MidKent College https://www.midkent.ac.uk MidKent College : Blog Feed Copyright 2019, MidKent College. Tue, 18 Jun 201916:00:48 GMT Thinking about an online course?

When I was offered the chance to do an online course, I was worried about how I would fit in studying alongside work and being a parent.  Also, I’d never tried distance learning – any other courses I’ve completed have been classroom based with the tutor there in front of you, so I was also worried about what would happen if I didn’t understand something!

I chose to do the Level 2 in Information, Advice or Guidance which fits in with my job role advising students on the most relevant study programme or apprenticeship for them. It was really easy to apply; I just had to complete an online form through the MidKent College website. From there, I was sent a pack containing the workbooks required for the course and my online tutor contacted me by telephone. She explained how everything worked, gave me my login details for the e-assessor portal and confirmed the target dates that the workbooks needed to be completed by.

The workbooks contain all the information you need to complete the course. There are also answer booklets for those who want to write their answers. I preferred to complete mine through the portal and typed them straight into the online answer booklet. This made it easier to edit or add extra details as I went along.

If I had any questions or concerns, I could contact the tutor by email and she was really good at getting back to me.  At the end of each workbook (there were two that made up the qualification I was doing) you had to submit your work to the tutor. She then gave feedback on my answers and let me know if there was anything I could have added or needed to change. Luckily everything was fine and I had some positive feedback which really motivated me to carry on with the second part of the course. 

The course leads to a recognised level 2 qualification – it wasn’t too difficult, but did challenge me and I felt that I had learned things I could apply to my role.

You get 12 weeks to complete the course, but I actually did it in six! As a busy working mum, I was worried that I wouldn’t get time to finish it, but I found it became a lot easier if I managed my time.I allowed an hour or two every couple of nights to read through the workbook and questions and enter my answers. I then spent half a day on the weekend before the due date going through everything and editing if necessary before I submitted it.

I was really impressed with the content of the course and very happy with the contact from the tutor who was really friendly and helpful. I didn’t have to pay for the course as it is government funded if you are over 19 and have lived in the EU for three years. I get to keep the workbooks too, so if I want to refer back to anything I can.

There are loads of subject areas to choose from and having found the first one pretty straightforward, I plan to apply for a couple more over the next year or so. They are really useful for improving and refreshing your skills and for adding to your CPD file or your CV if you are looking for a job.


Read more about the range of online courses available at MidKent College.

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Apprentice of the Month: Abbi Collins (May 2019)

We’re delighted to celebrate another great apprentice of the month! Congratulations to Ardo, and Abbi.

Ardo is one of the world’s leading suppliers of frozen plant based food with a turnover in excess of 1 billion Euros. In the UK the HR team provides full generalist support to two sites employing nearly 200 people.

Ardo’s Human Resources Director, Morag Bailey tells us why Abbi is a worthy apprentice of the month:

Abbi joined us straight from her A Levels having had no previous experience of HR or working in a corporate environment. However from her very first day she has shown maturity and professionalism in all she has done. She has taken ownership for tasks and responsibilities assigned to her, has excellent self-management skills, is methodical, accurate and on time in everything she does. When she joined us I put together a training matrix for her but had to speed it up as she was grasping the basics quicker than anticipated.

This has allowed me to give her specific projects to work on which will aid her professional development and has freed up colleagues' time to work on other projects. Nothing is too much for her. She has the courage to step out of her comfort zone and find solutions when the need has arisen. She is popular with colleagues and managers throughout the business who have quickly come to value her support and advice.

As well as getting to grips with the tasks given to her, she has shown a genuine interest in how HR fits into the corporate structure of Ardo and the part we play in delivering strategic objectives. She always discusses at team meetings what she has been focused on at College and looks for opportunities to apply this knowledge practically.

It has been a delight to have Abbi join my team - she is bright, funny, professional, caring, responsible, intellectually curious and a team player. I am sure that she has a bright career ahead of her in HR and I am very proud to have her in my team.

It's clear that Abbi has slotted into the Ardo team perfectly! Here is her experience so far:

I am extremely delighted to have been nominated for Apprentice of the Month. I feel a sense of achievement; it’s proving that I am on the right track to achieve the goals that I have set myself. Becoming an apprentice in the workplace has been a massive change for me and a shift from what I had originally planned to do, so to be recognised has given me more confidence and courage to push my own capabilities even further. Being recognised has brought huge satisfaction and pride as it proves that hard work, dedication and commitment really does reap reward in one form or another. I am truly grateful to those around me who have helped and supported me this far and the opportunities that I have been given.

Ardo UK is an SME employing just fewer than 200 people, but with further sites based all around the world and our head office is based in Ardooie, Belgium. Currently there are three of us in the HR department at Ardo working side-by-side to aid and support departments and individuals in a variety of needs. As there are only three of us, it provides me with lots of opportunity to get involved with many aspects of the job in a busy and fast paced environment. Due to Ardo UK being a reasonably small company, a sense of community is clear in the culture as you walk around the building. We also have an average long service of 11 years which says a lot about how the company runs and the type of people it retains. Working for Ardo allows me to get involved in the taste panel at lunch time and play football for the 5-a-side team which brings both engagement and enjoyment.

The best part about working at Ardo is the environment in which I work. I am actively encouraged to learn and participate in many aspects of the job. I am encouraged to ask questions, challenge and problem solve on a regular basis and by having such a varied role allows me to face challenges and push myself out of my comfort zone. The support around not just from my department but others around the business also contributes to a pleasant and friendly environment which promotes hard work and commitment to responsibilities. My knowledge surrounding HR has grown emphatically aided by the opportunities that my team have given and guided me through. The encouragement to learn and develop not only as an individual but as a team is second to none which is only fuelling my willingness to absorb as much information as I can.

Here is what her lecturer had to say about teaching Abbi:

Abbi is self-motivated and driven to achieve success both professionally and in her studies. Since starting the apprenticeship in September she has never settled for doing the minimum required for any task that she has been set by me (in or out of College). She has been industriously proactive in working with her employer to produce work-based evidence consistently high quality to meet, and in many instances, exceed the requirements of the apprenticeship standard.

It is evident that she is intrinsically motivated to learn to develop her ability to take on more work-related responsibility and support her established HR colleagues.
 
Abbi is very popular with her cohort of fellow apprentices/students. During her studies she is always willing to share her work-based insights, best practice and her ‘can-do attitude’ when working in paired or group tasks. There have been several instances when Abbi has helped learners in the group by signposting them to useful resources relating to work-based projects that she has undertaken.
 
Since commencing the apprenticeship back in September Abbi has worked hard on the daunting challenge of developing her public speaking skills. A recent example of her progress was evidenced when she prepared and delivered a well-researched and highly informative training session on the subject of ‘Modern Slavery’ to her peers as part of an assessment. In the weeks preceding her assessment for this piece of work, she made effective use of independent study time working on her presentation skills.
 
In summary Abbi is steadily continuing to develop from being a noticeably reserved person who back in September had very limited knowledge and experience of the HR profession towards being a practitioner who is increasing in confidence, diligence and commercially awareness.

Abbi is a credit to her employer as well as MidKent College.

Congratulations Abbi!
 

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Our Pick: 'The Joy of Work' Book Review

Like many, my career has seen its ups and downs. Looking back over the last 20+ years there have been times when I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my work and times when, quite frankly, I’ve wanted nothing more than to run screaming for the hills.

The Joy of Work doesn’t shy away from that, and instead encourages us, regardless of seniority or lack of it, to take responsibility for the way we feel about work and the impact we can have on those we work with; to recognise that small changes in our attitude and in our working practices can transform how we feel about our jobs and interactions with our colleagues.

In section 1, Bruce Daisley encourages us to Recharge with easy to implement hacks that can help work to feel manageable. Crucially, most of these are things we can look to change without having to secure senior management approval – simple stuff like actually taking a lunch break. But if you do need to build a compelling case, there’s plenty of workplace psychology and scientific research to add some credibility to help to inform and persuade.

Section 2 urges us to Sync, with solid suggestions for building meaningful, trusting and productive connections with colleagues ranging from the easy task of ‘moving the kettle’ to get staff from different teams talking and collaborating, to the slightly harder to develop empathic ability to know when you should leave people alone.

Finally, section 3 sets out solid research and techniques to help create Buzz – that almost immeasurable quality combining engagement and positivity that we all seem to crave. Who knew that banning phones from meetings could achieve this far better than a slide and a ball pool…

If you’ve got an interest in workplace psychology, or you’re just not content to whittle away the years until retirement in a job that you don’t enjoy, this is a must-read.

As much as I’d love to tell you more, it’s time for lunch…

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Apprenticeships for adults

Apprenticeships aren’t just for school leavers - they're also suitable for adults too!

In fact, there is no upper age limit for apprentices. You may be looking for a career change or perhaps have been promoted within your company and need to learn new skills and build your confidence. Apprenticeships are designed to help you gain hands-on experience in your chosen industry; learning new skills and gaining a recognised qualification all whilst earning a wage. 

There are benefits of apprentices to employers too as they help them to develop their existing workforce, plug skills gaps within the company and attract and train new recruits.

What apprenticeships are there?

You do need to be employed to be considered for an apprenticeship – this needs to be for a minimum of 30 hours per week. You may already be employed and be looking to improve your skills with that industry, or you may be looking for an employer to take you on as an apprentice so that you can re-train. You can search for apprenticeship vacancies on the government’s “Find an Apprenticeship” website.

Apprenticeships are available in a wide variety of industries. They are not limited to the traditional trades such as Electrical Installation, Plumbing or  Engineering - they can also be undertaken in areas such as  Accountancy, Human Resources and IT to name a few. 

The College offers higher apprenticeships in Accounting, Construction, Engineering, Human Resources and ICT

What apprenticeship level am I?

Four levels are available depending on the subject area chosen, and your current qualifications:

Intermediate (Level 2): equivalent to GCSE 

Advanced (Level 3): equvialent to A level

Higher (Level 4 and 5): equivalent to HNC/ HND/Foundation Degree

Degree (Level 6 and 7): equivalent to Batchelor’s Degree

Higher level and degree apprenticeships are perfect for those looking to progress in their career into an advanced, technical or managerial role. They allow you to gain a qualification at Level 4 or above, such as an HNC/D or Foundation degree, and in some areas you can progress up to full degree level. Completion takes between one and five years with part-time study at College or university (usually day release).

The worry for most adult learners looking to complete an apprenticeship is how much it will cost. Apprenticeships are funded partly by employers (via the apprenticeship levy) and partly by the government – there is usually no cost for the student apart from perhaps travel and equipment expenses. It can be a great way for an adult to gain a higher level or degree qualification without the traditional university route, which can be expensive.

The benefits of completing an apprenticeship as an adult include:

1. The ability to earn as you learn

2. Achievement of valuable work-related skills

3. Improved confidence

4. Great career progression opportunities

5. Increased earning potential.

Interested?

Send us an email or phone us on 01634 402020.


Find out more information about the apprenticeships and higher apprenticeships offered at MidKent College.

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Our Pick: 'OPEN' Book Review

Perhaps this could be the page turner you have been looking for? 

Working in Education Technology and Innovation it looked like the perfect read.

The Audible version of the book is 8 1/2 hours long, so something I could listen to in roughly a week on my drive to and from work. The print book is 233 pages long. 

Published in November 2013, OPEN offers insight and suggestions on how we will "Work, Live and Learn" in the future, using education, industry and personal learning as examples. OPEN offers inspiration and call to order that we should be sharing our ideas and work for the good of one another and our businesses. Referencing the acronym S.O.F.T, the model hopes for Sharing, Openness, Free and Trusting environments that we live and learn in.

It references useful case studies in a multitude of environments that emphasise the benefits of working collaboratively in a fast-paced world. I took particular interest in the work of High Tech High, which has seemingly ripped up the rulebook for the way a school/classroom is laid out in favour of collaborative and open space learning. 

The book is a must-read for any organisation leader to support the building of a collaborative and innovative culture.

 

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Apprentice of the Month: Joe Barker (April 2019)

When students are given opportunities – great things can happen. 

Read Joe’s experience of being an apprentice at New Line Learning Academy

I am overwhelmed and extremely grateful to be nominated as an apprentice of the month. This is an achievement I will take forward with me and feel that this is the best start of what looks to be a promising career. At New Line Learning Academy I learn something new every day, not just about the job role, but life and communication skills. The apprenticeship has given me the skill set I need to come out of education and into the real world. I feel truly privileged to have been offered this apprenticeship. Since working at New Line Learning my confidence has grown and I have gained valuable experience in the workplace/IT environment. The working/personal relationships I have built up with my colleagues have been invaluable. 

Joe’s employer also had some great things to say about him being part of their team: 

During Joe’s apprenticeship, it has been a pleasure to watch Joe grow as a person. Joe’s technical knowledge has gone from strength-to-strength and Joe’s ability to retain knowledge/new skills is very impressive. He has built fantastic working relationships with his colleagues and students, is incredibly approachable, and one of the easiest people to get on with. Joe goes above and beyond within New Line Learning, working overtime, helping different departments and helping with school events. If Joe continues at this pace, I anticipate he will have a very successful career. It has been an honour to mentor him. 

Joe’s training officer put Joe forward for apprentice of the month - read why Joe was nominated: 

Since joining the College just over a year ago, I have observed and assessed Joe's effective participation in the IT Applications Specialist Level 2 programme. In my opinion, despite joining the programme as a novice, he has worked extremely well and has used his IT skills well, alongside his willingness to support colleagues in classroom settings. Joe's assignment reports are of a good standard, which shows his attention to detail as well as research and information handling abilities. 
 
His employer has also displayed a significant involvement in Joe's training and assessment, which is good practice; I am glad to nominate Joe and I believe he deserves the recognition – well done!  

Continue with this great attitude, Joe. 


Are you an employer looking for an apprentice? We have a list of businesses who benefit from new recruits from us every year. Become an apprenticeship employer now

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Our top revision sites

There are so many great websites and YouTube channels to help you revise for your GCSEs and A Levels.  Here we pick our favourites to help you focus in on the best.

Websites

BBC Bitesize - The essential revision website. It covers all GCSE subjects, even the more obscure ones and lists every awarding body so that you can find revision info on the specification you are following at school or college. There are some brilliant short videos, online quizzes, tests and podcasts and each section comes with a glossary, so if there is a word or term you don’t understand it is there for you to check.

Studywise.co.uk – This really useful website has a section for each subject area at GCSE and A Level and includes links for each one to more specific sites focusing on revision notes, quizzes, forums, revision books/guides and importantly, specimen and past papers from each awarding body. There is also a “study shop” where you can buy revision essentials such as flash cards and view recommended Amazon products.

Quizlet.com – This website contains huge amounts of resources including diagrams and quizzes and allows you to create your own content to share with others. It aims to make learning fun by using games and interactive features to engage learners. You can also download an app for learning on the go.

Get Revising – A brilliant online tool for creating your own personal revision timetable. You can even add reminders and it is very easy to update to fit in with any changes you need to make.

YouTube

Mr Bruff – As an English teacher who knows the curriculum inside out, you can count on Mr Bruff to provide up-to-date and relevant information on both GCSE and A Level English Language & Literature. Video tutorials include those covering specific topics and exams questions, character analyses, exam tips, examples of student work, question and answer videos and even revision songs and raps. He also covers complete exam papers.

Hegarty Maths – Huge amount of brilliant video tutorials covering specific topics and exam questions for both A Level and GCSE Maths (Foundation & Higher Tier). Add in videos on practice papers, top tips and playlists and you have the best maths revision channel available.

Free Science Lessons – Covers all three sciences for GCSE and A Level. Includes practice papers, topic specific tutorials and exam tips. Their core belief is that outstanding education should be available for all.

Unjaded Jade – A “study Tuber” who aims to help inspire and motivate you to do your best in exams. As well as providing tips on exam and revision techniques, tutorials on past papers and mark schemes, Jade offers very honest videos tackling issues such as exam stress, perfectionism and academic pressure. She also takes you along on her travels during her gap year and her tribulations with her unruly hair.

Don’t forget to check if your school or training provider has subscriptions to revision websites or channels as logging in will unlock even more content!

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Healthy eating for exam success

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How to write a CV

If you’re looking for your ideal job, then your CV is so important to clearly demonstrate your experience, work history and skill set.

It should be roughly one to two sides of A4 in length in a font such as Arial or Times New Roman. And definitely no clip art or fancy borders! There is no one “perfect” way of writing a CV, but below are some tips to help:

Your name and contact details

Positioned at the top of the page, this should contain your first name and surname, and your contact details. Don’t worry about putting “CV” as it’s generally a waste of space!

Your email address and phone number are essential. Most people also include their postal address too. If you have a LinkedIn profile, why not include a short link to it here?

Your personal statement

This can be one of the hardest things to write! It’s so important to your CV, and needs to be a short paragraph underneath your name giving your interviewers a brief summary of your skills and experience.

This statement should be tailored to the industry and job you’re applying for – there’s no point including information about why you’d make a brilliant retail team leader if you’re applying for an office administration role! It’ll come across as unprofessional and lazy, and could mean your application isn’t considered properly.

In this section include what you can offer the company, your career goals and a few key skills. Now isn’t the time to be discussing your favourite hobbies…!

Your education and relevant qualifications

Unless you’re going for a lifeguard position, you shouldn’t be including EVERY qualification you’ve ever received! Start with your most recent qualification, whether a degree, A levels or GCSEs, and include the grades, school/university and date you achieved it. If your degree has relevant modules to the role you’re applying for, and if you have space, include them here too.

Your work history

Similar to your qualifications, start with the most recent one first, even if it’s your industry placement or part-time retail position. You’ll need to include your position, the employer and the dates you worked for them too. If you have space and it’s appropriate, include a very brief overview of your role (no more than two to three lines) but it must be relevant to the post you’re applying for.

Key skills

This section isn’t a requirement, but can help potential employers to gain a quick snapshot of what you could be like to work with. If the job description is looking for things like time management or ICT skills, now’s your time to include things like that.

Interests and activities

This should be the shortest section – and must either be a significant accomplishment or skill, or very relevant to the job you’re applying for. Don’t just put you like sitting with your cat! You don’t have to include this section.

Top things to remember:

  • Don’t lie or exaggerate – employers will know, honestly!
  • Always, always, always tailor your CV/application to the post and job description
  • This is a professional document; an employer won’t spend a huge amount of time per application, so it needs to be to the point and easy to read.
  • Include some positive action verbs – such as demonstrate, established, created or developed – not just “I did this…”
  • Use a mature email address as the contact email – employers won’t take ILoveBeiber@hotmail.com very seriously…

Some employers will also ask for a covering letter – we’ve written some advice to help you construct the perfect one here.

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Are you ready for your exams?

With exams looming, it can feel like you have a mountain to climb when you start your revision. 

Take it one step at a time and it will all feel a lot easier. Here are some practical tips to get you started on your journey.

1. Go shopping

Stock up on pens (in different colours), pencils, highlighters, paper and revision cards. A wall planner and some coloured stickers are also good buys – you can use these to help schedule your revision timetable.

2. Organise your space

Sort out a desk or area where you can study and organise it in the best way for you. Some of us prefer complete silence and need to have everything in order, others prefer some background noise from the TV or radio and don’t mind if things are a bit more casual and cluttered. Either way, it’s best to be somewhere reasonably peaceful and to have the things you need around you.

3. Organise your time

Whether you use a wall planner, a diary, or the calendar on your phone, it’s important to schedule your time well.  Make a revision timetable, allocating time to each subject area that you have an exam in. Remember to factor in essential breaks!

4. Organise and/or create your resources

Ensure you have all your class notes (whether on paper or on memory sticks), exercise books, study/revision guides, audiobooks and past papers to hand. Your teacher/tutor will usually provide past papers, but you can also find these online and on YouTube. You can also create your own resources in advance – flash cards, mind-maps, timelines and infographics are all very useful revision tools which you can easily make yourself at home.

5. Organise your thoughts

If you’re having issues getting to grips with a particular topic or question, or don’t feel as though you understand something, now is the time to contact teachers/tutors to ask for help. It’s likely they’ll be holding revision sessions so you can use these to ask about particular problems you are having, but they won’t mind if you email or drop in to speak to them either. It’s also important to keep your thoughts positive. If you’re feeling really anxious or worried, don’t keep it bottled up – confide in your teacher/tutor, or a friend - it will help just to get things off your chest.

6. Be healthy

It may sound clichéd, but in the run up to your exams, it is really helpful to get plenty of fresh air and make time for relaxation and fun. This will help to keep you calm and feel mentally prepared for the exams.

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Highly effective habits students should gain

Learning to study smarter, not harder, is the key to becoming an effective student. An hour or two of studying a day is usually sufficient to make it through school with satisfactory grades, but when college arrives, there aren't enough hours in the day to get all your studying in if you don't know how to study smarter.

The large proportion of successful students achieve their success by developing and applying effective study habits. The following are the top 10 study habits employed by those students who achieve their potential. To become successful, don't get discouraged, don't give up, just work to develop each of the study habits below and you'll see your grades go up, your knowledge increase, and your ability to learn and process information improve.

1. Study at the same time each day.

Not only is it important that you plan when you're going to study, it's important you create a consistent, daily study routine. When you study at the same time each day and each week, your studying will become a regular part of your life. You'll be mentally and emotionally more prepared for each study session and so will become more productive. If you have to change your schedule from time to time due to unexpected events, that's okay, but get back on your routine as soon as the event has passed.

2. Don't cram all your studying into one session.

Often find yourself up late at night expending more energy trying to keep your eyelids open than you are studying? If so, it's time to change. Successful students typically space their work out over shorter periods of time and rarely try to cram all of their studying into just one or two sessions. If you want to become a successful student then you need to learn to be consistent in your studies and to have regular, yet shorter, study periods.

3. Plan exactly when you're going to study.

Successful students schedule specific times throughout the week when they are going to study - and then they stick with their schedule. Students who study without set times typically do not perform as well as students who have a set study schedule. Setting aside a period of time a few days a week, will ensure you develop habits enabling you to succeed in your education long term.

4. Never put off your planned study session.

It's very easy, and common, to put off your study session because of a lack of interest in the subject, because you have other things you need to get done, or just because the revision is hard. If you cancel your study session, your studying will become much less effective and you may not get everything accomplished that you need to. Cancelling also leads to rushing, and rushing is the number one cause of errors.

5. Have a specific goal for each revision session.

Simply studying without direction is not effective. You need to know exactly what you need to accomplish during each study session. Before you start studying, set a study session goal that supports your overall academic goal.

6. Start with the most difficult subject first.

As your most difficult subject will require the most effort and mental energy, you should start with it first. Once you've completed the most difficult work, it will be much easier to complete the rest of your work. Believe it or not, starting with the most difficult subject will greatly improve the effectiveness of your study sessions, and your academic performance.

7. Become targeted and effective by always reviewing your notes.

Always make sure to take good notes in class. Reviewing your notes before each study session will help you remember important subject matter learned during the day, and make sure your studying is targeted and effective.

8. Make sure you're not distracted while you're studying.

Some people study better with a little background noise. Everyone gets distracted by something. Maybe it's the TV. Or maybe it's your family. Or maybe it's just too quiet. When you're distracted while studying you can lose your train of thought and become unable to focus - both of which will lead to very ineffective studying. Before you start studying find a place where you won't be disturbed or distracted.

9. Use study groups or working with friends effectively.

Ever heard the phrase "two heads are better than one?" Well this can be especially true when it comes to studying. Working in groups enables you to get help from others when you're struggling to understand a concept. However, study groups can become very ineffective if they're not structured and if groups members come unprepared.

10. Review your notes and class materials over the weekend.

Successful students review what they've learned during the week over the weekend. This way they're well prepared to continue learning new concepts that build upon previous coursework and knowledge acquired the previous week.

We're confident that if you'll develop the habits outlined above that you'll see a major improvement in your academic success. Put what you learn into practice with our diverse range of study programmes. Alternatively, use your successful studying techniques to help others by selecting a teacher training education course.

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Secrets of confidence

Are you a confident person? (See I bet you just “umm’d” there!) Sometimes it’s an experience or self-assurance thing, but there are a few simple ways to improve your confidence.

Confident people do feel fear – they just don’t allow it to impact on their actions. Sometimes they acknowledge it, and use it as motivation.

Do not be afraid of failure – you’ll never get, or be able to do, absolutely everything 100% all the time, every time. No one can. Acknowledge it didn’t work, move on and later on you’ll wonder why you worried so much.

Focus on the bigger picture, not the teeny tiny details. Be confident in yourself that you can achieve it, keep sight of the end goal and don’t get bogged down in the nitty gritty details.

Always, always prepare! You’ll be structured, aware of time and clear of the direction you need to go in. The more you experience and practice, the greater your confidence will be.

Where does confidence come from? Yes, compliments from others buoys you up, whether it’s a cracking presentation you did, outstanding dress sense that day or the project you’ve just completed. Assess your own performance, and grow in confidence in your abilities.

Be around others who are proactive, positive and confident. Confidence will then spread between the group, creating a positive outcome for all involved.

Sometimes it just comes down to choice. You have to make that definitive “yes, I can do this” thought and lead on from there. Panic, fear and worry will only manifest, and hinder your development.

Even if you are a confident person, assess your own weaknesses and build on them. The more you experience life, the more confident you will be.

 

Looking to boost your confidence? Great! MidKent College have a tonne of courses here to help you get the skills you need. Whether you have a dream to study the performing arts, or you're more interested in our accounting study programmes, you're bound to find something for you.

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How much of a priority is your mental well-being?

When we think about health, most of us think about ‘physical’ health rather than our mental wellbeing. Our physical health is often at the forefront of numerous campaigns regarding healthy eating and taking regular exercise. Mental health has previously been somewhat overlooked but is currently being thrust into the limelight by a run of successful campaigns on social media, with the additional help of a little ‘Royal’ approval by several of the younger members of the Royal family.

The health of our mind is something we all need to look after even if we don’t feel we areprone to issues with mental health. We can all benefit from a knowledge of the signs and symptoms of becoming mentally unwell so we can recognise it in ourselves and seek support, and to support others. Mental health is related to our thoughts, beliefs and feelings about ourselves and the world and people around us. We all need to strive towards positive mental health which includes developing a resilience for coping with life’s ‘ups and downs’, feeling good about ourselves and those around us as well as feeling self-worth and being able to contribute to the society we live in.

As young people develop their independence and sense of identity they are vulnerable to the many challenges they face. They are undergoing physical and mental changes and are generally coping with peer pressure, studying, relationships and body image. It’s important we teach the relevant skills to manage these pressures. This isn’t just important for young people – modern day life is bringing increasing stresses and strains into all of our lives. We can all benefit from learning coping techniques, no matter what age we are.

One of the biggest issues facing adults ‘looking out’ for a younger person’s well-being, is identifying the difference between teenage angst and mental health problems. There are some signs and symptoms which you can keep in mind which may alert you to the warning signs of a potential problem:

  • Moody and irritable behaviour
  • Low self-esteem
  • Changes in their friendship groups
  • Being withdrawn or isolating themselves
  • Deteriorating school performance
  • Suddenly not taking care of their appearance or disregarding previous hobbies or interests.

Signs and symptoms can vary from person to person. If your gut instinct is something isn’t quite right, then speak up. Don’t disregard yours concerns as interfering – have a chat. Keep the communication channels open and encourage the person to try and express how they feel. Listen, don’t blame, judge, criticise or get angry. Never be afraid to advise about getting additional help. There has never been a better time to educate yourself and others about positive mental health, as more help than ever is available. It is only by educating and making speaking about mental health ‘the norm’ that will break the stigma and help those silently suffering, feel that they can speak up.

Early intervention is the key to preventing more serious problems. Just as a healthy diet and regular exercise can limit your likelihood of a heart attack, a good attitude to mental health and an awareness of your own and those around you could actually be a lifesaver. Always make time for yourself, do something you enjoy and prioritise your own well-being.

Our team of Personal Development Tutors provide excellent support to students, helping them to deal with a range of issues in their lives that impact their ability to study. If you are a current student and need to discuss any issues raised by this article, please speak to your Personal Development Tutor who will make time to listen and support you. 

Make sure you're looking after your mental health. We have a counselling service for students available should you need it. If you're interested in studying mental health as a career path, our health and childcare courses will offer exclusive insights. Browse online now for more details.

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The Indecisive Mind

Seven years ago I was 18 with a one year old little boy, about to take my driving test and start my new adventure right here at MidKent College studying Media TV & Film - eeeek.

At this point I knew I wanted an education and I knew that I wanted a degree. So studying at university, of course, would be the next chapter after College. However this was about the only thing I did in fact, know. I didn’t know what course I wanted to study at university or what career I wanted to peruse.

At the time I felt I was surrounded by people who just knew what they wanted and I craved to have the same gut feeling of my future path. But did it come? No.

The course itself delved into different pockets of the media industry and it really helped me to discover what I really liked and what I didn’t. I really enjoyed the creative aspects of the modules. However, you would think at this point that overwhelming emotion of “the career I am destined to do” would hit me - but I was still clueless.

Although the course gave me so much in terms of practical skills, it was the relationships that you build with your class that was also an important aspect of my College life.

Eventually it came the time to pick the course for university and apply. Being a mum my options were extremely limited to the point where I really had one local option in terms of where I would study my degree. Therefore for someone who was extremely indecisive I pictured myself in pretty much every subject the university offered – of course within reason I had no desire to study pharmacy – finally something I knew! 

However, I did stumble across the course called Event and Experience Design which seemed exciting and ticked most of the attributes that I consider myself to have. So you would think that I had finally found where I was meant to be – wrong. If it was only that simple.

University was very different to say the least and knowing other people who went to study a different course and hearing their experience, threw me off. It made me doubt the decision I had made and made me think that perhaps I needed to re-think the subject I had chosen.

I was overthinking, panicking, and felt like I had made the wrong decision and was trying to change the course to a different subject.

Now at this point you probably have a list of potential subjects that I could be wanting to change to, considering what I had previously studied at College. However I bet that in that list you would never have thought of Sports Therapy – well that was the course I desperately tried to get into?! Due to working so hard at College, my grades allowed me to get in with no science background.

Ok, so you would now think I was happy, finally at university and studying a course I had tried so hard to get on. To be honest I felt happy and really worked hard at the course, so much so I got a 1st in the initial year. But that gut wrenching feeling of doing the wrong thing crept up. I think it was also mixed with embarrassment that I have once again changed my mind!

I knew that Event and Experience Design was really the course I needed to investigate.

With shame, I managed to get an interview to start on Event and Experience Design and again due to working hard at Sports Therapy and getting a 1st I was able to join the course - but understandably had to start as a first year student all over again.

The moment I knew I was in – I felt a huge relief. From the moment I started the course to the moment I finished three years later I never doubted my decision and absolutely loved it. What I had learnt at College really did help me transfer those skills into my university, like editing videos.

I never knew what I wanted to do and now I realise that this is OK. Sometimes your career takes time to find you. You may think that studying a course for a year that I had no intention of pursuing would be a massive regret of mine. Conversely picking the wrong course was the best thing I done. I realised how badly I wanted to do Event and Experience Design and whist studying I knew this felt right. I am now the Events and Promotions Officer here at MidKent College – ready to start my career in events.

Trying as many opportunities as possible is a great start. However working hard will always help you out! Don’t dwell on fact that you don’t know your “final” career as I am sure one day - you will …!

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Reasons to consider a career in HR

Human resource professionals are innovative and integral to efficient business operations – working daily at the cutting edge of recruitment. HR is the industry of ‘people management’ and the management of a business’ organisational needs. People who work in HR often have a unique perspective of the business they work for. They have a strong understanding of an organisation’s priorities and challenges and the ability to influence the future of the company based on the employment decisions they make.

Want to ‘make a difference’?

A position in HR is a position of influence and you will have the ability to ‘make a difference’. A good HR professional has their finger on the pulse of what is going on in the company they work for and continue to try to do what they can to make or keep it an employer of choice. HR staff are of vital importance to an organisation and are often compensated appropriately. An above average salary is not unusual and an HR assistant in London can expect to earn £25K – coupled with the fact that HR occupations rank high for job satisfaction and work-life balance.

Do you relish a challenge?

Professionals working in HR work towards sustainable performance and relish the challenge of working in a complex and ever changing environment. Their daily role means they can have a profound impact on people every day. Daily duties involve making employee welfare and happiness a matter of professional responsibility. There are countless ways HR employees have a hand in helping employees in need; hiring someone who is in threat of losing their home, providing health insurance or tuition reimbursement to someone who has never had it before or arranging job training to offer employees transferable skills – the list is pretty extensive.

Do you have good intuition and common sense?

Technology is changing many industries rapidly. However, HR appears to be well placed to withstand technological displacement. Whilst it is true that there have been software systems advancements that have automated the HR role, but there is much about the HR sector that cannot be automated. The profession requires intuition and common sense which is something that technology does not have the capability to emulate.

The work you do in HR assists in the professional development of other employees. Tools such as performance reviews and exit interviews enable HR professionals to collate valuable information which is used to guide performance improvement plans.

HR specialist jobs are expected to increase by 8% by 2022. Companies will continue to require recruiters and other HR professionals as they grow and HR plays such a fundamental role and is unlikely to change.

Why should you study a course such as CIPD as a gateway to a career in HR?

Do you have a knack for spotting problems before others? A role in HR is on the front line of problem-solving, giving you the opportunity to smooth out the kinks before they become company-wide knots! You would also get to welcome new staff as ‘onboarding’ is a very important and often overlooked part of HR. The first few weeks of a new job is daunting and providing a good onboarding experience can alleviate stress and get the new recruit off on the right foot and on the path to a successful job placement.

Variety and challenges your thing?

Most HR professionals relish the changing landscape of HR. Changes in government and business regulations contribute a lot to the variety in HR job roles keeping the job engaging.

So, is this industry for me?

The term ‘human resources’ does imply interaction with people – so firstly, people must be your thing! The day-to-day duties will constantly involve around interacting with people including conducting interviews or assisting employees with complaints or questions.

You now have a lengthy list of reasons why working in the HR industry may be for you and is a rewarding career choice. If you’d like to pursue a career in HR then learn more about our specialist HR courses CIPD approved.

 

 

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Engineering skills shortage needs some girl power!

Engineering in the UK is currently threatened by a skills shortage that is putting 64% of engineering employers at risk. Given that engineering contributes around 26% of the UK’s GDP and that the UK has fewer female engineers than anywhere else in Europe.  

Engineering goes way back.... 

Engineering has existed since ancient times as humans devised fundamental inventions such as the lever, wheel, pulley and wedge. The decline of interest in engineering with girls can often be a result of a lack of encouragement or exposure to the topic. A major skills shortage is upon us and even though we find ourselves in an age where we can be proud of gender equality, engineering continues to remain a predominately male dominated industry. The sad fact is, if the imbalance is not addressed over the next decade then the UK’s reputation for engineering could be seriously in question. The demand for engineers is on the rise and is due to rise exponentially over the coming decade as our lives are driven by new technology and the inevitable pressure to secure renewable resources grows. The sector growth is likely to be as much as 40% and engineering will need to recruit 2.2 million candidates over the next 5-10 years to meet the demand. An aging engineering workforce is also increasing the pressure on recruitment.  

Girl power! 

So, the key to the vast recruitment drive may lie with the female population! Year-on-year, young women are matching and even outperforming their male counterparts in science and maths – both are skills required for a successful career in engineering. In addition to a technical mindset, good communication skills are essential and the ability to work effectively as part of a team is a must. Women generally excel in these particular skills. 

Invention and design your thing? 

The discipline of engineering is very broad. It can encompass invention, innovation, design, building, maintenance and research and involve improving structures, machines, vehicles, systems, tools, materials, components, processes and solutions to name just a few. 

Want to be happy? 

On a final positive note, a survey of 300 female engineers found that 84% were happy or extremely happy with their careers! Engineering really is one of the best career paths in terms of job security, reliably securing a higher than average wage and a happy work/life balance.

Have a listen to the positive opinions of some of our recent female Engineering students...

Thinking of cracking into this diverse industry? Find out more about our range of Engineering study programmes and engineering apprenticeships today.

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https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/engineering-skills-shortage-needs-some-girl-power!/ https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/engineering-skills-shortage-needs-some-girl-power!/ Mon, 11 Mar 2019 15:22:45 GMT
Are you worried about going to university?

Don’t worry that’s quite normal! It can an exciting, overwhelming, scary and freeing experience. You’re not alone – all new university students will be feeling a mix of emotions (whether they admit to it or not!).

Worry 1: Meeting new people

The main thing to think about is that everyone is in the same position – and part of the initial university experience will be throwing together lots of different groups of people from Freshers’ Fairs to halls of residence, lectures and clubs and societies. You don’t need to stay with the same group of people for the whole time – and you’ll pick up new friends throughout the whole of your university stay.

What can you do:

  • Go and try out new societies, groups and clubs. Have they got a Dress like a Martian club? Why not check out some of the more whacky clubs or try a new sport…
  • Hang out in the social zones, bars and pubs – they’ll all run “getting to know you” type of events
  • Prop your door open so you’ll meet your neighbours. Bonding over a biscuit always works!

Worry 2: Cooking

Not everyone is the most experienced chef when they head off to uni, for some the limit is a Pot Noodle. And it’ll get quite boring eating those three times a day…

What can you do:

  • Before you leave home try learning some basic recipes (there’s some great websites and apps out there), or ask your mum to show you how to prepare some dishes. Cooking for your new friends can also be a great way of meeting new people! (Think potential Mexican night with moustaches and sombreros)

Worry 3: Keeping up with the workload

It’ll probably be a different style of teaching than at school – and it’ll be a step up in independence and you’ll need to find things out for yourself. You’ll have to write more academic essays, conduct research and contribute to group discussions.

What can you do:

  • Don’t worry – no one is going to expect you to write a 100 page document within your first 10 minutes of arriving. Your lecturers will work with you to adjust, and they’ll be online resources available to point you in the right direction
  • Have confidence in your own academic ability. They wouldn’t have offered you a place if they didn’t think you could do the course! The first year is mainly about bringing everyone up to the same level.

Worry 4: Missing home

A common worry – and everyone will feel it to an extent. It could also be your first time living away from home.

What can you do:

  • Make sure you have Skype or Facetime so you can chat easily and cheaply with your friends and family
  • Get involved in what’s going on around you. Sitting hiding in your duvet in your room with the door closed is just going to make you dwell on everything! Grab someone in your halls and go for a coffee.
  • Keep in touch with your friends who have stayed at home, and at other universities. After all, you’ll need a social life during holidays and when you finish your course!

Worry 5: Money, money, money!

There are a lot of expenses to think about, but with careful planning and some budgeting you should still be able to have a decent social life, as well as keep on top of those essential outgoings.

What can you do:

  • Check out if you’re eligible for any grants and bursaries – the university will be able to help you find out more information about these
  • Sign up to all student discounts and schemes – from NUS to Spotify and Amazon, they all have student specific discounts. Some student bank accounts offer deals on travel and transport too
  • Prepare in advance – get yourself a part-time job during your A levels or in the summer before you go. It may seem a bit dull saving up, but you’ll definitely appreciate it when you’re a student!
  • Check out part-time jobs while you’re there – they’ll have flexible hours and days to suit your studies. Make sure you have a part-time or temporary job lined up at home for the holidays too!
  • Budget – make sure you have your core things paid for like accommodation and travel. Draw up a reasonable list of other outgoings, see if you can save any money (like that £60/month gym membership at home…) and set aside money for food and social life. Check out the budget ranges in supermarkets, and their discounted food. There’s some great budgeting apps too.

 

If you're a member of MidKent College, there are an endless number of resources available including help and advice should you need it. Regardless of whether you're an electrical installation student or on a public services study programme, let us know how we can help.

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International Women's Day 2019

International Women’s Day is globally supported and celebrated on 8 March to demonstrate our commitment to women’s equality, celebrate their achievements and launch new initiatives.

This years’ theme is #BalanceforBetter – and runs all year long, not just on 8 March.

“Is this just for women?”

No, it’s a business and society issue. We need to create a gender balance across ALL parts of society from business leaders to government and sports coverage. How much of women’s sport is covered on the main TV channels compared to male sport? It also has an impact on economies and our local communities.

There’s considerably fewer women who work in science, technology, engineering, maths and design. Women bring different skill sets and thoughts to all of these industries – so we’re essentially limiting ourselves to develop! Definitely consider these industries if you’re just starting out in your career, or whether you’re looking to upskill or retrain – there’s lot of different opportunities out there for you.

“But I’m just one person, what difference can I make?”

The future is what we make it, so let’s make it balanced for all with fair opportunities and pay. If we all make small changes then collectively we can really push for change.

“OK – how can I get involved?”

You can get involved by reading some female authors – visit one of our LRCs this March to discover more about their Book of the Month “How to be a woman” by Caitlin Moran. Alternatively, ask the advisers in there what else they’d recommend!

Alternatively celebrate women in film (both as actors and directors!) with a film marathon or watch some TED Talks by women. If you love your social media, then why not follow some key female influencers on social media – and check out @womensday too for their updates! Don’t forget to use #BalanceforBetter too – or just read what is happening across the country on 8 March.

You could also get involved in volunteering or fundraising too such as by donating to your local women’s refuge or for Women’s Aid.

MidKent College ensures all students remain engaged with the community and aware of the world around them. We give students the support they need to progress in their career.

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Not sure if going away to university is the right option for you?

It’s not for everyone so don’t panic! You may want to stay close to home, or circumstances may restrict going away to university, whether financial or person. Or you may just want to consider other options then that type of study – which is absolutely fine.

Have a peek at what you could do:

1.An apprenticeship

Apprenticeships aren’t just for 16 year olds in the construction trades. That suits some young people, but in recent years there’s been a boom in apprenticeship opportunities, information and opportunities. Also, you now have the option to a higher apprenticeship, which is designed for sixth form leavers, who want a degree, but want to be employed at the same time. Higher apprenticeship areas range from everything including Construction, Engineering, HR to Accounting. You’ll attend College one day a week for your studies, and gain key industry experience in your workplace. Find out more about apprenticeships.

2.Higher education

Higher education is designed for students aged 18+ and can include a degree, but that’s not all. Higher education courses include Higher National Certificates (HNCs), Higher National Diplomas (HNDs), Foundation Degrees and full degrees – and each are qualifications in their own right. Generally you can also study locally to where you live too, and they can be more affordable than the potential £9000 a year university tuition fee.

3.Employment

Some of you just want to head straight on into employment and start earning a wage! Have a think about the industry area that suits you, and the prospects within it. Depending on your existing qualification, you’ll probably be able to enter at entry level to begin with, and work your way up with experience. You may also be able to gain other qualifications too, allowing you to progress or specialise. These can include professional training (like for accountancy and HR), or higher education like the construction, engineering or healthcare sectors.

4.University

For some careers (like teaching or the medical sciences) you will need to achieve a relevant degree. It is becoming more common in job adverts to request a degree in other industry areas, but some employers are more open-minded if you can prove yourself in other ways such as through gaining relevant industry experience through placements or internships. Head to a few university open days, UCAS fairs or check out your local study options to see whether university is for you, and whether a degree is necessary for your future employment.

So don’t worry, if all of your friends have chosen a certain option, that does not mean you have to do it too! Check out online about the different career options available to you, and the best way to enter that career. Talk to your friends and family, or one of the impartial careers advisers at the College.

 

If you're looking for somewhere closer to home, MidKent college offer university level and professional courses in Kent for all students.

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Worried about university? Check out some of the questions our Level 3

“Is university as scary as it seems to be?”

This is a very common worry, whether people show it or not! Everyone feels nervous but there are some things you can do that will help. That could be anything from scheduling regular Skype conversations with friends, to joining clubs and investing in some biscuits. Read our blog post for other ways of settling into university. And just remember it takes time!

“What is the difference between what I get from an apprenticeship and what I can gain from university?”

Everyone is different – some may benefit from learning to be more independent at university (whether from a work or personal point of view), whereas others just want to get cracking in the world of work, so an apprenticeship suits them. Both will provide valid qualifications; the main difference is whether you want to gain industry experience at the same time. Talk to your family and friends as they’ll be able to help with your decision too.

“I would like to go to university but think I would struggle with the amount of work.”

It is a step up from school or College, but the first year is generally a foundation year to teach you how to be independent, how to write and bring everyone up to the same level. Head to a few open days and ask the tutors there; you won’t be unsupported and they are there to help.

“I want to go to university as it will allow me to be more independent but I don’t want to leave home and I am not sure if I am good enough.”

Being independent is a great aspect about attending university – and you can still stay at home if you’d like to. Check out the local university options which you can commute to (don’t forget to check out travel cards and student deals!), or our own higher education centre in Maidstone where we offer HNCs, HNDS and university degree courses too. Talk to others that have attended university about their experience, and any tutors at university open days.

“I am not sure of the reasons why I should go to university as opposed to an apprenticeship.”

Everyone’s reasons are different – and there are no “right” reasons. Consider whether you’d prefer to head straight into industry and start earning a wage, while attending College one day a week or whether attending university (and taking part in the “university experience”) is for you.

“I am worried about not having enough points to get into university.”

Talk to your tutor about what you’ll realistically be getting. Allow yourself a little bit of flex (especially if exams aren’t your thing!). Once you’ve chosen the subject area at university then start to research the different options available to you. Don’t forget – Clearing could also be an option for you; find out more about that on the UCAS website.

“The financial side of university worries me.”

That’s a common worry, so you’re not alone. A good starting point is to look at getting a part-time job now and saving up, and setting yourself a realistic budget at university. There’s some great apps available to help you with this. Also check out the grants and bursaries available for when you’re at university, and consider your loan options too. Check out the following government information site.

“I’m not sure what kind of education would suit me?”

Do your research into higher education (so HNCs/HNDs), traditional university courses and apprenticeships too. You may prefer getting industry experience at the same time as learning, or want to immerse yourself in the full university environment! Look for open days where you’ll get a good vibe – and after all, if you do decide and it’s not for you, then you can always look for other options provided you don’t wait too long!

“I am starting to consider an HND in IT as I prefer smaller classes.” 

A benefit of having smaller classes is that your tuition becomes more personal, and you may feel you can ask questions more easily. Check out your local study options and they will be able to advise you on class sizes. Don't forget to find out whether you can develop your HND later into a full degree. That said, it's worth remembering that a HND is considered a qualification in its own right, and is valued by employers.

Are you thinking about your next step? Whether that’s to university or higher education, then Anna in our HE department is here to help. Just email her your query

 

Our ICT and Computing study programmes are the perfect foot in the door for a career in IT. Browse our extensive course list to find your dream qualification.

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https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/worried-about-university-check-out-some-of-the-questions-our-level-3-ict-students-asked./ https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/worried-about-university-check-out-some-of-the-questions-our-level-3-ict-students-asked./ Wed, 06 Mar 2019 15:15:32 GMT