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READY Programme

ready programme stretched picture

Applications for 2018/19 are now CLOSED.

What is the READY programme?

The READY Programme is an employability course exclusively available to new students starting their journey at Brunel University. The scheme provides students with the opportunity to learn about product and service design, teamwork and communication through real, inspiring, sustainable, cross-cultural development projects.

The programme focuses on UNDP (United Nations Development Programme's) work in a refugee settlement in Zambia. The camp is home to over 14,000 refugees who have fled the Angolan and Rwandan wars during 1975 and 2002.

The READY Challenge

The READY challenge is to “innovate for global development” i.e. to design a product (good and/or service) aimed at solving real life problems faced by the resettlers in the Zambian refugee camp.

Brunel+ Award 

This is a Brunel+ Award accredited activity. Students attending the READY Programme can earn a maximum of 230 Brunel+ points towards a Bronze, Silver or Gold award at the end of the academic year. More details on this below.

Interested? Applications for 2019/20 will open in August 2019

Make new friends, stand out from the crowd, enhance your CV with transferable skills, and build contacts while making a real difference! This programme is extremely popular; places will strictly be allocated on a first come, first served basis.  

 READY-Programme-winners-2019-web Students pitching their business idea in front of a panel of external judges 

Course details

  • You’ll take part in 10 sessions which run from 5:00 to 7pm every Tuesday, starting on 8 October and ending on 10 December 2019.  All sessions will take place on campus.
  • Your project will be entered into a competition. The best solution will win first prize.
  • You will receive a certificate of participation at the end of the programme as well as credit on your HEAR (Higher Education Achievement Report) transcript.
  • You must attend at least 7 out of the 10 sessions including the final session on 10 December 2019 to avoid paying an admin fee of £50.
  • The programme will run for 10 consecutive weeks, with no break during reading week.

Questions? Email the team

If you have any questions or want to report an absence always email the team. Please ensure you save ready@brunel.ac.uk as a "safe sender" to avoid our reply ending up in your junk/spam folder. 

Social media

Join our Facebook group  and meet other students registered on the READY programme. 

Follow the READY Programme on Instagram.

This is a FREE course, however...

cancellation fee of £50 will be charged for course withdrawals after 11 October 2019 and/or if your attendance is below 70% without satisfactory evidence to excuse your absence. Please read the Mitigating Circumstances Guidance  BEFORE registering for the programme.

See a short film of last years challenge...

Ready Programme Event 9


You can earn Brunel+ points as follows...

  • 10 points for registering on the READY programme
  • 10 points for attending a READY session (maximum 100 points)
  • 60 bonus points for completing the READY programme and presenting your project on the final night
  • 60 bonus points for the winning teams
  • Maximum overall points per year: 230


In essence, 'employability' is about three things:

  • Knowledge
  • Skills
  • The right personal approach or attitude

The most important of these is undoubtedly ‘attitude’. Employers are increasingly looking for candidates that can show they have skills beyond their knowledge (degree). The ideal applicant for graduate roles will be a well-rounded and dedicated individual who can work as part of a team, has the right attitude and can demonstrate confidence, has good analytical and communication skills as well as sound commercial awareness.

The READY programme gives you the opportunity to develop the knowledge, skills and attitude that will make you a sought after candidate for graduate roles. 

Course outline

Below, a map of Zambia and the Mayukwayukwa refugee settlement, the focal point of this programme.

zambia_mapREADY settlement

This is a versatile programme, with engineering, health, culture, economics and finance as its components. On the READY programme you will explore issues such as poverty and environmental sustainability, which in turn are affected by international, socio-economic, political and technical forces. Throughout the programme you will be exploring these complexities via the design of creative solutions. Using the Zambian design brief, developed by UNHCR, the programme will: 

  1. Look at problems in developing countries
  2. Use various methods to analyse these complexities
  3. Brainstorm to develop a solution
  4. Evaluate how the solution can be designed to suit the local community
  5. Assess various methods to design the solution
  6. Create the actual product
  7. Ensure sustainability of the project
  8. Clarify the implementation
  9. Present solution to employers / professionals and peers
  10. The winning solution/design will be celebrated at an award ceremony in May 2019

Skills on the course:

During this course you will be introduced to a range of transferable skills, such as:

  • Teamwork / conflict management
  • Time management
  • Project management (budget, scope and schedule)
  • Communication skills (including brain storming, group facilitation and presentation skills)
  • Discover how to pitch your ideas to professionals
  • Data analysis
  • Problem solving
  • Cross-cultural empathy
  • Socialising with new peers
  • Build contacts for the future


Don’t forget to activate your Brunel+ profile to earn points for participating on this scheme. Sign in with your student number and network access password.

READY programme team 2018/19

Mitigating circumstances

This is a free course but a cancellation fee of £50 will be charged for course withdrawals after  October 2019 and if your attendance is below 70% without satisfactory evidence to excuse your absence. Please read the Mitigating Circumstances Guidance below BEFORE applying.

  • Mitigating circumstances guidance