Hello and welcome to the sixty second bulletin! 
 
We will be looking again at some of the topics we have covered over the last sixty+ bulletins. Today it will be all about making the most of the tricky subject of that gap in your CV, starting off with qualifications and courses.  
 
Skill of the week - building qualifications quickly 
 
Quick (and free) qualifications that could make a difference! 
 
Do you worry that you don't have the qualifications on your CV to turn heads? Employers (me included) are impressed by people who make an effort to continually improve their skills. These days, with the huge volume and variety of courses available on line, there really is no excuse not to build up a portfolio of new qualifications. 
 
A great place to start would be to take a look at the government's initiative the Lifetime Skills Guarantee, all designed to help us all to build our skills, qualifications and employability. These courses are carried out part-time and online mostly at level 3. Take a look at this link - free-courses-for-jobs The link will give you all the information you need, including eligibility, duration etc. 
 
If you really need some quick additions to your CV, there is a range of sites that offer free and quick courses covering a vast range of subjects.  
 
Whether it's infection control, food hygiene, safeguarding, dementia awareness, caring for children, you can find almost every manner of job covered. Some of them will be a few weeks, but some are one-hour, two-hours or a day. By the end of next week you could have a dozen new certficates and diplomas to put on your CV! 
 
Reed, who as you know is a vacancy site and recruitment company. But they also host and promote courses, seminars, talks of all shapes and sizes. Worth a look - https://www.reed.co.uk/courses/free 
 
Coursera contains short courses from institutions around the world, Coursera is partnered with universities around the world - including Imperial College London and Stanford. It also partners with companies including Google and IBM to offer expertise in specific areas - for example, machine learning. 
 
The provider has made headlines by making its entire catalogue of 3,800 online courses free to universities throughout the global coronavirus outbreak. But Coursera also offers over 1,000 normally free courses across a wide range of subjects. 
 
Whether it’s Social Media Marketing, an Introduction to Psychology, or Graphic Design there’s plenty of choice. The company’s online courses cover 11 subject areas across beginner, intermediate, mixed and advanced levels. 
 
Future Learn is part-owned by The Open University and offers a clear divide in its courses, between short courses, ‘microcredentials’, and online degrees. Its short courses are its free online courses, providing no-cost access with a cost only attached to printable digital certificates. 
 
Popular Future Learn courses change frequently, but the 14 subject areas provide a good range of options for quick or longer study. Subject areas are diverse, including creative arts and media, healthcare and medicine, teaching, science and engineering, and maths. 
 
We have mentioned this one before, alison.com but it is certainly a good site for free and very quick short courses, which can show willing and interest to any potential employer - contains a very good blend of work-related and hobby-type courses.  
 
So, if you have work gaps, adding a few qualifications can go a long way to showing how busy you have kept yourself.  
 
Upcoming courses from Jayne Routley, WEA: 
 
Introduction to digital skills. Monday 01/07/21 to 15/07/21. 10am to 1pm. 
On this course you will be introduced to the everyday uses of computers and the internet in a relaxed and friendly environment. You will learn how to use an email (including attachments), find information on the internet, save and file documents on Windows computers as well as on Apple and Android devices. Click here to enrol 
 
Start Your Own Business Course code C3746611 
Participants will learn about market research, about types of companies and the mandatory requirements in setting up a business. Students will learn how to write a business plan and understand what a marketing plan looks like. Starting 02/07/21 Friday, 3 weeks, 1-3pm, Cost: £19.20 
 
Get Ready for Work. Monday 15/07/21 to 30/07/21. 3pm to 6pm. 
On this course you will build your confidence and identify the skills, qualities, and attitudes you have to offer in the workplace. You will update your CV, prepare for a job interview and produce an action plan to address your goals and areas you wish to develop. Click here to enrol 
 
Introduction to digital skills. Monday 05/07/21 to 20/07/21. 10am to 1pm. 
On this course you will be introduced to the everyday uses of computers and the internet in a relaxed and friendly environment. You will learn how to use an email (including attachments), find information on the internet, save and file documents on Windows computers as well as on Apple and Android devices. Click here to enrol 
 
Upcoming courses from with Aspire (as per their partner bulletin) 
 
Aspire's All About Me project provides and person-centred approach to moving people closer to work by helping them to overcome their barriers. Click here for more details - 'All About Me' 
 
The 'All About Me' courses are diverse and designed to reflect on common barriers and are adapted to meet the individual. Click here for course information.  
 
Interview / Application question of the week – the big blank space, and how to explain/discuss it.  
 
We thought it would be a good time to revisit again how to approach the most important question on any application form 
 
So you are filling in your application and have used your master sheet to complete all the basic information about yourself, your education and experience are all beautifully laid out and any employer can easily see what a great addition to their team you would be. Then you come to the huge white box which says “supporting information” or “further details” and the temptation is to leave it blank or just put a couple of sentences to supplement the information that you have already included. 
 
The most important question on the whole application form and so many people miss it out altogether! 
 
You don’t have to explain everything or go into massive detail, but they really need you to give them specific information in support of your application in order for them to shortlist in a fair and unbiased way. They will probably be using a scoring sheet and in many companies the rest of the application will be separated off so that they are making their decision purely based on how you match up to their requirements. Still happy to leave just a couple of lines in there? 
 
You can use the criteria in the Person Specification as headings for your response, in fact given that they are probably scoring it based on whether you have demonstrated that you fulfil those points, it seems like a good plan to do so. It will not be sufficient merely to duplicate what the Person Specification states. For example, if it asks for "ability to” or "commitment to”, you need to give practical examples of your ability, commitment, knowledge and experience by reference to your professional, voluntary or personal life. Experience is not just gained through full-time work, it can be gained through voluntary work, part-time work, college or school-based projects, job clubs or home life etc. 
 
Whilst it is the American version of Indeed, the principles remain the same, click here to get some ideas from them.  
 
My view is that there is no point trying to hide a gap, or hope they dont notice. You need to use all the creativity you have to have it clearly outlined. The aim is to explain in a way that gives the reader something tangible to grasp on to, rather than having to guess what you were (or weren't) doing...... which they will.  
 
Mental Health Awareness courses 
 
I have another mental Health Awareness (four-hour) course on the 4th of July. I have four free spaces for WISH participants. Please email me on richard.brooks@setas.org.uk if you would like to join this online course. It does require a laptop or PC and a webcam as it is online and is interactive. 
 
Horsham's new Wellbeing Centre in Horsham town centre  
 
There are loads of activities and opportunities to broaden your wellbeing skills and knowledge at the new wellbeing centre. Click here for a range of activities - horsham.wellbeingevents 
 
Local new vacancies  
here are the links for the most recent uploads - click here 
 
And finally, WISH will be finishing at the end of June, so we'll not be taking on any more people from now, however Horsham District Council will continue with employment support after that via the fabulous new team now in place.  
 
All the information you need can be accessed via this link - horsham employment support 
 
Up to the end of June we are still doing online and telephone 1-2-1s, so if you're an existing WISH participant please do get in touch with Richard, if you would like some specific support via the email below. We are keen to be of use until the end of June.  
 
See you soon we hope and please take good care.  
 
Richard and Mel 
 
Richard Brooks FIEP - Director. 
Mobile - 07783 222956 
Office - 01403 627766 
Email - richard.brooks@setas.org.uk 
Specialist Employment, Training and Advice Services 
 
Mel Simmonds 
Mobile – 07855 634679 
Email – simmondsmel@icloud.com 
 
 
SETAS Ltd. Bailey House, 4-10 Barttelot Road, Horsham, RH12 1DQ 
 
https://www.setas.org.uk/ 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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