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Queen Mary Academy

mySkills: Empowering students to build a personal brand

Dr Usman Naeem

Dr Usman Naeem

Senior Lecturer

In collaboration with

A new initiative named mySkills, created by Usman Naeem and Claire Revell and funded by the Westfield Fund for Enhancing the Student Experience in 2021, has been introduced in the School of EECS to help address both student retention and student employability. A key objective of mySkills is to support students in building their own personal brand and to empower them to take ownership of their career development.

MySkills tasks are embedded within students' programme of study at different points across each academic year. The tasks help students to keep track of the skills gained both from their studies and extra-curricular activities and encourage them to build their professional network as they progress through their degrees. By the end of the course, students who have engaged with mySkills will have a strong professional brand and a track record of their achievements that they can share with employers.   

Reflecting on skills

A heart above an open handOne of the main aims of mySkills is for students to reflect on the skills they have gained through the modules they are undertaking. Through completing the mySkills tasks students buildrecord of skills and achievements they can refer to when making job applications or include on professional platforms such as LinkedIn.  

The first phase of mySkills has been integrated into the level 4 cohort through formative assessments in various modules.  It has also been embedded into a summative assignment as part of the second semester module Fundamentals of Web Technology (ECS417U).  The plan for future phases is to expand this further potentially tapping into additional smaller summative assignments in other modules to increase engagement.  

Additionally, the mySkills team created a core skills mapping for all level 4 modules, which is available on each module QMPlus page. This is designed to help students to see the relationship/connections between core module skills, occupational areas, and job titles. Below is an example for the module ECS417U. 

Myskills example mapping

To further support and grow this initiative, some of the project funding has been used to employ some mySkills ambassadors. The main role of the ambassadors is to grow the network of students, create more engagement with the mySkills through social media and providing support to students undertaking the mySkills tasks. 


Building a personal brand

A seedling growingMyskills incorporates a content creation exercise which aims for students to reflect on what they have learnt from their modules, and from experiences both inside and outside the university. It lists examples of some common skills and personal qualities that students can refer to.  The final section is designed to help students to start building their own personal profile and asks them to consider hobbies, interests and aspirations.

Contributor details

Usman Naeem is a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) within the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science at Queen Mary University of London. He received his PhD from Queen Mary University of London in 2009. Usman is also currently the coordinator for undergraduate and postgraduate projects. Usman has worked at Queen Mary since 2018, which is his second spell, as he previously worked here in 2008/09. In addition, Usman is the co-founder of mySkills, an initiative integrated into the curriculum that allows students to track and reflect on their skills related to graduate occupational areas throughout their academic journey in EECS. 

Claire Revell is the Industrial Placement Manager in the School of EECS.  She has over 20 years’ experience supporting university students with their employability including 13 spent at Queen Mary. She is the module organiser for the Industrial Placement project and a lecturer for the Summer Internship module. In addition to her teaching responsibilities Claire also works with students on a one-to-one basis and is a trained coach.  Claire’s involvement with mySkills is motivated by her commitment to helping students to realise their full potential.  



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