We bet you’ve heard it hundreds of times from your tutor or maybe even your parents – coming to College isn’t just about getting your qualification. They’ll tell you it’s about developing as a person, learning new skills, making contacts – basically everything that’s going to help you get a great job in the end. And they’re right. Whether you’re planning on going to uni or into work after college, making sure you’ve got the full package will help you stand out from the crowd.
This is why your study programme consists of everything in the list below, in addition to your main qualification:
● English and maths
● Work experience
● Personal development skills
● Study skills
● Employability skills
● Additional vocational learning
This is what you’re working towards, but what do these things look like in real life? If they just look like words on a page right now, don’t panic! Here are some simple ways to implement them into college life…
Have a CV: First and foremost, if you haven’t got one, get one! There are loads of great resources online to help you build something simple to start with. You just need: your name and contact details; a brief introduction to who you are; your current qualifications; plus any skills and interests. Then every time you do or achieve something new, add it in!
Get passionate about your subject and keep a portfolio: If you want to pursue a career in the subject area you’re studying make sure you regularly read around the subject and follow any advances in the news. If you feel like it, you could even keep a digital portfolio – or go ‘old school’ with real newspaper cuttings! Nothing impresses potential employers more than knowledge and passion for the industry.
Make the most of opportunities for work experience/trips/competitions: You’ll get at least 20 hours of work experience as part of your study programme, but there is nothing to stop you organising further work experience around college hours or at weekends. Ask friends or family if they have any connections in the areas you are interested in who could make an introduction for you. It’s not just about experience, but getting your name out there and making contacts in the industry you love.
Take additional qualifications: Whether it’s first aid or a computing qualification – if the opportunity is there, then grab it with both hands!
Get involved: Hobbies highlight the skills that employers want you to have – such as teamwork, time management, communication and motivation. You might not think it, but playing on your local football team develops all these skills. If you don’t have a hobby, the College runs plenty of clubs and societies at lunchtimes. Another great scheme is the Student Ambassadors – an opportunity to help out at events, go to schools to support careers fairs and even sit on focus groups.
Work part-time or volunteer: Part-time or voluntary work are also great ways to gain experience. Just make sure you’re not working too many hours that you don’t have time to study!