Skills@Essex is a new University preparation course aimed at ensuring our students have the academic skills they need to excel. Callum Broadbent, our SU VP Education, is part of the Skills@Essex team and tells us more about the course.

What is Skills@Essex?

Skills at Essex provides a range of carefully constructed resources that are designed to ensure that students at Essex have all the tools they will need to succeed in their studies.

Is it just aimed at new students?

The course will be hugely useful for students to make the jump from sixth form to University effectively, and not be lacking in terms of specific skills.  But it’s not just useful for people making this jump, if you can identify a weakness in your studies, Skills@Essex provides opportunities for you to improve in these areas. For example, if you receive feedback on some work that refers to an area where you can improve, you can make use of the resources Skills@Essex provides to improve your performance.

Do you think some students are feeling a bit rusty due to the pandemic? Could skills@Essex help them sharpen their skills?

There’s no doubt that the pandemic has left some people feeling a bit rusty in terms of their academic ability. I certainly felt that way. Suddenly finding yourself having to give a presentation after barely being able to socialise with people in person is not an easy thing to be able to do. So why not brush up on your presentation skills using Skills@Essex?

What level of skills training is it? for example, could someone who wasn’t on a maths course complete the maths module?

All of the resources available on Skills@Essex are accessible for all undergraduate students, however some may also be of use for postgraduate students. The resources are designed to aid student development, which may be self-identified or directed from an academic of personal tutor, so it won’t be a case of passing or failing a module. Students can work through the topics as suits their own development needs. If they are still struggling at the end, they can contact for further targeted support.

How have you been involved in designing the course?

I have provided consultation and a student perspective on the various modules that have been developed. It is my view that making a concerted effort to develop your arsenal of skills is an important element of your education. Personally, I think it is an important time to refine your digital skills as more and more degrees and jobs incorporate digital aspects.

What subject areas does Skills@Essex cover?

The first set of courses are targeted at undergraduates, but we will continue to expand on the course areas available, ensuring that useful content will be available for students at all stages of study.

The first courses available are:

  • Digital Essex
  • Independent Learning
  • Critical Thinking
  • Effective Presentations
  • Oracy skills
  • Process writing
  • Problem solving
  • Academic argument
  • Academic integrity

Would you recommend Skills@Essex?

I would absolutely recommend Skills@Essex. This is a tangible step you can take to make sure that you put yourself in a position to get the best grades you can possibly achieve and also to leave the University with an important set of academic skills that you can take forwards in life.

How can I access Skills@Essex?

Skills@Essex is accessed through Moodle. Students can sign in using their University login credentials and enrol themselves by searching for Skills@Essex within Moodle.