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DkIT Embed Life skills for Science Students

04 January 2024

DkIT are renowned for their graduate’s employability skills. 91% of DkIT graduates are in employment or further education within 6 months of graduating. The Institute would align this graduate success to their focus on creating the well-rounded graduate that possess not only high academic achievements but also are work ready with the right attributes and soft skills to fit into any team or industry.

Recently DkIT provided life skills workshops for 3rd and 4th year students in their Science Department under the ‘Virtual Labs’ project. This workshop was introduced to complement and support the science students’ laboratory-based and practical learning.

These Life Skills workshops were hosted on campus with the Institute’s industry partner Eileen Dunne, Founder and Life Coach at Carbon Coaching. The workshops which consisted of two sessions focused on subjects which included, Threat response - physiology and the evolutionary perspective, Inner Critic, Imposter Syndrome & Limiting Beliefs - source & strategies for growth, Anxiety & Emotional Regulation, Drivers; Defining Core Values to support aligned decision-making, Procrastination, Motivation & Habit and offered research-based strategies to build effective habits such as self-promotion & communication. 

Dr Sinead Loughran, Lecturer in the Department of Life & Health Sciences, said

“we are so thrilled to be able to offer these soft skills workshops which we feel benefit the graduates not only in starting their career journey but in its continuation. This workshop was offered as part of the ‘Virtual Labs’ project which provides students with access to a suite of interactive and engaging virtual simulation learning activities. Learners can explore real-world scenarios, and applications of their on-campus laboratory-based learning, while at the same time build confidence in their abilities and understanding. The aim of this project is to develop work-ready graduates and afford them both technical skills, and extremely important life skills such as project management, communication and team working”.

In recent weeks at DkIT, the Virtual Labs Project have been engaging with students and other stakeholders on several fronts. In November, DkIT project co-lead, Dr. Bernard Drumm, represented DkIT at the launch of the Virtual Lab Science Studio at University College Cork (UCC), a new facility available to members of the Virtual Lab consortium, as well as UCC students and staff for the creation and communication of digital learning tools. Also in November, DkIT Industry lead Dr Sinead Loughran presented the work of the Virtual Labs project team at a biopharma/pharma industry event organised by the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering and BioPharmChem Ireland in Cork.

Dr. Bridget Kelly, student liaison on the project commented that

“Current students were invaluable in sharing their positive experiences of using virtual labs with potential students, industry partners and guests during the Institute’s Open Day, and the launch of the institute’s new science extension launch”.

Throughout the project, students have been providing their opinions of virtual labs by performing yearly surveys and focus groups. Dr. Caoimhin Griffin, responsible for the analysis of these data, commented that

“Students have shown great enthusiasm in their willingness to provide us with their opinions and experiences on virtual labs, with survey participation rates consistently around 50%. The main take home point from students is that they think the virtual lab simulations are useful when complimenting face-to-face laboratory classes, particularly when performed as a pre-class exercise”.

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