Tag Archives: course

Apprenticeship over education?

16 Mar

More and more young people are opting to do pursue an apprenticeship rather than a degree and if you’re aged between 16-24 and don’t have a higher qualification then it’s a fantastic option.

Often people will dismiss apprenticeships due to their pay rate, however the rate of pay can be quite surprising. Although the minimum apprenticeship wage stands at £3.30, the average wage during an apprenticeship is £170 a week with many companies paying up to £270. Studies* also show that on average those who have attended an apprenticeship earn nearly £4000 more a year than graduates. You’ll get paid for learning and gaining qualifications without the student debt at the end of it!

Whilst being in education is great, doing an apprenticeship will give you valuable experience to add to your CV – which employers look for. A Government survey also showed that 85% of apprentices said their ability to do the job had improved and 83% said their career prospects had improved.

So with 90% of apprentices staying in employment (7/10 of those with the same employer) what are you waiting for?! Have a look at the government guide to applying for apprenticeships and bag your dream role today.

How to write a winning apprenticeship application:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/442593/How-to-write-winning-application.pdf

 

*http://www.onrec.com/news/statistics-and-trends/apprentices-earn-almost-%C2%A34000-more-than-graduates-year-in-first-job

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Mixing business with pleasure…

3 Mar

Should you include hobbies and interests in your CV?

It’s a question that we get asked a lot. Do recruiters really want to know about what we get up to in the evenings or at the weekends? Well yes, they might well like to know a bit more about you and your personality. Any hobby or interest that you put on your CV should be relevant, well written and could make the difference between you and another candidate should it come down to the wire.

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So maybe your love of extreme dog grooming may not seem like the sort of thing your employer might want to know about you, however if you are going for a job as a dog groomer or working with animals, dogs in particular, then it might just show them that you have got a genuine interest in their line of business.

Your hobby should reinforce your application and may also show that you have transferable skills that you can bring to the workplace. For example coaching your local football team shows that you have motivational skills. If you are the president or leader of a group or club this would be useful to add when going for a management position.

It can also make a difference how you write about your hobby e.g. a friendly kick about every Friday could be “Organising and participating in a 5-a-side football league”.

Try and avoid any generic hobbies such as socialising with friends or eating out as these won’t show your true personality or add anything to the CV. If you find that you don’t have any hobbies it is best to leave this section out altogether rather than adding it just for the sake of it.

Lauras work placement experience

26 Nov

Over the past 8 weeks we have had our work placement Laura with us in the office. On her last day we caught up with her for a quick chat to see how she found it…

 

Tell us a little about yourself

I have recently finished studying Forensic Science at Exeter College. I am currently taking a year out from Education to gain experience and work before (hopefully) going to University next September. When I’m not studying or working I enjoy geocaching and attend a local archery club.

If you want to know what Geocaching is check out the link – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geocaching

Why did you decide to do a work placement?

I decided to do a work placement so that I could gain experience in a work environment to aid me in future job applications and with University. It’s a great chance to upgrade and improve on existing abilities which I wanted to do with my ICT and administrative skills.

What attracted you to Opportunity Plus?

I’m a very compassionate person so I liked the idea of working with other people and helping them into work or develop ideas into self-employment. I was also attracted to the fact it wasn’t a large overwhelming company and had a small close team.

Is there anything you have enjoyed about the placement?

Opportunity Day is a group session run for job seekers and I was invited to attend one to assist with the activities. It was definitely out of my comfort zone but actually when I was there I really enjoyed myself. It was great to be in a helpful environment and be helping others out. I also enjoyed organising the files in to an order as I like things to be organised!

What have you least enjoyed?

As the office is based centrally in town it can be a bit of a nightmare to drive there and park but as the Job Centre paid for my travel I can’t really complain. So over all it’s all been enjoyable!

What have your main tasks been?

I’ve had a variety of tasks during my time at Opportunity Plus. Often I was required to do job searches for customers and find appropriate positions for their needs. I would also research topics and collect data. I even found myself washing masks that had been used for a face painting activity, and buying items to practice furniture restoration. I wrote quiz questions and created a CV for an employability task. I was also given time to job search for myself and support with applications and interviews.

Is there anything else you would like to say?

I really enjoyed my work experience here and everyone was really nice!

She will be joining us in the future as a volunteer and as I am writing this Laura is at an interview for her ideal job – Good Luck Laura! 

Our Smart start-up courses

30 Jul

Having just finished our latest free SMART Start up Business programme we are excited to start another this week, meeting new people wanting to start up their business and become self-employed. We have had a range of businesses from land management, jewellery makers to property services.

The course aims to give people the skills and confidence to start up their business, how to overcome some of the challenges of starting up and how to ensure that you have a successful business.

“It is a relaxed atmosphere where you are not bombarded with info but come out feeling very motivated”

The attendees really benefited from the support of others and felt happy to ask questions and share concerns as the learning is done in a relaxed friendly atmosphere.

Breaking the information down into 4, 3 hour sessions that build on each other makes the information clear and easy to understand and retain. The sessions cover Idea Development, Market Research, Finance and Funding and Marketing and Sales.

“I am due to meet my NEA Mentor next week. Really can’t wait to get things up and running now. Once again, thank you so much to you both for all your help, I found the course so helpful.”

The attendees came on to the course with a business idea and in some cases feeling a bit overwhelmed by how much they didn’t know and how much they needed to do.

One of the areas of concern for all was finance, with tax and registering with HMRC being the top worries. By the end of the session all felt much more confident and were surprised how simple everything can be.   By the end they all had a clear plan of their next steps.

“The finance side was my biggest concern but after today I feel more positive about things”

We really enjoy watching our lovely attendees start moving their dream to a reality, filed with motivation and enthusiasm.

There are courses running in Newton Abbot and Exeter and our ‘Get inspired’ Intensive start up programme is running in Torquay and Paignton and is just for women.  For more information, call Opportunity Plus on 0800 043 2440 or email info@opsw.co.uk

Government Start-up Loans

26 Jun

Start-Up-Loans-new-logo

When starting a business you may find the start-up costs slightly daunting and may prevent you from going ahead with your idea, however there is help out there so don’t give up!

The government offer a business start-up loan service where you can borrow money to cover your start-up costs and also receive useful advice from experts. To help get your business up and running there are a few requirements:

  • You’re aged 18 or over
  • You’ve developed a business idea
  • Your business will be based in the UK
  • You are a UK resident
  • Your business has been trading between 0-24 months

The application will also require you to have produced a business plan and cash flow, which is essentially creating a more detailed plan of your business. You can find templates on their website, along with support. Alternatively you may be able to get help from one our enterprise coaches at Opportunity Plus can run through what you need.

Once you’ve been successful with your application you still get on-going support, and can pay the loan off over up to 5 years at a fixed interest rate.

Don’t think you’ll get accepted? Take a look below to see just how many businesses they’ve helped get going so far, or check out their website – https://www.startuploans.co.uk/

Don’t forget to think about how you’re going to pay the loan back, and only borrow as much as you need.

Start up loans

If you want support and guidance for starting your business then please get in touch on 0800 043 2440 or info@opsw.co.uk

How is an Education and Training course beneficial?

5 Jun

My name is Ann and I teach and assess the level 3 Award in Education and Training for Opportunity Plus. There are a few people out there who have never heard of this qualification and quite a few more who reckon it’s of no use to them as they do not want to work in education.

Well, here’s my view on it:

Firstly, it’s a very enjoyable course, particularly when taken as part of a group. It’s my favourite thing to teach. It’s a great confidence booster and you do learn lots about yourself, as well as the topic. Taking part in the micro teach sessions as a learner is fun and also gives you a chance to learn about things you would not normally consider.

TeachingIf you have ever thought about teaching, or have skills that you would like to share with others it’s a fantastic starting point to a new career, or a stand alone qualification on its own. I got my first teaching job at a college due to possessing this qualification.

However the knowledge and confidence you gain can be put to good use in so many other ways. Are you a manager who regularly holds staff meetings which involves giving instructions? Are you a senior manager whose middle managers might benefit from having this short and useful qualification when dealing with their staff, looking at equality, diversity, individual need and different ways to make information giving fun and meaningful?  This course can give you a basic knowledge of how different individuals learn and respond, and ways to support those who struggle

Why not find out more by contacting our course support team on 0800 045 2440

A Micro-Teach experience – (Education and Training Course)

28 May

As part of the Education and Training course, all learners are required to conduct a Micro-Teach. A Micro-Teach assesses the more practical side of teaching – running a lesson.

This process may seem incredibly daunting to some (including myself at the time) but it’s in fact a great learning experience and thoroughly enjoyable.

I’m the kind of person who’s cheeks will rapidly become a deep shade of red just at the thought of addressing an audience. So the idea of teaching a class of adults really had me biting my nails. However, there was much more to it then standing and stuttering in front of my peers.

There is such a variety of talent within an Education and Training group so you are not given boundaries as to what you must teach in your class, and are encouraged to choose something you have good knowledge on or a hobby. I personally have a background in Art so for me it was an easy choice, at least that’s what I thought until I realised how broad this was.

Seemingly throughout this panic period I had forgotten the importance of planning within the teaching role. Everything started to come into place once we had been given a detailed example of a Micro-Teach lesson plan. Seeing the plan enabled me to think logically about each time slot of the 20 minute lesson and how I could fill it with something beneficial and relevant. Learners are to be engaged by the lesson and get fully involved, so I didn’t have to just stand at the front talking. In fact, it should be 70/30 Learner to teacher activity.

In the end I decided I would hold my Micro-Teach on speed portrait drawing, as this meant I could get everybody involved whilst fitting it into the small time frame. I was lucky that I had a background in such a practical activity as it made the ratio of talking and involvement easier to fulfil. When it came to the day itself there were still some lingering nerves but when I got started with my plan in close proximity it was all worth it.

If you prepare what you’re going to do and your subject then the Micro-Teach can be such a fun experience. The thing to remember is that all your learners on the day are going to be going through the same worried states and will be completely supportive of one another as they are in the same boat. Having the opportunity to watch the other teachers is also a fascinating part of the day and you may even leave with a lot extra knowledge.

All in all, do not fear the Micro-Teach, embrace it and enjoy all the possibilities it has!
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Please contact us if you want to know how to start an Education and training course.