Hannah Whittaker talks about her experiences on the LaunchPad Leadership Development Programme
Hannah Whittaker shares her thoughts and experiences on the LaunchPad Leadership Development Programme. LaunchPad offers select students the opportunity to hone their personal and professional skills, gain work experience, business mentoring and networking opportunities. This means they can compete for the best graduate jobs in the UK and around the world. Programmes like this typically cost thousands of pounds to access privately, but UCLan offers this programme FREE of charge to eligible students.
How would you describe LaunchPad to someone who has not heard about it before?
“I would describe LaunchPad as a place to develop your personal skills and learn how to work effectively in new and sometimes difficult environments.
At the end of the first year, all LaunchPad’ers are put into a business style situation for a whole weekend, where you act like you are business owners/managers and put together different ideas, presentations and portfolios regarding improvements and adaptations to a business. This was really useful as we were given deadlines and objectives which made it feel like you were in an actual business environment.”
What first interested you in applying for LaunchPad?
“I chose to apply to LaunchPad because I wanted to develop my confidence and build relationships and networks with new people, including the people on the programme, the course leads and any businesses LaunchPad and ex-LaunchPad’ers had connections with.
I wanted to ensure I had the best opportunities for the future in relation to job prospects, and by applying for and being accepted on the LaunchPad programme I knew I would be able to network and build strong relationships with people.
The project is also very prestigious in the University and putting this on my CV would be a huge achievement.”
What has your experience with LaunchPad been like so far?
“My experience with LaunchPad has been so insightful! I have learnt a lot about my strengths as a person in both a personal and work setting, and I’ve been able to improve my weaknesses and turn them into my strengths.
I have always struggled with my confidence when speaking out in class and through the networking and group sessions I have participated in with LaunchPad, I have improved my communication skills immensely.”
How has LaunchPad influenced your learning and UCLan experience?
“LaunchPad has definitely helped me to understand that I can do well and that I should aim high in my course and in my future career. I’ve always been very driven and determined, however LaunchPad helped me to come out of my shell and not be afraid of giving my opinion or speaking out in class.”
What have been your favourite moments of your LaunchPad experience so far?
“The best thing about my experience so far with LaunchPad has definitely been the initial group weekend away in Wales, where we participated in loads of different challenges and group tasks. We really got to know each other so well from this weekend, which made everyone so much more comfortable together when we started our LaunchPad sessions the week after.”
And how has LaunchPad shaped your career prospects?
“Launchpad has shaped my career prospects by opening so many doors for me and my progression. So many ex-students are now working in well-established companies and it has given me the ambition to aim for the same.”
What would you say to students interested in joining LaunchPad?
“I would say, go for it! It is definitely an experience I won’t forget, and it has helped me so much when narrowing down my options for a future career and obtaining links to different businesses. I’ve also made amazing friends on the programme and I’m sure we will stay in touch when we graduate!”
Hannah is also the Lancashire School of Business and Enterprise, Enterprising Women’s Groups Inspiring Female Student Award winner.