Make a Difference with Volunteering 🌍

It’s Volunteers Week, so let’s take a deep dive into the world of volunteering and why you should consider it 🌍

Volunteering is about using your time and talents to make a positive difference for a cause you care about. Volunteers don’t get paid, but some organisations cover expenses, such as travel costs, so it’s always worth double-checking with the organisation.

Volunteering isn’t just about giving back to the community (although that’s important too). Volunteering can be a total game-changer for your own personal growth. Need proof? Ask Becca, our Business Support Officer who volunteered at a local charity shop. She said:

“Volunteering was rewarding, and I’m grateful for everything I learned. I started wanting to improve my confidence, but after a few weeks, the other skills I built on were significant and gave me the confidence to start applying for jobs.”

 

Some of the young people we’ve supported have gone on to volunteer with some amazing local organisations!
  • After working with Fliss for careers support, Lucy[1] joined Worcester Cathedral’s gift shop as a permanent volunteer. This opportunity has helped Lucy gain more confidence in meeting new people and has given her an excellent talking point on her CV.
  • Oliver received support from both Rhys, our Wellbeing Coach, and our Careers Advisors to build his self-esteem and gain work experience. Fliss organised an exciting volunteering opportunity for Oliver at Worcester Cathedral’s Café. This experience has led to Oliver becoming much more comfortable within social settings, and he is now ready to take on new challenges and achieve his goal of getting a job.
  • We’ve also worked with Stepway and The Salvation Army, two incredible organisations that largely rely on volunteers, to provide volunteering opportunities for some of the young people we support.

 

Here’s why you should consider volunteering:
  1. Skill boost: Volunteering is a fast-track learning opportunity for life skills. From teamwork to problem-solving, you’ll pick up skills you can use anywhere (and will look great on your CV).
  2. Gain confidence: If you don’t feel ready for the responsibility of a paid job, volunteering is the perfect opportunity to work on your confidence and people skills in a professional setting.
  3. Meet people: Volunteering isn’t just about the work; it’s about the people. Regardless of where you volunteer, you’ll meet a wide range of people you would have likely never met before.
  4. Test a career: If you’re not sure what you want to do in the future, volunteering means you can try out different things without the pressure of a paid job. It’s like a sneak peek into a career!
  5. Make a difference: Whatever organisation or charity you volunteer for, you’re making a difference and supporting your community.

 

Ready to volunteer?

Pop by our Worcester or Redditch Hub for advice on volunteering and support in finding the perfect opportunity for you!

 

Check out the Worcestershire Community Action Network (We CAN) links below to find local volunteering opportunities.

 

[1] Name changed for privacy reasons.

Volunteers packing food

Prioritise Yourself this Mental Health Awareness Week

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week, 13 – 19 May!

Mental Health Awareness Week is an important time to reflect on how our mental wellbeing impacts our daily lives. Here at Careers Worcestershire, we’re not just about CVs and job interviews; We’re also passionate about supporting your personal growth and wellbeing.

Did you know that one in four adults experience at least one diagnosable mental health problem each year (NHS England, 2020)? Poor mental health can affect anyone at any time, and it’s so important to seek help if you’re struggling!

So, this Mental Health Awareness Week, why not take some time to focus on your mental wellbeing?
Here are just a few ways you can focus on your mental health:
  1. Practice mindfulness. Living in the present is essential, whether it’s making time to sit down and relax or getting outside. For tips and tricks on mindfulness and meditation, click here to visit Mind.
  2. Build a positive support system and surround yourself with people you trust.
  3. Stay active doing what you enjoy.
  4. Get outside. With summer coming up and the countryside on our doorstep, get out in the sunshine – even if it’s just sitting in your garden!
  5. Seek support for advice and guidance if you have any mental health worries.

For one-to-one guidance on boosting your mental wellbeing, set up a session with Rhys, our amazing Wellbeing Coach. He’s here to provide support and effective strategies designed to help you with your mental health and wellbeing. Click here to book a wellbeing appointment.

Why not join one of our upcoming wellbeing workshops in the Hub?
Check out these great mental health resources…

Onside Advocacy offers a range of support and services to people across Worcestershire. Through its new community hubs, Onside provides mental health support and coping strategies for anyone aged 11-25. Starting this May, Onside are joining us throughout the week for drop-ins: on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 12 pm to 7 pm and on Fridays between 10 am and 5 pm. Visit Onside Advocacy’s website here.

Mind is a charity that supports mental health and wellbeing. Their website has many valuable tools to support all kinds of needs, plus there are real-life stories you can read that can give hope to anyone struggling. They also have an extensive collection of support lines available in an emergency. Visit Mind online here and search “what support is out there”.

Kooth is an online mental wellbeing community that supports you through anything, big or small. Click here to visit Kooth’s website.

Qwell is another online community offering various anonymous support options to meet your needs. Explore Qwell’s online wellbeing support here!

Brook is a national online wellbeing and sexual health support network for young people. Visit Brook online here.

A smiley face in a round bubble

Celebrate National Careers Week with Us!  💼

This week is National Careers Week (4 – 9th March)!

If you are having a hard time navigating the job market and finding employment, then National Careers Week is the perfect opportunity to explore different career paths and options! Whether that’s popping in to see us at the Hub for advice on your next steps (which you can do by clicking here) or researching careers by yourself, make the most of this careers week!

There are so many different routes into one career, and finding the path right for you can be difficult. So, I’ve researched three popular careers and the main ways to get into them!

 

🧑‍💼 Administrator

If you’re interested in supporting other professionals, then becoming a secretary or administrator is a great career choice!

As an admin, you will provide both clerical and administrative support to professionals. You may do this as part of a team or individually. You will be involved with the coordination and implementation of office procedures, as well as hold responsibility for specific projects and tasks. In some cases, you might oversee and supervise the work of junior staff.

To become an admin, you will either need relevant experience or formal qualifications, such as an apprenticeship, in a subject like business or management.

 

🧑‍🏫 Teacher

Becoming a teacher can be so rewarding but involves lots of hard work!

As a teacher, you will support children/people in their learning, as well as organise displays and attend meetings. You could teach in a variety of places, such as a school or college and more!

If you’re interested in becoming a teacher, you can get the necessary qualifications by:

  • Completing a university course that leads to qualified teacher status, such as the undergraduate programme for the Bachelor of Education degree.

However, if the university course you are interested in doesn’t involve a teaching qualification, you can complete a postgraduate certificate in education afterwards. This can either be done at university or through a study programme based in a school if you’d prefer to get hands-on experience.

  • Completing an apprenticeship after getting a degree. If you’re interested in earning while you learn to become a qualified teacher, you’ll need to complete a Level 6 Teaching apprenticeship.
  • Working towards this role by completing a degree alongside being a teaching assistant with the relevant qualifications. Like an apprenticeship, this will also give you hands-on experience in the teaching environment while earning money.

 

🧑‍💻 Graphic designer

If you have a creative mind, graphic design could be your passion (and your future career!)

As a graphic designer, you’ll create eye-catching visuals for a variety of products and activities, such as: Websites, advertising, books and magazines, computer games, product packaging, exhibitions and displays and corporate communications.

You can become a graphic designer by:

  • Completing college courses, such as a level 2 technical award in graphic design and building a strong portfolio to showcase your creative ability.

Having a college-level qualification might mean you have to work your way up to becoming a graphic designer by starting out in a company as a design assistant.

  • Getting a university degree in graphic design or illustration and developing a strong portfolio.

 

🧑‍⚕️ Veterinary nurse

If you like caring for animals, supporting veterinary surgeons with sick and injured animals could be your future career!

Veterinary nurses are involved in the hands-on nursing and care of animals, providing both emergency treatment and routine healthcare. As a veterinary nurse, you will play a key role in educating pet owners and promoting animal health and welfare through responsible ownership alongside veterinary surgeons.

To be a veterinary nurse, you’ll need to learn a lot, but this can look different depending on the route you choose:

  • Getting a university degree in veterinary nursing that is approved by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.
  • Going to college and completing a level 3 diploma in a relevant course, which will involve a work placement.
  • Getting experience and training with an apprenticeship like the level 3 apprenticeship in veterinary nursing.

Some apprenticeship providers might expect you to have a relevant full-time position already.

 

🧍 Social Worker

If you like the idea of supporting people in the community, then a social worker may be the ideal career for you!

As a social worker, you’ll support individuals and their families through difficult times and help to find solutions to their problems. This could be by making sure that vulnerable people, including children and adults, are protected from harm or by helping people to live more independently with the support they need.

To become a social worker, you will likely require a degree in Social Work. There are other routes to becoming a social worker, including getting a relevant apprenticeship or joining a graduate training scheme.

 

Take the opportunity to discover and explore various careers during National Careers Week!

To learn more about career routes, click here to visit the National Careers Service job directory!

 

Navigating the Future and Staying in Education 📚🎓

In a world full of opportunities, choosing the path that leads to success can be such a daunting task. While our name is Careers Worcestershire, our advisors can also help you find education and training courses and support you with applications. If you’re confused about your next steps, click here to book an appointment with us!

 

Staying in education is great because:

  1. It keeps options open. Staying in education helps keep your options open, as your qualifications can help you get into various careers.
  2. You gain practical skills and qualities that will help you prepare for employment. Higher levels of education often result in more career opportunities and increased earning potential. Whether you’re completing a study programme at college or university, or on an apprenticeship, staying in education can be really beneficial!
  3. You meet like-minded people. Attending college and other educational institutions means that you are surrounded by people of a similar age with similar interests, helping you create a network of friends and increasing your social circle.
  4. It can be flexible. Whether it’s T-Levels, A-Levels, a degree or a study programme, staying in education doesn’t have to be about studying in a classroom and sitting exams because some courses offer hands-on learning.

 

Education is the key to unlocking your potential

There are so many benefits to continuing your studies, such as better opportunities as a result of more qualifications!

If you don’t like sitting in a classroom and reading textbooks, there are still so many ways to continue learning and gain qualifications. If you’re interested in finding out ways to stay in education that isn’t just going to uni or college, read our blog on alternative routes here: www.careersworcs.co.uk/what-are-your-options

 

 

The word Learn in Scrabble tiles

Staying safe this festive season.

Tis the season to be jolly, but it’s also the time to prioritise your safety and wellbeing amidst the chaos of Christmas time and New Year. There are so many temptations during the festive season, but staying safe and responsible for your own health and wellbeing is important!

Budgeting

With the festive season being full of gift-giving and socialising, it can often be an expensive month for many people.

Budgeting is such an important skill, especially when it comes to celebrating Christmas and New Year.

It’s essential to prioritise your financial wellbeing during this festive period, so here are a few great tips to remember:

  1. Have a clear budget and use free budgeting apps to track spending. It’s good to be honest with yourself (and family and friends) regarding how much you can spend this festive season. If you’re looking for post-Christmas financial advice, pop along to our financial wellbeing drop-in sessions, part of our New Year New You theme for January!
  2. Prioritise your budget on categories that matter to you. So, if you love buying presents, focus your budget on this area rather than other areas.
  3. Take advantage of discounts. Many shops promote discounts during the festive period, so use this to your advantage – just make sure to avoid any scams!

This can be a stressful month – particularly if you don’t have a job. I remember last Christmas when I didn’t have a job or any income; it felt like my head was ready to explode with money worries! This is what really kickstarted me into trying to get a job, and I ended up being supported by Loz at Careers Worcestershire, who helped me search and apply for jobs.

If you’re looking for this same support, click here to book an appointment!

 

Drink responsibly

It’s so easy to get carried away at festive parties and celebrations, but knowing your own limits is essential!

You don’t have to drink to have fun!

If you drink alcohol, make sure to be responsible for the amount you’re consuming. Having too much alcohol can spoil the fun – not just for you but for others around you. I know it’s not fun to be cleaning up your own sick on New Year’s Eve whilst everyone else is having fun…

If you’re planning on drinking at a party, plan your travel. Whether you have a sober friend/family member to drive you home or you rely on public transport and taxis, planning ahead is important because anyone can be vulnerable – especially after drinking.

 

Driving in winter weather

Whether you’re the designated driver or just commuting, driving during the festive season and in winter weather can be daunting.

When driving at night in cold temperatures this festive season, it’s important to:

  1. Plan your journey, including road closures, before you set off.
  2. Take it easy and not rush. Driving at night in cold weather can make it difficult to see ice and other dangerous patches on the road. It’s a good idea to drive slower when you’re not sure.
  3. Ensure your car is in an appropriate condition (i.e., valid MOT and tax) and that all lights, wipers and indicators work.
  4. Defrost your car correctly using a good scraper and a can of de-icer or warm water.
  5. Focus on the road. If you’re the designated driver taking people home, make sure not to let drunk passengers distract you.
  6. Have a fully charged phone with data so you can contact people in the event of a breakdown or another emergency.
  7. Have a breakdown kit in your car, including useful items such as a blanket, torch, jump leads, and a first aid kit.

Click here for more tips on driving in winter weather.

 

Not feeling festive?

There’s no shame in not feeling Christmas cheer! With so much expectation on what Christmas should look like, it can make the month feel more like a chore if you’re already not feeling Christmassy.

If you’re struggling with mental health or suicidal thoughts, make sure to reach out to get support! Whether it’s with friends and family or anonymous helplines, telling someone about how you’re feeling is so important.

For mental health support over the festive season, you can visit the YoungMinds website here or contact Samaritans for free by calling 116 123

 

Stay safe and have fun this festive season!

We hope you all have a great Christmas and New Year!

 

Christmas tree with Careers Worcs logo

What are Your Options at 16?

Are you thinking about what to do next after your GCSEs and missed our post-16 session? Well, look no further because I’ve summed it all up for you!

You have to be in education or training until you’re 18, but this can look different depending on what you’ve chosen to do.

The main post-16 options are:

  • College and more education.
  • Training programmes, such as apprenticeships and traineeships.
  • Working alongside part-time education or training.

Education.

College courses can be totally different depending on the subject of the course and the delivery of the teaching. No one course is the same!

A-Levels.

What? A-Levels, which means advanced level qualifications, are subject-based courses that are often assessed with exams at the end of the two years. You can pick three or more subjects to study, and different courses have different GCSE grade requirements.

Why? If you’re unsure of what job you want to do in the future or are sure you want to go to university, then choosing to do A-Levels is a great choice! Even though universities will accept other qualifications, A-Levels are usually their preferred choice.

Click here to explore A-Levels.

BTECs.

What? BTECs, which the Business and Technology Education Council developed, are more practical and vocational-based qualifications. A BTEC course will often involve a work placement, so you can go out and experience the world of work in the industry related to this qualification.

Comparing them to other qualifications, one BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma is equivalent to 3 A-Levels.

Why? If you know what you want to work as in the future, BTECs offer both learning and hands-on experience. One of the most popular BTEC subjects is childcare because it’s great if you want to get straight into the industry, as you have the relevant qualifications and work experience to help boost your CV.

Click here to find out more about BTECs.

T-Levels.

What? T-Levels are the new technical-based qualifications that aim to help you step into a career. Like a BTEC, one T-Level is equivalent to three A-Levels and involves a work placement. The 45-day work placement gives you hands-on experience and the space to apply your learning. The course usually lasts for two years and is assessed by several exams and placement-based projects.

Why? Like BTECs, if you know what job you want to do in the future, then T-Levels are great for preparing you for the world of work.

The selling point of T-Levels is that the qualifications have been developed in line with job standards, along with guidance from various employers.

For more information about this type of qualification and to find out about local courses, check out this video by Inspiring Worcestershire or click here to go to the T-Levels website!

Training.

Supported Internships (if you have an ECHP).

What? If you’re interested in starting work, supported internships give you the experience and skills that will help you gain crucial employability skills. Supported internships are structured work-based study programmes for SEND individuals who benefit from practical learning and experience. Supported internships are supported by learning providers, such as colleges, and can involve around 70% of learning in a workplace.

Supported internships are often at least six months long and can be part of full-time education courses. The work and experience completed during this internship will help your course and improve your employability skills.

Why? Supported internships are great for increasing a wide range of skills, as well as providing you with a careers coach to help you during your placement.

If you’re interested in this type of education, click here to learn more about supported internships.

Traineeships.

What? Traineeships allow you to gain work experience and improve your employability and functional skills (i.e., maths and English). They are often described as a pre-apprenticeship step and involve a work placement of 70 hours or more, as well as a mock interview with career advice.

Training providers can help with deciding on a suitable traineeship course, as well as supporting you with your next steps afterwards. The following steps may involve staying with this provider to complete an apprenticeship.

Why? Traineeships are usually short courses (less than six months), so if you’re unsure of what to do next, enrolling on a traineeship can be highly beneficial in enhancing essential skills that can help you with any job.

Watch this video on what a traineeship is, or click here for more in-depth information about traineeships!

Apprenticeships.

What? “Earn while you learn”. Apprenticeships are a mixture of learning and working, so you gain a qualification and paid work. An apprenticeship involves 20% of learning a week, but check out this video to learn more about how apprenticeships work!

Apprenticeships usually last over a year, with the endpoint assessment involving a work-related project and coursework. Depending on the type of apprenticeship and your employer, you may even be offered a permanent contract once the training ends!

Why? There are so many benefits to an apprenticeship (as a Business Admin Apprentice, I might be a bit biased 😉). If you’re worried about money, some employers will pay the regular minimum wage, so it’s always worth finding out more!

If you’re looking at moving into an apprenticeship, make sure you apply for as many of them as you can, as well as having a backup plan. Getting an apprenticeship is like getting a job, so it’s important to apply for lots!

For more information about apprenticeships, click here to go to the Worcestershire Apprenticeships website.

Employment.

What? If you’re under 18, then you still have to be in education, but you may also want to undertake work to support your study. Alongside your working hours, you’ll also have to complete qualifications, but this can look very different depending on what you want.

From a training programme to several accredited short courses, the important thing is to participate in 280 hours of guided learning each year alongside employment.

Why? Choosing to start work alongside part-time study gives you the freedom to explore more courses, as well as earn money and start your career path.

For more information, click here to learn more about working alongside part-time study.

Remember – If you have any questions or worries about your next steps, we’re always here to help! You can click here to book an appointment with an advisor or email us at CareersAdmin@worcestershire.gov.uk

Don’t forget to check our calendar to stay updated on future events and activities!

 

#HelloYellow: Learning to Embrace Mental Health

Tuesday 10 October, marks World Mental Health Day, which hopes to raise awareness about mental health issues and combat social stigma.

This year’s theme is #HelloYellow, to wear something yellow, to stand out and create a brighter future for young people’s mental health.

We’’ll be celebrating by wearing yellow so join us to stand out and show up for mental health awareness.

So, are you saying #HelloYellow this World Mental Health Day?

Self-Care and Wellbeing is Important!

Life can be pretty stressful, and finding a job, planning your career, or thinking about your future can make it even more overwhelming.

So many things can affect your mental health, but there are ways to manage it – it’s about finding the right tools and techniques for you! Strategies that help manage my mental health may not work for you, and vice versa.

At Careers Worcs, we can support you with finding the right techniques and resources to improve your overall wellbeing.

It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life and forget about taking care of our mental wellbeing. World Mental Health Day serves as a gentle reminder to prioritise our own mental health. Whether practising mindfulness, engaging in hobbies, exercising, or simply taking a break, investing time in activities that bring joy and relaxation can significantly improve your mental health.

Small steps toward self-care can have a profound impact on overall wellbeing!

Why not have a digital detox?

In today’s digital age, it’s so easy to get lost in the online world!

Whilst scrolling through social media and watching TikTok videos can be fun, spending hours scrolling may not be good for your mental health. Reconnecting with the real world can help reduce anxiety and improve overall wellbeing. Even if it’s only for a few hours, taking a break from screens and social media can really help with your mental health!

Here are some useful resources:

 

 

The Importance of Wellbeing on the International Day of Peace!

This Thursday, it’s the International Day of Peace! This is the perfect opportunity to focus on and explore your inner peace. It’s important to prioritise your mental health and wellbeing to get the most out of life!

Finishing college/uni and transitioning into adulthood is challenging (I know I struggled a lot with the changes!).

Here at Careers Worcestershire, we offer a range of support to help you achieve inner peace.

We’re holding a wellbeing workshop on diversity and identity to celebrate this international day.

Biology, genes, and life experiences influence our identity. We all need to feel valued and included. Good mental health requires balance. To celebrate finding peace, we’ll explore how different factors impact mental wellbeing and how to support you in developing your inner peace. Click here to attend this wellbeing session!

For more advice and guidance, you can book support via this link!

All about apprenticeships!

Hi, I’m Emma, a Level 3 Business Admin Apprentice with Worcestershire County Council. I work in both the Careers Worcestershire Hub team and the Multiply project (which is a project that gives people the opportunity to gain functional maths skills).

When you come into the Hub for appointments, I’m often one of the friendly-looking (hopefully) faces that greet you!

At first, I thought an apprenticeship would be a step back as I’ve already graduated from uni, but I’m still learning new skills!

So, what is an apprenticeship?

“Earn while you learn”

If you’ve never heard of this phrase before, an apprenticeship is both a job and a learning programme. An apprenticeship allows you to earn money whilst also gaining a new qualification.

Around 20% of an apprenticeship is classroom-based learning, which can work out to around one day a week.

These sessions involve learning about all things linked to your job role! 

Anyone can be an apprentice!

A common misconception about apprenticeships is they are only for college leavers – this isn’t true. Anyone of any age and ability can be an apprentice!

There are different levels of apprenticeship:

  • Level 2, which is equivalent to GCSEs.
  • Advanced level 3, which is equivalent to A-level learning.
  • Higher levels 4-7, which are comparable to foundation degrees and above.

Interested in an apprenticeship as well as getting £500?

Worcestershire Apprenticeships logo

Worcestershire Apprenticeships are now offering a £500 bursary to anyone eligible who signs up for a WA Account to submit an expression of interest. (I wish this opportunity was available to me when I was looking for an apprenticeship!)

The WA Bursary can be used towards the cost of your apprenticeship, such as clothing, travel, tools, and equipment needed to complete your apprenticeship.

To find out how to create your WA Account, as well as the eligibility criteria for receiving this funding, click here to visit the Worcestershire Apprenticeships website.

Apprenticeships not right for you?

If you don’t have the confidence to take on an apprenticeship yet, a traineeship could be the solution!

Traineeships are short programmes focused on improving skills. Although traineeships are unpaid, you gain work experience and training that will look great on your CV! This can help boost your confidence when looking at jobs or further training opportunities. 

For more information, click here to find out more about traineeships.

Or, if you have an ECH Plan, you could opt for a supported internship, which is similar to a traineeship by supporting you with developing confidence and valuable skills for the workplace.

For more information on supported internships, click here to visit our Skills4Worcestershire webpage!

Fancy a chat?

If you’re aged 15-24 and have any questions about apprenticeships or just about jobs in general, pop into the Hub and have a chat with us! Click here to go to our booking page.

Kerry from Worcestershire Apprenticeships often pops into the Hub to talk all things apprenticeship! There are lots of amazing apprenticeship opportunities across Worcestershire.

If you’re interested in booking an appointment, click here to find out when Kerry’s next in!

 – Emma

Get Your Vote!

Get Your Vote!

Aged 18+? Don’t forget! 📢

Local elections are happening across England on 4 May and you now need photo ID if you want to vote.

This is important so make sure you can cast your ballot!

You Now Need Photo ID to Vote

The government has introduced a new measure where you now have to show an accepted form of photo ID to vote. This new measure aims to protect our security.
Some of the accepted forms you can use when going to the polling station include:

  • Passport (valid or expired are accepted).
  • Driving License (including provisional license).
  • Blue Disability Badge.

Your form of ID must be the original and not a copy, and without a valid form of ID you won’t be able to cast a ballot. You should also take your polling card with you although this isn’t a requirement.

Find more accepted forms of ID and apply for a free voter ID via: https://www.gov.uk/apply-for-photo-id-voter-authority-certificate

Registering to Vote

If you have not registered to vote before, or have recently moved, you must register to vote by 17 April in order to be able to vote in elections.

Go to Register to vote – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) to find out more and register to vote.

What can I expect?

Going to vote can be scary – especially if this is your first-time voting. It can seem like a daunting experience, but if you’re unsure or need assistance, the staff at the polling station are there to help.

  1. When you arrive at your local polling station, members of staff will be on hand to guide you to where you need to go.
  2. In order for you to able to vote, a member of staff will need to verify your name and address to identify you on the electoral register.
  3. Once they’ve found your name on the register, they will then ask to see your photo ID to verify that it’s you that’s voting.
  4. If you have an accepted form of ID, then you will be given the ballot paper to fill out in a booth, which you can then put into the box.

If you have any questions, come see us at the Hub.