Choosing a career is not a one-off decision made when we are young – it’s a lifelong process involving many decisions along the way – some forced on us through unemployment, illness or changes in circumstances beyond our control and others taken by choice.
People of all ages are currently facing Covid-19 related challenges as they find their employment, training or educational pathways impacted by the ongoing difficulties.
The Department for the Economy’s Careers Service is available to help people of all ages and at all stages of their career journey – including young people at school, anyone interested in changing jobs, or those facing redundancy or furloughed due to the pandemic.
Still at school?
Careers advisers continue to work closely with post-primary schools offering interviews via video call, email or by telephone to all schools. The aim is to ensure that every young person making key decisions about education, training and employment, including apprenticeships, has access to impartial and well informed advice. Advisers are really keen to include parents in this process so contact your school about how you can get involved in your child’s careers decisions making.
I’ve lost my job – what can I do?
Losing your job is a traumatic experience especially if it is totally unexpected. Many people find alternative work quickly whether in the same line of work or something completely different, including self-employment. It really helps to talk through your options and get expert advice on jobs currently available, what employers are looking for, and the support available if you are interested in setting up your own business.
Interested in training and education opportunities?
This may be the time to consider making a complete career change, maybe to explore something you have always wanted to do but were not quite sure how to go about it. Careers advisers can help you explore the training or education opportunities best suited to your particular circumstances and how to access them.
I’m finding it difficult to get a job? Are there things I can do to help improve my chances?
There are things you can do to prepare for your next opportunity to make the most of the time away from the workplace. These include:
Preparing for job interviews
Sometimes a daunting task, especially if you have been in steady employment for a long time. You can get help with things like preparing CVs and completing application forms. For many people this might be the first time they have had to consider these kinds of activities and a chat with a careers adviser can really help make sense of what is required in the job application process.
Identifying the skills and qualifications you already have is the first step in effective job searching. It’s important to understand how you can use your skills and experience in an alternative job role. People often underestimate how important transversal skills are – skills that are not specifically related to a particular job that can be used in a wide variety of work setting. These include problem solving, communication, teamwork, leadership, adaptability, resilience, independent and critical thinking and initiative.
There is currently a range of free online learning opportunities for those who have been made redundant or furloughed. These include short specific skills-based, as well as academic, courses, provided by universities, further education colleges and a number of other local providers. This offer is being updated and expanded all the time and represents a valuable way to develop your skill-set, or even consider a completely different career path in one of the sectors where demand continues to be high.
Online courses are available at all levels, right through to postgraduate and all can be done from the comfort and safety of home.
Software based tools
Adults and young people can now use a range of recently enhanced software based career-matching tools which are available online through the Careers Pages on NI Direct. Two main tools are available – KUDOS manly targeted at adults and Careers A-Z designed for young people. Each of these interactive tools enables the exploration of career and training opportunities and will help you to evaluate and plan for what’s next in your career.
The Careers Service also produces user-friendly information E-zines, outlining emerging and growth sectors which will be offering employment opportunities. Also available are monthly job trend bulletins showing the overview of sectors where opportunities exist.
You can contact the Careers Service for help by phoning 0300 200 7820 or by going online at NI Direct Careers to arrange a chat with a careers adviser.
nijobfinder’s career advice area is packed with tips, guidance and advice on working during the pandemic.