Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Scouting for Jobs: A guide to impress employers

Demonstrating the right attitude and skill set to get ahead – by M.Black

Young people have had a lot of bad press recently. Not only are they facing one of the most competitive job markets in a generation – with nearly 70 applications for every graduate vacancy - they must also a barrage of claims from employers that they don’t have the necessary skills to get ahead in the workplace.

The education system is under attack from budget cuts leading to bigger class sizes and more children leaving with poor results.  Last year, Sir Terry Leahy, the outgoing chief executive of Tesco, famously denounced the UK for having “woefully low” education standards. And, it’s not just schools that have faced criticism, university courses too are becoming too detached from developing the skills that employers actually need or want.

Employers across the country are complaining that candidates commonly lack the life skills and attributes that employers are looking for.  But, while our education system is failing in developing these “soft skills” Scouting is accelerating with more projects, opportunities, refined training, more young people & adults joining the program every year.

Just in case you’re not clear what “Soft skills” are, here is a little more explanation. 
Soft skills are sometimes broken down into personal attributes, such as:
Optimism, common sense, responsibility, a sense of humour, integrity,
time-management, motivation.
and interpersonal abilities, such as:
Empathy, leadership, communication, good manners, sociability,
the ability to teach others.

It's often said that hard skills (qualifications or practical experience) will get you into an interview but you need soft skills to get, and keep, the job you want.

A number of the training courses we offer our volunteers are able to be accredited under The National Open College Network (NOCN), the UK's foremost provider of accreditation services for adult learning.  You can then apply for up to two full awards:
- Providing Voluntary Youth Services: aimed at Section Leaders and those working directly with Young People and is a full award at Level 2
- Managing Voluntary Youth Services: aimed at those in management roles in Scouting such as Commissioners and Group Scout Leaders. Also a full award at Level 2.

Training in Scouting can also allow you to receive further external recognition like membership to:

Institute of Training and Occupational Learning (ITOL): the professional body which recognises those specialising in training, development and occupational learning.

Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM): The Institute of Leadership and Management is a professional body for managers.


Employers’ number one complaint is that young people lack practical experience. Joining scouting as an adult volunteer gives you the opportunity (even while you still study) to get the practical experience that you lack at the weekends, after hours, anytime you can or a willing to take part.  This flexible volunteering, coupled with the chance to be part of a variety of projects (Administration, events, local or international expeditions, strategic planning, IT, marketing and more) is a great way of preparing your CV ready for interviews. Oh, and you might even have some fun while you’re doing it.

The first step is for you to take some level of personal responsibility, register on the national site scouts.org.uk/join.  An experienced local volunteer will call you.  Give them an idea of what you’re looking for, and be open to trying something new or a little different. 

Here’s a quick list of what our volunteers have told us they got out of volunteering:


Practical skills
a) Ability to plan systematically
b) Appreciation of the importance of safety and procedures you use to ensure the safety of yourself and others
c) Knowledge of First Aid and any formal training in this field.

Working as a team
a) Working in a variety of teams e.g. Sections, Groups, Districts, Counties
b) Supporting others in their role, knowing the value of teamwork
c) Valuing others for their skills and abilities and supporting those with Special Needs.

Management skills
a) Leadership skills, knowing how to lead teams, supervise the group and individuals to get the job done
b) Being able to monitor, evaluate, and review performance
c) Being able to manage large projects and often large groups of people.

Communication
a) Being effective in meetings, taking minutes, putting your view across and representing others
b) Writing plans, programmes, reports and newsletters.

Finance
a) Budgeting, keeping accounts
b) Securing funding from outside bodies and fundraising.

Training
You will not only receive training and mentoring from experienced volunteers but you may be able to join our training team to deliver some of that training. 

We have “facilitators and “train the trainers” courses and fully documented modular training processes that could give any future academic or teacher a real advantage in their future career.


Some of the skills listed above you may already have, some of them you may gain as part of your role in Scouting. Either way it is important to remember the skills you can pick up while having a laugh, hiking, climbing, camping or whatever you do in Scouting are going to make you stand out in a crowd, and could make the difference in getting the job you want.

Reference:
CV Aid - The wider implications of Scouting Item Code FS 500004 Nov/03 Edition no 1

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