CSSAH Job Shadowing

The College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities (CSSAH) job shadowing scheme has been developed in response to feedback provided to the Professional Services stand at the 2019 College Forum. Shadowing is one way that all of us can learn something new, experience a different environment whilst improving how do we our current roles or gaining a taster of a new career path.

What is job shadowing?

Work shadowing is where one person (the shadow) has the opportunity to observe or work alongside another (the host) to experience their work for an agreed period of time. It provides an opportunity to discover how other people work within an organisation. It also allows an individual to work alongside more experienced colleagues so they can develop within their current role.

The benefits

Job shadowing has many benefits:

  • It’s an excellent way for professional services staff to network with colleagues from other Schools in the College and break down communication barriers across Schools
  • It promotes continuous improvement and is an opportunity for a Host and Shadow to share good practice.

It also gives professional services staff engaged in job shadowing the opportunity to explore what a role is like in a different function or School. By taking part in job shadowing staff:

  • Can see how colleagues and teams work elsewhere in the College
  • Gain insight into different functional areas within the College
  • Use job shadowing as an opportunity to explore career options and build up experience and skills to support applications for a new job, particularly if it is a promoted post
  • Reflect and learn from the experiences of other professional services staff.

There is also benefits for the Host:

  • Hosts have the opportunity to develop their coaching and mentoring skills
  • Hosts have the opportunity to reflect on their own functional areas of work by having a ‘fresh pairs of eyes’
  • Hosts can learn from their Shadow and network with colleagues from different areas.

The key stakeholders

The Line Manager

As part of their PDD, PS staff may discuss job shadowing as a way of developing their current role or as part of their career development into a different role.  The Line Manager will agree with them what this will look like and how much time can be allowed for the activity.

Please see guidance for line managers here.

The Host

This role does involve preparation and thought.  It is not just about having someone follow a member of staff around for an agreed time span.  Hosts will need to take into consideration current work obligations and ensure that the shadowing experience does not get in the way of day to day responsibilities.  Hosts also need to make their Line Manager aware of what’s happening with any job shadowing. 

Please see guidance for hosts here.

The Shadow

The Shadow needs to be clear as to why they are doing the shadowing and what they hope to gain from it.  The Shadow will need to do some preparation beforehand including discussing with their Line Manager and the Host clear objectives for the shadowing.  Once the shadowing is complete it important the experience is reviewed and next steps agreed with the Shadow’s Line Manager.

Please see guidance for shadows here.

How it works

workflow of how CSSAH job shadowing scheme works


A directory of hosts has been created of people from right across the university.  We are extremely grateful to all those that have put their names forward. This directory gives a brief view of what each person does in their current role and the kinds of activities they can show to a shadow.

View directory of hosts

Feedback on the scheme

We are keen to hear from all participants as to how the shadowing process worked for them and any suggestions for improvement. There may be roles not covered in the existing directory which people may interested to learn more about. Any suggestions for additions to the directory are most welcome, although we cannot guarantee that hosts will be available to participate.

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