Happy New Year – Happy New Career!
The College’s Careers and Employability Team hope that you’ve all had a relaxing break over the festive period and hope that you’re all rejuvenated and preparing for an amazing 2022!
At the start of a new year, many people start to think about their new year’s resolutions, whether it’s to do with health and well-being, sorting out finances, or making changes in their lifestyle. However, as we all know, these resolutions don’t always last or make it past January! Sometimes we set too high a goal for ourselves, or we don’t feel motivated enough to stick to them, or things become too difficult and other things take priority.
That’s all understandable, but there is one thing that is possible to keep to, and that is to look forward to a rewarding and productive year at college and planning your career goals. You can set your study and career goals for yourself at the start of the year. And then you can review them as often as you like throughout the year, as things change and as you progress.
What can you do to set your own career goals this year?
A very practical tool to plan your career goals is to create an action plan – which is when you look at where you are now, where you would like to be and how to get there. We use the acronym “SMART” when we talk about action planning and goal setting. This stands for:
This is how you define what your goal is and set milestones to check your progress and keep on track towards achieving it. You can think about what you need to do, or want to put in place in practical terms, to help you or keep organised. You can think about the timeframe so that what you hope to achieve is possible and is realistic. Your goals don’t just have to be long term, you can also plan for short-term and intermediate goals. Sometimes the short-term goals can be really motivating as you achieve them and can help you keep focused!
There are several websites that look at goal-setting which you can read for further information. Many of these include an action plan template, so you can see your steps clearly laid out. This is a really helpful way to map out your career plans and study goals. There are people in College who can support and help you with this and you can also make an appointment with a careers adviser on your campus, who will work with you on developing your own action plan, based on a careers guidance interview.
These are some helpful ideas that you can do when thinking about your goals:
- Take some time to think about your interests and what you enjoy doing. Is this something you can include in a new career or be linked to a career? Reflection can be a very useful tool!
- Think about what you’ve studied at college and which areas you do well in and enjoy. This is often a good indicator of the type of work you might enjoy.
- Talk with your friends and family and ask their opinions and ideas; and listen to their experiences.
- Try and do voluntary work or work experience, and that way, you might find something unexpected and revealing about what you could do as a career. Many people pursue a career after doing it on a voluntary basis.
- Do your research! Find out as much as you can about a career or organisation. There are websites that describe jobs and organise jobs into career families and job profiles. Research what jobs are being created, or what are in decline and what’s happening in the job market.
What sort of careers might we see in the job market in 2022?
One way of predicting which jobs will be the most successful or popular in the new year is by using Labour Market Information, or LMI. This is a tool that employment agencies, Governments, and analysts use to see what is happening in the current job market and what are the emerging careers.
There are several factors affecting whether careers are in decline or in high demand. You can probably think of many careers which are new and others which seem to be disappearing. Such reasons as technological advances, the green economy, the construction industry and shifting work patterns have affected the demand for skilled workers. You can read some of our previous blogs about LMI for more insight into this, such as our blog on skills shortages and career planning in uncertainty.
The Careers team at The Manchester College also deliver webinars and presentations which discuss how changes in the world of work can affect the career you choose. You might find that understanding how to use up-to-date LMI effectively can influence not only what you do for a career, but also how, when and where you choose to work. So, using LMI can be another useful tool in helping you create your careers action plan and help you make better informed decisions.
This is also the time of year when our attention turns towards your next steps and we focus on internal progression within College. Whatever level you are currently working at, there is a range of options and choices available to you to help you reach your goals. This would make up part of your SMART Action Plan that was mentioned earlier. All College teaching staff and support staff are here to support you in that decision-making process. For many people it might be a straightforward step up to the next level in the same subject area, from Level 2 Health and Social Care to Level 3 Health and Social Care, for example. You may have completed your Level 3 programme and now plan to study a Higher Education course – in which case, there are a fantastic range of qualifications at Level 4 upwards in UCEN Manchester, which is the College’s HE provision.
There are times when people might re-consider their career aims and choose a related pathway or a completely different pathway. It’s important that you have the opportunity to talk through your thoughts with a professional member of staff who can help you consider all your options, and the implications of your decision. Our aim is to support you with making the right choice for you. This is why tutors, support staff, and careers advisers, are there to provide you with insights and guidance, backed up by practical experience.
Progression activities and one-to-one meetings will be taking place now across all College sites to ensure that you’re ready and preparing for the next stage of your career plan. Look out also for upcoming careers and employability activities that you can get involved in, such as National Careers Week in March, which will focus on the world of work and the types of jobs related to your study area. It’s also a chance to hear guest speakers talk about their jobs and how they got started.
“Have a productive and rewarding year at College” might be one resolution that you can keep to all year! You can get further support from the Careers and Employability Teams and go to the College website for a wide range of information about courses and progression routes. Look out for our future blogs about employability, courses and careers throughout the year.
Wishing you the best of success and good luck for 2022 from all the Team!