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Graduate Program

Thinka’s Graduate Development Program

The goal of this program is for graduates to build capability in foundation skills and step into their roles with confidence. Once a month, graduates debrief the development of these skills with their individual managers after having completed workshops, peer-to-peer activities, and real-world application tasks.

I didn’t know I had so much growth in me until I started the course, I could feel myself changing and loved every minute of the experience.

Stage II
Program Purpose

This Graduate Program supports those starting out in organisations to develop practical skills in work effectiveness, self leadership and teamwork. It helps graduates in all industries develop the right mindset, human skills and resilience, so they can maximise their contribution to work and team life. Graduate training focusses on key skills for competency development and sets up a career development pathway for each graduate so they can achieve success.

Partnering with organisations in Melbourne, Sydney and across Australia, we know that leaders face unique challenges in this modern world of work. Here are a few:

  1. Finding and retaining top talent: Organisations are dealing with a fluctuating economy and rising expectations from consumers, and need to find and cultivate top talent to maintain a competitive advantage. Graduates need critical thinking skills to help them solve complex problems and collaborate, so investing in professional development ensures a strong, sustainable pipeline of talent. 
  2. Rise of ‘human skills’: More and more, organisations are helping graduates develop both technical skills and soft skills. Graduates need skills in maintaining a growth mindset, resilience and effective communication to step into their roles with confidence and achieve competency in areas like project management. 
  3. Professional development: Recent graduates need dedicated professional development to help them establish work effectiveness skills – as these are not often taught explicitly in higher education. Organisations have a significant competitive advantage and a more compelling EVP when graduates are provided with specific skills training to support their career development. 
  4. Complex world of work: Living in a ‘VUCA’ (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) environment means that graduates need practical skills and initiatives to manage a changing, unpredictable environment. Covid recovery, economic instability and hybrid working call for graduates to develop interpersonal skills and self-management techniques to create the best working experience. 
  5. Managing senior stakeholders: Graduates need to learn how to balance the needs of multiple stakeholders, including customers, senior management, and their direct leaders – who all have different requirements. In today’s fast-paced working environment, graduates need strong communication skills to satisfy the requirements of all stakeholders.

Overall, these challenges present a strong case for setting up graduate opportunities in professional development and network-building, so they can build fundamental skills and strong relationships with others.

Program Benefits

With the help of this Graduate Training Program, participants will enhance their skills in the following areas. The program can be a stand alone program or can be integrated with rotations and other existing initiatives.

  1. Curiosity: Graduates build trust when they are genuinely curious and ask questions to learn and improve performance. They can build this capability by asking intelligent questions, seeking out learning opportunities, and by engaging in active listening.
  2. Active learning: Graduates who seek out learning opportunities and are proactive in their approach, achieve their development goals faster. Graduates need fundamental skills to collaborate and work productively, so they can better contribute to team culture and project outcomes.
  3. Self-awareness: This involves the ability to recognise and regulate one’s own emotions and maintain healthy relationships with others. Graduates can improve this skill by engaging in self-reflection, taking on feedback, and engaging in reflective practice. The ability to learn key lessons will help them develop and become more confident.
  4. Empathy: Finding ways to relate to other people’s experiences and their emotions, gives graduates a better insight into others. When this happens, there is a better opportunity for connection and building trusting relationships. By keeping an open mind, graduates can have more honest discussions that lead to better outcomes.
  5. Collaboration: Graduates who can appreciate different needs and perspectives are better able to collaborate with others as a ‘team player’. Grads with well-developed communication skills seek to understand their audience to make good connections. They ask questions and actively include all people in conversations and decision-making.

When organisations grow these skills in graduates, they benefit in terms of greater productivity, improved workplace culture, and developing a strong pipeline of talent.

Program FAQs

What is a Graduate Program?

Thinka’s Graduate Development Program is specifically designed for graduates to grow their self-awareness and interpersonal skills. It aims to provide learners with the skills, tools, resources and confidence necessary to engage in the work experience positively and productively. Our specialist facilitators have worked with many graduates in Australian organisations and draw from these experiences to offer meaningful advice and practical strategies to learn from.

Why should my organisation offer a Graduate Program?

Being part of this Graduate Development Program can help participants develop essential skills, access mentoring, and build partnerships across a supportive community. It can also help participants support each other to build skills and work constructively with their direct leaders. The networking opportunities are crucial for helping graduates and their leaders help each other. Organisations may have a hard start date or flexible rolling intakes into the program, depending on their needs and how it works alongside rotations.

Who can attend a Graduate Program?

This Graduate Program is designed for employees in organisations who have just begun their work journey and need practical skills in areas like teamwork, time management, and cultivating stakeholder relationships. Often, they have just onboarded after the recruitment process and need a structured framework to support professional development. The frameworks and practical skills we focus on build competencies, as well as communication skills, that support graduates in these early stages of career development.

Are Graduate Programs only available in person?

Thinka’s Graduate Development Program can be delivered face-to-face or as online learning via Zoom – depending on the organisation’s set-up. It is typically made up of a series of workshops with case studies and tools to support real world application – so graduates can apply practical skills straight away.

Often these are complemented by coaching sessions with a Thinka coach or we can offer support to upskill leaders in coaching graduate groups. Coaching plays an important role in challenging old behaviours and building constructive work habits in each of the participants. Organisations might also opt for a blended program that makes use of eLearning modules and other forms of media.

Program Case Study

Graduate Program with Built

 

1. What was the objective?

Each graduate required a structured pathway – to support the human skills needed to be effective in their roles. Core human skills that were the focus of the program included: problem solving, complex thinking, self-awareness, time management, priority management and resilience.

2. How did we do it?

Through a series of design-thinking sessions, we shaped the graduate journey and the required skill to be developed at each stage of the journey. Each of the blocks of learning were linked back to one of the Built core values and supported by a learning loop. The graduate journey was made up of workshops, mentoring, experiential activities and project-focused work.

3. How was it integrated and what were the results?

The learning loop was made up of a series of learning interactions that went over two months to effectively round out each topic. This approach allowed us to measure the real work impact of each piece of learning and hear the graduates’ stories through a video diary they filmed after application of learning. This also gave us the ability to give instant feedback to each graduate.

Example program

Month 1

Flip mindset

Develop a growth mindset, reframe negative thoughts and overcome debilitating fears.

  • Program roadmap
  • Induction
  • Virtual workshop
  • Application task
  • Manager debrief

Month 2

Regulate self

Adopt an ‘emotions’ vocabulary, and apply strategies for regulating negativity and the ‘amygdala hijack’.

  • Virtual workshop
  • Application task
  • Manager debrief

Month 3

Build resilience

See how to bounce back from setbacks, apply strategies to increase resilience and understand ‘grit’.

  • Virtual workshop
  • Application task
  • Manager debrief

Month 4

Manage time

Use methods for getting the most out of your energy, work rhythms and apply strategies for overcoming procrastination.

  • Virtual workshop
  • Application task
  • Manager debrief
  • Group coaching session

Month 5

Master communication

Listen and speak with a mindful approach, understand assertiveness and learn how to be ‘clear to be kind’.

  • Virtual workshop
  • Application task
  • Manager debrief

Month 6

Activity: Pressure Test

Apply skills in ‘Pressure Tests’, designed to test your development progress and identify what still needs work.

  • Group coaching: Preparation for the Pressure Test
  • In person activity: Pressure Test
  • Manager debrief

PROGRAM Outline

Delivery Options

In Person Program

Virtual Program

Hybrid Program

Key Outcomes

1. Graduates who learn foundation ‘soft skills’ to improve self-awareness.

2. Graduates who learn how to listen and apply a ‘growth mindset’ to new experiences.

3. Graduates who develop their ability to work with a variety of people.

4. Graduates who increase their ability to work autonomously where appropriate.

5. Graduates who build resilience and learn how to take on feedback and improve.

Possible Inclusions

1. Program roadmap

2. Induction

3. Welcome box

4. Workshops

5. Activities (e.g. Hackathon)

6. Guest speakers

7. Tools for application

8. Assets (e.g. eLearning, video)

9. Coaching

10. Participant management

Target Audience

Graduates

Our in-person delivery option maximises opportunities for robust conversation, experiential activities and intensive group work. This is no ‘death by PowerPoint’ experience – our facilitators are skilled in presenting and leading immersive experiences that get the most out of people. Supported by multimedia, attractive takeaway pages and practical strategies for using back on the job – this in-person approach is valuable for building strong bonds and bringing people together to collaborate.
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Our virtual delivery option breathes fresh life into the online experience with its almost ‘radio show’ feel. Our expert facilitators use a combination of multimedia, questioning techniques and break out activities to target micro-skills – with a focus on application. Supported by an online platform hosting custom-built materials, participants can be assured of lively, dynamic sessions that have a distinct bias to action. Going virtual keeps program sessions succinct, sharp and focused on targeting particular skills in a dynamic way.
Q
A hybrid model takes the best of in-person and virtual delivery options and blends them together, so there’s a healthy mix of face to face collaboration and targeted skill building. Depending on the program themes, we work with you to decide what is better suited to getting together in a training space versus what would sit comfortably in an online setting. This flexible combination allows you and your team to get the best of both worlds.
Q
This program is aimed at individuals who join an organisation, having recently graduated from university. While they will generally be specialists in particular technical skills sets, this program supports their development with foundation soft skills that increase their ability for self-management and working with others effectively.
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