Tips, Stories and Advice http://www.mysignpost.org/forum/index.php?p=/categories/tips-stories-and-advice-to-progress-in-work-learning-or-life/feed.rss Sat, 24 Aug 19 11:34:33 +0100 Tips, Stories and Advice MySignpost new member http://www.mysignpost.org/forum/index.php?p=/discussion/785/new-member Tue, 22 Nov 2016 14:28:03 +0000 george roberts 785@/forum/index.php?p=/discussions Everton Traineeships working with 16-24 to help secure an apprenticeship or job http://www.mysignpost.org/forum/index.php?p=/discussion/711/everton-traineeships-working-with-16-24-to-help-secure-an-apprenticeship-or-job Wed, 01 Jul 2015 14:22:43 +0100 Sarah Wilson 711@/forum/index.php?p=/discussions
Lasting a total of 14 weeks, the traineeship includes Pre-employability training which focuses on CVs, Covering Letters, Safeguarding, communication skills, team work and much more. At the end, trainees earn a Level 1 Skills for Work. They then interview for a work placement within a local business to put the theory learnt in the classroom, into action! Currently offering qualifications in Customer Service, Retail, Warehousing, Hospitality and Business Administration, there is something for everyone! Trainees are supported by an Assessor whilst on work placement to work towards a second nationally recognised QCF award.

During the programme trainees are offered 360 support by a Career Coach, who will work with them on things such as interview techniques, job searches, route planning and much more! During the final weeks of the programme, participants work on a one-to-one basis with the Career Coach to help secure their progression onto an Apprenticeship, job or further training.

To find out more visit evertonfc.com/traineeships, call 0151 530 5277 or email traineeships@evertonfc.com.
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council tax http://www.mysignpost.org/forum/index.php?p=/discussion/709/council-tax Tue, 14 Apr 2015 10:30:47 +0100 katie hardman 709@/forum/index.php?p=/discussions How do numbers increase your chances of achieving your goals? http://www.mysignpost.org/forum/index.php?p=/discussion/706/how-do-numbers-increase-your-chances-of-achieving-your-goals Thu, 12 Mar 2015 11:12:22 +0000 John 706@/forum/index.php?p=/discussions
Deep in the forests of America in the 1970’s, two groups of loggers were hard at work under the eagle eye of psychologist Gary Latham. Latham’s quest was to work out what would influence the loggers to cut down more trees.

Both groups of loggers were treated identically except for one key aspect. The first group were simply told to do their best and cut down as many trees as possible. In contrast, the second group were taught how to calculate the theoretical maximum number of trees that they could fell and were given a counter to wear on their belts so they could keep track of their progress towards that goal.

After twelve weeks of felling and counting tress the ‘goal setting’ group had felled significantly more trees than the group told to try as hard as they could.

From this study and many others, goal setting gurus Latham and his colleague Locke concluded that getting feedback on your progress towards a goal through regular measurement is a powerful strategy to increase achievement.

But why does feedback on our progress improve success?

-Making progress towards a goal can make us feel good. When you focus on what you want to achieve it can fire you up to get going and keep going.
-If you measure your progress and find you aren’t on track, you can adjust your strategy and try find a more successful one. It’s far better to discuss sooner than later what doesn’t work.
-Setting challenging mini goals and tracking your progress can psychologically turn what feels like work into a more exciting challenge which can become addictive

When you set yourself some dates to achieve your goals, monitor yourself against these. Are you on track? Do you need to put more time into catching up?

If you don’t have a plan of things to do, and set dates by them, then you will have no idea if you are on the road to progress or about to meet a dead end. Monitoring progress along the journey will not only keep you motivated but will help you carry on when the going gets tough. When you set yourself goals, make them challenging. Sure, make them achievable but don’t make then so easy. You will make further progress if you take bigger strides. Remember, just doing your best may not push you towards your potential so whilst making positive steps are good, taking positive strides will get you there quicker.

http://www.greengrapesolutions.co.uk/Why_do_numbers_increase_our_chances_of_achieving_goals-2237.html]]>
FORK LIFT TRUCK WORK EXPERIENCE http://www.mysignpost.org/forum/index.php?p=/discussion/703/fork-lift-truck-work-experience Mon, 23 Feb 2015 13:02:42 +0000 ed judge 703@/forum/index.php?p=/discussions Court decisions around abuse and perpetrator contact with children http://www.mysignpost.org/forum/index.php?p=/discussion/702/court-decisions-around-abuse-and-perpetrator-contact-with-children Mon, 02 Feb 2015 20:16:00 +0000 Deneze Sinnott 702@/forum/index.php?p=/discussions FREE e-book: 101 Modern day tips for job search success http://www.mysignpost.org/forum/index.php?p=/discussion/687/free-e-book-101-modern-day-tips-for-job-search-success Thu, 04 Dec 2014 15:44:12 +0000 John 687@/forum/index.php?p=/discussions 'Learned Helplessness' - can job searchers avoid it? http://www.mysignpost.org/forum/index.php?p=/discussion/684/learned-helplessness-can-job-searchers-avoid-it Mon, 22 Sep 2014 10:21:39 +0100 John 684@/forum/index.php?p=/discussions
In 1965, Psychologist Martin Seligman and his colleagues were doing research on classical conditioning, or the process by which an animal or human associates one thing with another. In the case of Seligman's experiment, he would ring a bell and then give a light shock to a dog. After a number of times, the dog reacted to the shock even before it happened: as soon as the dog heard the bell, he reacted as though he'd already been shocked.

But then something unexpected happened. Seligman put each dog into a large crate that was divided down the middle with a low fence. The dog could see and jump over the fence if necessary. The floor on one side of the fence was electrified, but not on the other side of the fence. Seligman put the dog on the electrified side and administered a light shock. He expected the dog to jump to the non-shocking side of the fence.

Instead, the dogs lay down. It was as though they'd learned from the first part of the experiment that there was nothing they could do to avoid the shocks, so they gave up in the second part of the experiment.

Seligman described their condition as learned helplessness, or not trying to get out of a negative situation because the past has taught you that you are helpless.

After the dogs didn't jump the fence to escape the shock, Seligman tried the second part of his experiment on dogs that had not been through the classical conditioning part of the experiment. The dogs that had not been previously exposed to shocks quickly jumped over the fence to escape the shocks. This told Seligman that the dogs who lay down and acted helpless had actually learned that helplessness from the first part of his experiment.

"The way people view the negative events that happen to them can have an impact on whether they feel helpless or not"

What does that have to do with humans? At first, Seligman wasn't completely sure. But further research has shown that the way people view the negative events that happen to them can have an impact on whether they feel helpless or not.

For many Job Searchers, continuous rejection can feel as painful as an electric shock and after a while there becomes an acceptance that it just might always be like that. Whilst they may not exactly lie down and give up completely, sadly, the helpless mindset can prevent them from taking any new or positive approaches to change the situation.

Fortunately, helplessness is learned therefore it can be unlearned, and with the right mindset it can be avoided in the first place.

If you would like to learn more then why not join one of our upcoming Positive Workology workshops.

http://www.greengrapesolutions.co.uk/training-1782.html]]>
Benefit of the Certificate 4 in Training and Assessment Program http://www.mysignpost.org/forum/index.php?p=/discussion/663/benefit-of-the-certificate-4-in-training-and-assessment-program Wed, 26 Feb 2014 11:27:42 +0000 robert wilson 663@/forum/index.php?p=/discussions Realise Your Business Idea With Training http://www.mysignpost.org/forum/index.php?p=/discussion/658/realise-your-business-idea-with-training Tue, 04 Feb 2014 06:46:04 +0000 henry parker 658@/forum/index.php?p=/discussions then you should certainly do whatever it takes to transform your idea into a reality!!

Actually, most ideas and dreams do not reach where they are intended to, because of the individual’s lack of knowledge, experience and or necessary investment. Hence, the Australian Government has taken some initiatives to help the unemployed and enthusiastic individuals realise their ideas and develop self-employment opportunities.

The Advance Business Specialists (ABS) Network provides training and mentoring services for individuals as well as organisations to help them improve their competencies.]]>
How can community networks be the source of hidden jobs? http://www.mysignpost.org/forum/index.php?p=/discussion/656/how-can-community-networks-be-the-source-of-hidden-jobs Fri, 31 Jan 2014 08:14:05 +0000 John 656@/forum/index.php?p=/discussions
I recall feeling very helpless and extremely frustrated with job searching. I was a child suddenly thrusted into an adults world and I had never felt smaller or more out of place. For months and months I would look for jobs, apply for jobs and get rejected from jobs. Life felt tough... but all that changed one sunny evening in August when my mother arrived home from work.

She shouted to my sister and l to come downstairs as she told us of her journey home. At the bus stop she had bumped in to an old friend, Annie, who told her of a local company that was hiring staff. That company was Littlewoods Pools. Mum told us that we should write them a letter quickly before news of the jobs broke out to everyone! So we did. Wthout any further information on what kind of people they where looking for or what jobs hey had, I pulled out the Yellow Pages directory hidden inside the gas cupboard and looked up the address.

I had a very poor CV so I just wrote a short but friendly letter introducing myself. That letter brought me my first ever interview, and then through some unknown miracle, my first ever job. I was responsible for marking thousands of Spot The Ball coupons to identify lucky winners. After a year or so I was promoted to work in the accounts department as a clerk. I was doing ok so the company funded me to go to evening classes at college to learn business and marketing and with my new found enthusiasm I earned more promotions, first within sales and then within the marketing department.

I worked at Littlewoods Pools for 10 years before I took voluntary redundancy and at the age of 26 I left to go exploring around the world. At Liitlewoods I learned so much about life and about work. I gained amazing skills and fantastic work experience. After five years of evening classes I gained higher education qualifications in business and in marketing, and above all else I made the most amazing friendships. That company changed and shaped my life and I owe it all to that thankful moment when my mother and her old friend Annie met at the bus stop that one day. I later learned that Annie heard about the jobs at Littlewoods through her niece who was told about the opportunities through her friends mum who worked for the company.

It amazes me when I think of the networks of people who carry such important knowledge for job searchers. I had tried for months and months to get a job interview by sending my CV in the post, completing job applications and nervously calling employers on the telephone in response to small newspaper job adverts. Yet it was information passed on to me by people who cared and who offered lots of encouragement that opened the door for me. I hear stories like mine all the time. Recently I gave a talk to university students about the hidden jobs market and nearly all the students who had found a job did so through introductions or recommendations. People can change the course of their lives through positive connections with other people.

People are the real gateway to opportunities, not computers, CV's or application forms. They will get you so far... if you are lucky. When we learn how to "tune" in to the people around us we expand our knowledge and open our minds to new possibilities. It is then that the doors start to open and opportunities start to appear. People are the real power within the Hidden Jobs Market

I'm interested to learn about your story. How have people you have known or been introduced to influenced the job opportunities you have gained? drop me an e-mail]]>
How To Improve Employability Skills??? http://www.mysignpost.org/forum/index.php?p=/discussion/643/how-to-improve-employability-skills Wed, 11 Dec 2013 01:30:01 +0000 henry parker 643@/forum/index.php?p=/discussions I need help to improve employability skills required by industry for accounting qualification.
Please, anyone can give the best tips and ideas about it?
Thanks... :)]]>
disability http://www.mysignpost.org/forum/index.php?p=/discussion/642/disability Tue, 10 Dec 2013 02:27:10 +0000 robert buoey 642@/forum/index.php?p=/discussions Looking for work shadow/work experience http://www.mysignpost.org/forum/index.php?p=/discussion/628/looking-for-work-shadowwork-experience Tue, 17 Sep 2013 21:14:07 +0100 Ade Lawal 628@/forum/index.php?p=/discussions
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Have you ever gone the extra mile to get a job? http://www.mysignpost.org/forum/index.php?p=/discussion/621/have-you-ever-gone-the-extra-mile-to-get-a-job Fri, 26 Jul 2013 10:02:05 +0100 John 621@/forum/index.php?p=/discussions
Take David Rowe for example. David was a History Graduate in his early 20’s and had been unemployed for almost 12 months. He had tried many ways to get a job but had received over 40 job rejections.

Not to be defeated, David was inspired to learn that during the great depression, job hunters used sandwich boards to advertise their services. David decided to make himself stand out from the crowd by wearing a sandwich board down Fleet Street that read...

Job wanted. History Graduate. University of Kent. Interview me! Prepared to work the first month FREE. Then hire me or fire me. Thanks for looking. David

image

Although he was pretty embarrassed his efforts paid off. Within a day of doing this he was offered a job in a time when almost 1million young people were out of work.

So it would seem that being creative, courageous and going the extra mile can pay off.

Have you ever gone the extra mile to get a job? What is the most creative thing you have heard some one do to find work? I'd love to hear your story: john@greengrapesolutions.co.uk

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If you would like to learn more about Positive Workology please contact:
0151 281 6211 or e-mail: john@greengrapesolutions.co.uk
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Why is the best place to find jobs usually the last place young people look for them! http://www.mysignpost.org/forum/index.php?p=/discussion/627/why-is-the-best-place-to-find-jobs-usually-the-last-place-young-people-look-for-them Tue, 17 Sep 2013 05:57:21 +0100 John 627@/forum/index.php?p=/discussions
“So where are you looking and how are you applying” I replied, and as suspected, her response was quite typical of many young people I have worked with “The internet, newspapers, job agencies, everywhere!”. “I even printed off my CV and handed it in to loads of shops in town”

So when I told her to try something completely different, which didn’t involve her CV, writing out a job application or even applying for a job she thought I was mad. Of course I was talking about an approach within the “Hidden Jobs Market” where it is thought that around 70% of all jobs are to be found.

I explained that only 20% of all job seekers are known to strategically look for jobs this way, therefore it was also the least competitive and most successful approach for young people to take.

“However, to find work in the Hidden Jobs Market” I explained, “requires a positive attitude, courage, resilience, and most importantly, as you can’t actually see the jobs, it also means that you have to have 'faith' that they exist”

I realised I could have spoken a different language and have been met with the same uncertain reaction. This all sounded such a hard thing to do and perhaps this is why most job searchers don't focus on the 'Hidden Jobs Market'! However, with some explanation, breaking it down, it started to make sense.

Fear is usually the thing that stops people from doing the things they need to do to achieve the goals they want in life. Fear of the unknown, fear that it will be too difficult, fear of rejection, fear of what you might have to give up or that it won't be worth it anyway. Understanding our fears can help us to make different decisions about the challenges we face, and for many people, this is an important step to developing positive mindsets, courage and resilience.

Knowledge however is the greatest gift we can pass on to our youth and I am pleased to report that I convinced my young job seeker that I wasn’t mad. Helping her to understand why most employers don't advertise vacancies and by changing her strategy, she was offered a part time job after just three weeks. Ultimately it was what she did that worked, but I never underestimate how a little encouragement, knowledge and positive challenges can help steer young people towards success in their quest for employment

John


For more information contact: john@greengrapesolutions.co.uk

Learn more...http://www.greengrapesolutions.co.uk/positiveworkology-1649.html

Positive Workology is a unique workshop for young people that develops positive mindsets, strategies and approaches to getting a job.']]>
Liverpool North and Liverpool South http://www.mysignpost.org/forum/index.php?p=/discussion/623/liverpool-north-and-liverpool-south Mon, 29 Jul 2013 18:47:25 +0100 jayne ebb 623@/forum/index.php?p=/discussions Employability Trainer - Liverpool http://www.mysignpost.org/forum/index.php?p=/discussion/610/employability-trainer-liverpool Fri, 28 Jun 2013 06:08:11 +0100 Ann Bleasdale 610@/forum/index.php?p=/discussions
Salary: £20,000 pro rata

Applicants must have PTLLS qualification or equivalent

For more details or to apply please e mail danielle@greengrapesolutions.co.uk or call 0151 281 5177]]>
Employment Advisers - Liverpool, Birkenhead and Bootle http://www.mysignpost.org/forum/index.php?p=/discussion/593/employment-advisers-liverpool-birkenhead-and-bootle Thu, 02 May 2013 04:38:18 +0100 Ann Bleasdale 593@/forum/index.php?p=/discussions
Vacancies are available in the following areas: Liverpool, Birkenhead and Bootle

Salary: £24,500 per annum

To apply or for more information please e mail emma@greengrapesolutions.co.uk or call 0151 281 5986

http://www.greengrapesolutions.co.uk/vacancies.php
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NEW VACANCY: Employability Trainer (Liverpool) http://www.mysignpost.org/forum/index.php?p=/discussion/591/new-vacancy-employability-trainer-liverpool Wed, 01 May 2013 09:42:08 +0100 Ann Bleasdale 591@/forum/index.php?p=/discussions
The role will involve delivering training modules to unemployed clients which will improve their job search and application skills, interview skills, motivation and confidence in order for them to move closer to sustainable employment.

Salary: £22,000 per year

For more information or to apply please go to: http://www.greengrapesolutions.co.uk/Employability_Trainer__Liverpool-vac605.html]]>
Free AAT training? http://www.mysignpost.org/forum/index.php?p=/discussion/438/free-aat-training Thu, 09 Aug 2012 06:58:24 +0100 Gareth Wilson 438@/forum/index.php?p=/discussions
Does anybody know of any free AAT training courses on offer?

Any help appreciated thanks!]]>
What skills are important to employers? http://www.mysignpost.org/forum/index.php?p=/discussion/432/what-skills-are-important-to-employers Wed, 01 Aug 2012 18:53:02 +0100 John 432@/forum/index.php?p=/discussions
Given the scale of people out of work it may be thought that when employers do recruit, they have rich pickings of suitable skilled applicants to fill their jobs, but this isn’t necessarily the case.

Earlier this year, Greengrape Solutions asked almost 100 employers from across Liverpool a number of questions around their recruitment and skills needs. We wanted to find out if employers felt that it was easier or harder to recruit people in the current climate, and if there are enough suitably skilled or experienced people applying for jobs.

Interestingly, over two thirds of the employers we spoke to said they sometimes or usually always struggle to find applicants with the skills they need.

This varied depending on the sector and the job role. Employers within the Hairdressing and Beauty sectors for example said they have no problem finding appropriately skilled applicants and feel there are plenty of people available and ready to take up jobs. It is thought one reason for this may be down to the popularity of Beauty and Hairdressing apprenticeships.

Within the Childcare sector however, 8 out of 10 employers we spoke to say they felt applicants lacked the skills they need. Some skills shortages were related to ‘on the job’ competencies, however most were related to a shortage of applicants with good interpersonal and employability skills.

image

Across all sectors, employers who said they did experience a shortage of applicants with the skills they needed reported these to be a fairly even mix of technical, workforce and personal skills.

A shortage of applicants with technical skills was reported to be higher in businesses involved in Engineering whilst workforce skills such as customer service, communication and working in a team where highest in the Hairdressing and Beauty sectors. Personal skills such as attitude, drive, presentation and commitment to learning where seen as being in short supply by employers in the Catering and Hospitality sector. One employer from a national restaurant chain said.

“We don’t really look for qualifications, we look at experience and personality”

Nearly all of the employers we spoke to highlighted the importance of personal and workforce skills as being important. Communication, common sense, enthusiasm for the job, customer service and a willingness to learn were the workforce skills employers said they most looked for. In most cases these were mentioned above vocational skills, however, this was mostly the case for generic or entry level roles. For specialist or senior roles, technical skills were more important.

For many people these days, getting a job can be a frustrating process. Just getting a rejection letter is seen as at least some recognition of the efforts put in, and yet without feedback, how can people know what it is that is failing them?

Perhaps not surprisingly, employers were very keen tell us why applicants were not suitable for the jobs they advertised, but undoubtedly, there is a genuine concern about the lack of employability skills among many young applicants.

So here’s where it feels like a catch 22 situation. If employers want people with good employability skills, how do young people develop them if they don’t have workplace experience? On top of this, many employers won’t recruit people without experience, but how do young people get that experience in the first place if employers only recruit people with experience?

This is where initiatives such as ‘Work Experience’, Vocational Routeways and Apprenticeships all start to make sense and so we asked employers if they currently take or would consider taking on an apprentice.

A third of employers said they do take on apprentices whilst 45% said they would consider taking one on. Employers that do take on apprentices were higher in the Hair and Beauty sector however those that said they would consider an apprentice were highest in Health and Social Care. Whilst feedback from employers was relatively low from those within the IT and Finance sectors, 75% of those we spoke to said that although they do not have apprentices they would consider taking one in the future.

Offering on the job training isn’t for every employer however. For example, the Director of a PR and Media business said:

“The apprenticeship model just wouldn’t work for us. We have less than 20 people working here in a fast paced office, and we just don’t have the time to train anyone who doesn’t have a good basic level of expertise already”

image

For some employers, the skills in demand are less vocational or technical but more personal and social. There are not many schools, colleges or universities that can teach people how to develop a good personality or create a ‘can do attitude’ or even express a willingness to learn, yet time and time again employers say these are the things they really seek out in applicants.

Having said that, this really does depend on the industry or sector. There are employers who recruit purely on technical ability however these tend to be higher-level roles. For career entry jobs, judgement is more likely to be made on how appropriate the candidate is dressed, how well they communicate, if they turned up on time, their body language at interview, how they may speak to customers, how they demonstrate their abilities, their enthusiasm for the job and the commitment and trust they can express.

These are the employability skills that for many employers are in great demand!
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My First Work Experience - Naomi's Story! http://www.mysignpost.org/forum/index.php?p=/discussion/409/my-first-work-experience-naomis-story Fri, 22 Jun 2012 11:41:27 +0100 Naomi Mcadam 409@/forum/index.php?p=/discussions
My first task was to help with auditing of information within MySignpost using a spreadsheet on the computer after checking that the website links, telephone numbers and addresses were correct on the website. I also learned how to construct the weekly newsletter that is sent out each Friday to all registered members.

During my work experience, the staff were always attentive and ready to help, which really made me understand how to work effectively at the job I was doing.

As well as being a friendly and a great team to work with, the staff are flexible with working hours, and are considerate with breaks for factors such as College revision time.

During my work experience I feel like I have learned valuable information on how to work effectively in an office environment. Before my work experience I did not know how to use spreadsheet or know what auditing was, but now I’ve much more confident with doing these tasks. I also feel that from my work experience, I have become more familiar and confident with learning new skills, being punctual and dressing according to the dress code. All of these factors have helped me gain an insight at the work environment and has given me preparation at being punctual and efficient at learning new skills that will be invaluable for future jobs.

I would advise anyone wishing to do work experience to be punctual and willing to learn new skills needed for an office environment. I can also say that although you will initially feel nervous about your first day in work experience, once you have become familiar with your job and the staff, you will soon feel a part of the team.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience and I am very grateful to all the staff for giving me the opportunity to work at their office and for making me feel welcome and a part of the team. Thank you.

On conclusion, I would highly recommend anybody to undertake work experience– it is an excellent way to acquire skills and experience of a work environment and will make you feel more confident for future careers.

Naomi McAdam
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Top 5 tips for single parents returning to work... with the benefit of hindsight! #5 Push yourself! http://www.mysignpost.org/forum/index.php?p=/discussion/407/top-5-tips-for-single-parents-returning-to-work...-with-the-benefit-of-hindsight-5-push-yourself Fri, 22 Jun 2012 04:02:34 +0100 Danielle Kershaw 407@/forum/index.php?p=/discussions
This is something I’ve most definitely benefitted from. Work became quite addictive for me – once I’d settled in, found my new identity and I could see mine and my sons life changing for the better I began to get excited about what else I could achieve - how far I could push myself in terms of my personal development and how I could really turn those odds around.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to do this within a certain period of time – you will know when the time is right for you. It may be that other people spot your potential, friends, family, colleagues or indeed management. But believe in their judgement...

The main message I’m trying to get across is to remember all you have achieved up to this point, and really remember how taking that leap of faith in the beginning paid off. You will find that taking risks comes more naturally and, well, you’ve got to be in it to win it so... if you get the opportunity, take it.

You own your own destiny - good luck!!]]>
Top 5 tips for single parents returning to work-with the benefit of hindsight! #4 Celebrate success! http://www.mysignpost.org/forum/index.php?p=/discussion/406/top-5-tips-for-single-parents-returning-to-work-with-the-benefit-of-hindsight-4-celebrate-success Thu, 21 Jun 2012 04:09:07 +0100 Danielle Kershaw 406@/forum/index.php?p=/discussions
So, you’ve done it. You’ve gotten yourself a job and made the transition into employment. You took the support and you were brave, and your children are as settled as you into your new routine. You have a new sense of identity, the kids are proud of you and things feel like they were never any different.

BUT DON’T FORGET… It’s important to acknowledge the achievement of taking such a big step and sticking with it, even when you were scared of stepping out of your comfort zone. This is something all single parents will mutually understand – it’s not easy to do and it’s certainly not something to be sniffed at.

You will have a regular wage coming in, and possibly tax credits to supplement your income, and you will be better off than you were on benefits. It’s SO important that you remember all those plans you made when you first decided to get back into work. Those things you knew you would never be able to do had you not gone back to work. Remember these plans, the treats for you and your children – and stick to them!

They really do put things into perspective so whether it’s a spontaneous purchase at the supermarket, a new set of clothes for you all every few months, the 'voluntary donation' for your child's school trip or even a day out for you all - make sure you do it. These are the little reminders to your children that work pays off and a reminder to you that the time apart you may spend is really worthwhile!
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Top 5 tips for single parents returning to work with the benefit of hindsight! #3 Find your identity http://www.mysignpost.org/forum/index.php?p=/discussion/403/top-5-tips-for-single-parents-returning-to-work-with-the-benefit-of-hindsight-3-find-your-identity Wed, 20 Jun 2012 04:07:38 +0100 Danielle Kershaw 403@/forum/index.php?p=/discussions
When you have been a full time single parent, no matter for how long or short a period, you may lose sight of who you are - or indeed who you may be - in terms of your career. I certainly did, and in truth I was happy with my identity as a single mum. In fact I was proud of it!

But this kind of links back into Tip #2: Be brave. When you move into work you are stepping into the unknown and personally I felt the pressure to ‘be good at something else’ and this was fairly scary. But you will find that you will quickly feel a new sense of identity, and whilst at work I became known as Danielle rather than ‘Mum’ and yeah, I liked it just as much as my previous identity!

It’s also really important for your children to see you in this way too. My son is ten now and since he was old enough to talk we’ve always had a ‘how was your day?’ conversation on our way home. My little boy knows his mum goes out to work, and works hard so that we can have the nicer things in life.

As he’s grown I have seen how he’s been influenced by this in terms of his own aspirations, and his understanding of how hard he has to work in order to get what he wants out of life (the kid has a 'life plan' including college, university and the dream of becoming an architect!). That’s a massive lesson to teach a child, and one of the most valuable things I feel I’ve given him.

He is proud of me, and for a parent, there’s nothing more magical than that!]]>
Top 5 tips for single parents returning to work... with the benefit of hindsight! Tip #2 Be brave! http://www.mysignpost.org/forum/index.php?p=/discussion/401/top-5-tips-for-single-parents-returning-to-work...-with-the-benefit-of-hindsight-tip-2-be-brave Tue, 19 Jun 2012 04:11:53 +0100 Danielle Kershaw 401@/forum/index.php?p=/discussions
I won’t lie, I felt horrific dropping my little boy off at his private nursery for the first time. I mean, we had been a team for 2 and a half years, just us against the world. He was the closest friend I had, and I was convinced he’d crumble without me. Obviously I was the funniest person he knew, and by far the coolest mum to have ever graced the planet. I was the only person who knew all the tricks to turn his frown upside down and I thought he would be in non-stop despair until I returned to make everything better.

But, I couldn’t have been more wrong. He came on in leaps and bounds with his development whilst in day care, and the nursery nurses seemed to love him just as much as me. It actually felt quite good to share him out a bit!

It’s important that you have a good relationship with your child care provider, so you should always make visits to several places and go with your gut instinct. It makes the transition so much easier to bear and all providers welcome visits from parents interested in using them for childcare. They will want you to be as confident with them as they are in themselves, and although you think you're the only one going through these emotions, they see parents struggling to let go all the time. It's their job to reassure you.

Once you've chosen your childcare package, you may be on a bit of an emotional rollercoaster for a week or so, but after that, the guilt will pass. I promise!!]]>
Top 5 tips for single parents returning to work… with the benefit of hindsight! Tip #1 Seek support http://www.mysignpost.org/forum/index.php?p=/discussion/400/top-5-tips-for-single-parents-returning-to-work-with-the-benefit-of-hindsight-tip-1-seek-support Mon, 18 Jun 2012 06:55:07 +0100 Danielle Kershaw 400@/forum/index.php?p=/discussions
It’s funny because at the time you pretty much run on autopilot. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and now as a single mum who’s been there and now has the gift of it, I’d like to pass on a few of the key ingredients of how it really is possible for you to beat the odds, take that leap of faith and move into employment, and also how to be able to remain focussed on your career and move forwards without compromising your ability to raise your child alone, without the guilt of feeling you’re choosing one over the other.

I’ll put a tip out each day this week, and feel free to comment/share your own experiences and snippets of advice! So, here’s the first…

Tip Number 1: Seek support and take it. Sometimes as a single parent you adopt the persona of a fiercely independent person, getting by alone without the need of any help. Things may be a little tougher for you than others, but you’re getting by and doing the best you can. I was the same; it was like a defence mechanism. But it was the first thing I needed to drop before I could actually enter the world of work again. It doesn’t make you look any weaker – I promise. Take it from me, the woman who would eat packet noodles for lunch for a week rather than admit I’d fallen short of a few bob!

There is financial help in the form of tax credits, childcare support, and advice on the best working hours to suit you. The support is there because you need it, and ultimately you are entitled to it. Without this support I would never have been able to get back into work, it was completely integral for me to make the best decisions and to stay in work when I made the transition. But it’s up to you to find this information out. There’s a useful links section on the www.mysignpost.org website which will direct you to all the information needed to arm yourself with before taking the step into employment.
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Candidates do the oddest things in an interview http://www.mysignpost.org/forum/index.php?p=/discussion/394/candidates-do-the-oddest-things-in-an-interview Tue, 12 Jun 2012 08:23:37 +0100 Andy Whitehead 394@/forum/index.php?p=/discussions
1.Instead of sticking to the presentation brief, one candidate decided to carry out a role play and tried to assign panel members with characters!

2.When asked if he had any questions after a 35 minute interview, the candidate spent another 35 minutes asking the panel questions.

3.In response to the question - “What is your greatest weakness” - the reply came, “Stockings and Suspenders”!!!

4.One interviewee tried to sell me his current company’s services at the end of the interview. Needless to say, I was not impressed.

5.I did have someone faint after an interview once. Hopefully this wasn’t down to the ‘grilling’, but more due to nerves and a stuffy office.

6.The man from ‘Planet Beige’ turned up for his interview with a beige suit, beige tie, beige shirt, beige shoes and oddly enough a beige complexion and beige hair. Very strange!

7.Another bizarre answer to a question – “Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?” -the response was, “Hopefully with a second wife and two more children”! (Not in the UK)

I promise these are all genuine. If you have any examples to add to this list, then please do so in the comments box


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The benefits of voluntary work experience http://www.mysignpost.org/forum/index.php?p=/discussion/395/the-benefits-of-voluntary-work-experience Thu, 14 Jun 2012 04:37:26 +0100 Dave MacBryde 395@/forum/index.php?p=/discussions
At such a young age, it would be understandable if the true, long-term value of such work experience weren’t fully appreciated. Nevertheless, it should not be under-estimated.

Going back to when I was at school, it was mandatory for students to complete a two-week work placement, which was organised ourselves, with no help from the school whatsoever. As a 15 year old, this was quite daunting. On the one hand – despite a penchant for the field of journalism - I was still unsure what career path to take on leaving school. Furthermore, approaching various organisations and subsequently facing negative responses was a new and disappointing experience.

However, having found a placement in the Public Relations department of the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company, I was able to gain a valuable insight into the dynamics of the workplace. I worked alongside long-standing staff who produced company newsletters, as well as its very own magazine. This was the first time I’d experienced the mechanics of how a publication is put together, not to mention the daily routine of 9 to 5.

It was an experience I was able to draw on when considering a possible future in print media. Also, on leaving school and compiling my first CV, I was able to elaborate on my two week placement and call upon the relevant people for a reference when needed.

Fast forward to my university days - when unsurprisingly I chose to study Media – and the notion of voluntary work placements was optional when choosing particular course modules. I chose such a module and managed to wangle an unpaid placement at a prominent monthly football magazine in London.

Considering myself very lucky to have the opportunity, I extended my stay to three weeks, despite the requirement only being two. In doing so, I was able to get two pieces of work published, having researched tirelessly and forged a very good working relationship with staff writers over the previous weeks.

For me, the experience was invaluable. Indeed, it played a big part in me securing my first job in local media, after allowing me to put together a portfolio of work, all the while gaining favourable references from established and respected journalists.

Whilst these are just my own personal experiences, it is clear that volunteering in any capacity can be of great benefit on a number of levels. Not only does volunteering show a willingness to learn new skills, it can directly lead to future employment in a similar role.

To conclude, volunteering is a great way to enhance your skill-set and broaden your CV. In the harsh, current economic climate, finding a voluntary position can be the first step to finding paid employment further down the line. Certainly, it can only improve your chances.
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