Accessibility statement

York Strengths Development Sessions

 Relationship builder, communicator, achiever, learner

Our award-winning York Strengths Development Session enables you to discover your strengths - the things you are good at and you love to do - through enjoyable group activities, and with support and feedback from a trained observer.

York Strengths Development Sessions are offered to all undergraduate first year students, and is integrated into first year modules for several departments.

Masters students have dedicated York Strengths workshops available in Semester 2 - book via Events in Handshake.

What is a Development Session?

A Development Session lasts about four hours, and is supported by the content in York Strengths Online

The Development Sessions give you the opportunity to work with others, and get feedback from a trained observer in a safe environment. This will give you a broader understanding of your strengths that will support you in your university journey.

Benefits of attending a Development Session:

  1. York Strengths Development Sessions are only offered in your first year - it’s now or never!
  2. Experience group exercises similar to job recruitment assessment centres in an informal, low-stakes environment
  3. Reflect on your personal strengths and get feedback from a trained Observer, enabling you to confidently build your self awareness, and articulate your strengths for future opportunities
  4. You will be supported to identify opportunities to pursue in the coming months and years while @UoY to further explore your strengths and the type of work that you’ll thrive in.
  5. Thousands of first years who have participated have gone on to enjoy greater confidence and experiences to help them secure placements, graduate work or further study.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I register, but then can't attend?

It's really important that you make a commitment to attending when you register your place. If you find out you can no longer attend, please cancel your registration via Handshake as soon as you know. 

Observers still have to be paid even if you don't attend. That can be a wasted resource that could have been allocated elsewhere if you change your mind and do not attend your Development Session without letting us know. 

Sometimes sickness or emergencies mean that you won't be able to come along, and won't know that until the day of the event - that's quite understandable. If this happens to you then it's really helpful if you can email on the day to let us know.

If you can't make the day you originally register for, or your timetabled session, please consider coming along to an open session so you don't miss out.

What happens on a Development Session?

The Development Sessions run as morning or afternoon sessions each lasting about four hours. 

  • After a brief introductory session, you'll move into small groups in seminar rooms. You'll work with the same small group for the whole session.
  • Your group Observer will take you through a series of interactive activities, noticing what you're good at and what energises you, as well as asking you to consider this for yourself. You are not compared to anyone else, there is no pass or fail, and they'll be focusing on the positive.
  • You'll get your feedback from your Observer and consider what you’ve discovered about yourself, and your next steps.
  • To close the session, you'll have an opportunity for a one-to-one discussion with your Observer about any aspects of the day, your strengths or your future action plans.
  • There is a break part way through the session (with free cake!) and the water fountains in the building will be operating to top up water bottles (please bring your own).

Watch this video that outlines what to expect at a Development Session.

Do I need to do anything before the Development Session? Do I still need to do York Strengths Online?

If you are attending a Development Session you'll find it helpful to access York Strengths Online for an introduction to the programme, and an initial consideration of your strengths. To get the most from the session you should aim to complete all sections up to and including an initial exploration of the ‘Strengths Discovery’ section before attending. This should normally take no more than 60 minutes. Please bring a copy of your completed York Strengths Grid with you to the Development Session.

York Strengths Online provides an alternative to the Development Session for those who are unable to attend, or for students not in their first year of undergraduate study. The York Strengths Development Sessions provide an enhanced opportunity to explore your strengths in more depth, with feedback from a trained observer. 

If you are attending a Development Session you can also use York Strengths Online to support your ongoing learning. It includes high quality discovery exercises and a range of additional resources to help you carry out a self assessment of your strengths, explore further and plan your next steps. 


I have additional needs / concerns about attending - can you support me?

We are really keen to make sure this event is as accessible as possible, and that everyone has a positive experience when they attend, and are working hard to make this happen.

If you have a disability or health condition we can make reasonable adjustments to help you get the most out of the session. You can notify us of this using the registration form when you register on Handshake for your session.

A quiet space is available at the York Strengths Development Session if you need to take a break, and staff are available to offer support if needed.

If you have any questions, concerns or would just like to talk through what's involved, then please email before registering.

If there are strong reasons why you believe the York Strengths Development Session isn't appropriate for you or you can't attend, please let us know by emailing the address above and we can explore your reasons and potential alternatives for you (and your department where sessions are delivered as part of a module).