Be Professionally Equipped 5.0 is a recurring project carried out by the Professional Development Avenue of the Rotaract Club of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura. The initiative was originally introduced in the RI Year 2018-19, and this is the fifth successful consecutive with the addition of numerous novelties. The main objective of this project is the personal and professional development of the participants.

The project intended to mold Rotaractors and Non-rotaractors in terms of sociability, soft skills, and personal lifestyle management for professional progress. This project also supported students’ professional skill development, which is essential for becoming competent individuals.

Soft skills are personality qualities and interpersonal abilities that affect a person’s ability to work with or interact with others. Soft skills cover a wide range of competencies, such as delegation, teamwork, time management, effective communication, and teamwork. As the corporate world becomes increasingly competitive, obtaining a degree may not be adequate for an undergraduate to flourish in their respective field and manage challenging conditions. It is essential to develop both soft skills and some parts of personal lifestyle, which are the determining factors of how each person handles a variety of situations in both their personal and professional lives.

The Professional Development Avenue of the club is dedicated to enhancing professionalism to positively impact people’s lives. The BPE project was designed to cover a variety of topics to achieve this objective, with a focus on learning more about each academic discipline. This is significant given the continued growth and competitiveness in the corporate sector, the gap between industry and academics, the needs of specific professional fields, and the expectations that companies have for credentials beyond a degree.

The project was carried out in 3 phases with each phase having its own goals that contribute towards achieving the overall objectives of the project.

Phase 1 – The initial phase of the project was designed to facilitate the development of inner stability of individuals and enhance both professional and spiritual growth, which are fundamental to the career progression of undergraduate students.

This phase was carried out through 2 webinars. The first webinar on ‘‘Undergraduate’s Attitude toward Professional Development” was conducted by Mr. Upul Weerasinghe; Head of Business Systems – EMEA, Crown Equipment Corporation, London, United Kingdom. Through this webinar we were able to emphasize the significance of an undergraduate’s attitude toward professional development and the important message of knowledge and technical skills being essential in every line of work, cultivating the right attitude is paramount in fostering personal and professional growth.

The second webinar of the first phase was conducted by Dr. Rohana Ulluwishewa; Former Director (Education and External Relations), Center for Spirituality in Sustainable Business Management, Faculty of Management Studies and Commerce, University of Sri Jayewardenepura on the topic of “Role of Spirituality in Professional Development”. It focused on the development of the spiritual aspect for personal growth and its relation to an individual’s professional life. These 2 webinars managed to attract a cumulative attendance of 88 participants.

Phase 2 – through this phase the project sought to highlight the value of business English for undergraduate students as the possession of self-confidence and effective communication abilities is essential for success in the professional sector. A webinar was conducted that focused on the different aspects of business English from formal letter writing to business jargon used in the corporate world and the overall significance of mastering business English. Ms. Vishwara Perera; Senior lecturer (Grade II) Business Communication Unit, FMSC, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, BA in English (Kelaniya), MA in Linguistics (Kelaniya), MA in English Studies (Colombo) was the resource person for this session.

Phase 3 – the final phase focused on the development of behavioural aspects of undergraduates that will play an important part in representing their personality in official and social ventures in the future. Since this phase addressed the physical aspects of professional and personal development, it was carried out through physical workshops.

The first workshop was regarding ‘Social Dancing’. This was conducted by, Mr. Heshan Abeywickrama and Ms. Vera Madevedeva; Students of Mr. Errol Dalath, Teacher of the International Dance Teacher Association UK, Errol Dance Academy. Apart from the physical benefits of dancing, the participants were exposed to dancing as a great stress reliever and how it enhances your mental health and boost self-confidence while creating a sense of accomplishment.

The second workshop was on ‘Social Etiquette and Grooming’ another important area for undergraduates who will undoubtedly require this knowledge in presenting themselves as dependable employees in the workplace. The workshop was conducted by Mrs. Preethimali L. Soosaithasan; Freelance Management Consultant and Corporate Trainer.

The final workshop which focused on public speaking was conducted by Dr. P.B. Sampath Pushpa Kumara; Senior Lecturer (Grade 2), B.A. (USJ); M.A. (Kelaniya); M.A. (Salford, U.K.); MPhil, (Kelaniya) PhD. Through the workshop, the participants were given the tools to overcome their stage fright and become an effective and confident public speakers. This was a very engaging session as the students were also allowed to speak out on simple topics.

Finally, we are happy to announce that our project has been successfully concluded. Based on the feedback we’ve received we’re thrilled to have accomplished the project’s goals and helped our recipients further their careers. The initiative came to a successful conclusion, providing everyone who aspires to be or is already a part of the professional world with a highly useful and fruitful platform to acquire effective abilities as competent employees or employers.

Written by: Rtr. Chathuni Jayodya Edirisinghe

Graphic design by: Rtr. Damindu Lakshan

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