Testimonials

Graduate Students and Academics

My week with Brightwings Education was by far the most useful training course of my PhD. It is so different from other courses because it actually works! I think this can be attributed to a number of factors, for example the course is very well structured with a mixture of engaging presentations, interactive sessions to practice the skills you have learned and individual time for reflection. The course is also led with a great deal of enthusiasm and the small numbers mean you receive a lot of attention with frequent opportunities for development. The intimate environment also cultivates a supportive atmosphere where you build strong friendships and feel comfortable developing your weaknesses.

 

Further to this, the Brightwings Education course covers a broad range of unique topics, such as: identifying your values, developing your USP & personal brand, enhancing your productivity and developing skills in project management, leadership and communication. What is important is that the length of the course provides scope for each of these topics to be covered in great depth, whereby each skill is broken down into easy-to-understand concepts. Overall this means that you leave Brightwings feeling thoroughly enriched and with a better understanding of yourself and how to work effectively and efficiently in a professional environment.

Frankie, PhD student, University of Oxford | Attended a 5-day Brightwings course

Video Testimonial Outcome Stories (Finding my Direction)

Outcome Stories (Project Management) Outcome Stories (Public Speaking)

The Brightwings course was incredibly helpful to me and I am sure to everyone else who had the privilege of attending. Over the course of the week, I got to learn more about myself and my values, as well as how to use that knowledge. As a graduate who is looking to transition into a new phase of life, I definitely had a sharper understanding of what I needed to look out for and do in terms of planning my career and managing projects that will come up. Having spent years in academia, the course also reminded me that to be a successful academic, student or employee doesn't just involve intelligence or hard work, but also a holistic and strategic response to self-development. I would definitely recommend it!


Chloe, Masters student, University of Oxford | Attended a 5-day Brightwings course

Video Testimonial

Within my college, I organise a leadership programme myself and, throughout my time at university, I have participated in many a course on employability skills. None of them has brought together such an array of important tools and addressed personal development in as holistic and interactive a way as Brightwings. What makes this course powerful is that it is built with the immediate application of new knowledge at its core. Not only do the trainers convey academically-founded and personal insights in a way that appeals to people of different learning habits and professional ambitions, but they also give students the chance to practice new skills straight away and to receive constructive feedback.

 

The course is well paced and includes time for introspection as well as time for group work. It highlights how professional “success" is often not accidental but requires a great amount of self-awareness, clear goals and a handful of skills that are often overlooked in similar courses. Having completed the Brightwings course, I now have a better understanding of the unique skillset that I can contribute within my team, am more aware of my personal leadership tendencies and their associated pitfalls, and have more and sharper tools to help me realise my ambitious goals. I especially credit the many opportunities to practice new skills and the honest feedback provided throughout the course with these substantial take-aways.

Angelika, PhD student, University of Oxford | Attended a 5-day Brightwings course

I came away with so many transferrable skills… things that will really apply no matter what I decide to do. 


Gabriela, PhD Student, University of Oxford | Attended a 5-day Brightwings course

Video Testimonial

Camille's [the trainer] energy and enthusiasm made it a fun morning, as well as providing lots to reflect on - I am informed, inspired and motivated to try new things to improve the impact I have when I give future presentations!

Dr Helen Johnson, Associate Professor of Physical Oceanography, University of Oxford | Attended the Advanced Presentation skills course

I can highly recommend it! Not only was the course informative, it was also fun and a really nice opportunity to connect with other department members for a day, and to forget about all the current chaos!

Dr Isobel Walker, External Relations Manager, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford | Attended the Successful Researcher course

I had a one-day course with Brightwings and it has to be one of the best and most engaging courses I have been on! I particularly enjoyed the great balance between the practical elements in small groups and also as a whole group. Importantly, I felt like there was time also for self-reflection about how we completed the speaking tasks.
 
I left the course feeling more confident and self-aware of what things I need to work on in future presentations. I had the chance to use some of the techniques in a lab group presentation the week after!
 
I wish I had taken this course before starting my PhD, but better late than never. I would describe the content of this course as “essential life skills”. The skills I learnt are transferable from academia to any work situation to even speaking with strangers. I highly recommend this course to anyone who wants to gain more confidence in public speaking and giving presentations.

Sara Middleton, PhD student, University of Oxford

Attended the Engaging Speaker course
Note: Within half a year of attending the course, Sara won a prize for her presentation at a conference

My day with Brightwings Education was an incredibly informative and engaging experience that taught me essential skills for many aspects of my research and future career. Though I would call myself a confident speaker and enjoy giving presentations, the course still helped to point out various ways in which I could improve. The activities helped me to self-assess my performance, seek constructive criticism from others and taught me how to handle objections and questions.

 

I was enthused throughout the whole day due to the variety of teaching methods used, from games and lectures to group activities and discussions. I would highly recommend this course to anyone, no matter what their level of skill and at whatever point in their career, as they're skills I wished I'd known years ago.
 

Matthew Kemp, PhD Student, University of Oxford

Attended the Engaging Speaker course

Note: Within a year of attending the course, Matthew won a prize for a departmental presentation

I whole-heartedly recommend the Brightwings presentation skills workshop. Dr Camille Koppen is a gifted and engaging educator. This was a full day workshop, and she kept us engaged from start to finish. I appreciated how Camille tailored the workshop to the specific need of group. I also appreciated that Camille created a learning environment in which everyone was able to contribute. This workshop was a huge boost for my presentation skills, and I hope others have the chance to do this workshop, too.

Christian Norton, PhD Student, University of Oxford

Attended the Engaging Speaker course

The day was a well-structured discussion of all aspects of public speaking, punctuated with chances to practise in small groups and get constructive feedback from our peers. Camille’s insights in to public speaking were useful, and I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to work on the skill in a comfortable environment. I would happily recommend this course, not just to someone who feels particularly under skilled in public speaking, but to all young workers as a quick start guide to improving their presentation skills.

Stuart Jenkins, PhD Student, University of Oxford

Attended the Engaging Speaker course

The presentation workshop was a productive and enjoyable day. Camille managed to make even the most nervous of us relaxed and allowed us to present to the best of our abilities.

There was a marked improvement from the spontaneous performances we gave in the morning to the one we made in the afternoon. Before the workshop I felt okay doing presentations but was never keen to give one. However, after this workshop I’m actively seeking ways to give presentations and learn.

It was an incredibly positive experience and would recommend it to anyone who wants to improve their presentation skills. The friendly atmosphere fostered allowed members of the workshop, who hadn’t all known each other at the start of the day, to collaborate and share experiences to the benefit of the entire group. Anyone who has no confidence, to those who are seeking tips on how to improve an already polished presentation style, should sign up to this course!
 

Marcus Buechel, PhD Student, University of Oxford

Attended the Engaging Speaker course

The course was informative, and provided practical, useful, objective driven ways to approach the start of a research career. Camille is an enthusiastic and engaging teacher and kept the course moving along at a comfortable pace, with plenty of space for our input and to match each task to our specific goals.

 

Brooke Johnson, PhD Student, University of Oxford

Attended the Successful Researcher course

I would highly recommend this course for students to in the first year of their DPhil program. Camille is an excellent facilitator and takes us on a journey to explore ourselves, our strengths and expectations from our DPhil and helps one navigate through the DPhil timeline. The course gave me immense motivation as I had laid down a systematic plan and realistic expectations from my DPhil journey by the end of the course.

 

Apoorva Kulkarni, PhD Student, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford
Attended the Successful Researcher course

The course was fantastic. It made me think about myself in ways I never had before. It has inspired me to be more aware of my own values and the values of others. I would recommend this course to anyone and everyone.

 

Joshua Thomas, PhD Student, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford
Attended the Successful Researcher course

This is a great course to improve self-awareness.

 

Jingdi Li, PhD Student, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford
Attended the Successful Researcher course

I really enjoyed the course and learnt a lot. I would recommend this course to anyone who are seeking self-improvement.

Ava Chan, PhD Student, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford
Attended the Successful Researcher course

Camille is a brilliant and engaging teacher. After attending her course on presentation skills, I won an award when I gave my next presentation!

Saran Davies, PhD Student, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford
Attended the Successful Researcher course

This course provided me great insights into self-awareness in a highly structured way where I never imagined any soft-skill development course could do. During the course, I clearly identified my personal values and strengths, and set my short- and long-term goals, which I believe is a prerequisite for my future career to be successful. I wish I’d taken this course in my undergraduate years!

Jack (Gao) Shuo, PhD Student, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford
Attended the Successful Researcher course

As a first-year DPhil student, I used to feel anxious and not confident in doing my DPhil project. However, this course helped me learn about project management and how to be productive that strongly raised my confidence level. I got to practice making an outline of plans and steps I need to take to finish my DPhil project successfully. Additionally, this course also helped me improve my public speaking skills as I got to practice giving a speech while also was given feedback. Camille’s method of teaching is very engaging since she used a variation of lectures and small group discussions. Moreover, Camille uses a lot of her real-life story while explaining the concept so I can connect and understand the concept more easily. In short, this course helped me a lot in preparing for my upcoming years doing my DPhil project.

Asri Indraswari , PhD Student, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford

Attended the Engaging Speaker, Successful Researcher, Project Management and Productivity Courses

Brightwings training courses provided an incredibly rewarding and valuable start to my life as a D.Phil. student at the University of Oxford.

The core training enabled me to come together with 10+ strangers over Zoom and, within two-days of fantastic engagement, I felt as if I had known the group for years. Camille's exceptional delivery cultivated honesty and reflection amongst us all, ensuring that we all took stock of our skills (soft and technical) before laying out our ambitions for our upcoming research. The collective progress of the group was especially clear in public speaking, where Camille's highly interactive approach to training generated an instant pay-off - everyone was able to articulate themselves with greater confidence and clarity throughout the rest of the activities.

Following the completion of the core training, I joined two further trainings delivered by Camille in leadership and project management. These courses have proved exceptionally valuable not only in planning my upcoming research, but also in changing my approach to preparing and structuring my supervisor meetings. More immediately, I have also utilised my learnings when designing and delivering projects throughout this term's NERC DTP core training (Software Engineering module & Statistics and Data Management module).

Oliver Tooth, PhD Student, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford

Attended the Engaging Speaker, Successful Researcher, Leadership and Project Management Courses