Apps For Students and Apprentices

Apps For Students and Apprentices

8th July 2021

Whether you’re studying for your GCSEs, your A-Levels or your apprenticeship, there are a few apps you need to help you with your workload, managing your schedule and revising for your exams.

1. Calendar – essential. It’s up to you whether you download a calendar app or use the general calendar on your phone, but you definitely need one in some form. This will allow you to schedule all your classes, tests and deadlines – and some relaxation time too, of course – to help you prioritise your workload and ensure you never miss anything (notifications enabled usually helps with that).

2. Mathway – this may not apply to everyone, but for those studying any subject at GCSE or A-Level with a Maths element, or are enrolled in an apprenticeship such as Engineering or Accountancy, this will make your life MUCH easier. You can input your problems for the app to solve either by typing them in, speaking them or taking a picture.   

3. Any.Do – an addition to calendar or an alternative. The Any.Do app can sync your calendar to input any tasks or deadlines you’ve already added to it or you can add your own for a range of activities such as call / meeting someone, clean, pay, study and many more. Another feature is Any.Do will sort the shopping lists you input by aisle which could be useful for any student or apprentice with their own home.

4. Quizlet – perfect for pretty much all subjects. This can be used for any GCSE / A-Level subject or for the theory element and modules of apprenticeships – either way the flashcards will come in handy for learning anything.

5. HabitNow – a similar app to calendar and Any.Do but as the name suggests it organises your habits as well as tasks. This can be supportive in quitting bad habits or adopting new habits such as daily exercise, allotting study time each day or any other habit you promised yourself you’d take on this year. Overall creating a better routine for you to benefit your studies, mental health and physical health, alongside any tasks you add which you can categorise, add due dates and add priority levels.

Now you’ve finished reading this blog, you can go straight to the app store and download one or two (or all) of these apps and hopefully they’ll be helpful to you in your studies.

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Apprenticeship Progression Options

Apprenticeship Progression Options

1st July 2021

There are many options available once you have completed an apprenticeship. Whether you choose to stay on in employment, take your studies further, or seek different employment.

1. Your Apprenticeship Could Become A Permanent Position

Many apprentices are taken on as full-time employees after completing the apprenticeship within the organisation that they worked for. This is because the employer will know what skills and qualities the apprentice brings to the table and also the apprentice will have all the training that is required for the specific job role. 

Of course this isn’t the case for everyone but over 84% of employers take apprentices onto full time employment after completing their apprenticeship which is a massive amount. Many apprentices that are kept on progress to higher positions within the company.

2. Progress Onto A Higher Apprenticeship

Once the apprentice has completed their apprenticeship, they may have the opportunity to progress onto a higher apprenticeship. This will give the apprentice a chance to widen their skills and gain more qualifications in their chosen area of study. Higher apprenticeships make the apprentice more valuable to their employer as they will be learning more and expanding their knowledge on their chosen area of study which they can then apply to their work.

To progress onto a higher level apprenticeship is completely the apprentices decision if they want to do that, so if the apprentice decides that their chosen area of study is a topic they don’t want to do anymore, they can decide to not do it at a higher level.

3. Branch out to further employment

Some apprentices may decide that they don’t want to stay on with the company they completed their apprenticeship with and decide to branch out to further employment. Apprenticeships give valuable experience of a working environment and give apprentices skills that employers look for.

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Getting Back Into Work

Getting Back Into Work

24th June 2021

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

17th June 2021

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

10th June 2021

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

3rd June 2021

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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Returning From Lockdown

Tips on Returning from Lockdown

27th May 2021

So after Lockdown, most people may have returned to work already. Some people will be returning to work, some will be going back to their jobs and others may be starting new jobs, but almost all will have to readjust to working back out in offices and other workplaces. Some of you might be struggling to get back into a routine, and some of you might be doing just fine – or maybe some of you have never had a routine –  everyone is different after all.

Getting back into a routine can be difficult, of course however trying to get into one whilst preparing your return to the workspace can help get back into the flow of things. Of course everyone will miss the ability to lie in, or being able for a few extra minutes of sleep if you were working from home, but sacrificing that for about roughly a week before you go back in, or going in for the first time, should prove beneficial to getting back into an early morning routine. 

One thing you should always have ready for when you return to work, or if it’s your first time going into work, is always have what you need for work prepared the night before – even if it’s not your first day, being prepared is better than rushing around in the morning, and if it is your first day, it is definitely not ideal to be rushing in the morning. If you’re returning from working from home, you’ll have to prepare what you’ve been working on to bring in the workplace if necessary too, and if that’s digitally as well (which will make it easier to do so) you’ll have to make sure you have access to your work at home from the office, it’s a pain when you forget a simple thing like that when you could have emailed yourself it, or by another way.

If you’re starting work, which could also help jog the memories of people returning or even help people already back get there quicker, one thing you should definitely do is to plan out your route, seeing which way is the most ideal to get there, and which method is the best way to take, all help you get back to work on time, whilst also giving yourself more time on the morning if you’re lucky enough. Finding the best method to get there is helpful for anybody travelling to work, maybe it might be faster to walk then get the bus, finding that out could save you time and money, and it’s not exclusive to just that example, weighing the pros and cons of any method of travel should be on everyone’s mind who have to travel to work.

Well one thing you could help yourself wake up early and on time is to set multiple alarms, ideally you should already be setting an alarm anyway, but setting multiple around 5 to 10 minutes apart should start to wake you up before you need to. Multiple alarms would definitely wake you up, and keep waking you up if you can’t get up after the first, the amount of alarms is up to you of course, some people only need one, whilst others might need 3, or 5 or even 12 I’ve heard of!  

So whether you are just starting work, or going back to work after the lockdown, hopefully these few tips could help you out. Or even if you’re already back in the office or workplace, hopefully any of this could help – maybe you could even find a better route or get up at the right time now, if you needed to!

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Blog Post Ideas

Blog Post Ideas

20th May 2021

For all of you that are needing blog posts to add to your website. No matter what type of company you have or work for here are some ideas that are usable for anyone.

Blog Ideas to inspire your readers

1. What is your day to day schedule? An insight into your day.

2. How did you get started in your career? How did you grow your business?

3. What is your mission statement?

4. Share your Goals and explain how you’re going to achieve them.

5. What’s the best piece of advice you have received? What is the best advice you can give to your readers?

Blog ideas to entertain your readers

1. Create an office playlist and explain why you chose each song

2. Give people a glimpse of what your office looks like

3. Explain to people what your first week on the job was like? Was it what you expected?

4. Which fictional character would be perfect for your job?

5. Explain why you chose the career that you do.

Blog Ideas that’ll promote your business

1. Business FAQ

2. Explain the origin behind your company name and logo

3. Compare your product or service with your competition and explain why yours is better.

4. Use customer Testimonials about your product or service

5. Share the success of your company. How it started and where it’s at now.

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Top 3 Jobs Without Uni Qualifications

Top 3 Jobs That Don’t Require Uni Qualifications

13th May 2021

Even though university has fees and apprenticeships don’t, it’s assumed that university degrees ensure you the highest paying jobs however this isn’t the case. 

Here are three of the top jobs which don’t require a university degree and can be achieved by taking an apprenticeship instead.

1. Entrepreneur

Did you know…

Entrepreneurs need no university qualification to kickstart their career, instead this job is all about the motivation, perseverance and creative ideas.

Income will depend on the business’ success

Try a business apprenticeship to gain all these skills and more.

2. Training / Project Manager

Did you know…

Training managers administer training programs for employers by creating, presenting and monitoring while project manager’s key responsibilities are budgeting, overseeing, planning and documenting to ensure a project is successful.

Training Managers can earn £37,000

Project Managers can earn £40,000

Try a management apprenticeship for all these skills and more.

3. Sales Manager

Did you know…

Sales managers’ overall aim is leading teams to reach specific sales goals which requires no university degrees, instead IT skills and team leading skills.

Income can begin at £18,000 and can reach £100,000

Both customer service and digital apprenticeships can be the first step in gaining all of these skills.

Visit Oracle’s apprenticeship page here, and the Institute for Apprenticeships page for more information on the different sectors of apprenticeship on offer.

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Working From Home

Working From Home: My experience and other points

6th May 2021

Some people out there would have had the luck to work from home, whether that was for the better or worse, it was a different experience for everyone. I’m here now to talk about my experiences. 

For me, it wasn’t that much of a bad time as some people had, in fact I rather enjoyed it, it was something I had not done before and gave me quite a bit of flexibility around work. With having a dog as well, being able to slightly adjust the time frame of work, I could easily keep track of her and work at the same time – if something happened I could work a bit longer than usual, with or without the dog’s interference.  

Not to mention as well, in my case, I have worked with Windows PCs most of my life, however in the office I work on an iMac, I have gotten used to it already, but I still make slip ups here and there. When I was working from home, I could use my own personal PC, which I do know all the tricks and shortcuts too, as well as already having useful programs installed to help. It was more ideal for me to work from home in that aspect, as my iMac in the office tends to throw a tantrum sometimes and shut itself off, whilst at home, my PC tends to run smoothly and any issues I come across I can usually deal with.

Not forgetting as well, as soon as you’ve finished up work for the day, you can just immediately do all the non related work stuff you’ve been wanting or needing to do, whether that be giving your dog a big walk, or running through some domains with some friends on your favourite game, all can be done quite quickly after quitting time, rather than when you’re in an office, you have to make your way back home from work, whether that be walking or getting the bus.

To top off on that as well, when you’re working from home, there’s no travel costs, you just have to get up and ready, and then you’re at work there’s no need to get up really early to travel to your job, if that’s the situation you find yourself in. You’ll get up, get ready and then you can start work immediately, not worrying about being late or too early, you can start right on time, unless something comes up and you start a little later, then you can finish a little later too and catch yourself up, like my first point it’s very flexible.

And who could forget, you’re at home too! Working from home means you’ll be working in the comfort of your own home as well, although this could be a double edged sword – meaning it could either help you concentrate or distract you more, I did sometimes find it hard to concentrate, but once I got going it was pretty easy to stay focused from there. 

However, whilst there may be many upsides to working from home, like many things, it has its downsides too, like the fact it’ll be only you working on your own, if you’re used to being around quite a few people working in an office, which can be quite jarring, instances like if you need to ask help on a specific thing, and there’s nobody about, you’d have to write an email to someone and then await a response, if you can’t google search it that is. The point being, it may take a while for a response back, the other person could be swamped with work or just doesn’t have the time at the moment to send anything.

Which also leads to another obstacle you could face, communication issues. Sometimes it’ll be easy to get in touch with the people you need to, sometimes it won’t be, and this can slow work down. Not to mention, whilst it can be easier to do meetings via teams or zooms, this can also have its own issues too, with users not having cameras or cameras malfunctioning, they’ll also lead to some difficulty communicating. And from the other side as well, sometimes things just happen out of your control and you can’t be there to answer emails or having to take a break and the likes, like a dog misbehaving or a windows update that decides to take a day (yeah that happened to me) 

So with us just coming out of lockdown three was it now? Some of us would have been working from home, and those people should have similar or completely different experiences to tell, lets just remember these things to try and improve on for the next time we have to work from home.

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