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Co-collaboration with students to develop professional literacy in a co-curricular context

Design for Delivery
Student Experience

Working together with students, we organised co-curricular activities to enhance professional competencies and equip our students with the skills to stand out in the job market upon graduation. In the process we also built a strong sense of community.  

What did you do, why did you do it?

Multiple co-curricular activities (those that run parallel and complement taught modules) were previously available to LUBS PG Marketing students including mentoring schemes and various competitions, all with reasonable to good levels of attendance and participation. Specialising in professional development and employability, our team decided to rebrand and develop the co-curricular offering as Making a Difference (MaD). 

Central to MaD was the decision to implement a co-collaboration approach, moving away from students as consumers of education towards students as partners or collaborators of their education (Healey et al., 2014). Intended benefits included opportunities for students to develop their professional literacy and create career capital.   

We recruited 30 student MaD Ambassadors through an application process. We created an MS Teams chat, divided it into channels of work such as marketing, website creation, guest speaker management, communications, podcasting etc. We met with ambassadors and encouraged them to take up roles within these teams. Students were treated as colleagues and encouraged to create material and take responsibility for engagement with the wider community of 650 marketing majority international students.  

We added three short courses to develop competencies which complemented the taught curriculum. These included The Art of Business Planning, a Sales and Negotiation Bootcamp, the Entrepreneurial Award and the Sustainability Challenge. Early on we decided to open up these events to UG Marketing students too. We tracked attendance, satisfaction and student feedback using a series of surveys after each event or activity.  

What was the impact of your practice and how have you evaluated it?

The impact of MaD has been significant. Despite timetabling constraints resulting in evening and all day Saturday scheduling, events were largely fully booked, many operating waiting lists. Attendance was far higher than previous co-curricular events. In total there were 510 engagements with MaD activities. On average, 97% of students said courses attended were relevant to their home job market, 84% of students said that their confidence has increased from attending the course. 

As for the impact on professional literacy and career capital, the student and ambassador feedback speaks for itself: 

I just wanted to reach out to you about the Make A Difference Initiative and how you've been amazing with the entire construct of these events. This is the kind of university experience that the students are looking for and I can't thank you enough for helping enrich the entire academic experience. 

(Student Rep feedback)

I feel a million times more confident in my work readiness as a result of being a MaD ambassador. I believe it has been a great way to not only build on my professional skills, but to also synthesise my marketing knowledge. Being a MaD ambassador has also made me more confident in working with students from different cultural backgrounds and I believe this is really important as an aspiring global marketeer. I think the skills learnt as an ambassador will significantly enhance my CV and increase the likelihood of me being able to 'sell myself' in future interviews. 

MaD Ambassador feedback

Most notably this project had a significant impact on sense of community. We developed rapport with students outside the classroom. We provided all marketing students with a greater sense of identity, particularly for MaD Ambassadors. Finally we brought groups of students together with shared passions to develop skill sets and knowledge bases.

How could others benefit from this example?

Top Tips:  

  • Provide ambassador training (copywriting, comms, brand guidelines).  
  • Involve them in activity planning and decision making to give ownership 
  • Get ambassadors to disseminate info to the wider student population through preferred platforms (WeChat, Whatapp etc.) 
  • Use certificates to provide students with career capital to share online (LinkedIn etc.)  


Nicky Kinsey,, Marketing Department, Leeds University Business School


Rebecca Padgett, and Lynn Pattison, Marketing Department, Leeds University Business School

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