these areas. Please visit the ED&I Resources and Training pages for more opportunities.

Open-to-all language programmes at Exeter University’s language centre

The language centre’s evening language programme of online and on campus courses is now open for registration.

Courses are scheduled to start from w/c 29th April 2024 and will be running for 10 weeks. 

Introductions to British Sign Language (BSL), Cornish, Breton* and Ukrainian are on offer as well as beginner and continuation courses in European languages, Arabic, Japanese and Mandarin Chinese.  All groups are open to new participants.

A two-term BSL Level 1 certificate course (Streatham campus) will also be starting from Tuesday 30th April.

*Breton: free taster on Thursday, 21/03/24, 18:30-19:30 in Queen’s LT4.1.

A discounted rate applies for staff, alumni and students!
Contact if you have any queries.

Professional Development

The courses and programmes listed on this page are aimed at developing the skills to work in and be part of a team and more specific training around professional subjects relevant to job roles at the University.  The delivery of the courses ranges from face to face sessions and webinars to learning pathways on systems such as LearnSmart.  If there is a subject you can't find, try using the course search, or get in touch.

A suite of courses covering key business themes, processes and skills all useful for today’s workplace.

Information for colleagues about hybrid working:

Information for Managers

A good place to start is to download our Leading and Managing Hybrid Teams Resource Pack.  The pack curates key research and topics that are most relevant to the University and draws on three years of feedback from leaders and managers across the University.  Additionally, the following may be of interest:

Information about getting the most out of homeworking

Health and Safety remains an important topic whether working at the University or from home.  A majority of the courses listed require face-to-face interaction; however, advice and guidance can still be given by the Health and Safety team wherever required. If you have queries about any area of Health and Safety training please contact the Health & Safety team.

Please also refer to the Homeworking DSE page which provides updated Health and Safety information.

Fire Safety courses

On-demand training

If you or your team would like training in any of the topics below please contact the person concerned and they will arrange to deliver the training for you.

Evac Chair Training (Fire Safety)                                   Contact to arrange training
Bespoke Fire Safety Training
Carriage of Dangerous Goods Contact Health and Safety team to arrange training

Laser Safety Awareness
Chemical Deliveries Training
Principles of Ionising Radiation Protection
Hydrofluoric Acid Awareness Training
Radiation Protection Supervisor Training
Radiation Protection Supervisor Refresher Training


First Aid Training

Requests from staff to become First Aiders and attend the ‘First Aid at Work’ training course should be made directly to (monitored by the Health & Safety Team), and have the approval of their line manager.

Finance Training and Helpdesk

Follow the links below to access information about training and development options relating to finance, the T1 system, budgets, ordering goods, paying people and more.  The page also provides a Helpdesk function if you cannot find the answer to your query.

Finance, Procurement, Governance and Compliance on-demand training

If you, or your team, would like any of the training below please contact the person indicated directly. They will then arrange the training with you on an ad hoc basis.

Alison Ball


Dave Burchill

Chrysten Cole or Hannah Haig

Individual and Team Self-Learning Resources

The resources, advice, activities and guidance listed below are taken from the University’s staff development resource bank LearnSmart.  LearnSmart is available for colleagues to browse through at any time and covers all aspects of work and personal development.  We have highlighted below a few of the resources under just some of the subjects on offer and suggested ways of using them for either individual or team development.  

This learning pathway has been created as a ‘playlist’ around the theme of Virtual Collaboration .  It encourages participants to complete a pre and post learning assessment with suggested development content in between.  You will cover areas such as:

  • How to manage a Virtual Team
  • Virtually Perfect Meetings
  • Connect and Collaborate
  • Communication skills

And more…

Work through the playlist in your own time and explore more detail via the LearnSmart search function, should you wish to know more about specific subjects.

It is important that when we think about how we manage our time we reflect on our current and past practices.  Everyone will have different reasons for needing to review how they apportion time to tasks, how they achieve work/life balance or how to be more efficient with the time they have.  The following resources aim to help you understand your current time management approach and then suggest ways to make improvements.

Essential Time Management Skillbook : this is a great booklet to work through either as an individual or as a Team (either work through it as an individual and then come together to discuss your thoughts and support each other (self-facilitation) or approach it as a Team and consider how the department works). An alternative is the Time Management Self-Assessment tool, great for individual refection and/or some subsequent group discussions.

The ABC Time Management Method: As an individual or team you could create an ‘ABC’ list and even go one step further analysing whether ‘C’ tasks are necessary – what usually falls out from this activity is that people/teams have got into the habit of thinking of everything as an ‘A’ task and then it all becomes overwhelming. The Time Management Matrix could be used as a similar/alternative exercise.

A shorter individual or group task could be to watch this video about Six Time Management Dos and Don’ts and then reflect on or discuss your thoughts about the themes and ideas covered; could they work for you, what are the barriers stopping you from implementing them and how can you overcome those barriers? An alternative is to read through this short article about How to improve your time management which discusses the issues but also offers some solutions.

Finally if it is work/life balance that you want to reflect upon then try Life Priorities: A Time Management Exercise .  This exercise is designed to help you examine your work-life balance and time management. It will help you to identify how you would like to allocate your time and compare this with how you currently spend it. The exercise should be completed over the course of a week.

There are lots more Time Management resources that can be used in a similar way to the suggestions above (for instance How do you spend your time?How to handle workload peaks;  Do you know when to say no? ).  The skillbooks are a great way to get thinking about the subject and to do a bit of reflection and planning, whether as a group or individual.

Prioritisation is a key skill that you need to make the best use of your own efforts and those of your team.  It helps you allocate your time where it's most needed, freeing you and your team from tasks that can be addressed later. By knowing how to prioritise you can stay on track with commitments while keeping stress at bay.

We suggest you start this subject by watching the following 2 minute video: Prioritisation Skills

And then try the How to Prioritise Skillbook . Designed to fit into just one hour, it will help you:

  • evaluate the true value of prioritisation
  • explore two important prioritisation techniques
  • consider how resource scarcity should affect your priorities

Team Activity: Try the Action Priority Matrix – watch the video together and then complete a matrix as a team.  If you have a larger team split into groups and then discuss your findings.  Discuss where your priorities should sit and whether there are activities that can be removed or reprioritised.

There are lots more Prioritisation skills resources that can be used in a similar way to the suggestions above – the skills books are a great way to get thinking about the subject and to do a bit of reflection and planning, whether as a group or individual.

Are you struggling to get started on tasks, putting off the same tasks or flitting between tasks and never finishing, you may feel as though you are procrastinating.

We suggest you start this subject by watching the following 2 minute video: Overcoming Procrastination

And then try the Overcoming Procrastination Skillbookwhich will help you to get out of the procrastination habit. In under an hour, you’ll look at how you can:

• Recognize the signs and symptoms of procrastination.

• Plan to complete high-value tasks.

• Set the stage for getting work done

There are lots more Procrastination resources that can be used either as an individual or as a team – the skillbooks are a great way to get thinking about the subject and to do a bit of reflection and planning, whether as a group or individual.

Confidence is key to success, piece of mind and wellbeing. Having self-confidence boosts your self-esteem and helps you achieve your goals.

We suggest you start this subject by reading this short introduction about the subject: Building Self-Confidence

For a quick activity watch the Confidence Hacks video and then consider the reflective questions listed under the video.  This could be done as a team activity too, watch the video and discuss your thoughts about the ‘Hacks’ suggested, would they help your team?

And then try the Building you self-confidence skillbook which will help you to understand yourself better. It takes about an hour and you'll learn how to boost your self-confidence by:

  • reminding yourself of previous successes
  • envisioning a successful future for yourself
  • reframing past mistakes
  • setting self-confidence building goals

Once you have run through the skills book consider whether a mentor might help you get to where you want to be, visit the University Mentoring pages to find out more.  Or maybe you feel you have lots to offer other colleagues and would like to become a mentor yourself, again visit the mentoring webpages to find out how you can sign up.

In Person Training: The University runs a personal development course called Empower@Exeter that covers a realm of subjects related to confidence growth. 

There are lots more Self-Confidence related resources that can be used either as an individual or as a team – the skillbooks are a great way to get thinking about the subject and to do a bit of reflection and planning, whether as a group or individual.

Resilience is our ability to bounce back when things don't go as planned. It's a quality we all possess to some degree, but some of us can draw on it more easily than others. Resilience is important because it keeps us on track until we reach our goals, allows us to deal with difficult situations, and helps us grow by encouraging us to look at the positives. However, it's not about trying to carry on regardless of how we feel, or being superhuman! Instead, it's understanding why we feel the way we do and developing strategies to help us deal with situations more effectively (LearnSmart ‘How Resilient Are You? 2023).  See a bit more about resilience in this Road to Resilience resource

Start with a short review of how resilient you think you are using this quiz: How Resilient Are you?

And then look through which of the following Top Tips for Resilience might help develop those areas which you may have identified through the quiz. It might be that some of the other areas on this web page can help such as the Building-Self Confidence, Self-Motivation or networking sections.  Or you might want to concentrate on The Power of Positive Thinking and developing a Growth Mindset

Finally, much of building resilience is about learning techniques to help us keep Calm and Make Plans, this might include looking after yourself, managing expectations, focusing on things you can control and being agile.

Do you sometimes feel as though you fail to get your opinions heard, or people readily dismiss your views? Maybe you have a habit of handling situations aggressively, or lack the confidence to speak up. If so, the following resources will help you develop your assertiveness skills in order to boost both your confidence and influencing skills.

We suggest you start this subject by watching the following 2 minute video: Assertiveness

And then try the Assertiveness Skillbook , designed to fit into one hour, you will learn to:

  • identify what your rights are and understand why you let others’ needs and demands encroach on you
  • practice assertive communication techniques
  • learn how to use a LADDER to get what you need

There are lots more Assertiveness related resources that can be used either as an individual or as a team – the skillbooks are a great way to get thinking about the subject and to do a bit of reflection and planning, whether as a group or individual.  The Assertiveness resources also delve into the subject of dealing with difficult situations and conflict.

Why do some people manage to go the extra mile while others struggle to get into the starting blocks? What is it that motivates us to work hard and how can we take responsibility for our own motivation? Below are some resources that will help you identify areas where you might be lacking in motivation and address the causes as well as identifying ways to boost your motivation.

We suggest you start this subject by reading this short introduction: Understanding Motivation

And then have a go at completing the How Self-Motivated Are you? questionnaire.  This will help to highlight specific areas that you might want to develop further. 

The Get Motivate! Skillbook is designed to fit into just one hour, you'll learn three key elements of self-motivation and you'll start to motivate yourself by:

  • building your self-confidence and thinking positively
  • finding your focus so you know why you need to get motivated
  • setting goals to take you where you want to go

There are lots more Self-Motivation related resources that can be used either as an individual or as a team – the skillbooks are a great way to get thinking about the subject and to do a bit of reflection and planning, whether as a group or individual.

Networking is all about developing and nurturing meaningful relationships. You might have multiple networks for different parts of your life or you might be wondering whether networking is a useful tool that you should be using. Those already engaged in networking activities might want to brush up on the skills that will help the tool of networking to be even more fruitful. The following information aims to help you identfy your network goals and objectives and to develop the skills that will help you develop a positive networking experience. 


Networking can be a fantastic tool for developing ourselves, gaining knowledge, skills and experience and for achieving positive outcomes in the workplace. It can however be very time-consuming and so at the heart of it we need to understand what our networking objectives are to ensure we are using the right tool for the job and to make sure our activities are focused.  


We suggest starting with The Secrets of Successful Networking - a 12 minute audio that provides a nice introduction and some practical guidance. 

And then have a go at the Am I an Effective Networker to review your current skills. 

And then try the Networking Skills Skillbook  which will help you to understand your networking goals better. It takes about an hour and you'll cover the following:

  • identify your network objectives
  • map your network
  • develop an effective "elevator pitch"
  • plan network activities

If you then want to go into more depth the following might help:

There are lots more Networking related resources covering all aspects of this useful tool. 

Project management is the process of planning, budgeting, co-ordinating and monitoring a series of pre-determined steps that need to be taken in order to achieve a particular goal or objective within an agreed timescale. The following resources aim to get you started on your project management journey or build some depth to current knowledge.

This infographic offers a nice introduction to some of the terms and background around project management and this Project Management Overview provides more detail about each stage of the process.  

The Strategic Delivery Unit at the University has developed an online session titled Introduction to Project Management.  This is the best resource to use for a fuller introduction to project management.

Then we would suggest working through the Project Management Basics Skillbook or the Planning Small Projects Skillbook depending on the size of your project.

Agile Working: The Digital Team offer insights, training and development around Agile:  Agile Upskilling and development opportunities.

If you are looking for a specific qualification or a course that sits between what has been listed and more formal qualifications have a look through the options with  – a majority of these courses do have cost attached which will need to be met by your department.

Beyond these suggestions there are numerous free resources on our LearnSmart hub available to all members of staff, just search under project management or something more specific if you know what you are looking for: Project management Search in LearnSmart, this include subjects such as Agile Project ManagementProject Management Glossary of Terms and How good are your project management skills?

Valuable and well-delivered feedback strengthens teams and individuals by confirming successes and constructively developing those aspects that can be improved. Below are some self-learning resources that will help develop the skill of both giving and receiving feedback. 


Giving Feedback  

We suggest starting by reading through this great visual, an infographic about the key points to consider when Delivering Great Feedback, couple this with the following 5 minute TED Talk about The Secret to Giving Great Feedback and this short article about Feedback Essentials


Having heard and read these introductions to the subject move on to a light touch exercise that will Assess Your Feedback Skills.  This exercise will start to help with where you are now regarding feedback skills and where you might want to develop.  


We suggest you then move on to some deeper, reflective thinking about your own skills using the Giving Feedback Skillbook  - this will take about 60 minutes but you can do it at your own pace, you will learn: 

  • how to evaluate performance objectively so that you can give accurate, informative and impartial feedback 
  • how to come up with a list of potential solutions where your feedback involves areas for improvement 
  • how to conduct a feedback discussion that gets maximum buy-in 


This should help identify any areas you might want further information or development around, some possible further reading that might include: 

Delivering Feedback 

Overcoming Communication Barriers: Feedback and Listening  

Discussing Resistance to Change with an Individual  

Live Training Options:For those who prefer face to face training then try our Giving and Receiving Feedback session.  Or you may wish to develop your coaching conversations in order to provide feedback using coaching techniques: Coaching and Mentoring: Quality Conversations.  


Teamwork: How about trying an exercise with your team to develop these skills, this exercise is also useful for individuals to consider as part of your own development: Giving Feedback: A Performance Management Exercise.


Receiving Feedback 

How can we receive feedback and ensure that we do something positive with it, no matter the message?  Read through this short article to get some hints, tips and approaches to help you use feedback for you Making Feedback Work for You.  For a more specific approach The Feedback Matrix is a great tool for understanding and moving forwards with any feedback. 

Change - supporting and embracing change

The webinars and self-study resources listed below aim to support colleagues in whatever capacity you are involved in with ‘Change’.  There are lots more resources covering all aspects of Change in our LearnSmart resource centre: Change Resources in LearnSmart

If you are involved in a specific change project the University Change Blueprint is constructed to support the phases of a change initiative from diagnosing the problem to sustaining the desired changes.  Exeter University Change Blueprint Quick Start Guide

Leading and Managing Change – This workshop explores the manager's approach to change, through a facilitated, discussion-based workshop, which encourages reflection and pragmatic action-planning. You will also be introduced to a 'toolkit' of techniques to help you manage change professionally and constructively.

Self-Study Opportunities:

A great way to start considering ‘change’ is to watch the Jason Clarke – Embracing Change TED Talk, it is 18 mins and gives a relatable view of change, including common themes, phrases and feelings employees have towards change – reflect on your own / team situation in relation to the areas Jason discusses.

Then work through the Managing Change Skillbook : this booklet is designed to take just one hour and will help you better understand your approach and role in the management of change. You can explore further resources in Change Resources in LearnSmart around subjects that fall out the booklet exercises, a few examples include:

Activities to do with your team:

Taking your team with you and helping them to feel prepared is really important in times of significant change.  The following resources are aimed at supporting teams to work together through change:

  •  Preparing for Change: A Change Management Exercise – takes 30-60 mins depending in the size of your team.  This exercise should be held shortly after the announcement of a change in your team, department or organisation. It is best suited for groups of six to ten people.
  • Visualising Change in a Group - This exercise is designed to help participants plan organisational change by expressing their ideas as sketches. It is best used when there is a specific problem to be addressed.

Live training:

The following webinar is available to all staff, follow the link for more details:

Self-Study Opportunities:

You may feel that you are going through various emotions around ‘changes’ being proposed in the workplace, the Coping with Change article and video introduces stages that you may recognise in relation to change proposals.  Follow it up with these Embracing Change and How to Make Change Work for You articles in order to start identifying the positives within the proposed changes.  Discuss any concerns or ideas for how to move forward positively with your manager.

Consider how you can remain positive and resilient through workplace changes, the following resources may be of help: