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My Professional Development Portfolio

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Alex Cashmore

on 14 April 2016

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Transcript of My Professional Development Portfolio

Industry Networking Day
Center Parcs
Professional Beauty North

My personal professional development portfolio
Introduction...
S.W.O.T
Prior to coming to university and beginning this course, I studied at Solihull College and completed both my Level 2 and 3 Beauty Therapy qualifications which I did enjoy and I got out of the course what I expected. But I would of liked more of a challenge from it, I felt like the courses were too laid back especially by the time I got to Level 3. With the help and guidance off my colleagues and tutors during my Level 3 training I was informed about International Spa Management at Derby University, Buxton and straight away I was very intrigued and wanted to apply straight away. I knew it would be something I would thoroughly enjoy and also would be a huge challenge and involve a lot of obstacles which I would have to overcome. But the confidence from my years at college I knew would really help, and my experience in working in a team, and my leadership and organisation skills would benefit me a lot. The fact I know what I want to do when I have finished university guides me a lot as I have the motivation and determination to get there. After I have finished my two years of International Spa Management FdSc I aim to be going on to do the third year of International Spa Management Bsc and finally after that I am determined to do Post Graduate Certificate Of Education as my desire is to teach the commercial side of Spa Management at a university. Teaching is something I've always had great interest in as I am a very reflective person, I reflect on a lot of what I do and understand how I could make certain things better and why.
20.10.14
As part of our course we were to attend Professional Beauty North in Manchester at GMEX, this was my first time going to the Beauty North so I was very grateful about having this opportunity and also excited to see what the day was going to hold, this was great experience for us all to have a look around at all the different stalls with the different brands and treatments, getting a great incite on how different brands worked and advertised themselves. It was also a brilliant chance to get your name out there, handing out CV's and doing some networking talking to professional employers and even doing mini courses and training to really get in depth information about new, popular treatments. During this experience I found my confidence was building a lot, especially as I felt confident and knowledgeable enough to go up to the Elemis stand and have a look at what products and treatments they had to offer. As a huge part of my course involves being trained in Elemis which I found really helped and gave me great confidence as I felt like I had a lot of knowledge and understanding about the brand and I knew a lot about the many different products and what they were good for. I feel like my professional development came out a lot during my time at Beauty North as I understood the different employers and their brands and why their workplace and branches helped them achieve where they are now. Also I reflected on how they could have improved and done certain things better, for example the Dermalogica stand I found weren’t very interested or bothered about talking to you once they noticed you were a student, I felt they hurried you a long and were more interested in speaking about business rather than students. I think this could of effected their sales, especially as I am trained in Dermalogica and I believe most students are who do Level 2 and 3 Beauty Therapy depending on what college they attend and may have been interested in buying some products, so I feel they shouldn’t of been so distant with the students and understand how we can benefit them. Besides from that I found that talking to the different people at the stands and talking to them about what they did before getting to where they are now gave me a lot of motivation and determination as it made me realise you really can achieve whatever you want if you put your mind to it!
I will definitely be attending the next one, because a year on I think my confidence, knowledge and motivation will have extended even more and I will be able to do a lot more networking as I will have a lot more experience and knowledge.

3.2.15-4.2.15
Going to Center Parcs in February was another vital and essential part of our course, we had an amazing opportunity to arrive at the beautiful grounds of Sherwood Forest on Tuesday the 3rd of February and have all day to ourselves to do any kind of activities we wanted to such as going to the very popular water park! Later that evening all of us students and our lecturers had a lovely meal together. The next day on Wednesday the 4th of February we had an amazing opportunity to have half a day in the Aqua Sana Spa which is located on the grounds of Sherwood Forest. I felt this opportunity was essential as it gave us a great incite on how popular, busy, commercial spa's work and get through their day without a struggle. Seen as a few of us had never been into any other spas apart from the one we have at university, it was amazing to see how other spas worked. We had three hours in the spa to enjoy any of the treatment rooms, which were uniquely different to each other, with the different aromas and music setting them apart; I felt I was able to really unwind. I like the fact that when we were taken around on a spa tour before we were able to enjoy our time in the spa alone we were advised and guided on which rooms to start off with and why, but I also liked the fact the therapists did encourage us to create our very own spa journey to benefit our needs. This gave me a huge feel of independence and I noticed my independent skills coming out as I was taking the knowledge the therapists had given me on the spa tour and taking into account my needs so I could create my very own spa journey to benefit myself. The glass roof pool was something new to me, because it did give me that feeling of being outside, and ‘free’ but also gave me a lovely comfortable feeling as we were still inside. We were also able to book any treatments we wanted to, with the normal additional cost. Commercial awareness was a huge attribute that I came across while being in the spa as I witnessed how the spa stayed up to date with the latest treatments, products and trends, applying what the public were most interested in. Overall I really did appreciate this academic trip to Center Parcs as I feel it has really benefited my commercial awareness and my independent skills, I learnt a lot about myself as a therapist and also how different spas run on a day to day basis.
10.2.15
On the 10th of February for part of our PDP hours we were all to attend an Industry Networking Day held in the Dome, with a lot of well-known companies, spa's and events placed around the Dome. We all had the chance to apply for a number of summer jobs, find out a lot of information about many different companies and also get your name and information out there into the industry for possible jobs and placements. I found this a very interesting experience, and I feel I gained a lot of information throughout this day by asking the employers about their companies and I was also given a lot of leaflets and company cards if I wanted to go any further with the different companies and their events. It made me realise there are a number of opportunities out there for us to get a summer placements and even part time jobs already and I was intrigued by a lot of them. I organised myself to go to every single stand and get as much information as I could out of the different employers, I feel this helped with my confidence and self-belief a lot as I felt I could speak to the employers with confidence and maturity explaining what I do at university and what I did before. Getting the feedback and guidance off them was brilliant as it made me feel like I really can get somewhere with what I have been studying. I had a lot of independence throughout this day as it was really down to us how much effort, time and thought we put into it because if we really organised ourselves like I felt I did we can get a lot out of it and go as far as we want. Another key skill to have during this day was communication and a lot of it, as that is what networking is all about; communicating with others to get the information you need about the opportunities you are interested in. I really enjoyed this day surprisingly as I didn’t think I would it, proved to be a success in my eyes. I think that at the next one I will be a bit more prepared and bring a CV to hand out to the different companies.
My Spa Shift
My Treatment Hours
Graduate Attributes
September 14- April 15
As a huge part of our International Spa Management Degree, we have to work in the Devonshire Spa, which is placed on site at our university which is a huge bonus and something we are very lucky to have. We are to work one day a week at the spa for six hours, gaining treatment hours where we perform treatments that clients book in for; we are allocated our own column of treatments for the day, these go towards our case study hours. But when we don’t have treatments to do when the spa is a little quieter we have PDP hours to gain and complete which are not only the points I have made on the previous slides but also spare hours in the spa, where we can do cleaning or washing, or even take the role of being spa host or working a long side the spa manager can all go towards our PDP hours. I feel I have grown a lot since my first spa shift back in September 2014, where I felt I wasn’t motivated at all in the first semester as I didn’t feel I was good enough to be working at the Devonshire Spa. I suppose it was something new, a lot of change and coming from College where I feel it was a completely different environment; a lot more to learn a part of me was very nervous. But now nearly at the end of semester two I feel a lot better, I enjoy going down into spa, I feel I am good enough, knowledgeable enough and comfortable enough to be working at the Devonshire Spa. I can really tell my confidence has grown a great deal since my first spa shift and I feel a lot more motivated about working there, I look forward to it! I feel the team on the shift I am on really work well as a team which really helps us get through the shift smoothly; everyone steps in and does their bit helping others if they need it. Working well as a team is a vital skill to have working in the spa industry but also knowing how to work individually is just as important because you can’t rely on others all the time and I know I have gained this skill over the academic year. As when I get given my column at the start of the shift I go straight to my allocated treatment room and set my room up so I am organised and ready for my treatments that are coming up. Problem solving and assertiveness are huge skills also to have when working in the Devonshire Spa, for example if someone becomes ill during the spa shift and cannot go forward and complete the treatments they were allocated to do we have to solve the problem as a team and share the treatments out to others when therapists are free. Being assertive throughout and during the spa shift is vital as you need to be knowledgeable on what you are doing at all times so everyone is happy as the clients wellness is in your hands. I know I have grown as a person as well as a therapist and I am really looking forward to next year in the Devonshire Spa and what it has to hold.
To gain our PDP hours we not only have to attend different days that are held by the university and spare hours we have in the spa we also have to complete different treatments throughout our time in our spa shift which are anything apart from body massage and facials. So this involves manicure, pedicure, Indian head and scrubs for example. I have done manicures and a ceremony of the sun scrub in my spa shifts to gain these extra PDP hours. To begin with I was a bit nervous about having to do manicures as it is a different procedure to what I was taught at my college, but after asking and learning the procedure, practicing and doing some treatments in the spa I feel I got a lot more confident and knew what I was doing and how to go about doing a manicure successfully. On the other hand I felt fine about doing a ceremony of the sun as we were taught the procedure in our practical and I had chance to carry one out on one of my colleagues. After carrying out a few of the treatments on clients in the spa it has left me feeling as though I can do both these procedures with a lot of strength and confidence and I know I can also give the correct aftercare advice. I feel from learning these extra procedures my organisation skills really improved as I always made sure I was organised and tidy before these treatments so it helped me carry out the treatments correctly. I also learnt how to problems solve as I had to make sure I knew the treatments very well before carrying them out on any of the clients in the spa, I did this by asking my spa manager for a chance to have a look at the procedure for manicure so I could write queue cards to keep my mind refreshed on the procedure. I am glad we have the chance to gain more PDP hours with treatments as it helps us to get as many hours as we can.
Reference List

1.
Bowden et al. (2015). Graduate attributes. Available: http://www.employability.ed.ac.uk/GraduateAttributes.htm. Last accessed 10th April 2015.
2. Unknown. (2015). Define Teamwork. Available: http://www.the-happy-manager.com/articles/define-teamwork/. Last accessed 29th March 2015.
3. Unknown. (2015). Networking. Available: http://www.yourdictionary.com/networking. Last accessed 17th April 2015.
4. Unknown. (2015). What is Professional Development?. Available: http://www6.plymouth.ac.uk/pages/view.asp?page=10319. Last accessed 11th April 2015.
‘Graduate attributes are the qualities, skills and understandings a university community agrees its students should develop during their time with the institution. These attributes include but go beyond the disciplinary expertise or technical knowledge that has traditionally formed the core of most university courses. They are qualities that also prepare graduates as agents of social good in an unknown future.’ Bowden. et al. (2000)
‘When a group of people work together cohesively, towards a common goal, creating a positive working atmosphere, and supporting each other to combine individual strengths to enhance team.’ Unknown (2015)
‘Professional Development (PD) is quite simply a means of supporting people in the workplace to understand more about the environment in which they work, the job they do and how to do it better. It is an ongoing process throughout our working lives.’ Unknown. (2015)
‘Networking is defined as the act of making contact and exchanging information with other people, groups and institutions to develop mutually beneficial relationships, or to access and share information between computers’ Unknown (2015)

Strengths
- I think the strengths which I have noticed throughout my first year at university are firstly my concentration, when I really try to and want to work successfully I can. I know what working environment I work best in and how I can get through my work at my best ability. I know that being organised, tidy and clean is when I work best I definitely find that organisation is one my best skills. Secondly I think my confidence and communication has definitely become a lot better since starting university I know who I need to talk to if I want some extra help and I have the confidence to do this, I know that struggling alone isn’t an option. Lastly I think my occupational skills are vital and are a great think to have, by working in the Devonshire Spa it gives me a lot of ways to become a better spa therapist, by gaining a lot of experience and also confidence in the industry I strive to be in!
Weaknesses
- So throughout my first year at university I have definitely come across and understand my weaknesses and I have now learnt how to improve them. Being impatient is one of weaknesses, I discovered this during my first few spa shifts I did at Devonshire spa. As when it got to near the end of the shift and no one was helping to clean up I would get impatient and agitated but I now know how to overcome this, by communicating with my colleagues and asking them to help so we get the job done quicker. Also another weakness is my posture when doing massages I find myself leaning over and forgetting to put the bed up. This is something I need to remember during my spa shifts so I don’t get any future problems with my back. Lastly another weakness would be upselling products, I’m not assertive enough to keep trying to sell the products, but I definitely feel I have improved on this throughout the year.
Opportunities
- I am very grateful to have a placement in the Devonshire spa to complete both my PDP hours and my case study. I think it’s a great opportunity that not many people have, as we have our placement on site along with our university. It is in a great area attracting many people from the public making sure we can get our hours done to complete the module and the course. It gives us a meaning I feel, as it makes me feel good that I work in the Devonshire spa as many people have heard of it. The spa is a great place to be as I think it is very organised and everyone there works great as a team ensuring we get the job done and the shift runs smoothly. It gives me a lot of confidence and I feel I am really growing as a spa therapist, learning a lot about what the industry involves and the job roles you must complete. It has made me realise I am good at what I do and it is 100% something I want to do when I leave university.
Threats
- I found that in the first semester I didn’t feel as good as all the other students at university on our course. I did feel a bit threatened and felt like the colleges they had been prior attending university had pushed them further, where as I feel the college I attended didn’t really. So coming to university and having the work load I was given it was a completely different and a massive change. I did feel threatened by the work load and did feel like I wouldn’t be able to do it, but I have completely overcome this now and have learnt how to get over this threat.
Action Plan
By reflecting on what I have achieved, learnt and overcome from my first year I have realised one of my action plans is to be able to manage my timings during my time in the spa when performing treatments on clients, making sure I stick to the correct treatment times when I do my treatments so I don’t start running over or even cutting times. I have begun a way in which I can overcome this, which is when I do my first treatment I start it five minutes earlier so I finish it five minutes before I am scheduled to, without cutting any time, so if I have back to back treatments I don’t over run and won't upset any clients. Also I need to make sure I work on my pressure when performing a body massage which I have started to improve on by performing a back massage on my spa manager during my time in the spa, she gave me feedback which I feel has really helped and I know I have improved after this as I have been getting positive feedback from clients after massages. Also I feel I want to become a lot more confident in my product knowledge when I am in the spa so I can begin to sell products, I want to achieve this by the middle of the first semester in my second year. I also feel I need to manage my timings when beginning an assignment as in my first semester of my first year I did begin them very late but I do feel since then I have begun to start them a lot earlier and being more organised. I am looking forward to my second year as I want to do so much better and be a lot more focused and organised, and I think by following my action plan I will be able to successfully improve in year two.
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