Getting Back Into Work

Getting Back Into Work

Some people may find it difficult getting concentrated when first starting a job, or maybe you’re coming back to work after a holiday, lockdown or working from home, it can be difficult to adjust, however there are ways that can help you concentrate! It can be different for everyone, however here are some ways that could help you, or could help someone you know.  

For some people, listening to music can help with concentration. Music can improve your mood and can help with motivation, a good mood can reduce stress and generally can help you work more efficiently, just like how a good level of motivation can keep you going in whatever task you’re currently taking on. Music has also studies stating that it can help with focus, whilst this was more in line with classical music, I don’t see why this wouldn’t work with the songs you love – it works for me!

Scheduling and planning out your day can keep up your motivation and your focus, with an idea of what you want to do for the day, the worry of “when can I do this?” or “will there be time for this” would be gone when you have some good time management and a good schedule. Having a plan set with goals in mind can help people focus and keep up motivation, being able to see progress being made would keep some people working on, while not being able to see having the opposite effect. Having a good plan will also help with time management as well, a very important skill to have. 

Whilst at first, you may think taking a break might have the opposite effect, but taking a break every now and then helps to improve your focus and concentration, it would stop yourself from overloading from a lot of work – a quick walk around outside or however you would take a break would be beneficial, however don’t get to into your break, or you might just mess up and lose all concentration you have left! But regardless, sometimes taking a step back and thinking of different solutions when you’re stuck or just going over what you’ve done, there’s nothing wrong with that – collecting your thoughts is important for concentration.

A more obvious one but a difficult one for many, having a good sleep schedule. Whilst missing a schedule a few nights wouldn’t do too much harm, constantly missing a good night’s sleep can affect your mood and affect your concentration as well. Getting a good night’s sleep can improve your concentration and your overall mood, which will in turn also affect your focus – not even mentioning the other health benefits to having a good sleeping schedule. If you struggle to get some sleep, there are ways to help you get to sleep, which I’m sure you can find anywhere, however I’m just talking about improving concentration here, although my next topic can help. 

Another thing you can do to help improve focus and concentration is to exercise, exercise can lead to having many benefits with better concentration being one of them, and exercising can also improve your mood, and being in a good mood does affect your concentration and focus, so maybe like a 20 minute jog to start the day, or maybe walking to places instead of a car or even bike instead of walking. Just being outside itself can help, just taking a break in your garden or going out for a walk in a park can greatly improve your mood, and like what has been said, better mood means better concentration and focus.

Surprisingly to some, playing video games can help improve your concentration and focus. Some studies have shown that playing games can increase the concentration of the player, which can also last on for a while, although the study did not say how long. Not to mention there’s games specifically for ‘brain training’ that aim to improve your ‘brain skills’ like memory, focus and concentration, so they will most likely help with improving.

Well after reading this, hopefully you’ve thought of a way to improve your own concentration and focus. Maybe you used one of these methods, or found your own way, but either way I hope this helped you out in any way!

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Apprenticeship Application Checklist

Apprenticeship Application Checklist

Sending that first apprenticeship application is always nerve-wracking and this can be even more stressful when it’s for an apprenticeship you really want. So, before you press send use this checklist to ensure you’ve got everything you absolutely need to make a good impression. Also, by following this list, if you’re successful, you’re already halfway prepared for an interview.

You should have…

1. A CV

Every single application will ask for a CV in some form, and it’s your chance to present all the necessary information about yourself that you can to ensure you stand out. Start off with a personal statement, these don’t need to be an entire essay unless you’re applying for uni, instead just keep it to the basics – who are you, what school did you go to and what are you looking for. You can also mention your key skills here or describe yourself in 3 words such as organised, approachable and confident but keep in mind the job you’re applying for at all times. For example if you’re applying to be a business administration apprentice, you’re likely to be the first face a visitor would see so you’ll need to be friendly, have a good telephone manner etc. After your personal statement and skills, give as much information on your experience as possible, if you’ve had any previous employment, this is where you tell them – give them details on who you worked for but more importantly what were your duties and what did you learn (references are beneficial too if you have them). However, if you’ve never had any employment, add any other experiences you’ve had like any voluntary work as it’s all good experience and shows you’re not afraid of working hard or responsibility.

2. Understanding of the role

When you apply to a job, no matter how much you try to hide it, if you have no understanding of the role the employer will be able to see this. And it doesn’t look good. The majority of apprenticeship vacancies will advertise a general explanation of the role alongside a list of the tasks you’ll be completing but if this isn’t extensive or you want an even more detailed understanding, check their website or the Institute for Apprenticeships page. This way, you can see precisely what skills they’re looking for, what situations you’d be in if you were successful and then you can tailor your application to this. For instance emphasise times when you utilised the skills they’re asking for to show you’re a suitable match. Using past experiences as often as possible gives your claims much more weight, everyone and anyone can say they have excellent communication skills or work well in a team but by giving an example of a time you did this – and did it well – you’ll be showing them how good a candidate you are.

3. Company knowledge

After you’ve completed step 1 and 2, you’ve already improved your chances but by completing some research into the company you’re applying for you’ll be even more impressive. This research benefits both you and the employer as you’ll stand out from all other applicants with your knowledge of what the company specialises in and maybe giving examples as to how you could contribute to this given the opportunity but also it’ll be helping you out. When you’re researching, look up the company’s values and goals which could tell you whether this is the right company for you or not. Then, if you’re invited to an interview you’ve prepared yourself for some of their questions already.

Some companies might ask for a cover letter or give you a couple of questions to answer based on your real life experiences such as “tell me a time when you used teamwork skills” and some may ask you nothing more than your name and education, but applying everything above will put you one step ahead of your competition. That way, next time you find an apprenticeship advertised which fits all of your skills, interests and more, you’ll be presenting yourself to the employer in the best way possible.

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What Can I Do With My GCSEs

What Can I Do With My GCSEs

There are a number of options you can choose from once you have finished your GCSEs and got your results, here are a few pathways you can choose from…

– Academic Qualifications

By far one of the most popular options that people choose to do after sitting their GCSEs is to go to sixth form or college to sit their A-level exams. Completing your A-levels is the most traditional route to university and takes two years to complete.

A-levels are a lot more challenging than GCSEs so if that wasn’t for you then you may want to think about a different pathway that is more suited to you and your learning style than sitting A-level exams.

Colleges and sixth forms have different entry requirements depending on which subjects you want to do at A-level.  

– Vocational Qualifications

If you don’t get the grades to continue on to A-levels or want to do something a bit more vocational, NVQs or BTECs could be for you. These are both work related qualifications that offer an alternative to A-levels.

They’re ideal for people that prefer to be assessed through course work rather than exams. 

– Start an apprenticeship

Apprenticeships are also another popular option that people choose to do once they have completed their GCSEs. They are great for people that want to gain experience in a workplace environment and start earning an income straight after finishing their exams.

Different employers will also have different entry requirements, depending on what apprenticeship you choose to do. They’re so many apprenticeship options out there, which can lead to full time employment with the employer or you could progress to a higher apprenticeship.  

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Understanding Traineeships

Understanding Traineeships

Traineeships are a skills development programme which includes a work placement, which can appeal to anyone looking to complete an apprenticeship next or go into full time employment. This programme is designed to give 19-24 year olds the skills and experience they feel they need whilst also boosting their job application, including their CV. These can last from 6 weeks up to a year, however most traineeships last for less than 6 months.

Not only are they provided with the appropriate skills and knowledge, but also with an education and healthcare plan if necessary. Their vocational training is often sector focussed also, in order to prepare them for the industry they choose to enter. Alongside this specific training, a traineeship includes support for English, Maths and digital skills.

But traineeships can also benefit the business that employs them, not only is it funded by the government and tailored to your company, it can also give current employees the opportunity to gain training and mentoring experience. Studies show that traineeships also develop a more loyal and talented workforce than some other routes of recruitment. After the course, a trainee can progress into an apprenticeship therefore the company is able to get to know their apprentice before they’re employed.

All of this support in various sectors is offered at Oracle Training Solutions Ltd, for example:

Business AdministrationWant a career as an administration / personal assistant or secretary?

The role profile of a business administration trainee would include:

  • Responding to daily customer enquiries, via telephone, email or face-to-face
  • Mailing, faxing and photocopying important documents to support management and customers
  • Working on computers to use various software tools

Customer ServiceWant a career as a retail sales assistant, concierge or receptionist?

The role profile of a customer service trainee would include:

  • Meeting and greeting customers
  • Selling products in various industries
  • Stacking and displaying stock for sale

HospitalityWant a career as a commis chef, production chef or travel agent?

The role profile of a hospitality trainee would include:

  • Cooking and preparing meals in kitchens or advising and serving front of house
  • Explaining and enforcing hygiene rules
  • Planning and assisting with the ordering of supplies and menu items

LogisticsWant a career as a warehouse assistant or trade counter assistant?

The role profile of a logistics trainee would include:

  • Organising the transportation of goods by sea, air, rail or road
  • Packaging and tracking orders
  • Organising the storage and distribution of goods and stock control

Whilst these traineeships can progress into the specific careers alongside them, the majority of the skills you’ll learn from a traineeship are transferable and could be of use in any industry. Therefore, no matter which sector you choose for a traineeship, you’d be a valuable member of any team in any industry when you start looking for an apprenticeship or full-time employment. 

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