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Five Steps to Career Management

This Five-Step approach to career management sets out exactly what skills, tasks and priorities clients need to consider to move their career forward. Each of the steps has a list of questions which might be posed throughout someones working life. 

 This Five-Step approach is built around the following principles:

Values and Skills:  Identify what it is that you want from a job. Match this to your values and skills. Establish a satisfying and meaningful role for yourself. 

Personal Branding:  Recognise and manage your own attributes and your unique brand. Use this to effectively present yourself in a business environment. 

Networking:  Build a personal network. Exploit it for career opportunities. 

Performance:  Identify and develop your particular people skills to optimise personal performance in the work environment. 

Long-term Planning:  Identify long-term objectives. Use short-term goals and actions to achieve them. 

Value and Skills: Establish your work-life priorities by answering the following questions: 

  • What is meaningful in your work life? Where do you derive your sense of purpose from? How do you contribute? 
  • Define the rewards and incentives, financial and otherwise, that are truly important to you. How important is money? 
  • In which environment are you happiest (an office, working outdoors, from home)? How do you like to work (teams, autonomously)? What would be the ideal culture and environment for you to work in? 
  • If you had multiple offers to consider, which would be the deciding factors? 
  • How would you ideally like to balance your work, family and free time? How might this be achieved? What value do you place on your leisure time? 
  • How important to you is where you live? 
  • What are your skills, professional and personal? What jobs are best suited to these? 
  • In what country, industry and company do you want to work? Can you identify 20 companies for whom you would like to work and who could use your skills and experience? 
  • What makes you different from everyone else? What is your personal competitive advantage? Do you need to ask others (colleagues and family) to identify the latter? 
  • In what areas could you use more training or knowledge? If you are unhappy or dissatisfied in your current role, why is this? Is it something you can change, or do you need to move job? 

Personal Branding: Use the following questions to establish your personal brand and decide how best to market yourself: 

  • Do you have a quality CV that highlights all your achievements? Does it differ in style and tone from the standard business CV? Is it tailored to match each job for which you apply? 
  • Do you make covering letters individual? Are they specific to each job for which you apply? 
  • Is your CV up to date? 
  • Is your dress and appearance fitting for the company for which you are hoping to work or for whom you are already working? 
  • Have you pre-prepared answers to standard interview questions, including accomplishments, and prepared your own questions? Have you practised interviews? Have you identified your interview style? Do you need help? 
  • Are you prepared to chase every lead? If you do not hear from a prospective employer, do you follow up? 
  • What is your reputation in the workplace? How do others see you? What are your perceived strengths and weaknesses? 

Networking: The most effective way to advance your career is through personal networks. Answer the following questions: 

  • Have you compiled a list of family, friends and business contacts who might be able to help you? Have you carefully planned what you are going to say to them? 
  • Are you networking enough? Do you keep in touch with contacts? Do you do your best to be visible and help others? 
  • Are you using all available resources (career fairs, online recruiters, head-hunters)? 
  • Do you have a database to keep track of your applications, contacts and progress? Are you in danger of losing telephone numbers or contact names? 
  • Have you considered joining professional associations or business forums? If you are a member already, do you network with your peers? 
  • Have you identified your job targets? How much do you know about each of them, their history, culture and financial performance? How can you develop contacts in these organisations? 

Performance: Consider the following when managing your career from the workplace: 

  • Do you effectively deal with office politics? Could you improve on your people management skills? 
  • Do you have a trusting relationship with your colleagues? Do you have an internal personal network? Do you have a mentor or sponsor within your organisation?
  • Are people aware of the good work you do? 
  • Do you understand the culture and mission of your organisation? Do you understand your own role within that? 
  • Are you responsive to change and up-to-date with the latest technologies and improvements? 
  • Are you exploiting opportunities at work to expand your skills and knowledge? 

Long-Term Planning: Use the following to consider your whole career, and where you wish to go: 

  • Do you have a professional development plan? Have you considered relevant professional qualifications? Have you contacted universities and professional bodies with a view to obtaining these? 
  • Do you have an idea of where you would like to be in one, five and ten years’ time? How do you plan to achieve this? 
  • Do you have a careful financial planning programme? Do you effectively manage pensions, savings and debts? 
  • Do you have a fall-back option if you lose your job today? Are you continually updating your network in the event that you have to use it? 
  • Have you identified short-term goals? Are they in line with your medium and long-term strategies? 
Running a Customer Service Improvement Meeting

If you want to make customer service improvements, it’s important to get the input of your team.

One of the most effective ways of gathering their ideas is to run a quality improvement meeting. This checklist will help you to prepare for and run such a meeting, and also provides some pointers on what to do afterwards. 

Defining the Meeting

In general terms, you might describe the meeting as a ‘quality circle’ – a group of employees who come together to discuss issues with the processes and procedures in their particular area. 

You can run such a meeting from a perspective of: “What can we do to improve our levels of customer service?”

IF your team deal with customers on a daily basis, they are ideally placed to make service improvement suggestions. 

Some General Points to Consider 

  • Six to nine participants is considered ideal for a ‘quality circle’ meeting – enough to generate good ideas, yet not so large that people don’t get the chance to speak. If your team is larger than this, think about how you will give everyone the chance to contribute, e.g. discussing ideas in smaller groups before sharing them with the larger team. (Note: you do not have to restrict the meeting to just your own team. If you feel that others have a valuable contribution to make to the discussion, invite them too.)
  • It is vital your team feel they can offer up suggestions without having them dismissed. Ensure that everyone feels that they can openly discuss their ideas and opinions.
  • Try not to direct the meeting too rigidly. You are part of the team and will have valid input, but the others shouldn’t feel as if you are dictating the discussion. Contribute where necessary, but allow others to do the same.
  • Prevent the meeting from becoming a complaints’ forum. Improvement initiatives will come from having constructive conversations, not by dwelling on negatives.
  • The goal of a ‘quality circle’ meeting is not to finish up with a list of ideas that are ready to be implemented immediately. Some of the suggestions will need further investigation or development work.
ESFA Update: 29 April 2020

Latest information and actions from the Education and Skills Funding Agency for academies, schools, colleges, local authorities and further education providers.


ESFA Update further education: 29 April 2020

ESFA Update academies: 29 April 2020

ESFA Update local authorities: 29 April 2020

Information for further education
InformationLatest information on coronavirus (COVID-19)
Informationpost-16 provider relief scheme
Informationqualification funding approval 2020 to 2021
Informationprocured adult education budget (AEB) including 19 to 24 traineeships and advanced learner loans bursary (ALLB)
Informationnew flexibilities for EPAs during COVID-19
InformationESFA apprenticeship agreement for training providers – amendment
Informationreview of apprenticeships carry-in allocations for the 2019 to 2020 funding year
Informationminimum standards for all-age apprenticeships 2018 to 2019
InformationIDAMs super users contingency planning for loans agreements
Actionmigration of the application programme interfaces (API)
InformationNational Careers Service Virtual Jobs Fair
Information for academies
InformationLatest information on coronavirus (COVID-19)
Informationupdated PE and sport premium allocations for 2019 to 2020
Informationteachers’ pay grant (TPG) 2020 to 2021
Informationteachers’ pension employer contribution grant (TPECG) 2020 to 2021
Information for local authorities
InformationLatest information on coronavirus (COVID-19)
Informationupdated PE and sport premium allocations for 2019 to 2020
Informationschool improvement monitoring and brokering grant for April to August 2020
Informationteachers’ pay grant (TPG) 2020 to 2021
Informationteachers’ pension employer contribution grant (TPECG) 2020 to 2021
Informationteachers’ pension employer contribution grant (TPECG) supplementary fund
Informationlocal authority adult education budget and apprenticeship funds and 16 to 19 funds return for 2019 to 2020
Informationprocured adult education budget (AEB) including 19 to 24 traineeships and advanced learner loans bursary (ALLB)
Informationreview of apprenticeships carry-in allocations for the 2019 to 2020 funding year

Published 29 April 2020

New Free Online Learning Platform to Boost Workplace Skills
April 29, 2020

Online platform ‘The Skills Toolkit’ will help people to build their skills during the coronavirus outbreak and beyond.

A new online learning platform to help boost the nation’s skills while people are staying at home, has been launched today (28 April) by Education Secretary Gavin Williamson.

The Skills Toolkit

Free courses are available through a new online platform hosted on the gov.uk website, called The Skills Toolkit. The new platform gives people access to free, high-quality digital and numeracy courses to help build up their skills, progress in work and boost their job prospects.

These are the skills which are highly valued by employers and sought after in a wide range of jobs. With more people expected to be working and studying remotely in the coming months, the platform offers a great opportunity to learn new skills to help to get ahead online and gain the knowledge we’ll all need for the future. The platform also offers employees who have been furloughed an opportunity to keep up their skills development while they are at home.

Courses on offer cover a range of levels, from everyday maths and tools for using email and social media more effectively at work to more advanced training. Individuals will be able to access courses helping them to create great online content developed by the University of Leeds and the Institute of Coding, to understand the Fundamentals of Digital Marketing from Google Digital Garage and to learn how to code for data analysis from the Open University. All courses are online and flexible, so people can work through them at their own pace.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

I know how difficult the recent months have been and the huge changes the coronavirus has brought on the daily lives of us all.

The high-quality and free to access courses on offer on our new online learning platform, The Skills Toolkit, will help those whose jobs have been affected by the outbreak, and people looking to boost their skills while they are staying at home, protecting the NHS and saving lives.

I want businesses to encourage their furloughed employees to use The Skills Toolkit to improve their knowledge, build their confidence and support their mental health so they have skills they need to succeed after the coronavirus outbreak.

The Skills Toolkit is designed to help people gain new skills while they are staying at home and boost their confidence. The courses have been selected on the advice of experts and leading employers to make sure they meet the needs of business, not just for today but in the future. This is just a first step towards assisting with the longer-term recovery to boost employability across the country, helping people to build up the skills employers need during time spent at home.

Employers are also encouraged to use The Skills Toolkit to help to support and develop furloughed employees who are interested in learning from home.

Matthew Fell, CBI Chief UK Policy Director said:

Online learning is a great way for people to upgrade their skills at any time, but never more so than during a lockdown.

The toolkit’s heavy emphasis on the skills that businesses need are welcome.

Maths and digital skills are highly prized by employers, so for those who take the chance to upskill they can help improve their job prospects and career progression. I’d encourage all businesses to make their staff aware of this learning opportunity.

Career Planning – A Four Step Planning Process

Career planning is an ongoing process that can help you manage your learning and development. The following four-step planning process can be used by those still at school, a school leaver, an adult adding on skills or an adult changing your job or career.

Career planning is the continuous process of:

  • thinking about your interests, values skills and preferences; exploring the life, work and learning options available to you; ensuring that your work fits with your personal circumstances; and
  • continuously fine-tuning your work and learning plans to help you manage the changes in your life and the world of work.

You can revisit and make use of this process all the way through your career.

Start At The Step That Is Most Relevant For You Now.

The career planning process has four steps:

Step 1: Knowing Yourself 

Step 2: Finding Out

Step 3: Making Decisions 

Step 4: Taking Action


Begin by thinking about where you are now, where you want to be and how you’re going to get there.

Once you have thought about where you are at now and where you want to be, you can work on getting to know your skills, interests and values.

Begin by asking yourself the following questions: 

Where am I at now?

Where do I want to be?

What do I want out of a job or career? 

What do I like to do?

What are my strengths? 

What is important to me?

At the end of this step, you will have a clearer idea of your work or learning goal and your individual preferences. You can use this information about yourself as your personal ‘wish list’ against which you can compare all the information you gather in Step 2: finding out.

Your personal preferences are very useful for helping you choose your best option at this point in time, which you can do in Step 3: making decisions.


This step is about exploring the occupations and learning areas that interest you. Once you have some idea ofyour occupational preferences you can research the specific skills and qualifications required for those occupations.

Explore occupations that interest you and ask yourself how do my skills and interests match up with these occupations?

Where are the gaps?

What options do I have to gain these skills or qualify for these occupations? 

What skills do I need?

Where is the work?

At the end of this step, you will have a list of preferred occupations and/or learning options.


This step involves comparing your options, narrowing down your choices and thinking about what suits you best at this point in time.

Ask yourself:

What are my best work/training options?

How do they match with my skills, interests and values? 

How do they fit with the current labour market?

How do they fit with my current situation and responsibilities? 

What are the advantages and disadvantages of each option? 

What will help and what will hinder me?

What can I do about it?

At the end of this step, you will have narrowed down your options and have more of an idea of what you need to do next to help you achieve your goals.


Here you plan the steps you need to take to put your plan into action.

Use all you have learnt about your skills, interests and values together with the information you have gathered about the world of work to create your plan.

Begin by asking yourself:

What actions/steps will help me achieve my work, training and career goals? 

Who will support me?

At the end of this step you will have:

  • A plan to help you explore your options further (eg work experience, work shadowing or more research); or 
  • a plan which sets out the steps to help you achieve your next learning or work goal.

Decide which step is relevant for you right now and start from there.

How To Break Bad News?
April 29, 2020

In these challenging times, it is likely that bad news will have to be shared with members of your workforce. The following provides some hints and tips on how to break bad news in a way that ensures everyone understands the message.

Bad news can happen at any time so it is important that people understand how to communicate such information in a way that makes the process easier for those on the receiving end. This article offers some points to consider when preparing to deliver bad news.

Bad news may constitute any number of things in the workplace: redundancies, demotion, resignations, the loss of a major contract, or the death of or injury to a colleague/patient/person, etc. Whatever the situation, the following points are worth considering.

Choose a Suitable Environment

It is always best to deliver bad news in a room where everyone feels comfortable. Somewhere light, airy and spacious is often best. There should be enough seats so that no one has to stand. It is always best to tell everyone affected by the news as quickly as possible and at the same time, so gather everyone together.

Ensure that the surroundings are quiet to ensure everyone can clearly hear what is being said and that there will be no interruptions. Interruptions at such times can cause people to feel awkward or that the situation is not being given the respect it deserves.

Preparing the Audience

Good practice dictates that it is best to come straight to the point, but that the audience should be prepared with a warning shot. It will be helpful to use opening lines such as:

  • This may come as a shock to you. 
  • I have some bad news to share with you. 
  • You may already have some apprehensions about what I have to say. The news is not good. 

After opening in this way, it is best to deliver the bad news directly in clear language. The audience will absorb this raw information in the way most suitable to them.

It is vital to consider the tone of voice and body language.

It is best to speak clearly and calmly with empathy and understanding demonstrated in facial expressions and subtle gestures. 

Break the Information into Bite-Size Chunks

When breaking bad news, nerves and shock can sometimes set-in. When this happens, people tend to speak much faster and less clearly than they would normally. It is important to remain calm and to deliver the information in manageable pieces. This will enable the audience to both hear and absorb everything that is being said.

Clarifying Understanding

After each piece of information, it can be helpful for both the audience and the speaker to clarify understanding. This will help the members of the audience to think about what has been said and to speak up if they don’t understand something. 

It is not always best to clarify understanding after every point, as audience members may have lots of questions – many unrelated to the specific point being discussed. The speaker should consider the situation before deciding when to break for questions. 

Take it Slowly

It is important not to ramble on and bombard the audience with too much and/or too detailed information. Always consider how much the audience need to know at this particular point in time. Is there information that would be better left out until a follow-up session or until the audience members have had time to digest and come to terms with the initial shock? 

Allow the audience to ask questions to clarify their own understanding. If the audience is large, this is better left to the end of the announcement.

Provide Written Information

In some situations, it is helpful to provide people with written information about the news they have just received. This is the best medium for detail.

As well as providing clear and direct information, the written document should include contact details for those who can answer any remaining questions. If any follow-up meetings or further events have been arranged, these should also be detailed in the written document.

Five Transferable Skills That Make Every Graduate More Employable
April 28, 2020

The following ‘hints and tips’ may be of interest to any graduate looking to apply for their first job post-university. 

We’ve all seen the maxim: no job because no experience; no experience because no job.

But whoever created that maxim clearly didn’t think about transferable skills.

Transferable skills are the abilities and competencies that accompany you with every career transition. You developed a great range throughout university that are highly sought-after by employers.

Here are the most desirable transferable skills you have gained throughout your degree that can help you throughout the job application process.

Writing and Communication

As emojis, Snapchat and Instagram stories become a preferred way of speaking, 44% of hiring managers feel that a solid writing ability is lacking in many new recruits.

However, as a recent graduate, you have writing and communication skills in abundance.

Not only have you spent the last few years refining your language to hit that 2,000-word word count, you’re familiar with spelling and grammar basics and can write both formally and colloquially, too.

Employers don’t want the next Shakespeare; they want someone who can write efficiently, clearly and concisely via reports or emails, for example. Therefore, highlight your writing proficiency on your CV to show you’re a master of communication.


All employers expect their staff to be team players, regardless of whether they prefer to work independently or not. And this applies to all roles and industries.

Throughout your studies, you will have worked in a team, perhaps in a seminar task or in a society, for example.

Group tasks also develop a range of other skills such as active listening, collaboration and cooperation, commitment, negotiation and a positive attitude, which all employers seek in new hires.

When listing teamwork as a skill on your CV, make sure you explain how you obtained skills and precisely and concisely as possible, rather than what your team did collectively.


The majority of professionals will present at some point throughout their career.

While it’s more common in client-facing sectors, such as sales, it’s also an increasingly common part of the interview process when you reach management level.

Even if you didn’t give a full-blown presentation during your degree, you will have exercised your communication skills by speaking up in lectures, seminars and workshops.

When discussing your presentation skills in the job application process, don’t limit yourself to being able to communicate effectively and channel nervous energy into confidence and enthusiasm. Remember that there was plenty of planning, preparation and organisation involved too. Present yourself as a well-rounded candidate.

Project Management

The ability to manage your time and workload effectively is imperative in the workplace. You will have your own tasks to take care of, but you will also be part of wider projects, sometimes spanning various departments and plenty of people.

And you don’t want to be the one that drops the ball.

As a graduate, you’re no stranger to the concept of project management after the tight ship you ran to meet coursework and exam deadlines. Explain to employers how you’re organised your resources and prioritised your time to achieve the best results possible. Also, delve into the obstacles and issues you faced and how you overcame them to prove that you’re a problem solver too.

Research and Critical Thinking

Like any course, the purpose of a degree is to understand and explore the subject matter in more detail. As a result, you’re a pro in the art of research and critical thinking – which are in-demand assets amongst the workplace.

The process involves thinking about abstract concepts and sources, evaluating them and then forming conclusions and making decisions. As a result, critical thinkers can present coherent reasoning around projects and proposals.

While you may have been a critical thinker when writing essays, professionals do the same every day, such as when planning a marketing campaign.

Therefore, draw on your critical thinking skills in your job applications and interviews, discussing how you evaluated, reasoned and made decisions throughout your studies and can bring this skill to the workplace.

Supporting the Mental Wellbeing of You and Your Team

By Remploy

All of our working lives have been heavily impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. Millions of us are now working from home, on furlough, or dealing with additional stresses and challenges in our lives, all of which can have a negative effect on our mental health.

That’s why at Remploy, we’re here to make sure we’re offering you the right support during this difficult time.

The Access to Work Mental Health Support Service, funded by the Department for Work and Pensions, is available at no charge to anyone with depression, anxiety, stress or other mental health issues affecting their work. 

Completely confidential, this service provides:

  • Tailored work-focused mental health support for nine months (currently delivered remotely)
  • Suitable coping strategies
  • A support plan
  • Advice on workplace adjustments at home, in an office, or other place of work
  • Practical advice and support.

Get in touch today to find out more by chatting with us online, email a2wmhss@remploy.co.uk to arrange a call back, or book your place on our next webinar on 28 April 2020.

ESFA Post-16 Provider Relief Scheme

Information about support available for post-16 training providers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.


ESFA post-16 provider relief scheme COVID-19 response: policy document

ESFA post-16 provider relief scheme: application guidance

ESFA post-16 provider relief scheme: application cashflow template 

ESFA post-16 provider relief scheme: model interim payment terms


Applications can now be made to Provider Relief Scheme.

To be eligible to receive support from the scheme you must hold a direct contract that was procured as a service under Public Contract Regulations 2015. This applies to apprenticeship contracts for services that commenced in January 2018, for delivery to smaller employers that do not pay the levy (non-levy), and adult education budget contracts for services that commenced in November 2017.

Please note that we are not yet able to confirm our position around providing support for learning funded through European Social Fund (ESF) co-financing contracts. This is not a domestic funding stream and we therefore need to agree our approach with the ESF Managing Authority.

In addition to holding an eligible contract you will be required to meet the following conditions:

  • 2018 to 2019 qualification achievement rates which are above 40%. However, providers with rates below that can submit an exceptional case that they are a critical supplier delivering niche provision
  • submitted their latest financial accounts to ESFA on time
  • not been judged by Ofsted as making insufficient progress as a result of a new provider monitoring visit
  • delivered under the contract prior to April 2020
  • plan to deliver learning under the contract in May and June 2020
  • not furloughed the staff required to deliver the contract (or they intend to bring furloughed staff back into work and can evidence this)
  • not received a notice of termination from the ESFA

If applying to support delivery of a contract to deliver apprenticeships to smaller employers (non-levy), the applicant must also deliver apprenticeships and appear on the Register of Apprenticeship Training providers (RoATP) as a main provider.

Providers will need to demonstrate that they have a need for the funding requested in order to maintain capacity within their organisations to support learners and respond to the economic recovery.

If successful, you will need to provide a summary of how the support funding has been used, and you must retain evidence for audit purposes that this has been used for eligible costs; we reserve the right to recover unused funds or funds used inappropriately.

Eligible training providers should read our policy and guidance before making an application using the link below.

The closing date for applications is Thursday 30 April. We will respond to your application by Friday 15 May.

Apply for the ESFA post-16 provider relief scheme.

Published 24 April 2020

DWP Procurement Survey
April 27, 2020

ERSA has been asked to collect information for the DWP.

Please note that this is in addition to the Sector Resilience survey. Responses are anonymous and requested from ALL organisations.

The DWP is considering the timescales for when to go out to market for the Employability and Health Related Services Umbrella Agreement (EHRSUA), this will replace the current Umbrella Agreement.

Depending on the structure of your organisation, this survey should be completed by a Chief Executive, Managing Director, Business Development or equivalent.

Please allow 5-10 minutes to complete the survey, by 29 April, 5pm


The Employability Sector Resilience Survey – deadline extended to 30 April, 5pm

Please set aside 20 minutes to complete the survey – every question in the survey is relevant and will gather information that will be used.

Responses will be anonymised. The data collected is being analysed by ERSA with Oxford University.

ERSA will be using the survey information to inform on how Covid-19 has affected the sector, organisations that have furloughed staff, innovation in delivery, capacity to take on additional work and organisations struggling to survive.

We are also populating a UK map showing who delivers where, to develop partnerships in localities.

Please complete this to inform employability commissioners and funders of the current situation and the sector’s readiness to respond.