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Welcome to the Futurewise blog. You can see all our latest stories here, or click on the year groups at the side to see posts that are specially catered for each year group.

You can get updates on new blog posts by following our twitter account @myfuturewise

 


Advice from the experts on cracking an industry

One of life’s greatest satisfactions is being able to do what you want in terms of a career. As we grow up we develop our own interests and passions but how many of us end up seeing these through to adulthood and our professional lives? We all have an idea of what our dream job is but making that a reality can be an upward struggle. Research conducted last year by Investors in People (IIP) found that 60% of people were not happy in their current roles, which is a significant fraction given that our jobs are a big part of our lives. Whether you’ve always wanted to start your niche business or join the ranks within high demanding industries, we have rallied some of our experts and their advice, which will hopefully inspire you to take that next step towards the career you’ve always wanted.

Wedding Photography



Whenever I teach, the first thing I tell people is that the most important thing about photography is who you are –I always see a lot of puzzled looks on people’s faces and I don’t blame them! But while it’s important to understand the technical elements of photography, for example you should know your F-stop from your shutter speed, but it’s really important to find your own style. Whenever I hit the shutter, a piece of me goes in there as well and this does become your style. If we all get consumed by this becoming a business and the passion takes a back seat, your eye and imagery changes.’  - Joe Buissink

Coding





‘I would say the only way you are going to know if you have a passion for something is if you try it. Start out by picking an online course, once you’ve done that, or instead of that there’s meet ups happening all over the UK which focus on learning how to create a website in a day or something like that. I would also recommend going on a face to face course. If you know anyone in the industry, get an hour with them, meet them for lunch and just have them show you what it’s all about.’ – Jordan Love, co-founder of National Coding Week

Dressmaking





‘The only way we’ll get more men stitching is to forget about those barriers. Believe me guys we’re an underrepresented demographic at the moment! I assure you patterns are just a logical construction process and a sewing machine is basically a power-tool. I promise you, there’s no way you’ll get more brownie points than making someone a unique garment of their own.’ – Matt Chapple, Dressmaker, on getting more men into the industry

Gemmologist




‘Trust your eye and remember precious minerals are finite so are inherently valuable; so if they are well designed, they will in turn be desirable and more commercially valuable. Plan your career but remain versatile.’ – John Hollerbach

Travel Writer





‘Don’t give up. Be persuasive and a bit pushy. If you’re at school, start a magazine. If you’re at university, write for the college newspaper. For newspapers or TV, get your foot in the door via work experience and internships, and then carve out your own role with hard work and ideas.’ – Simon Reeve

If you’ve been inspired, then why not start your search for a new you on Training and Courses, where we list a number of professional courses and apprenticeships.




What is Engineering? Part two(Y11/S4/12/S5/13/S6)

Engineers could be described, first and foremost, as problem solvers. This is how Ollie Wildman, an Associate at Ramboll, described engineering to students at our recent Engineering Career Insight event. Below you’ll see part two of our guide to some of the different types of engineering roles, with some useful links to see how you could get involved.

Infrastructure Engineer



An Infrastructure Engineer is someone who maintains the IT and computer systems in a company. There are two types of Infrastructure Engineers:  Network Engineers, who focus on the set up and maintenance of the internet and Hardware Engineers who maintain all hardware such as computers and printers.

Marine Engineer



A Marine Engineer builds, maintains and tests sea going constructions including: boats, ships, cruise liners and even oil rigs.

Materials Engineer


A Materials Engineer studies substances and materials to ascertain whether they can be used to create products.  Materials Engineers are currently working on creating the new super strong material Graphene, which is 200 times stronger than steel!

Mechanical Engineer



Mechanical Engineer is a broad term and could mean anything from someone who designs and builds a gear box in a car to someone who designs a lift shaft for a new tower block.  In a nutshell a Mechanical Engineer works with anything that can be deemed a machine.

Petroleum, Gas and Oil Engineer

These type of Engineers work on the production hydrocarbon substances, including natural gas which we use for cooking, petroleum that goes in our cars and oil in general to lubricate joints in a machine.

Power Engineer



A Power Engineer assists in the generation of Electricity to power our homes and devices. They design the whole process of power creation from constructing the turbines that create the power to building the substations that send it to the users.

Rail Engineer

A Rail Engineer works on all aspects of the design, maintenance and general running of railway systems. The UK has some of the top rail engineers in the world and one of the best safety records in Europe.

So that was part two, we hope that this has given you an idea of the many opportunities that are out there for budding Engineers.

We recently held an event on Engineering for people who are interested in getting careers in the sector. Click here to read our blog post on the day.

Have a look at the links below for more information on how to get into Engineering and check back for part 3 soon!

http://www.tomorrowsengineers.org.uk/ – Information and resources for young people and students on Engineering

http://www.thebigbangfair.co.uk/ – Events surrounding all manners of science, especially for young people

http://www.semta.org.uk/ – The skills organisation for Engineering

www.engcorg.uk/about-us/our-partners/professional-engineering-institutions  - A list of all the skills boards in Engineering



Thinking Globally: How studying across countries, cultures and languages will benefit you and your career.

Finding the best undergraduate programme for you can be a daunting prospect. When it comes to the crunch, which factors should you take into consideration when making your final decision?

Choosing a degree that offers the opportunity to study abroad in one or more countries is a great way to get more from your three years at university. In fact, studying abroad provides numerous personal and professional benefits; ultimately making you a more attractive candidate for companies eager to hire interns and graduates who are flexible, multilingual, and comfortable in multicultural settings.

Here are five ways studying abroad can benefit you:

1) Experience Personal Growth.

 

Studying abroad removes you from the normal support network that you are accustomed to at home. As you learn to navigate and live comfortably in a different culture, you will become more independent, self-reliant, and self-confident. Whether it’s doing your laundry, making a trip to the supermarket or navigating public transport, you will learn to take more responsibility for your actions.

2) Learn How to Communicate Across Cultures

In our global society, it’s important to possess the skills to communicate across cultures, and this means understanding more than just a different language. Studying abroad and interacting with people from different cultural backgrounds helps you to become familiar with the customs and traditions of others. You may be lucky enough to also experience this through attending a university with a diverse, multi-cultural cohort such as ESCP Europe.

3) Hone your Language Skills

Studying abroad also gives you the opportunity to learn, improve or master the language of the country you are living in.  In addition to the considerable language practice you will get on a daily basis, some unique university programmes also give you the opportunity to study languages more formally, as part of the curriculum.  The ability to speak two, three or more languages is a key skill for students eager to work overseas or for international companies.

4) See the World

One of the best reasons you should consider a programme that allows you to study abroad is the opportunity to travel and see the world. In fact, on a programme such as the Bachelor in Management at ESCP Europe you will live in three different countries in three years. The world truly is your oyster. Make new friends, try new cuisines, experience new customs, visit new landmarks, museums, theatres, bars and restaurants – the list is endless.

5) Advance your career

 

When it comes to interviewing for an internship or graduate job, you will stand out from other candidates with skills that can only be gained through international experience, such as foreign languages and the ability to communicate across cultures. Students that have studied abroad bring diversity and uniqueness to a graduate school or workplace, and their experience shows that they aren’t afraid to seek out new challenges or put themselves in difficult situations. Studying in not just one, but two or three countries during your degree, will increase your international exposure further and separate you from other applicants.

Studying abroad is an experience like no other and it may turn out to be a once in a lifetime opportunity - so take it!

To find out more about the Bachelor in Management (BSc) at ESCP Europe, contact Carly Fitch at the London campus: cfitch@escpeurope.eu




What jobs will be in demand in the Future - Part 1 (Y11/S4/12/S5/13/S6)

Technology, a growing population and a more accessible world mean that the job market is changing at an ever faster rate.

In fact a recent study by researchers by Oxford University and Deloitte found that about 35% of current jobs in the UK are at high risk of computerisation during the next 20 years.

So if you're at school and making choices about your future, how can you know the right path to follow? We can't predict the future, but we can look at trends and something called Labour Market Information to try to understand what the careers of the future are likely to be.

In this post, we've looked at the jobs likely to be in demand that involve working with people and working with computers.

Do you like working with people?

The world's population is growing. Schools are building more classrooms to make room for the number of kids coming into the system. On top of this life expectancy is increasing - by 2037, 1 in 10 people in the UK will be over 75 - meaning healthcare systems across the world will need to keep recruiting to handle these numbers.

Healthcare jobs

The trend of a growing global population with increased life expectancy means that jobs in frontline care are expected to see tremendous growth.

Jobs where assisting and caring for others is a crucial part of the job, such as care workers, social workers, nurses, therapists and psychologists, will continue to need the human element. This means robots are unlikely to provide frontline care anytime in the foreseeable future.

That's not to say that these jobs won't change. New technology, such as mobile devices, clinical software and remote monitoring, is continually evolving meaning you'll need to be willing to learn new things and adapt within the job.

To learn more about these jobs, explore Skills for Care - Think Care Careers, NHS Careers - Nursing Careers and Royal College of Nursing.

Teaching jobs

Trends suggest that as the world's population continues to grow, demand for teachers will only increase. While methods of teaching will change - electronic blackboards, teaching with iPads, virtual teaching - the need for teachers who will inspire and encourage the next generation will continue.

To learn more about teaching jobs, explore Department for Education and TES - How to become a teacher.

Do you like working with computers?

Technology is changing the world we live in. Statistics show that 1.3 billion people will be working virtually by the end of 2015. Those helping to build and maintain this world are in demand.

Roles requiring you to be able to think on your feet while combining creativity, problem solving and an understanding of business needs will hold a significant advantage in the face of automation.

Programmers and Software Developers

Software Developers speak their own language (Java, C#, PHP) and are busy shaping the future world around us. They will be the ones making the products that we will take for granted - from user-worn products that interact with the environment to driverless cars. This means that the future demand for new talent in this type of role is expected to be strong.

IT Business Analyst, System Architects and System Designers

These jobs will become the creators of the digital world. It is expected that these roles will be particularly valued because they bring together problem-solving and communication skills with the technical knowledge needed to propose effective solutions.

To learn more about these jobs explore Creative Skillset, e-Skills - Big Ambition, Institution of Analysts and Programmers and Skills Framework for the Information Age.


What is Engineering?(Y11/S4/12/S5/13/S6)

Over 1.7 million people are employed as Engineers across the UK. If you are someone who is hands on, analytical and logical, a career in Engineering may suit you.

You can start a career in Engineering with a few GCSE’s up to degree level. Engineering degrees also offer a lot of other opportunities for graduates, including career prospects in the financial and economic sectors.

Engineering is defined as “the application of scientific, economic, social, and practical knowledge in order to invent, design, build, maintain, research, and improve structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes”.

Sound confusing? Well it doesn’t have to be! We have laid out a guide below of some of the different types of engineering roles, with some useful links to see how you could get involved.

Aerospace & Avionic Engineering

 

Aerospace engineers manage and coordinate the design of the interior and exterior of aeroplanes, helicopters and more recently spacecraft. Avionics engineers design the internal electronic systems inside that help the different machines to fly.

Architectural Engineering


 
An Architectural Engineer is someone who designs the structural elements of a building, such as the type of metal used during construction. The difference between an Architect and an Engineer, is that an architect works more on the design of a building and an engineer works more on the structure and overall integrity of the building.

Automotive Engineering

 



Automotive Engineers design and supervise the construction of cars, buses, trucks and many other land based vehicles. Everything from the initial blueprint of how the vehicle is designed to how it operates in different conditions is overseen by an Automotive Engineer.


Chemical Engineering


 
A Chemical Engineer adds chemistry to the engineering mix to create products and solutions for everyday problems. Chemical Engineers are found in a number of different industries including pharmaceuticals and energy. An example project for a Chemical Engineer would be to create a new form of vaccine.

Civil Engineering


 
A Civil Engineer designs structures, such as bridges, tunnels and roundabouts. There are two main different types of Civil Engineer. A Consulting Civil Engineer speaks to the client to agree the details of the project. The Contracting Civil Engineer then speaks to the consulting civil engineer, who supervises the actual construction of the project.


Electrical Engineering

Electrical Engineers design and supervise the construction of the electrical parts of large projects such as railways, ships and building. An example project for an Electrical Engineer would be creating a lighting system for a Ferry or installing mains electricity into a block of flats.

Electronic Engineering


Electronic Engineers deal with technology that uses silicon chips such as the computer, phone or tablet you are reading this on. This sort of engineering is very intricate and plays a huge role in the world today.

Geotechnical Engineering


 
Geotechnical Engineers are responsible for checking natural elements when a large construction project is being undertaken, such as how thick an area of rock is, or how wet some soil is.

So there you have it, an introduction to some of the world of Engineering.  Check back soon for part two, where we will be covering other types of Engineering.

We have an event coming up at Ramboll UK in London for budding Engineers. The day will offer insights into the world of Engineering and allow people attending to listen to professional Engineers speak about their work. 

Click here for more info

In the meantime also, check out these great websites that will be able to give you more tips on how to get into Engineering.

www.tomorrowsengineers.org.uk – Information and resources for young people and students on Engineering

www.thebigbangfair.co.uk – Events surrounding all manners of science, especially for young people

www.semta.org.uk – The skills organisation for Engineering

www.engcorg.uk/about-us/our-partners/professional-engineering-institutions  - A list of all the skills boards in Engineering


Alternatives to uni(Y13/S6)

Choosing whether to go to uni or not is a big decision. There are some other options to consider;

A speedy entry into the world of work?

The obvious benefit of going straight into employment is that you start earning a regular income, giving you financial independence. Entering the world of work also allows you to get a head start on your career, potentially enabling you to get to where you want to be more quickly.

A career that allows you to develop is so important and why you should look for roles that offer on the job training. This may involve informal mentoring, formal qualifications, or apprenticeships. For many careers, this kind of skill training is more valuable than a university degree. Being in the world of work also puts you directly in the “career zone”, meaning you’re more likely to be aware of upcoming promotions and the steps needed within your organisation or trade to progress.

One disadvantage to entering the world of work directly is that many career paths are closed off to you, with an undergraduate degree being a minimum requirement for many professions. If you take this route, it's worth planning ahead to ensure you're not unduly boxed in to one job. This is why it's so important to have a plan in place so you can change tack if you need to.

Work and study balance?

Working full-time and studying part-time (or vice versa) can allow you to have the best of both worlds. You'll be combining academic knowledge, on-the-job skills, qualifications, and even better you'll be getting paid while you do it.

Employees with work experience are highly sought-after by employers, so you could even complete your degree as part of a sponsored degree programme, and the dedication you display in doing both is not to be underestimated.

While this dual approach shows your passion and dedication, it is not a decision to be taken lightly and it's vital to ensure you can fit your studies around your career and other life commitments. The good news is that studying part-time at institutions such as The Open University can be extremely flexible and can be tailored to suit your situation. This means that you can obtain qualifications at a pace that fits you, allowing you to get the most out of the experience.

Making the decision

So there you have it, it doesn’t have to boil down to “should I stay or should I go”. There are a number of potential paths you could follow and the key is to choose the best route for you and what you want. While it may seem like it, the decision you make when you leave school does not have to define the rest of your life, as long as you keep an open mind down the line.


 

My experience with Futurewise and what I learnt about myself (Y11/S4)

I was given the opportunity to use Futurewise and after taking the profiling, I learnt many new and different things about myself and my personality traits. I was also given some future job suggestions that gave me a better understanding of what I would like to do in the future. (I know it can be hard to think about this now).

One interesting thing I found from taking the test was where my skills lie in relation to the working world. Despite what you might think about yourself - I found my report threw up some surprises. It turns out some things I thought were a weakness, I'm actually ok at!

The different questions that you are asked, help to build a picture of you, which enables you to see what field of career interest you fit into. I came up as ‘enterprising’ but there are many different results, which are gathered depending on who you are as a person and how you perform in the test.   

The tests led up to a strong conclusion on how I suit certain roles. Using the various variables, I was interested to see how they all come together to create good job recommendations. The results also show different ‘job families’, which you can come back to later to understand more about a certain area.  

Not only did the interview process leave me with more information on how another person sees me, it was also really good practice for future interviews. After the talk, I was given steps that I should take and areas to research, in order to give myself the best opportunity in the area I am most interested in.

I am now offered support until I am 23, and will be sure to use it if I have any problems or need help.

James



 

The ins and outs of consultancy careers (Y13/S6)

Everyone understands what teachers, bus drivers and TV presenters do. We’re all familiar with it. But what about consultants? And why do businesses need them?

Organisations and individuals right across the public and private sectors – everything from the company that made your phone, to governments, travel agents, banks and even rock stars and footballers – sometimes need help, often with how their businesses are performing. 

This isn’t because their companies aren’t doing well. In fact, professional services firms, or consultancy firms, are often asked to help when a business thinks it could be doing better, or needs specialist expertise. Perhaps it’s going to buy another organisation for the first time, or it’s providing guidance on tax affairs.

Either way, a business needs good advice, and that’s what firms like Deloitte provide. Deloitte sees itself as a ‘doctor’ for business, solving issues and problems to help a business perform better.

What consultants do

Consultants work directly with businesses to solve problems or improve performance. They could be a specialist in an area such as digital or mergers and acquisitions (which means buying or merging with other companies), and will often find themselves working with colleagues from other parts of the organisation, depending on what the issue is.

They take on projects which could last a few weeks or much longer. Because each one’s different, they’ll come up with a fresh solution every time, and learn something new themselves. It can mean spending a lot of time with the client, often in the client’s offices wherever they are in the world. So it’s a great career option if you enjoy travelling.

If you are more interested in being based in one location then there are plenty of opportunities to work alongside industry experts and learn from other people. Some consultants enjoy the travel aspect, others highlight bringing new teams together, and still more are fascinated by coming up with new solutions. It’s also true that you get an incredible insight into all sorts of businesses – you couldn’t get that close unless you worked directly for them.

How you can join

You might think you have to have a degree to join a consulting firm. That’s not always the case. For example, Deloitte has two schemes aimed at young people.

On the BrightStart scheme, you join after your A levels so you’re earning money straightaway, and you have the chance to study for a professional qualification. The Scholar Scheme is for people who want to study for a degree but would also like to gain experience on a 30-week placement. The schemes offer the best of both worlds, whether you intend to go to uni or not.

There are more options around these days, so it’s worth investigating early on, even if you’re not decided about what kind of route you want to take.

People skills

There’s no doubt that being very comfortable with people is a must. You’ll be dealing with client organisations day in and day out, and also getting to know and working with a range of individuals around the firm. So your people skills are really important.

Beyond that, consultancy or professional services firms will usually look for a good general level of education and a certain number of UCAS points.

Applying

Most consultancy firms are set up for online applications. Typically you might be asked to take some further online tests such as numeracy and critical thinking. In many cases you’ll have a chance to practise before you take them for real.

Whether or not you’re asked to complete online tests, you’ll no doubt have at least one interview. There’s lots of guidance online to learn more about selection process and get hints and tips, so it’s a good idea to research the company and the job you apply to first.

The future

Consultancy provides lots of learning and development opportunities, so you’ll be able to specialise and add some great projects and experiences to your CV. It’s almost certain that you’ll be able to take part in charity and volunteering work too, as many firms have schemes that offer their people ways to give something back.

 



Four reasons why work experience is important and tips on how to get some!

Work experience or work shadowing is important whether you want to stay on in education or get a job - but why?

Here are some of our top reasons:

1. You can try on a career for size

Spending a week, or even a day, in an organisation gives you first-hand experience of a job. Essentially, this gives you the chance to see if it would suit you and to ask any questions:

·         What does the job really involve - what would you be doing day-to-day?

·         Where would you be working? In an office, travelling around?

·         Would you be working with lots of people or on your own?

If you enjoy it - great! This career path is definitely worth exploring further - and now you've got something relevant to say on your CV or in your uni application.

If you don't enjoy it - in a way that's great too! You can rule out this type of career and start exploring other ideas.

 

2. If you're applying to uni - it will give you something meaningful to say in your application

Your personal statement needs to demonstrate your enthusiasm for the subject and persuade the admissions tutor reading you are the right person for the course. If you can show that you have taken the initiative to gain relevant experience and have a clear idea about what you want to do after the course your personal statement will have more impact. 

Some uni courses (including dentistry and veterinary medicine) require you to have relevant work experience to support your application.

 

3. It can give you a foot in the door

Meeting people during your work experience will mean you start to build up your network of contacts.

Why is this important? Companies are far more likely to employ someone that they know (or someone who has been recommended) than an external applicant they have only met at interview. Big corporate organisations are also more likely to employ someone who has already completed an internship or work experience.

 

4. It shows initiative  (and you'll be more likely to get the job you really want)

Two-thirds of employers are more likely to hire a young person with work experience over someone with none.

Why? Simply because you have demonstrated initiative in gaining the experience, you will have a better understanding of the sector and will be able to talk about it from your experience. You'll also be able to demonstrate the skills employers are looking for. All this will make you a better candidate than someone with no experience.

To learn more about the types of work experience and strategies of how to get it - download this article from the Futurewise magazine