MidKent College https://www.midkent.ac.uk MidKent College : Blog Feed Copyright 2019, MidKent College. Fri, 29 Mar 201915:35:44 GMT 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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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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https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/not-sure-if-going-away-to-university-is-the-right-option-for-you/ https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/not-sure-if-going-away-to-university-is-the-right-option-for-you/ Thu, 07 Mar 2019 15:16:24 GMT
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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Helping your child into work

If you are a parent of a child leaving school or college this year, you may have noticed that job choices have changed significantly since you were considering your career options.

There are many more digital and IT related jobs available today…some of these, such as web developer or social media manager would not have existed 30 years ago. More children are going on to university when they are 18 instead of straight into work and student apprenticeships are more readily available. It can feel very confusing for parents trying to guide their child into the world of work. Here are our tips on how you can help them to realise their career goals:

1.  Be open to their ideas and listen. Try to remain impartial and don’t pressure them into a particular career path because it’s something you would have liked to do yourself, because it’s well paid, or because it’s considered a “stable career” – it won’t be stable if they hate it and have to resign!

2. Encourage them to think big, but be realistic about their skills and potential. Seeing a careers adviser can help – they will advise how to set goals and provide information and advice on how to achieve them

3. Encourage them to volunteer or do work experience. This could be part of a work experience programme at school, or as part of a scheme such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award or National Citizenship Scheme (NCS). Getting some experience in a real work environment will help them understand what they enjoy (and what they don’t enjoy!) and to gain skills that they will find useful in any workplace

4.  Think about the contacts you have in your family or circle of friends who might be useful in terms of offering work experience, an apprenticeship or even just advice about the job they do

5. Help them to prepare a CV and covering letter to include with job applications. If you feel you can’t help with this yourself, make sure they are being assisted with it at school or college, or through a careers adviser

6.  Be ahead of the game. Advance planning is really important as there may be deadlines that you need to stick to for applications etc

7. Take advantage of all of the online resources at your fingertips. There are so many websites that can be used to help search for jobs, apprenticeships and courses or to look at job profiles, case studies and make action plans. Our top four are: The National Careers Service, Not Going to Uni, Rate My Apprenticeship and Career Coach.

8. Get them to use social media to their advantage. You are probably always nagging your child about their phone usage, but they can be very useful when it comes to job searching. If your child is on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook then it’s a good idea for them to follow the accounts of companies they are interested in working for. Companies often use social media to advertise opportunities for work experience or actual vacancies

9.  This works two ways though…if they are looking for work using social media, they need to make sure their own accounts are not going to let them down should a prospective employer look at their profiles. Make them aware that anything they post in their name could potentially be seen by a future employer – if they would not be happy with that, then they should consider removing any inappropriate content or photos

10.  Parents are the number one influence when it comes to young adults choosing their career – make sure your influence is a positive one. Be an inspiration!

 

Want to know more about apprenticeships? Discover MidKent College apprenticeships to find the perfect course.

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What are the benefits of applying for an apprenticeship?

“I keep hearing about apprenticeships – but what do I get out of them?”

Well, that’s easy, you:

  1. Gain a qualification
  2. Earn a salary
  3. Build your employability skills
  4. Gain industry experience
  5. Network for future career prospects.

If we look at each in more detail…

Gain a qualification

Your apprenticeship will be a balance of studying in College (normally one day a week), combined with four days a week in your workplace. We’ll teach you practical and theoretical skills which you’ll then be able to put into practice at work. Depending on which apprenticeship you choose, you could progress all the way up to a “higher apprenticeship” and gain a degree. The qualifications you receive will be of an industry standard, recognised by employers and exceptionally useful for your future career progression. We’ll also help your English and maths skills too, depending on the level you need.

Earn a salary

You’ll have all the perks of your work colleagues, including earning a salary. There is a minimum wage for apprentices, which can be found here, but some employers will pay more than this.

Build on your employability skills

Your apprenticeship will teach you those “other” skills which can’t necessarily be taught in school or college. You’ll learn to be flexible, resilient and be able to communicate with different types of people. Your level of responsibility will increase, and you’ll develop a more professional and mature outlook.

Industry experience

You’ll spend the majority of your time in the workplace, and so therefore learn all of the hints, tricks and skills needed for your apprenticeship from your work colleagues. You’ll probably be able to try out different aspects of your company too, to find your best fit, but that’s something to discuss at the start of your apprenticeship. Your CV will gain some real experience – something very attractive to future employers.

Networking

You’ll meet a lot of different people within your company, but also in the big wide working world! You could be going to trade shows, networking events or exhibitions – take advantage of this and build as many good connections and links as you can. They’ll remember you positively in the future, and it could lead to their offering you a potential job later on.

Interested? Find out more about apprenticeships at MidKent College.

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https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/what-are-the-benefits-of-applying-for-an-apprenticeship/ https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/what-are-the-benefits-of-applying-for-an-apprenticeship/ Mon, 04 Mar 2019 15:10:42 GMT
Are you creative enough to work in social media?

Everyone loves social media channels – whether that’s creating cat videos for YouTube, posting their latest lunch on Instagram or keep track of a sporting event on Twitter.

But have you actually considered a job working in social media? It’s not as strange as it may seem! Obviously, probably just minus the cat videos…

There’s two routes you could potentially take to working in social media:

Agency route

As digital interaction and marketing has boomed in the last few years, lots of agencies have sprung up to accommodate these needs. Some companies will use agencies to run their social media accounts – and an account manager could have a whole range of clients to look after! This could include everything from creating some interactive exciting content, longer blog posts about a certain topic to providing reporting on how your latest campaign has gone. Generally the companies will provide a guide on what they’d expect to see, and it’ll be linked to the industry they’re in, or who they’re trying to connect with…

For instance, a health and fitness company would want content around different exercises, nutrition, advantages of an active life etc – not videos of a penguin surfing (however entertaining that may be).

In-house social media

Big companies will generally employ their own social media officer (or even team!) to handle their social accounts. This may also be combined with another marketing role.

Think when you need to tweet Dorothy Perkins about when your delivery is due to arrive or like a post about the launch of a new skincare range in the Body Shop. All of these are with organised teams within the company.

How can you get into a social media role?

Working in social media for a business is completely different to using your own personal accounts. Yes the functionality is generally the same but you have adhere to brand guidelines and responses – everything you see and do is representing the company!

A good programme to consider our Business study programme, as not only is a module on social media included, but you’ll also learn about other aspect of businesses, and how social media could have an impact on these.

You’ll also need to look for relevant work experience – whether in an agency, a big company or approach a smaller company who may need help creating and posting content.

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The night before the big day.....

Great! You’ve been offered a job, and are having some last minute nerves about starting. But don’t panic, there’s some things you can do to make your first day go more swimmingly…(and it’s completely normal to be worried!)

Get your outfit sorted

This may sound daft, but you don’t want to be rummaging around on your first morning trying to find a clean shirt or a tie that has migrated behind the sofa. Find something appropriate to your workplace (whether that’s a shirt and tie, or jeans and a t-shirt), rather than buy a brand-new pair of uncomfortable shoes…

Pack your bag

Similar to getting your outfit sorted – 7.30am before you need to leave will be the time you can’t find your keys…

Plan your journey

And then add some extra time to it. Never underestimate traffic, train delays or the bus sweeping past you. You don’t want to be the one running down the road, and arrive on your first day catapulting into the office flustered and red! Check out the parking (whether by contacting the new HR department or your manager) in advance, and you’ll be on track to set a good first impression.

Get some sleep

This may sound obvious but the minute you climb into bed is when all of the worries could start! Make sure you’ve had some time out in the evening, and are prepped for the morning. After all there’s nothing you can do right then at 1.30am before your first day.

Pack your lunch/snacks/biscuits

Unless you’re sure about the canteen facilities at your new workplace, you don’t want to be caught out! It’s a perfectly normal question to ask when you start, and see if you can join in with any of your new team members. They’ll want to make you feel welcome, so don’t worry about asking! And besides, bringing biscuits is a brilliant way to break the ice…!

 

MidKent students have exclusive access to our help & advice centre visit us today and we'll be happy to support you and offer our best advice

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Are you a parent of a teenager and worried about their studying

In another of life’s little milestones my niece turned 16 recently, which means that she’s joined thousands of other teenagers in Medway and Maidstone who are all eagerly trying to work out what they want to do once their GCSEs are complete, and how and where they’ll continue studying next September.

With the requirement to stay in education and training until they are 18, the pressure is on parents and carers more than ever to help their young people choose the right option. The choices seem limitless, but in reality there are three: study full-time at your local college or school, find a job for over 20 hours a week and combine it with part-time study, or enter into an apprenticeship.

Even when you boil down the choices to those three, it can still be pretty overwhelming for parents, so I asked my brother how he’s helping my niece understand her options. Here are his five top tips:

Start at the end

Another two years in education and training can be incredibly valuable, but to help your young person stay motivated and get the maximum benefit, their study should be linked to what they hope will be their future career. If you start with their ambitions and work backwards, you can help them choose the most appropriate programmes and courses to help them reach their career goals. If they’re not sure what they want to do, most colleges and schools will have independent careers advisers to help them figure it out.

Do your research

There’s plenty of information available. Most colleges and schools have a prospectus, website, social media channels and open events to help you find out what they offer and how it might be suitable. Similarly, you can research career opportunities with businesses that your teenager finds interesting. That research is a whole lot easier if you’ve already worked out the kind of path your young person needs to take.

Plan early

Now that we’re in January, the reality of sitting GCSEs in just over 5 months is going to hit home, and spare time to keep researching and applying for a place is going to be hard to find. Once you’ve made your decision, apply for that place at college or school, or a job with a local business. If you can do this before March it helps your young person see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it will help keep them motivated through their exams.

Don’t be put off by change

It’s easy to sit back and let the whole process take care of itself by assuming that your young person will just carry on studying at the same place they’ve been since they were 11. But the easy route isn’t always the best, or most appropriate route. If you know that your young person wants to build towards a technical and professional career, then switching to a college or an apprenticeship could be a great step to get there. Likewise, if their current school doesn’t offer the choice of A levels they need, then there will be another one that does. Put their career at the heart of the decision, and if that involves change it’ll be worth it in the long run.

Be supportive

As stressful as you might be finding it, you can guarantee that your young person is feeling the heat too, and they’ll be looking to you for help in making their decision. Be supportive, listen, and take the time to investigate and research options with them. If they need careers advice, go with them to help ease their nerves. If there’s an open event at a college or school, go with them and ask the questions that they might be too nervous to raise. Help them balance their future goals with the more immediate ones too – regardless of which option they choose, a good set of GCSEs including English and Maths will be required and will set them up well for the future.

If you’d like more information and need to speak with someone, our course enquiries team are available on 01634 402020 or by emailing coursenq@midkent.ac.uk. Alternatively, you can book an appointment with one of our careers advisers by calling 01634 383300.

 

MidKent College offers a range of post 16 options, including student apprenticeships and a large variety of college courses for you to choose from. 

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Spring clean your social media

We all know that first impressions count when it comes to finding a job. 

It’s well recognized that when attending an interview, we need to dress smartly and present ourselves in a polite and professional way in order to create a great first impression to potential employers. However, what many people may not fully realise is that the real first impression you give these days is through your social media accounts!

According to a Careerbuilder.com survey, 70% of employers use social media to screen applicants before selection.

Therefore, if you are job-seeking, it’s a really good idea to have a look at all your social media accounts to ensure they are showing you in your best light.

1. The easiest and quickest thing you can do first of all is to change your security settings. Set these to private where possible.

2. Remove or un-tag yourself from any photos that may be offensive, distasteful or unprofessional. We all have a life outside of work, but it is best not to post too many photos of yourself out on the town! 

3. Don’t use social media to vent frustrations about work, previous employers/colleagues or to moan generally about having to go to work. Think about the impression you might give to potential employers, for example they may think you are difficult to work with or lazy

4. Try not to get involved in anything too controversial or provocative. If you are constantly being drawn into Twitter spats or often share or retweet controversial pictures or statuses, then employers might feel that you are a trouble-maker, or that your views do not fit in with their establishment

5. Honesty is probably the most important attribute that employers look for. They may use social media to check that the background information you provided is true and that you haven’t lied about previous qualifications or your work history. Ensure that everything you’ve told employers matches up with what you’ve posted on your accounts.

It’s not all bad news though - you can use social media to your advantage in your job search. If used wisely your Twitter and Facebook profiles will reflect your personality in a positive way and show that you are a fun but professional person with a wide range of friends and interests. Following companies and brands that reflect your interests both personally and professionally will not only keep you up to date with what’s going on in the industry you want to work in, but will also demonstrate your genuine interest and initiative to potential employers. Lastly, remember that just deleting your social media accounts will not help – employers are also suspicious of those with no online presence at all!

 

Whether you're looking for a career in hairdressing or a construction course, MidKent College can advise you in all areas relating to your future career. 

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