More people than ever before can read, with literacy rates across the world continuing to grow. Since 1950, the literate population has grown from 56 people per 100 people to 86 people per 100 people. Despite this, the ability to read for pleasure (or to read at all) is something that western societies often take for granted.
Reading is an activity that some people do less of as they get older – especially with the advent of social media platforms and streaming services that have replaced our need for entertainment through print. Only 19% of people read for pleasure every day (according to a recent YouGov survey).
Already love to read? A creative writing course could be perfect for you.
You might be asking how much you should be reading, especially if it isn’t currently a regular habit. The answer is that you should try to read a minimum of 30 minutes a day – so the time it’d take you to:
Don’t get us wrong, switching screens for books is no easy task if you haven’t had a reading routine for a long time – but the benefits are immense.
Believe it or not, research has proven that reading can be the key to happiness. Adults who read for 30 minutes a week are 20% more likely to report that they have greater satisfaction with their lives[i].
It sounds bizarre, but people who read for 30 minutes a day (3 ½ hours a week) have been found to live for two years longer than people who don’t read[ii]. This is a perfect motivation for those who want a longer life.
When you read, you naturally grow your vocabulary. This is because reading a book exposes you to new words or words you do not usually encounter in your day-to-day life. It also shows you how to use these words in different contexts. There are a ridiculous number of benefits to having a broader vocabulary, including being more confident and becoming a quicker, more competent writer.
Reading gives your brain a chance to tune out of the ‘real life’ channel and into a calmer world. Physically, it lets your body completely relax, lowering your heart rate and stopping any muscle tension. In 2009, the University of Sussex conducted a study that found stress can be reduced by a massive 68% when you read[iii].
Keeping the brain active slows down cognitive decline as you get older, which means a better memory overall. When you are reading, you have to remember many facts about a character’s background, traits, personality, relationships and more. When you think about it, it is pretty impressive that your brain can retain specific and significant information[iv]
Reading can improve both written and spoken communication skills – so it makes sense to build a reading habit if you struggle to communicate. As well as giving you something to talk about, it can help you understand things from different perspectives and makes it easier to have structured, well-rounded conversations. Writing-wise, the brain naturally picks up on the structure of paragraphs, storylines, and plots – which you may naturally begin to apply in your writing[v].
Your brain is an important, complex machine that needs constant maintenance and oiling with knowledge. Much like a machine, if you take away the oil, your brain will rust up, and you might experience:
“If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.” – J.K. Rowling.
Reading habitually is difficult if you have never done it, or it’s a habit you haven’t had since your school days. Don’t fret, though; there are dozens of ways you can introduce reading into your daily routine.
The benefits of reading are vast, and it should be something everyone tries to do as frequently as possible. Get reading today to increase your brain power, grow your confidence and understand the power of the written word.
Marthin Satrya Pasaribu. (2019, March). Reading Improves Memory. Retrieved from https://medium.com/@marthinpsrb/reading-improves-memory-cf10604641e1
Quick Reads. (2021, April). Reading Between the Lines: The Benefits of Reading for Pleasure. Retrieved from https://manuscritdepot.com/documentspdf/Galaxy-Quick-Reads-Report-FINAL%20.pdf
Roser, M., & Ortiz-Ospina, E. (2018, September). Literacy. Retrieved from Our World in Data: https://ourworldindata.org/literacy
Slack, B. (2019). 5 ways reading will boost your communication skills. Retrieved from Lucidity: https://www.lucidity.org.uk/5-ways-reading-will-boost-your-communication-skills/
Taking Charge. (n.d.). Reading for Stress Relief. Retrieved from Taking Charge: https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/reading-stress-relief
Teresa Dumain. (n.d.). The 5 Ways Reading for 30 Minutes a Day Can Change Your Health. Retrieved from HealthiNation: https://www.healthination.com/health/benefits-of-reading/
How much you get paid can differ significantly from your friends, family, and even people in the same job role.
Salary is usually a reflection of our skills, how long you have been in a particular career or workplace, and your location. It is important to know the average wages because:
So, what are the average salaries across the UK? We decided to find out.
This article will compare your salary against the rest of the UK and conclude whether you are being paid what you deserve.
The average annual wage in the UK is nearly £31,500 a year.
Data from Statista
Over the past 20 years, the average yearly UK wage has increased from £18,848 to £31,461, increasing by £12,613.
As people age and become more experienced in their careers, their salary will generally increase. Most people start their careers between the ages of 18-21 and will earn around £18,881 a year. Our peak earning period is in our 40s when we earn an annual average of £44k. Over time, the average wage decreases to around £36k when we hit our 60s – the age where many people start working less or retire.
Data from findcourses.co.uk
Wage can also depend on which area you are living in. Due to the price of living costs, travel costs, and property prices going up in the more affluent or popular areas. Additionally, wages will generally reflect this.
London is in the top chart for the country’s highest earners, with average weekly earnings in London coming in at £716 a week. The North East and Northern Ireland earn the least, with weekly average wages of £524 and £529, respectively.
Data from House of Commons Library
Wages differ massively between different occupations. Generally, managers, directors, and senior officials have the highest wages. Lower income occupations include elementary professions such as bar work, window cleaning and construction.
Data from Office for National Statistics
Data shows that chief executives are the highest earners in the UK, raking in an average of £97k per year. In terms of specific jobs, bar staff ranked the lowest, only earning an average of £16k.
The below chart highlights the annual wages for various job roles.
Data from Office for National Statistics
Boost your salary and break into a new career by taking a home learning course.
The gender pay gap is still prevalent in the UK. In 2019, the UK government reported that the median hourly pay gap between men and women is £4.04.
In 2020, men earned a median of £15.60 per hour, whereas women earned a median of £14.37. This had increased from 2010 when male workers earned a median of £13.13 per hour, and women workers earned £11.72.
Data from Statista
The gender pay gap fell 15.5% across all employees in the year 2020 – meaning the gap is continuing to close.
Data from Office for National Statistics
In the UK, the national minimum wage changes yearly to keep up with the cost of living. People are eligible to receive this when they turn 23. The below diagram demonstrates the minimum wage increase, over recent years.
Data from tradingeconomics.com
Learn more about careers, education, and get free advice from experts on the NCC Home Learning Blog
‘Redundancy’ is a scary word for any worker, no matter their job role or how senior of a position they have at their workplace.
Being made redundant can turn your life upside down and throw a spanner into your financial security, having a huge knock-on effect on your personal life. Redundancy is a stressful time, and easy to let yourself get bogged down in the minute details, wondering if you could’ve done something better. It isn’t pleasant to be let go from a job you’ve worked hard to get under any circumstances, but quite often, with redundancy, there’s nothing you can do or could have done to avoid it.
This guide aims to walk you through what redundancy is, what your rights are, and what your next steps should be after being made redundant.
In t his guide, we’ll cover the following topics:
Redundancy happens when a business needs to lessen its workforce. When this decision has is made, jobs are closed, and the people who did those jobs are made ‘redundant.[i]
Although the phrase ‘being made redundant’ is common, it is important to remember that when someone is made redundant, it is the job role that is being made redundant and not the person. Redundancy is never (or should never be) personal.
There are many reasons redundancy could become necessary, and it is something employers will try their best to avoid. Common reasons for redundancy are:
Dismissal for reasons such as poor performance or misconduct won’t count as redundancy and follow a different set of processes.
As mentioned, employers will do everything they can to avoid making people redundant. They might ask employees if they want to switch to a different job role or reduce their working hours. If redundancy is the only option, employers may ask staff if they want to volunteer for redundancy before deciding.
In any case, if redundancy must happen, employers will follow a set process. This might vary slightly from company to company, but these are the typical steps that will be taken[iii]:
Step 1 – Preparation – Employers will decide how many job roles are to be made redundant. If more than 20 people are being made redundant, this is known as a ‘collective redundancy’ which will involve further legal requirements.
Step 2 – Employee Consultation – Employers will talk to employees who will be affected, usually in a group setting. This will give them a chance to ask questions.
In the case of a ‘collective redundancy’, employers may speak to a representative of their workers instead of each person individually. This needs to happen before any firm decisions on who is being made redundant are made and should include everyone at risk of redundancy.
Step 3 – Selection – During this stage, the employer will set out criteria for who will be made redundant. This is where they will narrow down the pool of ‘at risk’ employees to a final list.
Factors that employers might review are general performance, attendance, skillset and experience. By law, employers cannot choose staff for redundancy based on protected characteristics such as sex, race, age, disability and/or religion[iv].
Step 4 – Announcement – After the selection process has taken place, the employer must tell all staff about proposed redundancies and make sure they know that final decisions will not be made without consulting the affected employees.
Step 5 – Individual Meetings & Alternatives – As a continuation of the employee consultation, the employer will organise a series of individual meetings with at-risk staff. During these meetings, employers will give their employees the redundancy process’s full details, why they might be chosen, and the timeframe of the process. If there is any alternative employment available, the employee must be offered the position and have a statutory right to a four week trial period. If there are no alternatives available, this should be explained to the employee at this stage.
Step 6 – Confirmation – If the redundancies go ahead, employees selected for redundancy must be informed in a meeting and then receive a confirmation in writing.
Full notice or payment in lieu of notice should be given. Employers might help their employees to seek further employment and allow their employees time off to attend interviews.
When you’re made redundant, you’ll generally be entitled to some form of lump-sum payment.
Statutory redundancy pay
If you have worked for an employer for two years or more, you’ll usually be entitled to statutory redundancy pay. Statutory redundancy pay varies from person to person and is worked out based on the following[v]:
The maximum weekly pay caps at £538, and the maximum statutory redundancy pay is £16,140.
Enhanced redundancy pay
Employers can choose to pay employees more than the statutory amount of redundancy pay. This is often done as a gesture of goodwill, or to make sure the member of staff leaves ‘quietly’.
Employees can receive up to £30,000 of redundancy pay without paying tax on it, but there is no real legal limit to how much they can be paid.
Reasons for not receiving statutory redundancy pay
There are very few instances where you may not be entitled to redundancy pay, but it can happen. You won’t be entitled to it if:
Your final paycheck
When you receive your final wage, you should check you have received the following[vi]:
‘Furlough’ is a term that wasn’t a part of most people’s vocabularies until the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Many employers were forced to put their employees on furlough due to their businesses having to close temporarily or less work being available as a knock-on effect of lockdown restrictions.
You can be made redundant whilst on furlough, but you will have the same rights as you would do during ‘normal times.’
Whilst furloughed, you should receive 80% of your usual wage (this may change – make sure you check up to date guidance). If you are made redundant whilst furloughed, your redundancy payment should be based on your usual rate of pay[vii].
When you are made redundant, you may start the job search immediately. There is nothing wrong with seeking out a new job during your notice period, but you need to be very careful to make sure you don’t breach the terms of your redundancy.
Your new job might want you to start sooner than the end date of your notice period. In this case, you should ask your current employer if they can move your end date forwards. If they do not agree to this, you need to ask your new job if they can delay your start date. Leaving your current job earlier than your official finish date could count as a resignation, and you won’t receive your redundancy payment.
When you’ve been made redundant, you may struggle to find a job or want a short break before you get back to work. Whether you want to fit in some new experiences or fill in a gap in your CV, there is a lot you can do to keep yourself occupied.
*Please note: the information in this article has been taken from the third-party sources cited below. This article has been produced for interest purposes only and is not legal advice*
ACAS, n.d. Your rights during redundancy. [Online]
Available at: https://www.acas.org.uk/your-rights-during-redundancy
[Accessed March 2021].
Citizens Advice, n.d. Preparing for after redundancy. [Online]
Available at: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/work/leaving-a-job/redundancy/preparing-for-after-redundancy/
[Accessed March 2021].
gov.uk, 2021. Furlough and redundancy. [Online]
Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/furlough-and-redundancy/furlough-and-redundancy
[Accessed March 2021].
gov.uk, n.d. Redundancy: your rights. [Online]
Available at: https://www.gov.uk/redundancy-your-rights/redundancy-pay
[Accessed March 2021].
Legislation.gov.uk, 2010. Equality Act 2010. [Online]
Available at: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/contents
[Accessed March 2021].
Net Lawman, 2020. Redundancy procedure. [Online]
Available at: https://www.netlawman.co.uk/ia/redundancy-procedure
[Accessed March 2021].
Peachey, K., 2020. What is redundancy and what are my rights?. [Online]
Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-53501506
[Accessed March 2021].
Have you ever wondered what your personality type is, or how to explain your inherent traits to others?
Personality tests can assess your personality and are a fascinating way of gaining a deeper understanding of how your brain works compared to your friends and family. In turn, this can help you to communicate more effectively and understand why your peers react to situations differently than you do. If anything, taking a personality test is good fun, and the Myers-Briggs model is the most well-known, widely available test available. In this guide, we will discuss the Myers-Briggs test and what your personality type result says about you.
Before you read on, if you want to understand the human brain’s inner-workings, one of our online psychology courses could be perfect for you.
The Myers-Briggs test or ‘type indicator’ is a self-report questionnaire, which indicates your personality type, your preferences in how you make decisions, and how you perceive the world. It was developed by the mother & daughter team Katharine Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers and is an adaptation of Carl Gustav Jung’s psychological types theory[i].
The test doesn’t include questions but rather statements. After reading each statement, you respond through multiple choice answers with to what extent you agree or disagree. Some examples of these statements are:
Once you have finished the test, your results will be calculated based on your answers.
The Myers-Briggs personality types can be confusing at first glance, but it is based on the following dichotomies (also known as scales or preferences). The tests work out your personality based on which you prefer from the below[ii]:
As you can see, each preference has a letter associated with it. These are what the personality type acronyms are based on. For example, an ISTJ personality type would have the following preferences from the list above ‘Introversion, Sensing, Thinking, Judging’.
Now we know the basics let’s take a look at the 16 personality types and what they mean.
Introvert personalities have a usually subtle but transformative impact on the world around them.
ISTJ | ISFJ | INFJ | INTJ
ISTP | ISFP | INFP | INTP
ISTJ | The Inspector – Inspectors don’t like chaos and dedicate time to making sure things are in order. They are responsible, organised, reliable and fact-driven individuals.
ISFJ | The Protector – Protectors are also known as ‘Defenders’ and will go out of their way to protect the people they love. They are very loyal to the institutions and traditions in their lives.
INFJ | The Counsellor – Counsellors are loyal, creative and have a strong sense of integrity. They are idealists and are often inspirations to those around them.
INTJ | The Mastermind – Masterminds are strategic thinkers who always have a plan. They excel at analytical thinking.
ISTP | The Craftsperson – Craftspeople are fantastic practical problem solvers. They are observant, bold and thrive in hands-on environments.
ISFP | The Composer – Composers are easy-going, caretaker types who live in the present. They quietly enjoy new experiences.
INFP | The Healer – Healers have hugely altruistic personalities and are always happy to help. They are generally kind and highly imaginative.
INTP | The Architect – Architects are innovative philosophical thinkers who love to learn. They have a thirst for knowledge.
Extrovert personalities are bold and inspire change through their confident energies.
ESTP | ESFP | ENFP | ENTP
ESTJ | ESFJ | ENFJ | ENTJ
ESTP | The Dynamo – Dynamos are energetic and highly perceptive people. Often thrill-seekers, dynamos aren’t afraid to push the boundaries.
ESFP | The Entertainer – Entertainers are enthusiastic, energetic people who love to entertain those around them and have a genuine love of life.
ENFP | The Champion – Champions share their positivity with the world and see possibilities and potential everywhere they look.
ENTP | The Visionary – Visionaries are also known as debaters. They are always curious and will never back away from an intellectual challenge.
ESTJ | The Supervisor – Supervisors are hard workers and are naturally inclined to take charge. They excel at managing people and situations.
ESFJ | The Provider – Providers dedicate their lives to helping others. They are social, popular, and extremely caring people.
ENFJ | The Teacher – Teachers are charismatic, caring people who use their influence to do what is best for those around them.
ENTJ | The Commander – Commanders make strong leaders who are hugely imaginative and are not afraid to be outwardly bold to make change happen.
Compatibility can’t just be measured by whether people’s personality types align. Many other factors are essential for a successful relationship or friendship, so shared interests, experiences and values need to be taken into account.
Below, we’ve listed the most ‘compatible pairings’ by introvert and extrovert personality types[iii].
|ISTJ||ENTP & ENFP||The extrovert personalities and laid-back traits work alongside the sometimes serious nature of the ISTJ|
|INTJ||ENTP & ENFP||Their relaxed nature lets them appreciate the INTJ’s independence & they can support them in social situations|
|ISFJ||ESFP & ESTP||ISFJs nurturing, planning traits are balanced nicely by these extrovert personalities|
|INFJ||ENFP, ENTP, INTJ, INFJ||Compatible with a range of personalities as they are good, instinctive listeners|
|ISTP||ESFJ & ESTJ||ISTPs live in the present, whilst the extrovert types enjoy planning which makes for a balanced relationship|
|ISFP||ESTJ & ESFJ||The ISFP benefits from the structure that the ESTJ or ESFJ can bring to their lives|
|INFP||ENFJ & ENTJ||INFPs are led by feelings, which these extrovert types can intuitively understand|
|INTP||ENTJ & ENFJ||The INTP needs space, and these extrovert types know when to step back and let them breathe|
|ESTP||ISTJ & ISFJ||ESTPs can help the introvert to enjoy new experiences with them, and both types are not swayed by their emotions|
|ESFP||ISTJ & ISFJ||ESFPs will take the ISTJ & ISFP’s introversion as a challenge, creating a fun relationship or companionship|
|ENFP||INFJ & INFJ||These introverts can balance out the impulsiveness of the ENFP|
|ENTP||INTJ & INFJ||Both the ENTP and the introvert types here have a passion and appreciation of knowledge|
|ESTJ||ISTP & ISFP||These types are not overly emotional, but the ESTJ’s need for structure balances the introverts laid back ways|
|ESFJ||ISFP & ISTP||Driven by emotion, the ESFJ needs the logic of the ISFP or ISTP to create a well-rounded dynamic|
|ENFJ||INFP & INTP||The ENFJ and these introverts are equally intuitive, so can easily cater to each other’s needs within a relationship|
|ENTJ||INTP & INFP||ENTJs aren’t comfortable discussing emotional topics, which these introverts understand|
Here are some quick facts about personality type compatibility[iv]:
We’ve found a handy chart that helps to better illustrate compatibility – you can find this here.
There are several platforms where you can take the test. Many of the statements are largely the same if not slightly re-worded, and each platform will provide results in a different format.
These are some of our favourite platforms for taking the test:
Owens, M., n.d. Compatibility and Myers & Briggs’ Personality Types. [Online]
Available at: https://www.truity.com/myers-briggs/compatibility-myers-briggs-personality-type
[Accessed March 2021].
Owens, M., n.d. Myers & Briggs’ Personality Typing, Explained. [Online]
Available at: https://www.truity.com/myers-briggs/about-myers-briggs-personality-typing
[Accessed March 2021].
Rendezvous, n.d. Personality Types & Relationship Compatibility-Simplified. [Online]
Available at: https://rendezvousmag.com/relationship-compatibility/
[Accessed March 2021].
Team Technology, n.d. Myers Briggs Personality Types. [Online]
Available at: https://www.teamtechnology.co.uk/tt/t-articl/mb-simpl.htm
[Accessed March 2021].
Vocabulary is often overlooked by those who don’t write. As well as improving your quality of written work, whether that is school and college essays or novels and poems, extending your vocabulary will also improve your confidence with spoken language and day-to-day conversations.
No matter your age or occupation, you should always seek ways to extend your back-catalogue of words.
Your vocabulary (or wordstock) is a set of words that you are familiar with. A vocabulary may also be specific to a particular field of knowledge. For example, a scientist will have a set of words they use every day that the general public won’t necessarily be familiar with; most adults have a vocabulary range of 20,000 to 35,000 words that they can actively use, read and understand[i].
Vocabulary can be split into three tiers[ii]:
Tier 1: Basic, everyday words most children will understand and use before reaching school age. These are words like ‘girl’, ‘swim’ and ‘cold’.
Tier 2: Words that aren’t used often and are usually only learned when there is a specific need to know them, e.g., if taking a science lesson, a child will learn the word ‘photosynthesis.’
Tier 3: Some words are used more often in written text than conversation but can be applied to many different settings. These are words like ‘auspicious,’ ‘articulate,’ and ‘summarise.’
Although the tiers are useful when it comes to understanding the development of one’s vocabulary and how advanced it is, educators tend to split the language into four groups:
Throughout your life, your vocabulary is one of the essential tools in your communication toolbox. Without knowing it, you unconsciously use it for all aspects of reading, writing, speaking, and listening. These are the core reasons for its importance[iii]:
Vocabulary generally grows as you age. As a child, the extent of your vocabulary will depend on many factors such as how you are socialised, the people you grow up around, the level of education you receive, and what you read and watch on TV.
Children will begin to form proper words around 12 months into their lives, and from there, they will always be trying and learning new words. Depending on the circumstances in which they grow up, children can learn anything from 750 to a massive 3000 words per year[iv].
By the time a child is 6, they will be able to use 2,600 words in speech and understand 20,000 to 24,000 words. This can grow to about 50,000 words by the time they are 12[v].
A ‘weak’ vocabulary is where someone doesn’t understand or use as many words as most people within their age group. A delay in vocabulary growth can happen for many reasons, and it’s easier to spot in others than it would be to spot within yourself.
If someone has a weak vocabulary, they may experience the following.
Adults will learn one new word a day until they reach middle age, where natural vocabulary growth tends to stop [vi]. However, no matter what age you are, you can improve and grow your vocabulary if you take active steps. We’ve compiled a list of techniques that will help you to strengthen your vocabulary to improve your writing, reading, speaking, and listening skills across the board.
This is an easy and fun way to absorb new words. You could play traditional word games like Scrabble, take time to complete the crossword in the daily newspaper, or download a few apps on your phone that you can play when you have a spare 5 minutes. This will get the cogs in your brain turning.
Make it a challenge to learn a new word every day and try to use it at least five times within conversation. Repetition is one of the best ways to add a word to your vocabulary as it helps your brain recall it in the future. There are dozens of resources to help you pick a new word, but here are a couple of our favourites:
Alternatively, pick up a dictionary or thesaurus, flip it to a random page and pick your word. The more difficult it is, the better!
This may seem simple enough, but reading daily can be difficult if you haven’t read regularly since your school days. Reading will help you to not only pick up new words but to understand how they’re used in context.
You don’t have to start off reading long, compilated novels. Take it step by step, start reading magazines, newspapers, and progress to books you think you’ll enjoy (this could be on a topic you like or even a celebrity’s autobiography).
If you find yourself struggling to understand words often, keep a dictionary on hand. Although it may be easier to Google it, leafing through the pages of a dictionary to find the meaning of a word will help you commit it to your memory.
Do the same if you’ve noticed you use a word or a set of words too often in emails or messages; could you use more exciting language instead?
School may seem like it was a lifetime ago, but if you re-visit English in a learning capacity, it will accelerate your vocabulary growth. There are hundreds of English courses online if you don’t want to go to a college or learning centre, from subject-specific lessons to English GCSE courses.
While completing the activities above, start a list of new words you have learned. At the end of the day or week, sit down and write something that includes all of these words. This is another excellent technique that will help your memory recall of the word, and who knows – it might spark a passion for writing.
Whichever way you decide to get started, make sure you take it a step at a time. In a few months, you’re sure to notice a difference in your confidence with conversation and the variety of words you use daily.
Beck, I. L., McKeown, M. G. & Kucan, L., n.d. BRINGING WORDS TO LIFE. [Online] Available at: https://bep.education/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Bringing-Words-to-Life-Booklet.pdf [Accessed February 2021].
Huld, L., n.d. How Many Words Does the Average Person Know?. [Online] Available at: https://wordcounter.io/blog/how-many-words-does-the-average-person-know/ [Accessed February 2021].
Loraine, S., 2008. Vocabulary Development. [Online] Available at: https://www.superduperinc.com/handouts/pdf/149_VocabularyDevelopment.pdf [Accessed 2021].
Merriam-Webster, n.d. vocabulary. [Online] Available at: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vocabulary [Accessed February 2021].
R.L.G, 2013. Lexical facts. [Online] Available at: https://www.economist.com/johnson/2013/05/29/lexical-facts [Accessed February 2021].
Seifert, D., 2016. Top 5 Reasons Why Vocabulary Matters. [Online] Available at: https://infercabulary.com/top-5-reasons-why-vocabulary-matters/ [Accessed February 2021].
Sprenger, M., 2013. Teaching the Critical Vocabulary of the Common Core. [Online] Available at: http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/113040/chapters/What-Does-the-Research-Say-About-Vocabulary%C2%A2.aspx [Accessed February 2021].
Homeschooling is becoming a much more popular choice for parents; especially now that people can work from home and access many quality teaching resources online.
Despite growing in popularity, there are still many misconceptions and misunderstandings surrounding homeschooling. This guide aims to walk you through what homeschooling is and the many aspects involved.
There are many reasons that you might decide to take your child out of the schooling system and choose to educate them at home instead. You could be unimpressed with the education system, have concerns over your child being bullied at school, or you might think your child would respond better to home education.
If homeschooling is something you’re seriously considering, you won’t be alone in your decision. It was reported in 2018 that homeschooling in the UK had increased by a massive 40% over three years [i]. Choosing to homeschool ultimately comes down to your circumstances and what you think is best for your child or children, but some of the most common reasons include:
There is a lot to consider before jumping into homeschooling. Ultimately, it would help if you decided what is best for your child’s future.
Although homeschooling is the best option for many students, you have to understand that it’ll change your life and be willing to accept the extra responsibilities that come with it. You’ll be both a parent and a teacher, and how you decide to balance this role will alter your relationship with your child forever – whether this is beneficial or detrimental. So what should you be thinking about before you take the leap?
Will your work-life fit in around your homeschooling activities? If you have a partner and both of you work, will one of you leave your job to take on homeschooling responsibilities?
Suppose you’re able to do your job remotely. In that case, this can run relatively smoothly alongside homeschooling – but you need to be realistic about how flexible your job role is and whether this balance would work for you and your family. It wouldn’t be fair to expect your child to self-teach all day while you’re on conference calls. It would also help to consider whether you’d be able to work effectively and productively while teaching.
The key aspect to consider when thinking about homeschooling is your child. If your child has been struggling in school for a while, both socially and with their learning progress, it’s an infinitely easier decision to make than if they excel in one or both fields.
What is best for them? Make sure you have a series of honest, open conversations with them about what they’d like to do, and don’t make the decision based on what works best for you.
Homeschooling can turn your life upside down (not necessarily in a bad way!). Have a sit-down and think about whether you’re equipped to educate your child; if you’re not overly confident in your abilities, you can always take an online teaching course, but this isn’t a necessity. Although homeschooling can have a considerable number of benefits for your entire family, you’ll need to be ready to accept that your whole routine will need to change for the times your child would ‘normally’ be out of the house and in school.
It won’t always be easy!
People like to paint a perfect picture of their homeschooling experiences on the internet, but there will always be days that are more of a struggle than others. Not everything will go to plan or work out the first time around, and you have to expect that your child won’t be a perfect student every day. Remember that the good will always outweigh the bad and take each problem as it comes.
If you’ve weighed up your options and decided homeschooling is the best educational approach for you and your child, there’s a busy road ahead!
The following explains everything you need to do to homeschool effectively.
In the UK, you’re within your rights to educate your child at home if you want to, but in most circumstances, they must be in education from 5 to 16. If they’re already enrolled in a school, you should tell the school that you’re planning on educating them from home[iii]. They’ll walk you through any administrative procedures, but they must accept this if you plan on homeschooling full time. The school will contact the local education authority to tell them you’ve taken your child off their register.
If your child isn’t of school age, but you’re planning on homeschooling them, you don’t legally have to inform anyone, but it’s sensible to contact your local education authority to let them know.
In either case, your local authority may contact you to discuss your educational plans or to arrange a home visit. This isn’t anything to worry about, and under most circumstances, they won’t stop you from homeschooling. These checks ensure your child will be receiving a good standard of education[iv].
There are many homeschooling styles. Each style supports a different learning way, and what suits some children may not work for others. Below, we run through the most popular homeschooling styles – from more traditional textbook-led methods to child-led methods.
Instead of blindly diving into different curriculums, it’s wise to research the homeschooling styles above and decide on your curriculum based on that. The key to choosing a curriculum is finding one that is the best ‘fit’ for your child. As well as considering your child, you need to think about your capabilities and situation. Many parents pick and choose subjects from different curriculums, while others follow one verbatim. Whatever you decide to do, remember that there is no shame in changing tact if the curriculum you choose doesn’t work for you!
Remember that your curriculum is only there to guide you, and you don’t have to follow it to the letter. Generally, you’ll have to pay for more comprehensive curriculum packs, but there are some great free resources available.
Here are some popular providers for you to explore:
Legally in the UK, your child should spend no minimum amount of time learning each week. As a guideline, most schools offer 22-25 hours of education a week and are in session for 38 weeks in the year. This is an excellent model to follow to ensure your child can keep up with their peers.
One of the main appeals of homeschooling is the freedom to create your own timetable, schooling hours and to plan holidays that fall within regular school term times. This flexibility opens up more opportunities for educational travel and family trips and takes the stress away from planning everything around a set school timetable.
However, it’s wise to have an open plan on the amount of time you want to spend homeschooling each day, the topics you’d like to cover, and when your holidays will fall. Although some parents like to stick to strict homeschooling hours, others let lessons seep into ‘after school’ time. This all depends on your preferences. Either way, accept that you won’t cover everything you want to every day; there’s always time to catch up!
Even though it’s easy to try and tackle everything alone as a parent-teacher, you’ll function better with a stable support network. Homeschool groups are communities of parents who also educate their children at home and are ideal places to seek advice & share ideas. Often, homeschool groups will also organise social events for children within the community, so they offer great opportunities for your child (and you!) to make new friends. These connections could be vital for you during your first year or so of homeschooling.There are hundreds of groups that have been set up expressly to support homeschoolers. You can find some local groups here.
Naturally, homeschool lessons will take part in many places of the house, but here are some classroom area ideas to consider:
Light and space – a desk near a window with ample space will create a productive environment that doesn’t feel oppressive.
Limit distractions – where possible, don’t set up your classroom or study space in a busy, high traffic part of the house.
Organisation – dedicated cupboards, drawers, and folders for learning resources & curriculum content must make sure lessons run smoothly. Providing your child with their own desk with organisers will also help them feel more in control and responsible for their space, so they’re more likely to keep it tidy.
Visuals – use whiteboards and print outs to show your child their timetable for the day and to illustrate any relevant curriculum materials
Personality – your child will spend a considerable amount of their time in their homeschool classroom, so you need to make sure it’s an environment they enjoy being in. Let them help you pick decorations, fun stationery, and posters.
Furniture – to an extent, you need to pick furniture that will work with your space, but make sure the furniture you choose is comfortable and durable so it’ll last a long time. Be mindful that desks and chairs may need to be replaced as your child grows.
A lot of parents have put off homeschooling because they’re concerned about the cost of it.
Although education through schools is free in the UK, there are no home education grants, and you can’t get financial help from the government for homeschooling[viii]. If you choose to educate from home, this becomes your financial responsibility.
So, what costs do you need to consider?
The potential loss of income – If one parent needs to stop working to become a parent-teacher, this means less income for your household.
Homeschooling supplies – You will need to stock up on stationery, organisation materials, teaching materials, furniture, and more. Although this can all cost a pretty penny, being savvy will help you to cut costs here.
Cost of resources – The cost of a curriculum or subject packs if you choose to use them to support your child’s learning.
Paying for exams – If your child isn’t enrolled in school, you’ll have to cover the cost of any GCSE or A-Level exams. The cost of exams will depend on the subject and the exam board, but you need to be prepared for the cost as exams can be anything from £40-£60 each. You can see the most up to date prices on the exam boards websites:
Despite the extra costs, you will also be saving money in several areas:
One of the most controversial topics surrounding homeschooling is the supposed psychological effects it could potentially have on a child. Not being in a ‘typical’ school setting will affect them in later life. When children experience homeschooling, they can end up:
Although home education can have a negative impact on children, this is usually due to parents homeschooling for the wrong reasons, such as wanting more control over their child. In later life, this small minority of children may experience:
The answer to this is for you to decide. If you feel that homeschooling is what your child needs to thrive and succeed, and you are equally equipped to handle the responsibilities of it as a parent, there is a world of positive benefits that can be reaped.
Chilton, V. (2019, February). Why choose to Home School in 2019? Retrieved from Oxford Homeschooling: https://www.oxfordhomeschooling.co.uk/blog/why-choose-to-home-school-in-2019/
GOV.UK. (n.d.). Educating your child at home. Retrieved from GOV.UK: https://www.gov.uk/home-education
Issimdar, M. (2018, April). Homeschooling in the UK increases 40% over three years. Retrieved from BBC: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-42624220
Lane, M. (2018, December). Homeschooling: good for your child & your finances? Retrieved from Money: https://www.money.co.uk/guides/home-schooling-good-for-your-child-and-your-finances.htm
Minges, K. E., & Redeker, N. S. (2016). Delayed school start times and adolescent sleep: A systematic review of the experimental evidence. Retrieved from PubMed.gov: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26545246/
Simply Charlotte Mason. (n.d.). What is the Charlotte Mason Method? Retrieved from Simply Charlotte Mason: https://simplycharlottemason.com/what-is-the-charlotte-mason-method/
TBS Staff. (2019, November). Homeschooling: Which Model Is Right for You? Retrieved from The Best Schools: https://thebestschools.org/magazine/homeschool-style-right/
The Homeschool Mom. (n.d.). Classical Homeschooling. Retrieved from The Homeschool Mom: https://www.thehomeschoolmom.com/homeschooling-styles/classical-homeschooling/
The School Run. (n.d.). The legalities of home education in the UK. Retrieved from The School Run: https://www.theschoolrun.com/home-education-legalities
Everyone reaches an age where they want a bit more cash than their weekly £5 pocket money. When you hit this point, it’s probably worth looking for a part-time job.
Getting a job whilst you’re young will benefit you in more ways than one. Not only will you have a steady flow of money going into your bank account, but you’ll be able to gain valuable skills that will make it easier to get a full-time job when you’ve finished school. If you’re willing to sacrifice your evenings or weekends, the pay-off will be worth it.
In this blog, we’ll take a look at:
There are loads of reasons why getting a job is beneficial to you when you’re younger (aside from the money). When you get a part-time job whilst you’re younger, you’re more likely to get a graduate job later on and are up to 6% less likely to be out of education or employment five years down the line[i]. Other benefits include:
Although you can get a job from 13 onwards, there are some extra laws in place that make sure:
The number of hours you can legally work depends on whether you are working during school term-time or working during the holidays.
If you’re under 16, you aren’t allowed to work during school hours, more than one hour before school, or between 7 pm & 7 am in any circumstances (unless you are working in areas like modelling, theatre, and TV and you have a license).
During school term-times, 13 & 14 year olds are allowed to work the following hours[ii].
During the school holidays, these hours are longer.
During school term-times, 15 & 16 year olds can work the following hours.
During the school holidays, these hours are longer.
Once you’re over 16, you’re usually past your’ school leaving age’, so there are fewer restrictions on working hours. You can get a job, but you should be in some form of education until you’re 18. This includes staying in full-time education, starting an apprenticeship, or working/volunteering (if you do this, you’ll still need to be receiving an education, which could include completing online courses or going to college for a few days a week)[iii].
Legally, your working hours should[iv]:
And you are entitled to:
When you reach 18, you’ll be classed as an adult and your working hours will be less restricted. Find out more about weekly working hours for adults here.
The amount you can get paid as a teenager depends on how much you work and your age.
When you’re under 16, you aren’t entitled to the national minimum wage[v]. The amount you are paid is entirely up to your employer, so you should make sure you’re happy with it before you accept the job.
The minimum wage for 16 and 17 year olds is £4.55 an hour.
If you’re an apprentice, your minimum wage will be £4.15 an hour[vi]. As of April 2021, these rates will go up to £4.62 for 16 & 17 year olds, and £4.30 for apprentices.
Now you know the law, let’s look at some of the most popular jobs for teenagers.
Babysitting jobs are relatively easy to come across and aren’t too difficult (if the children you’re looking after are well behaved!). Ask family friends who have young children if they’d like you to babysit. If you’re good enough, they might even tell their friends about you.
There is legally no minimum age for a babysitting job, but if you are under 16, the parent or carer you’re babysitting for is responsible for you and their child’s wellbeing.
Gardening is a fun job, and there are plenty of people with gardens who don’t have time to do basic tasks like weeding, mowing the lawn, and power washing decks/patios. If you think you’ve got the skills, start asking neighbours if there are any jobs they’d like you to do. You could even show some entrepreneurial spirit and create a page on Facebook to advertise your services.
Working in a local shop after school or at the weekends is a great chance to make some money, meet people and grow your confidence. Although you’ll probably start doing small jobs like re-stocking shelves and cleaning up, working in retail can help you gain skills you wouldn’t find anywhere else.
Pubs and bars are usually keen to hire a younger person to help with glass collecting and cleaning during busy periods. You could also work in a restaurant taking orders and waiting tables. Once you’ve shown that you’re responsible, you may even be able to serve drinks behind the bar with an adult present.
Dog walking is a perfect job for pet lovers and easy if you have your own dog. Why not ask around and see if anyone in your area needs a hand with walking their dog in the mornings or afternoons. If they’re happy with your dog walking services, they might ask you to dog-sit while they are on holiday or if they go somewhere for the day and can’t take their canine friend.
There are dozens of websites like Etsy and Depop where people can sell items they’ve made. If you have a creative streak and lots of spare time, you might be able to make some extra cash by drawing, embroidering, or crafting items to sell on these platforms. If you choose to do this, you’re best getting a parent involved to help you with the payment side of things.
Although volunteering won’t earn you any money, it will help you gain essential skills, which will benefit you when you leave school. Look into helping local charity shops or organisations like the British Red Cross, The Prince’s Trust, or local scouting and girls guides groups.
You’ll need to be a morning person to deliver newspapers but finishing your daily round can be rewarding! Pop round to your local newsagents to see if they need any paperboys or papergirls.
Cleaning, whether for your family, an established company, or a small business, is a good choice for a first job. It’s easy to learn how to clean to a professional standard, and clients will often tip you well.
If you’re keen on the idea of hairdressing, this is a great job to get you started. Although you won’t be going anywhere near the scissors, you’ll gain experience with what day-to-day life is like in a salon, and it will help you get your foot in the door if you decide to do an apprenticeship or train as a hairstylist at college later on. Your duties will include cleaning, sweeping up hair, and making drinks for clients.
Whichever job you decide to go for, you’ll be paving the way to a fulfilling working life later down the line.
ACAS, n.d. Young workers, apprentices and work experience. [Online] Available at: https://www.acas.org.uk/young-workers-apprentices-and-work-experience [Accessed February 2021].
GOV.UK, 2021. Child employment. [Online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/child-employment/restrictions-on-child-employment [Accessed February 2021].
GOV.UK, 2021. School leaving age. [Online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/know-when-you-can-leave-school [Accessed February 2021].
NI Business Info, 2020. National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage – rates and overview. [Online] Available at: https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/content/national-minimum-wage-and-national-living-wage-rates [Accessed February 2021].
Success at School, n.d. Part-Time Work For Teenagers – 15 Saturday Job Ideas. [Online] Available at: https://successatschool.org/blog/493/Part-time-work-for-teenagers-%E2%80%93-15-Saturday-job-ideas [Accessed February 2021].
Work Smart, n.d. Is there a minimum wage for children who work?. [Online] Available at: https://worksmart.org.uk/work-rights/young-workers/childrens-work-rights/there-minimum-wage-children-who-work [Accessed February 2021].
If you’re looking for a career that challenges you daily, pays you handsomely, and gives you a chance to work with the brightest minds, finance is the answer.
Have you ever wondered why careers in finance attract the top graduates in every university? Simply put, finance offers several exceptional benefits and advantages that are hard to pass up. If you are good with numbers, enjoy working in a fast-paced environment, and ready to dedicate long hours to success, this could be the career for you.
Here are some of our top reasons that you should consider a career in finance.
Are you interested in a career in finance? Check out some of these popular options.[i]
Investment banking is one of the most sought-after jobs in finance, offering high salaries and prestige. As an investment banker, you’ll broker significant transactions for individuals and institutional clients. This is a very competitive field that requires a lot of confidence, charm, and attention to detail.
In this role, you will manage the wealth of High Net-Worth Individuals (HNIs) and corporations. This job requires strong networking abilities and client care, working closely with your clients to create wealth and help them reach their financial goals.
Are you looking to earn a handsome living? Check out the highest paying finance jobs in the UK.[ii]
If you are considering a career in finance, there are two main routes into the industry.[iii]
Here, we focus on some of the top graduate roles in finance: How to get a career in Accountancy, Investment Management, and Banking. Be sure to check the requirements of the bank or firm you are interested in for specifics.
Most big accountancy firms only offer roles to graduates with a degree in a maths-related subject, although school leaver programmes are occasionally available. No matter which route you choose, you’ll start gaining qualifications as soon as you get hired and work towards a globally recognised accountancy qualification.
You’ll need to have strong academic grades, including a grade 5-6 (B) or higher in GCSE maths and English. School leaver programmes typically last five years – during the first two years, you’ll work towards a qualification or certificate. During your final three years, you will work towards a professional qualification.
Accountancy firms will welcome those with both arts degrees and numerate degrees, with at least a 2.1. You’ll need to demonstrate that you can pass difficult numeracy tests and show a record of good A level grades. Consider undertaking an internship during your final year at Uni to get a head start on your career.
Most investment management firms offer school leaver programmes, as well as options for university graduates.
Investment banks often offer school leaver programmes. These programmes are level 3 or 4 apprenticeships and are available for applicants who have achieved at least three A levels with grades A* to C. If this interests you, you should ensure you take maths and/or economics A levels. It’s also vital to have at least five GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including maths and English.
While investment firms will look at all arts degrees, you’ll have the best chances if you have a numerate (maths-related) degree. You should achieve at least a 2:1, and have solid A level grades before applying to graduate investment banking jobs.
If you’re interested in a career in banking, the requirements will depend on the division you’re applying for and the institution you’re submitting your application to.
Many banks offer level 4 apprenticeships for their retail and corporate divisions. They require two good A levels (A* to C), a set number of UCAS points, and a minimum of five A* to C/9 to 4 grade GCSEs, including maths and English.
Retail and corporate banking positions accept bachelors and master’s students who have achieved (or are on track for) a 2.1 in any subject. They will also have minimum GCSE requirements.
If you are attempting the school leaver’s route (or you want to break into the finance industry as an adult with no degree), follow these helpful tips.[iv]
If you enjoy problem-solving, a challenging work environment, and earning an enviable salary, careers in finance might be for you. With these skills and tips, you can seek out the highest paying finance jobs, whether you have a degree or you are applying as a school leaver.
Randstad (2020). The Highest Paying Finance Jobs In The UK 2018 | Randstad UK. [online] www.randstad.co.uk. Available at: https://www.randstad.co.uk/salary-calculator/highest-paying-finance-jobs-uk-2020/ [Accessed 20 Jan. 2021].
Segal, T. (2020). 10 Ways to a Finance Career Without a Degree. [online] Investopedia. Available at: https://www.investopedia.com/articles/professionals/062413/no-finance-degree-no-problem-top-10-ways-jumpstart-career-finance.asp [Accessed 20 Jan. 2021].
Target Careers (2020). How do I get into finance? | TARGETcareers. [online] targetcareers.co.uk. Available at: https://targetcareers.co.uk/career-sectors/finance/70-how-do-i-get-into-finance#:~:text=There%20are%20two%20routes%20in [Accessed 20 Jan. 2021].
Wall Street Mojo (2016). Careers in Finance | Top 6 Options You Must Consider. [online] WallStreetMojo. Available at: https://www.wallstreetmojo.com/careers-in-finance/ [Accessed 20 Jan. 2021].
If you’re looking for a career path that allows you to help people, challenges you on a regular basis, and make a real difference in the medical system, a career in mental health may be right for you. In this article, we detail some of the most popular careers in mental health in the United Kingdom. Is one of these roles right for you?
The term mental health refers to our sense of psychological, emotional, and social wellbeing. Our mental health affects our daily lives, often dictating how we feel, the decisions we make, our thought patterns, and how we act. If our mental health is suffering, it can become challenging to make good choices.[i] While we often think of mental health as affecting only adults, mental health is extremely important in children and adolescents as well.
People with severe mental health challenges often experience hardships, struggling to maintain healthy relationships, manage their daily lives, and to excel in their careers. However, many seemingly ‘normal people’ have hidden mental health struggles, such as depression and anxiety, that they manage effectively.
There is no shame or stigma associated with mental illness. Today, more and more notable people and celebrities are revealing their own battles with these issues.[ii]
Mental health problems, including schizophrenia, depression disorder, and Borderline Personality Disorder, can be caused by a wide variety of factors.[iii] These include:
Often, these causes can compound and trigger one another. However, even if you struggle with a history of mental illness, with the right tools and support, you can overcome these problems.
Some of the early warning signs of mental illness include:
If you notice that you or a loved one is exhibiting the early signs of mental health problems, it’s time to get some help. Effective help is out there, and mental health professionals can make a powerful impact on a sufferer’s life.
Mental health professionals can help you:
If you want to work with and support people dealing with the issues listed above, a career in the mental health sector may be the right path for you.[iv]
Clinical and counselling psychologists help to diagnose people who present with emotional and behavioural problems. In addition to mental health issues, they can also help with strategies to manage neurological conditions, such as epilepsy.[v] They can also help patients manage illnesses, crises, and life changes.
Clinical and Counselling Psychologists need to earn a PhD or PsyD degree in psychology.
Annual salary for Clinical or Counselling Psychologists in the UK: Starting salaries with the NHS range from £30,401 to £37,267. With significant experience and responsibility, that income can raise to between £61,777 to £86,687.[vi]
What is a Marriage and Family Therapist?
Marriage and family therapists work with families, couples, and individuals, helping them manage conflict and come to a place of cooperation and resolution. The goal is improved communication and happier relationships.
What education do you need to become a Marriage and Family Therapist? You need a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy to embark on this career.
Annual salary for Marriage and Family Therapists in the UK[vii]: The average starting salary is £40,651. A senior-level licensed Marriage and Family Therapist earns an average of £70,558 per annum.
What is a Clinical Social Worker?
Clinical social workers help to safeguard vulnerable people from harm. They support families and individuals and advocate for them as they navigate the healthcare and housing systems.
What education do you need to become a Clinical Social Worker? Clinical social workers need a three-year undergraduate degree as well as a Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)-approved two-year postgraduate degree in social work.[viii]
Annual salary for Clinical Social Workers in the UK: The average salary for a Clinical Social Worker in the UK is £35,064 per annum.
What is a Psychiatric Nurse?
Psychiatric nurses are qualified nurses who specialise in caring for patients with psychiatric needs and mental health issues.
What education do you need to become a Psychiatric Nurse? To work as a Psychiatric Nurse, you must first complete a pre-registration nursing degree or nursing degree apprenticeship and be registered with the Midwifery Council (NMC).[ix]
Annual salary for Psychiatric Nurses in the UK: Newly qualified Psychiatrist Nurses earn an annual salary of between £24,907 to £30,615. The highest-paid NHS Psych Nurses make £45,753 to £51,668 per annum.
What is a Psychiatrist?
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialise in mental health and psychiatric illnesses.
What education do you need to become a Psychiatrist? Psychiatrists need to complete a five-year medicine degree, as well as a two-year general foundation programme and three years of core psychiatry training.
Annual salary for Psychiatrists in the UK: The average NHS Psychiatrist earns £74,770 per annum.[x]
What is a Mental Health Counsellor? Mental Health Counsellors help people to manage, treat, and overcome addiction and other mental health problems, including depression and anxiety.
What education do you need to become a Mental Health Counsellor? Technically, there are no formal qualification requirements to call oneself a counsellor in the UK.[xi] However, most employers and clients will expect you to have a 3-year BA, followed by a master’s degree in mental health counselling.
Annual salary for Mental Health Counsellors in the UK: Annual salaries start at £20,000 to £26,000. However, with experience and specialisation, private practice counsellors can earn more than £40,000 per annum.
If you’re wondering “how do I get a job in mental health,” this section is for you.
A sense of genuine care and compassion is required for anyone who wants to enter into a mental healthcare career path. Anyone thinking about applying for jobs in the mental health sector needs to have specific skills and qualities. These include:
If you have these personal attributes, you then need to undertake the correct training and education.[xii] For all of the careers listed above, you will need a three-year BA course. To work as a psychiatrist or a psychologist, you will also need a master’s degree and a doctorate. In addition to education, you also need intensive on-the-job experience, which comes in the form of apprenticeships and practicums.
It’s a good idea to ‘test the waters’ by taking a few online healthcare courses to find out if you truly have an interest in the subject matter before embarking on a lengthy education programme.
These are rewarding career choices that serve a crucial role in the healthcare system.
Does a career in mental health sound like the right path for you?
Epilepsy Foundation (2016). Epilepsy and Psychological Disorders. [online] Epilepsy Foundation. Available at: https://www.epilepsy.com/article/2016/11/epilepsy-and-psychological-disorders#:~:text=All%20psychological%20and%20cognitive%20symptoms [Accessed 15 Dec. 2020].
Indeed (2020). NHS Psychiatrist Salaries in the United Kingdom | Indeed.co.uk. [online] www.indeed.co.uk. Available at: https://www.indeed.co.uk/cmp/Nhs/salaries/Psychiatrist [Accessed 15 Dec. 2020].
Institute, EER (2020). Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) Salary London, United Kingdom – SalaryExpert. [online] www.salaryexpert.com. Available at: https://www.salaryexpert.com/salary/job/licensed-marriage-and-family-therapist-lmft/united-kingdom/london#:~:text=An%20entry%20level%20licensed%20marriage [Accessed 15 Dec. 2020].
MentalHealth.gov (2020). What Is Mental Health? [online] Mentalhealth.gov. Available at: https://www.mentalhealth.gov/basics/what-is-mental-health [Accessed 12 Dec. 2020].
Mind (2020). Causes. [online] www.mind.org.uk. Available at: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/mental-health-problems-introduction/causes/#:~:text=Although%20lifestyle%20factors%20including%20work [Accessed 15 Dec. 2020].
Prospects (2018). Mental health nurse job profile | Prospects.ac.uk. [online] Prospects.ac.uk. Available at: https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles/mental-health-nurse [Accessed 15 Dec. 2020].
Prospects (2019). How to become a counsellor | Prospects.ac.uk. [online] Prospects.ac.uk. Available at: https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles/counsellor [Accessed 15 Dec. 2020].
Prospects (2020). Counselling psychologist job profile | Prospects.ac.uk. [online] www.prospects.ac.uk. Available at: https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles/counselling-psychologist#:~:text=Counselling%20psychologists%20starting%20as%20a [Accessed 15 Dec. 2020].
Roberts, K. (2018). 39 Celebrities Who Have Opened Up About Mental Health. [online] Harper’s BAZAAR. Available at: https://www.harpersbazaar.com/celebrity/latest/g15159447/celebrities-depression-anxiety-mental-health/ [Accessed 15 Dec. 2020].
Rosenburg McKay, D. (2011). Do You Want a Career in Mental Health? [online] The Balance Careers. Available at: https://www.thebalancecareers.com/mental-health-careers-525640 [Accessed 12 Dec. 2020].
UCAS (2015). Social worker. [online] UCAS. Available at: https://www.ucas.com/ucas/after-gcses/find-career-ideas/explore-jobs/job-profile/social-worker#:~:text=To%20become%20a%20social%20worker%2C%20you%20will%20need%20to%20study [Accessed 15 Dec. 2020].
Wise, I. (2015). Want a job in mental health social work? Here’s our step-by-step guide. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/careers/careers-blog/want-job-mental-health-social-work-step-by-step-guide [Accessed 19 Aug. 2019].
You’ve had a callback, and you’re scheduled for an interview for a new job that you really want. You’re excited about the interview…. That is until you find out that it’s a competency-based interview.
Your confidence and vast well of experience feel like they’ve flown out the window, and you start to get nervous and unsettled. Maybe you won’t nail this interview, after all… Does this sound familiar? Are you intimidated by the idea of a competency-based interview? Maybe you aren’t even sure what a competency-based interview is, and what it entails?
You can rest easy. Our guide to competency-based interviews will set you up for success and help you to prepare with confidence, calm, and skill.
A competency-based interview, sometimes referred to as a behavioural, structured, or situational interview, is specifically designed to assess your skills in one or more areas. They are based on the idea that your past behaviour is the best predictor of your future performance. Therefore, the interviewer will want to know all about specific instances from your past.[i]
While you might encounter a competency-based interview in any sector, they are most common with large graduate recruiters.
Rather than an unstructured back and forth conversation that flows naturally, your interviewer will ask you questions from a set list. The questions have all been carefully designed to learn more about how you have handled specific situations in the past. Your answers are then checked against predetermined criteria, and the interviewer will assign marks to your responses.[ii]
The interviewer will systematically ask you a set list of questions. Each question is designed to learn more about how you would react to specific situations, and to gain more insight into your competencies. While you might feel like you need online psychology courses just to wrap your head around this interview style, it’s easier than you might think – it only requires practice, practice, practice.
While every competency-based interview will differ depending on the industry and position you’re applying to, there are some common questions that you can expect to hear variations of during your interview.
We can’t stress this enough – the best way to answer competency-based questions is to be prepared. While you may be a jocular individual who excels in traditional informal interviews, your sparkling conversation skills will be of less help in a structured competency-based interview.[iii]
To prepare for your competency-based interview, you need to do the following:
As with any interview, employers want specific things from candidates. They want to know that you have drive, passion, creativity, and a desire to learn new skills.[v]
Some of the most common competencies interviewers are looking for include:
Of course, the typical interview common sense still applies, perhaps even more so. Make sure you arrive on time, dressed impeccably, and with a printed copy of your CV.
Now that you know the basics of a competency-based interview, here are some closing thoughts to implement on the big day:
With these tips and preparation methods, you’re ready to ace your next competency-based job interview. Good luck!
Cheary, M. (2018). Competency-based interviews: What you need to know. [online] reed.co.uk. Available at: https://www.reed.co.uk/career-advice/competency-based-interviews-what-you-need-to-know/ [Accessed 19 Nov. 2020].
Indeed Careers (2019). How to Use the STAR Interview Response Technique | Indeed.com. [online] Indeed.com. Available at: https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/interviewing/how-to-use-the-star-interview-response-technique [Accessed 19 Nov. 2020].
Mason, D. (2019). Competency-based interviews | Prospects.ac.uk. [online] Prospects.ac.uk. Available at: https://www.prospects.ac.uk/careers-advice/interview-tips/competency-based-interviews [Accessed 14 Nov. 2020].
Ryan, L. (2016). 12 Qualities Employers Look for When They’re Hiring. [online] Forbes. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/lizryan/2016/03/02/12-qualities-employers-look-for-when-theyre-hiring/?sh=78f8f7262c24 [Accessed 19 Nov. 2020].
Seager, C. (2020). How to handle competency-based interview questions. [online] TotalJobs. Available at: https://www.totaljobs.com/advice/how-to-handle-competency-based-interview-questions [Accessed 14 Nov. 2020].