Improve your chances of getting a Summer Job

Originally posted on Life Beyond School:

Now that exams are over, many if not most students will be thinking about getting a summer job or work placement. However, as many of you would have found, it’s just not as easy as all that.

A recent blog post by a student on the Guardian complaining about the Catch 22 of “No Experience- = No Job, No Job = No Experience”, highlights all the troubles of getting a summer job quite nicely. However, we’re more of a solution site!

Though rejection after rejection may come to you inbox (or no reply at all in many cases), you shouldn’t give up, but rather, assess what you’ve done up to this point, and what you could change to improve your chances.

Get organised

Organising your applications is a key step towards success. Make a table of:

  • all the places you want to apply to,
  • when the deadline is,
  • what stage…

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Degree level apprenticeships? They are already available…

Originally posted on :

This article on the UK edition of International Business Times caught our eye this week and got us thinking about what individuals want from a career and where their expectations lie. We believe that there are a few misconceptions about what apprenticeships truly are. So, this blog entry is going to address them in the hope that we can increase the numbers of productive and valuable matches for both candidate and employer.

In the article, Connor Ryan who’s the Director of Research at Sutton Trust is quoted as saying “There are still not nearly enough apprenticeships at A level or degree standard available. It is vital that this gap is addressed.”

University education

My question is, “So what’s the fascination around comparing different types of qualifications and the race to be as highly qualified as quickly as possible?” We’ve already noted in the past that 47% of graduates are in…

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#ShareYourSummer NCS National Citizen Service

Originally posted on Lancashire Career Guidance:


NCS – National Citizens Service – It All Starts At Yes

NCS is a programme which has been exclusively designed to give all 16 and 17 year olds the chance to build skills for work and life, whilst taking on new challenges, making new friends and contributing to their local community.

FIRST WEEK: Spend 4 nights away from home; Monday till Friday taking on outward bound challenges, trying new things, developing team work skills and building confidence – supported by professionally trained staff and mentors.

SECOND WEEK: Spend 4 nights away from home in the local area, staying in student accommodation getting a taste of independent living whilst spending time in the local community and developing new skills.

THIRD & FINAL WEEK: Fundraise and work to a budget in order to design, market and create a social action project within the community to make a real difference to where they…

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Unbundling And Re-bundling In Higher Education – Forbes

Originally posted on Executive Training Dubai:

Unbundling And Re-bundling In Higher Education Forbes With the explosion of online learning, a disruptive innovation, there has been significant attention paid to the likely unbundling of higher education (see Michael Staton’s AEI piece and this…


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Government’s flagship Hackney University Technical College to close – just two years after launch

Government’s flagship Hackney University Technical College to close – just two years after launch

Artist’s impression images of what Hackney University Technical College willl look like
by Emma Bartholomew, Senior Reporter Thursday, July 10, 2014
7:46 AM

The first of the governments’ flagship university technical colleges in London is closing its doors to new students, just two years after it launched.

Hackney University Technical College (HUTC) was one of 17 set up in the country to train the future workforce in technical and scientific subjects.

But just 29 out of the target 75 pupils applied to join this September, leading governors to decide to close.

The college, whose patron is the Duke of York, is just yards from Old Street’s Silicon Roundabout, and youngsters were invited to tap into Tech City’s growth and gain valuable work experience there. Over 14s could specialise in health or digital technologies, and the building in Kingsland Road was specially kitted out with high-tech classrooms, studios, laboratories and a replica hospital ward costing over £3 million.

Anthony Painter, chairman of governors, said: “It has become clear that provision commencing in Year 10 rather than Year 12 does not fit well in local circumstances unique to this project, where students are unlikely to change course until sixth form – resulting in unviable student numbers.”

To ensure the school’s intake did not negatively impact on any one particular school in the borough, the catchment area extended from Islington to Newham and Southwark.

Mystery surrounded the departure of principal Annie Blackmore in February, following an Ofsted report the previous month saying the school needed to improve in “every possible area”.

Inspectors said pupils’ achievement, behaviour and safety, as well as the quality of teaching, leadership and management all “required improvement”, awarding it the third lowest rating out of four.

The school did not deny that Ms Blackmore had been suspended or signed a gagging order, although Ms Blackmore denied she had been suspended.

An Ofsted report last month, however, noted good progress was being made and concluded: “Senior leaders and governors are taking effective action to tackle the areas requiring improvement.”

The college insists current Hackney UTC students’ education remains “a very high priority”, and students will be “fully supported in achieving their full potential”.

Pupils now in Year 10 will still be able to complete their GCSEs on site next year during a phased closure. Those now in Year 11 will be offered the chance to continue their studies at Hackney Community College (HCC) around the corner, which already has links with the college, instead of at the sixth form which was earmarked to open for them in September.

HUTC’s partners – the University of East London, BT, Homerton University NHS Foundation Trust, Cisco and other employers – will continue to support the students with placements and projects.

The future of the HUTC buildings at the Hackney Community College site are under review by HCC and the Department for Education.

‘Dead end’ apprenticeships are failing to help young people find lasting work

Originally posted on rethinking education, economy and society:

news          10/7/14

Apprenticeships are not improving young peoples’ skills enough to provide a real alternative to university,   according to new research

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Course focus: HNC in Mechanical Engineering

Originally posted on The blog of Learning Unlimited:


The BTEC Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Mechanical Engineering is studied over 18 months (3 semesters) on a part-time basis. It covers the fundamental scientific principles and then applies these to creating systems, services and products. The course is designed to enhance the career prospects for those employed in mechanical, manufacturing or operational engineering. It’s a natural progression from the BTEC National Certificate/Diploma/Level 3 qualifications and could lead to a career as a senior technician or junior engineer within the industry.

Modules include CAD/CAM, engineering design and a study of materials, fluid mechanics, and materials engineering. Students who have successfully completed the HNC may progress onto the HND top-up course which takes a further 18 months to complete.

The cost of studying for an HNC on a part time basis through us is more favourable than studying at a University and you are able to fund your qualification through the Student Loan Company…

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Course focus: HNC in Electrical Engineering

Originally posted on The blog of Learning Unlimited:


The BTEC Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Electrical Engineering is studied over 18 months (3 semesters) on a part-time basis. The course is designed to enhance the career prospects for those employed in mechanical, manufacturing or operational engineering. It’s a natural progression from the BTEC National Certificate/Diploma/Level 3 qualifications and could lead to a career as a senior technician or junior engineer within the industry.

The course provides a sound understanding of the fundamental scientific principles and shows how these are applied to current technologies such as microcomputer systems, linear circuit design; utilisation of electrical energy and electrical and electronic management systems. Students will also be expected to undertake a project in their area of specialist interest. The course aims to equip managers with up-to-date technical skills and techniques to enhance their career.

The cost of studying for the HNC on a part time basis through us is more favourable than studying at…

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More Nonsense on Apprenticeships.

Originally posted on rethinking education, economy and society:

front_page_001Several national newspapers reported Skills Minister Matthew Hancock’s latest attempt to talk up the Coalition’s faltering apprenticeship programme ( Newspapers also carried statistics showing an 18% in the number of 16 and 17 year olds signing up for apprenticeships –with 50 000 youngsters now taking this route, yet these figures take on a rather different significant when they are compared against the number of 16-17 staying on in full-time education, some 1.2 million and representing over 85% of the cohort.

Hancock also pointed to a 40% increase in the number of under-25 year olds on Advanced level apprenticeships (work-based alternatives to A-level) but other government figures show only 22,100 starts by under-19 year olds for the six months from August 2013 with another 28 000 by those 19-25. Compared with the 300 000 plus A-level candidates and the 310 000 acceptances of university places by school leavers for…

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Are school-leavers ready for work at 16?

Originally posted on David Martin - Daymar Law:

According to new research from Personnel Today, in association with learndirect, almost nine in 10 employers think that school-leavers are not ready for work at the age of 16 and are struggling to create suitable roles for young people.

This is despite one-fifth of employers citing an ageing workforce as a large concern. Employers were impressed by the digital skills of young people yet many said that lack of life-skills and confusion over funding acted as barriers. Many wanted more support in preparing young people for the workplace.

Dereth Wood, group director of learning, policy and strategy at learndirect, said: “Taking on a young person straight from school can seem like a daunting prospect for a business. They often lack work experience and the skills which develop as part of that, such as communication, teamwork and generally knowing how to behave professionally in the workplace.”

From Apprentice Eye (July 3rd…

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Firms forced to take on migrants because school leavers don’t even have basic skills

By James Slack 01:03 09 Jul 2014, updated 01:52 09 Jul 2014

Businesses have had to turn to workers from overseas
They are better qualified, more reliable and confident
Young Britons do not have the good ‘manners’ needed to work in shops
The failure of Britain’s school system is putting huge strain on society by forcing businesses to turn to millions of foreign workers to fill low-skilled jobs.

Too many school leavers lack even the most basic skills to ‘look people in the eye and get out of bed’, according to immigration experts.

They are also given little incentive to work by the benefits system, the government-appointed Migration Advisory Committee claimed.

Too many school leavers lack even the most basic skills to ¿look people in the eye and get out of bed¿, according to immigration experts
As a result, businesses have had to turn to workers from overseas who are better qualified, more reliable, confident and – unlike young Britons – have the good ‘manners’ needed to work in shops.

However, MAC said there were significant downsides of adding so many foreign workers to the population since 1997, with schools, hospitals and roads ‘struggling to cope’.

In a 350-page report, MAC said foreign-born workers now fill 16 per cent of low-skill jobs, compared with 7 per cent in 1997. At the same time, the number of British-born workers in low-skilled jobs has fallen by around one million.

It blamed a target-driven regime that is interested only in the academically gifted, at the expense of the less able.

There are now around 1.3million 16- to 24-year-olds who are not in full-time education or working, of whom around 600,000 have no ‘identifiable barrier’ to employment.

Ofqual to increase focus on vocational qualifications

Ofqual is set to increase its focus on vocational qualifications, it was revealed today.

Jeremy Benson, director of policy at the regulator, told a summit in London that it would shift its focus away from academic qualifications. “We know Ofqual has a role to play in improving the quality of vocational education,” he said.

“We need our regulatory arrangements to drive qualifications to have a purpose and to be fit for that purpose. Ofqual has focused on GCSEs and A-levels in recent years and rightly so, but we are now ramping up our focus on vocational qualifications.”

Mr Benson, speaking at the Pearson Sutton Trust summit on apprenticeships and vocational education, said there would be some significant changes to how vocational qualifications are regulated, with more details to be set out over the next few weeks.

However, he said these will include a focus on the skills that students develop and giving a central role to employers, who will be encouraged to give greater feedback to ensure that qualifications are useful and valuable.

Finally, he said different employers and sectors had different needs, which means a “one size fits all” approach would not work. “We have to accept it is a diverse, even messy system,” he said.

National Numeracy Challenge

Originally posted on WEA tutors:

A reminder to all maths phobic tutors out there!

I am  promoting the take-up of this Challenge for all in the Region.  It is confidential but may be of interest to all to find out how current your maths skills are.  It is for anyone to try out a test and, if you want to improve, you will be directed to suitable resources or you can do some learning with a provider (a WEA maths class is recommended, of course).  You can then do the test again to see if you have improved and you can even get a certificate to prove your level if you like.

The test adjusts the questions to respond to how well you are doing so that if you keep getting them right then they get harder.  If you aren’t doing so well then they keep them at a more basic level.  You get an overall score and a goal once completed.


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Things Great Employers Do, and How You Influence Every One

It’s always great when I can share research that makes it clear how important you are to your company’s success.

I wish more of you would: A) Take the research to heart and to your business leaders; and, B) incorporate the research into your strategic priorities for compensation. After all, in addition to improving lots of things about your place of work, addressing findings like these in your own backyard could mean improved career opportunities and job security for you.

Here I go again! This time, I’m pushing research from the fine researchers from Gallup (so the research holds water), which has been publicized by those persnickety practitioners at HBR. They’re giving us practical insight into what it takes to have your engaged workers outnumber the detached ones by 9 to 1.

Things that great employers do

Here are seven (7) things that great employers do that Peter Flade, James Harter and Jim Asplund, three distinguished leaders at Gallup, “feel confident in recommending.” It’s the short version, with me adding some cheerleading for what these seven things have to do with our work.

Have involved and curious leaders who want to improve. Selection, development, coaching and succession planning anyone? Not to mention, effective executive pay-for-performance.
Have cracking HR functions. That’s right, we’re No. 2. Why? Because effective HR contributors teach leaders and managers to stretch and develop employees, and effective compensation specialists make sure that recognition and rewards are provided for these behaviors.
Ensure the basic engagement requirements are met before expecting an inspiring mission to matter. And I quote, “When employees know what is expected of them, have what they need to do their jobs, are good fits for their roles, and feel their managers have their backs, they will commit to almost anything the company is trying to accomplish.” How’s that for an endorsement of the importance of job definition, competencies, recognition, development and straightforward compensation practices?
Never use a downturn as an excuse. The recession’s been around for going on eight years. You may still be cautious about money, but there is no excuse for being stingy about hope, the researchers point out. Constant communications are one of the few things that leaders and managers can accomplish when most everything else is out of control, and it pays off!
Trust, hold accountable, and relentlessly support managers and teams. What more can I say?
Have a straightforward and decisive approach to performance management. Can you believe it? “… the hallmark of these great workplaces is that they are filled with recognition junkies … (who) see tolerance of mediocrity as the enemy.”
Do not pursue engagement for its own sake. These researchers are saying that outcomes that influence results matter– customer service, financial and employees’ ability to do their best — are what should matter. Not HR programs or (dare we say it?) their metrics.


LABOUR’S SHADOW BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND SKILLS TEAM Liam Byrne speech: Ending the gap between classroom and career

Ending the gap between classroom and career: Labour’s next steps in skills and higher education reform

Speech by Liam Byrne MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Universities, Science and Skills

Monday 7 July 2014, City of Westminster College