My turn to write a blog!
I am Amy Dutton, Placement Support Officer for Futureworks Flintshire, based in sunny North Wales. I have been in post just over 12months now and work with our apprentices in North Wales. Writing a blog is not something I have done before, nor is it part of my day to day activities, and I have to admit I struggled for inspiration. Have a feeling writing this comes under the ‘any other duties’ clause.
I am blessed to live on the Flintshire / Cheshire country border. My family have a dairy farm on the Cheshire side and we recently had a vacancy for someone to milk the cows. After a few weeks trying to recruit with no success, my parents turned to social media and advertised the post.
Whilst not overwhelmed by applicants we did get a few. The majority showed they had experience of working on a farm, studied agriculture or had even milked cows themselves. However there was one applicant that was a bit different. A grade C/D level student at GCSE with various retail jobs under their belt, they applied because they had ‘worked for two weeks on cheese counter in their local supermarket’. Not what we had expected for a role involving milking cows, feeding calves and tractor work, but we have to give credit for applying. The level of detail they went in to on the cheeses, storage temperatures and the management and organisation was quite impressive and showed that this person understood the meaning of transferable skills.
Which moves me on in this blog…
Transferable skills is a key thing that employers look for in their current and future employees, and is something we think about a lot across Futureworks. A lot of apprentices will come to us having gained GCSEs and other qualifications at college but have little or no experience in the areas they want to be an apprentice in.
At interview we see candidates with good GCSEs but they then don’t always sell themselves with the other skills, experience and qualities they might have. Sometimes applicants might not get an interview, yet if they had added the fact they have experience it would have given them the edge over others.
I want to shout about the importance of showcasing any work (paid or unpaid) or extra-curricular activities you may have done, or still do now. All these things need to be shown on your CV. And the links to transferable skills… Playing sports can demonstrate you are a team player. You could have been a team captain, showing you have what it takes to be a leader and others have a respect for you. Playing sports on top of going to College, doing a job etc. proves you have dedication.
Looking at previous roles you may have had, even if it was in a completely different role to what you are applying for, you will develop skills relevant to other jobs. For example, working on a checkout in a shop shows customer service ability. You may have had to deal with that ‘problem customer’ but you were able to deal with them in such a manner where they walked away happy. You will understand the importance of time keeping, and how important that is to a company.
All employers want you to be dedicated to your job and work well with others, yet have the capability of leading and using your own initiative. Where you have worked before, an employer will understand the different skills you could have developed.
So, my key message to you. Make sure you make the most of every opportunity you get. Make sure you shout about these opportunities you took when you apply for apprenticeships. The person I talked about did just that. I admire the fact they still tried even though they had not been in a similar role before. They may not have got the job we were advertising, but we know they got a job to assist them in further developing their skills, which one day they will shout about on their CV when applying for another job.