Closing Ceremony Pilot Skills Academy: Maximize Your Potential!

By SEN, 14th December 2017


Based on her cutting-edge Ph.D. research on Millennial leadership in 117 countries Dr. Seren Dalkiran established the Millennial Leadership Lab (MLL).

This is a data-driven knowledge platform for and around Millennials offering a variety of services – from (customized) evidence-based leadership training, coaching, consultancy to public speaking services in order to help corporations, organizations and knowledge institutions to engage their internal and external Millennial workforce better.

In collaboration with the Centre for Innovation (CFI), the Faculty of Social & Behavioural Sciences at Leiden University and HUBspot Leiden, the ‘Skills Academy:Maximize Your Potential!’ is the first emerging good practise established in higher education.

In the Skills Academy we experiment with new forms of learning (21st century & transferable skills) and leadership in higher education with the aim to help students to align their life and work goals to clarify their career direction and prepare for the workforce. 

Closing Ceremony of the Skills Academy

On the 13th of December 2017 the closing ceremony of the Skills Academy was celebrated at HUBspot Leiden Students.

Students pitched their 'impact project proposals' that they developed during the Skills Academy in order to make societal impact in entrepreneurial ways in front of a professional jury, an 'impact winner' who will receive professional training and coaching by HUBspot Leiden to develop their projects further was announced.

Students received their certificates for their course completion. 


Maximize Your Potential

The 'Skills Academy: Maximize Your Potential!' was the first pilot that took place between September - December 2017  at the Faculty of Social & Behavioural Sciences at Leiden University in collaboration with the Centre for Innovation (CFI), the Millennial Leadership Lab (MLL) and the support of HUBspot Leiden.

Students participated and experimented with new forms of learning in higher education through 21st century and transferable skills divided over four domains:




Project Management

Students could choose a series of 4 workshops out of an offer of 8 workshops based on their (personalised) learning needs. The workshops included effective communication, creativity, problem-solving, budgeting, coaching, strategic thinking, collaboration and planning. Each workshop explored a theme. 


Aligning your Personal and Professional Development

In the Skills Academy students worked on aligning their personal and professional development as a base to achieve their life and career goals and potentially increase their chances for their participation in the labour market. A diverse pool of professional trainers gave workshops on a weekly basis in both hard and soft skills. The trainers were Ruben Verheul, Christopher Baan, Damaris Matthijssen, Heleen Esser, Gijs Decker and Matthijs Steneveld. 

Students were assigned on the basis of their learning needs. They received personal coaching and came up with their own 'personal learning roadmap', worked with personal reflection, theoretical and critical inquiry and a practical impact project proposal.

In this way, they were challenged to think about what it means to be part of the Millennial Generation in a 21st century context and taking ownership over their lifelong learning journeys was stimulated.

"Students reflect that they have learned work and life skills that are generally not enhanced in their education, which was important for their development and work-life balance to ensure not to become part of the ‘burn-out’ generation was a recurring aspect.

They also particularly indicate that becoming aware of the relevance of lifelong learning in the age of digitization and cultivating resilience in an increasingly unsustainable world and highly uncertain job market was an important outcome of the pilot" says Seren Dalkiran, projectleader and developer of the Skills Academy curriculum. 



We are delighted to have pioneered this pilot within Leiden University as an emerging good practice within higher education and look forward to a potential accreditation process that we are currently working on. Our aim is to ensure that the Skills Academy can benefit many other students across various faculties now the pilot phase has been closed successfully!

Seren Dalkiran, Projectleader Skills Academy & founder Millennial Leadership Lab (MLL)

Sjoerd Louwaars, Centre for Innovation (CFI)

Janita Ravesloot, Faculty of Social & Behavioural Sciences, Leiden University

Francien Bouhuijs, Faculty of Social & Behavioural Sciences

Marc Cleiren, Faculty of Social & Behavioural Sciences

Rosalinde Spitters, Faculty of Social & Behavioural Sciences

Maaike Lommers, Faculty of Social & Behavioural Sciences

Michelle van Toor, HUBspot Leiden


Student experiences:

My journey throughout the Skills Academy has made me more resourceful, providing me with some useful tools that I can use to solve problems and overcome difficulties. Also, it has created a reassuring feeling: that I already have sufficient knowledge and skills within myself to manage. Also by having a growth mindset, I can ensure to develop any further skills that I may need. Most importantly, throughout the Skills Academy I have discovered different facets of my own resilience, reminding me to get back together with myself, trust myself - my own experiences and insights - and feeling grounded, centered and balanced within myself as I am following the course of my life’s purpose.”

“ During the Skills Academy Course, I have not only gained insight in the way in which I am the key to pursuing happiness and achieving a meaningful life, but also through it I made a significant journey and a start to my lifelong learning experience. During the workshops I have proven to myself that I am more capable than I initially think. A focus on my strengths and a redefinition and reconsideration of my weaknesses have made me step into action, take initiative, be more experimental and take risks. ”

 ” I am grateful for being given the opportunity to be part of the Skills Academy, because it was completely different from my other courses at university. It provided me with a new, exciting and practical approach to learn about myself, personally and professionally. ”

“ Being aware of what really drives me delivers the power to turn my vision into reality. Skills Academy enabled me to embed my passion in my future career. I am proud to be part of the Millennial Generation that can create a future where we can see our children living in health together! “ 

“ Skills Academy provided me with a new, exciting and practical approach to learn about myself, on both personal and professional matters. “

“ Skills Academy has broadened my horizon, which I will continue to expand. Education is important, but we are in control of our future.”

“ The FSW Skills Academy made me realize that life is about learning and there is not one path towards a successful career. In the future, this insight will help me realizing that I should not take one of my biggest obstacles, my own way of thinking, too seriously. “

 “ I am glad that I signed up for the pilot course, I learned a lot of valuable information about me and the generation I am part of. The FSW Skills Academy taught me to partly overcome the one of my biggest obstacles and it made me think about my development, both personally and professionally.  ”


“ Skills Academy was very useful for me! I enjoyed the workshops and lectures, I learned many competences I would not have otherwise and met many enthusiastic new people who are helping us towards a brighter future. “

” I enjoyed Skills Academy, because it motivated me to think about myself (self-reflect), which we often forget, because we are too busy. " 

” Skills Academy enabled me to find out about different opinions and angles on shared problems."

” Skills Academy provided me with tools that are applicable to many different real life problems/situations. This is much more valuable than just providing direct ‘solutions’ which are specific and their value is not so diverse."