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Professional Services Career Progression Working Group

Professional Services Career Progression Working Group

"we will create opportunities to build the capability of our staff"


The Group was established following the review of PDR and Academic Progression. It was evident from feedback that more needs to be done to support career progression for Professional Services staff. This message was further reinforced by the results of the 2019 Staff Survey.

Membership of the group was planned to ensure that all categories of staff were represented. Following the initial meeting it was agreed that clerical staff did not have sufficient representation and in response a current member of clerical staff was invited to join the group.

  • Listening and Wider Consultation

    The Group has met three times, and is engaged in wider processes of consultation and listening across Queen’s, to date members have considered:

    • Results from the 2019 Staff Survey, particularly comments relating to career development and progression.
    • The activity of the Technician Commitment Steering Committee.
    • Representations from each Trade Union: UCU, NIPSA and UNITE.
    • Feedback from School Managers, which provided an additional perspective for Professional Services staff within Faculties.
  • Areas Identified for Improvement

    The Group have identified the following areas for improvement:

    The opportunities available to support the career development and progression of Professional Services staff including:

    • Learning and Development support;
    • access to job opportunities;
    • ensuring that job criteria are applied in a fair and consistent manner with particular attention to the experience and qualification criteria;
    • providing clarity on the process for reviewing and responding to individual training requests.

    Our approach to clerical recruitment.

    Building on existing Grade Profiles, consider the creation of Job Families/Pathways.

    The support available to line managers to help them to effectively support the development and progression of their team members.

  • The Role of Personal Development Review (PDR)

    The Group noted the pivotal role that the new PDR process will play in supporting career development and progression for Professional Services staff. The new PDR has a developmental focus and provides the framework for an ongoing conversation between Reviewee and their Reviewer (normally line manager for PS staff), to review progress against priorities; discuss plans and career aspirations; co-create future priorities and development goals, agreeing the appropriate support required.

    Reviewee and Reviewer Skills Sessions are now available for staff to help develop the practical skills and confidence required to prepare for and participate in effective PDR conversations in order to agree Priorities and Development Goals required supporting personal and career development.
  • Existing Support for Career Development and Progression

    In addition, the group also noted the following activity, which has recently been, introduced which supports the career development and progression for staff:

    Learning and Development Support

    A range of support is currently available to aid development for Professional Services staff through the refreshed Learning and Development offering, which includes Learning for All , LinkedIn Learning and Administrative Skills.

    Line Manager Capability

    The People Manager Essentials (PME) programme has been developed to support line managers by building their capability and confidence to effectively fulfil their role. Topics include managing performance, coaching, difficult conversations, managing teams and creating a positive team environment. This programme was piloted in 2019 and will be offered on an ongoing basis for anyone with line management responsibility from January onwards.

    Leadership Development

    Earlier this year, the Leadership and Management Framework was introduced, providing a supportive and developmental self-assessment tool for staff to reflect on their current leadership practice as well as those aspiring to leadership roles. The Connected Leaders programmes, which are currently being developed, are underpinned by the Framework and will help us to build the visibility and impact of our leaders.

  • Working Group Action Plan

    An Action Plan is currently being developed by members of the Working Group. It is clear that there are some actions which can be implemented now, see below, and others which will require further consideration and will be a longer-term action. We will continue to update you as the longer-term actions develop.

    Career Development Hub

    A new online Career Development Hub has been developed as a central point for information, guides and resources that provide useful and practical support to encourage staff to manage their own development and career aspirations. The Hub provides guidance through a three-step process, enabling staff to consider where they are now, where they want to be, and how to make a plan to achieve these aims. You can access the new Hub here.

    Career Development Workshops

    In addition, two new Workshops Planning My Career and Interview Skills will be added to our Learning for All schedule, which is available to all staff. The Workshops will help you when planning for your career including completing job applications, interview preparation, and how to best present yourself at interview.

    The Workshops will be available for booking on iTrent from January 2020.