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WBL - The Art of Professional Development Planning

Module description

This module offers a series of activities aimed at developing the personal effectiveness and interpersonal skills of young finance professionals. It seeks to pull together learning from across a variety of sources in support of proactively managing one’s own learning and development. The ability to produce a coherent and well-informed PDP is an essential part of doing well in both academic and professional practise. Using skills of reflection, apprentices will regularly pause to develop their self-awareness and self-management in order to shape their development and demonstrate progression.

This year long module is focused on ‘Self’ and provides an important foundation upon which to develop your career in financial services. The emphasis is on the development of personal effectiveness and interpersonal excellence, both of which are an essential part of creating a positive impact within the workplace. Personal effectiveness includes managing own learning, the identification of personal development needs and taking responsibility for the achievement of learning objectives. Interpersonal excellence is focussed upon the communication skills necessary to play a significant role within teams, department and the wider organisation. The personal development planning processes is determined at the start of your programme and regularly revisited as you move through the year.

Full module specification

Module title:WBL - The Art of Professional Development Planning
Module code:BEF1005DA
Module level:1
Academic year:2021/2
Module lecturers:
  • Dr Alison Sydenham - Convenor
Module credit:40
ECTS value:






Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 1:


Duration (weeks) - term 2:


Duration (weeks) - term 3:


Module aims

Through a series of activities and exercises, apprentices will identify the strengths, values and personality drivers that shape them, using that awareness to manage their own personal development planning. Through constructive feedback from both academic and workplace mentors, the apprentice will review their progress, adjusting and adapting as they progress through their first year at work. This module culminates in the production of a portfolio that draws together and evidences personal and professional development.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Develop critical arguments both of self and of module-related theories that support and deepen learning.
  • 2. Reflect upon professional practice to identify, evaluate and modify own behaviours using self-analysis and constructive feedback. Recognise where learning originates and translate new knowledge into own PDP.
  • 3. Compile, manage and edit a portfolio of evidence in support of own progression against the relevant Degree Apprentice learning objectives.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Demonstrate a sound understanding of the role of the function in which they work, and how this role related to other functions within their department and to the wider business (K2)
  • 5. Identifies and communicates perceived compliance risks to the relevant management or compliance personnel within the organisation (K6)
  • 6. Communicated effectively and professionally with clients, external counterparties and internal staff. Adhered to internal standards, market protocols and regulatory rules and principles for reporting purposes. Understands the relationships and service requirements between markets, clients and their intermediaries (K12-15)

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. Communicating and influencing (S21-23): Adopts high quality written and verbal communication skills as appropriate for communicating with internal and external clients. Builds positive relationships with clients and colleagues using sound interpersonal and influencing skills. Able to coach/train less experienced colleagues. Able to communicate and negotiate complex situations and issues that may arise.
  • 8. Team working and Collaboration (S24-25): Consistently supports colleagues and the wider business, collaborating to achieve results. Aware of their role within team, how their team fits within the business and how the team’s decisions impacts on others. Takes a leadership role in the team when appropriate. Operates well under time pressures
  • 9. Personal Development (S29-30): Proactively plans and records their own development; seeks constructive feedback and incorporates within development plan. Keeps up to date with changes in all areas of the role; Shows commitment to the job and the industry.
  • 10. Honesty and Integrity: Truthful, sincere in their actions and does the right thing (even when not the easiest). Handles client information confidentially.
  • 11. Adaptability: Willing to accept changing priorities and work patterns when new jobs need to be done, or when requirements change.
  • 12. Enthusiasm: Shows drive and energy in their work, when things are going well and when challenges arise.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Seminars (Master classes)18Taking place during the synchronous seminars there will be at least 18 hours of taught input (masterclasses)
Seminars (Webinars)6Taking place during the synchronous seminars there will be at least 6 hours of taught input (webinars)
Online activities and PDP coaching 48Ongoing PDP coaching throughout 48 weeks of module. Working with module tutor, peers and academic mentor.
Applied professional development328Guided and independent learning which will be applied to the work context in consultation with a manager from the organisation. It will include a mixture of reading material, self-development exercises, online discussion forums, self-assessments, videos, and 360-degree feedback.

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Draft: 360 feedback and critical reflection1000-1500 words1,2,3,4,9Academic lead will provide written feedback.
Prepare a draft of own personal development plan1000-1500 words1,2,3,4,7,8,9,10,11,12Academic lead will provide written feedback
Produce four 500-word reflective logs, with draft portfolio evidence, tracking personal development process. Equivalent to 2000 words1-12Academic lead will provide written or verbal feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
1. 3,000 word 2-part academic essay on academic writing and critical thinking253000 words1,2Academic tutor will provide written feedback.
2. Produce a personal development plan and critical reflection (this will form the framework of the DA professional portfolio). 360 feedback is required to accompany your PDP in order to assess your impact against the IOS Behaviour Standards. A critical reflection will also form part of this assignment based on the feedback and outlining the professional impact you have made within your role and how you have identified any development needs to update your PDP.60Equivalent to 4500 words1,2,3,4,7,8,9,10,11,12Academic tutor will provide written feedback.
3. Prepare and deliver a 15-minute group presentation plus accompanying slide deck demonstrating an evaluation and analysis of your team working 1515 minutes plus Q&A (slide deck equivalent to 1,500 words)1,2,6,7,8Academic tutor and peers will provide verbal and written feedback.

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
1. As per orginal 25%, Equivalent to 3000 words1,26 weeks
2. As per original 60%, Equivalent to 4500 words1,2,3,4,7,8,9,10,11,126 weeks
3. Individual Presentation of 15 min but in relation to any team working 15%, 15 min plus Q&A (slide deck equivalent to 1500 words)1,2,6,7,8Academic tutor and peers will provide verbal and written feedback

Re-assessment notes

Defer – as first time

Refer – capped at 40%

Syllabus plan

The main outcome of this module is the Personal Development Plan (PDP). In order to achieve it, the module is divided into three sections respectively called 'Explore', 'Evolve' and 'Excel', which contain a set of Personal Development Activities (PDAs). During the first section 'Explore' the students will learn the academic skills to support their development through the qualifications.  They will also learn the frameworks and tools necessary to develop themselves as a reflective practitioner, identifying where they are starting from and outlining their goals for meeting their potential. Next, the PDAs in the 'Evolve' section focus on developing the behaviours and skills as stated in the IOS standard. Finally, the third section ‘Excel’ is where the students take off in achieving their goals set out in their Personal Development Plan and polish their portfolio ready for submission.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:

Cottrell, S. (2015) Skills for success: personal development and employability . Palgrave Macmillan

Day, T. (2018) Success in Academic Writing. Palgrave Study Skills. Palgrave Macmillan

Miller, D. (2015) Brilliant Personal Effectiveness: What to know and say to make an impact at work. Pearson: UK

Supplementary text:

Cottrell, S (2017) Critical Thinking Skills; Developing Effective Analysis, argument and reflection.

Palgrave Macmillan:

Paul, D., Cadle, J., & Thomas, P (2012) The Human Touch: Personal Skills for Professional Success. BCS: UK

Winstanley, D. (2009) Personal Effectiveness. Excel Books: UK

Gatrell, C. (2006). Managing Part-Time Study: A Guide For Undergraduates And Postgraduates: A guide for Undergraduates and Postgraduates. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Web-based and electronic resources will be posted and made available throughout the module

Origin date


Last revision date