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

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!

 

Staying Safe on Bonfire Night

Spooky season is over, and bonfire night is fast approaching. Here are a few top tips for keeping yourself safe.

Firstly, go to an organised firework display; they have more rules and regulations regarding health and safety, which is safer than attending a homemade display in your neighbour’s back garden. Stay far away from the fireworks and bonfire. Most clothes are extremely flammable, and it takes seconds for a fire to spread.

Keep in mind that your pets could react badly to the loud bangs which fireworks produce and that this could scare them or leave them in a panicked or confused state. While you can’t control other people and their celebrations, you could try your best to protect your pets this Bonfire Night, by either creating them a comfortable space with blankets in their beds etc, having the TV or music on loud enough to keep them distracted by the noise or even soundproofing the room as best you can so that they don’t get frightened by the noises.

We all love sparklers, holding them or waving them around to create shapes or words with the lights can be a

fun and nostalgic thing to do. Only hold one sparkler at a time and remember that wearing gloves while holding a sparkler is important for your safety!

DID YOU KNOW… Sparklers can reach temperatures which are 5 times hotter than cooking oil!

Around half of all bonfire night injuries are to children, so keep them as far away as possible from any naked flame and any fireworks too.

Most of all, have fun and follow these safety precautions to maximise your experience. The safer you are, the less chance there is of any disasters happening.

Local displays: (Bonfire Night in Worcestershire | Visit Worcestershire)

  • Low noise fireworks – Droitwich, Churchfields 3rd-5th November
  • The Greatest Showman Firework spectacular, Worcester 28th October
  • Bonfire and firework display, Evesham- 4th November
  • Himley Hall, Worcestershire 4th November · Hop Fest on Fire, Bewdley 4th and 5th November

#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:

 

 

World Teachers’ Day

Teachers Who Are Making a Difference Now!

In the world of education, there are many trailblazers making waves. They’re not your typical educators! They’re breaking the mould, and their stories are game changers.

This World Teachers’ Day (5th October), dive into the exciting journeys of Kakenya Ntaiya, Hanan al-Hroub, Salman Khan, and Linda Darling-Hammond – four superstars who are turning education into something epic!

These stories are a must read to inspire your own unique path into the world of teaching!

Kakenya Ntaiya

Kakenya Ntaiya’s impact as an educator extends beyond the classroom.

Her commitment to transforming the lives of young Maasai girls in Kenya has brought about great change.

Through the Kakenya Centre for Excellence, she has provided access to education and championed gender equality, empowering girls to break from traditional barriers. Ntaiya’s dedication to education has opened doors for many marginalised girls, demonstrating the power of education in creating brighter futures and fostering social change. Her global influence reminds us of the boundless possibilities that emerge when education is seen as a tool for empowerment and progress.

Watch her TedTalk here to hear about the obstacles she faced to grow into the inspiration she is today.

 

Hanan al-Hroub

Hanan al-Hroub’s influence as an educator is inspiring.

From Palestine, she has dedicated her life to promote peace and education in a region of conflict.

Her teaching methods, rooted in empathy and nonviolence, earned her the Global Teacher Prize in 2016. Al-Hroub’s work emphasises the importance of creating a safe and nurturing learning environment, being a positive impact on many Palestinian children.

Her legacy for peaceful education stands as powerful proof to the potential of teaching, hope, tolerance, and brighter future for generations to come.

 

Salman Khan

Salman Khan’s influence as an educator has been innovative.

As the founder of Khan Academy, he offers free, high-quality online resources to learners worldwide.

His user-friendly instructional videos cover a wide range of subjects, making complex topics accessible to millions. Khan’s approach to personalised learning has reshaped traditional classrooms and inspired educators to embrace technology for enhancing education.

His impact on education transcends borders, empowering individuals of all ages to take control of their learning journeys and fostering a culture of lifelong learning.

 

Linda Darling-Hammond

Linda Darling-Hammond‘s influence as an educator is profound and far-reaching.

Known for her expertise in teacher education and educational policy, she has played a vital role in the American education system.

As an advocate for fair and effective teaching practices, she has influenced policies prioritising teacher quality and students’ outcomes.

Her research and leadership have helped reforms aimed at closing achievement gaps and ensuring all students have access to high-quality education.

Her impact inspires educators & policymakers to campaign fair, researched approaches to education reform.

 

The world of teaching isn’t just about classrooms and textbooks.

These stories are a reminder that teaching is a powerful force for positive change. If you’re considering a career in teaching, remember that you have the potential to be a trailblazer, just like these incredible educators. Your journey in education can be epic, filled with opportunities to make a lasting impact, drive positive change, and inspire generations to come.

Who knows, you can make an impact with one person, within a school, in Worcestershire or further afield. The possibilities are endless. And we are here to give you the support you need. Visit us at the Hub in The Hive to kickstart your career into teaching with an one-to-one appointment with a careers advisor. Or check out Careers in Teacher Training and Education here to find pathways into teaching. Start your journey into teaching today!

 

– by Rebecca

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!

Happy International Literacy Day!

Unlocking the Power of Reading: Your Journey to Personal and Professional Growth

Reading is a transformative journey, introducing distant worlds, captivating characters, and expanding horizons. In your career journey, casual reading becomes a powerful tool for personal and professional growth and International Literacy Day this Friday 8th September is the perfect day to unearth and explore your love for reading. Discover top book recommendations from the Careers Worcestershire team when you’re next down at the Hive.

 

  1. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Lord of the Rings is a classic must-read, offering lessons on friendship, perseverance, and leadership in its epic fantasy world. It emphasises the power of teamwork, strategic thinking, and determination, showcasing how even the smallest individual can make a significant impact with a strong sense of purpose.

  1. Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton

Dolly Alderton’s Everything I Know About Love delves openly into young adulthood, relationships, and personal growth. It imparts valuable lessons on communication, emotional intelligence, and the work-life balance, enhancing important interpersonal skills for networking and career development.

  1. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo

Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other weaves twelve diverse characters’ stories, celebrating diversity and exploring identity, gender, race, and societal expectations. It fosters empathy and the ability to collaborate with people from various backgrounds, valuable assets in a world valuing inclusivity and diverse perspectives, enhancing your career journey.

  1. Her Birth by Rebecca Goss

Rebecca Goss’s poetry in Her Birth is a compelling choice. Goss’s resilience amid personal challenges, navigating grief, and adapting to life’s complexities through poetry offers a valuable lesson in facing setbacks with positivity, adaptability, and resilience, fundamental for growth and advancement on your journey.

  1. Notes on an Execution by Danya Kukafka

Notes on an Execution examines human psychology and mortality, prompting reflection on justice, ethics, and moral ambiguity. It fosters critical thinking and analytical skills vital for the professional realm, encouraging a multi-perspective approach and informed decision-making aligned with personal values.

  1. The Queen’s Gambit by Walter Tevis

Walter Tevis’s novel The Queen’s Gambit mirrors the journey of a young chess prodigy, highlighting themes of strategy, determination, and resilience. Like chess, your career demands strategic thinking, teaching you to anticipate, plan, and stay focused on your goals for your professional success.

  1. Carrie by Stephen King

Stephen King’s, Carrie, classic novel follows a girl with supernatural abilities who confronts bullying and isolation. While not explicitly about career progression, it emphasises embracing uniqueness and overcoming challenges. In your career journey, your individuality and resilience can distinguish you and propel your success.

 

In the literary world, we’ve discovered invaluable insights beyond book pages. Reading, often viewed as leisure, shapes personal and professional growth. Diverse recommendations teach teamwork, empathy, resilience, and strategic thinking. Each word absorbed is a steppingstone to personal and career excellence. Embrace reading’s magic on your journey to success!

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.

Stress Awareness Month

We all know that life in general can be pretty stressful, and finding a job, planning your career, or thinking about your future can add to that immensely. Everyone’s type of stress is different and personal to them too, what triggers mine will be different to yours and the same things that make me anxious might not affect you, but whatever makes you stressed or anxious, don’t worry (easier said than done!)…because there ARE things that can help, and at Careers Worcs we can help you too.

This month, Stress Awareness Month, allows us to encourage everyone to talk and be open about our stress, in order to end the stigma and to raise awareness for the causes and cures of it. The campaign #choosehope has been chosen for this stress awareness month to identity that hope isn’t just a feeling, it inspires us to take action.

You can join me in doing the “30 Day Challenge for Stress Awareness Month” where you pick one action each day to help your Physical, Mental and Emotional Well-being. It takes 30 days to turn actions into habits, so this challenge will maximise our chances of turning simple techniques into positive changes within your life. I’m looking forward to trying it out.

Looking for ideas on actions you can take to help your stress? 

Here are some top tips that I’ve found, that I wanted to share with you too.

  •  Talk about stress and its effects on you with friends, family members, colleagues or anyone you feel comfortable with.
  •  Share your own coping mechanisms with others.
  •  Look after yourself by taking time out of your day to relax or do something you enjoy.

You can also come on down to visit us at The Hub in The Hive where you can talk about your future with one of our careers advisors, and can help with any stress you’re feeling towards it. We also have health and well-being officers that can support you with managing stress and feeling better.

From my own experience, I know it can be really stressful to figure out your next steps in life. I struggled to decide whether to go to University or straight into employment after finishing Sixth Form and felt the stress of making the right choice. I wish I could’ve had some careers support at a Hub like this, which is why I feel strongly about encouraging others to come along to receive all the support that’s on offer to you in so many different ways!

– Alyssa