How to conduct your research
Career advice can be hard to find once you leave education, so how do you find the right opportunities several years down the line? One of the easiest places to start is with your professional body. Whether it’s The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) or The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) every trade has its equivalent, and many of these offer courses tailored to suit. It’s also important to take a look around you. How have people progressed within your current company? Are there certain qualifications or skills they’ve gained in order to reach the position they’re in today? If you don’t have a mentor in-house, try altering search to include your wider network. Don’t be afraid of identifying those you admire and contacting them for some advice to find out how they’ve honed their CV.
You might think this is just for school leavers, but actually, there’s no age limit on becoming an apprentice. If you’re over 24, the way in which your qualification is funded may differ, however, apprenticeships have come a long way in the last ten years. Although the typical salary may not be as high (most are advertised between £15,000 to £23,000) it’s worth remembering that these positions often lead to a long-term job within companies willing to train new recruits. Today, if you choose this route, there are many more choices available. In the last year alone, the number of degree apprenticeship routes approved by the government increased by 40 per cent. In addition, some of the UK’s top companies actively encourage mature students. Barclays, which welcomes applications from those over 50, is a great example of this.
The internet brings many advantages, including a wide range of distance learning courses. This year, The Open University celebrates its 50th anniversary, but now many further education providers and professional bodies also offer courses. Our advice if you’re considering this route is to make sure it’s the right method of learning for you. While courses vary, many take a great deal of work, and that’s alongside a full-time job. As a result, it’s estimated that only 5 per cent of people enrolling on online courses complete them. When you start searching for online qualifications, make sure you understand what’s involved, the level of support you’ll receive and always check course accreditation.
This is a popular option for university students, but what should you do if you’re already in an established role? Fortunately, many Employers are becoming open to flexible or part-time work. Well-known companies such as Vodafone, Unilever and Thomson Reuters are leading the way when it comes to allowing staff time a better work life balance in order to focus on other responsibilities such as parenting, caring or studying. Finding a company willing to support you with this approach, as well as to continue your career at the same time, could be the key to your success. Or perhaps you could join the growing community of 4.8 million self-employed workers in the UK, giving you control of your own schedule. Combining a new career as a freelancer with a course could be the perfect way to kickstart your personal development.
A supportive Employer
Many managers are only too happy to help staff keep learning at work. Not only does learning on the job aid retention – making sure that ambitious Employees are able to progress within their current company – it also gives you new skills, which will benefit the team as a whole. Forward-thinking managers will recognise this, so make sure you take time to sit down with your boss to outline your plans. When asking for support, including a budget for training, be prepared to show how this is relevant to your role, as well as how it’ll enhance the work you do in the future. Whether you’ve identified a current skills gap within your company, or you can see a need for more people with knowledge in a certain area, create a business case for the qualification you’ve chosen.
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