Planning a better future
Planning a better future

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Planning a better future

Why study this course?

Lynne Johnson, one of the contributors to this course, will now give you a bit of background into why you might like to study this course.

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Transcript

Welcome to the Planning a better future course. By studying this course, you’ll be taking your first steps into developing a better future for yourself.

There may be many reasons why you’ve chosen to study this course. It might be to help you think about where you're going in your career, and what you’d like to achieve, or simply for personal interest, and to develop your confidence as a learner.

If you complete the short assessment at the end of each section, you'll be able to collect a badge. These virtual badge provides a form of recognition for your learning and you can display them on your social media profiles – for example, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Planning a better future is made up of three sections. In Section 1, you will consider how you got here, reflecting on your roles in life, your confidence in those roles, and positive and negative experiences you've had; and realising your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

Section 2 will look at where you want to go, and the changes you want to make. This section will enable you to gather information and consider what options are available to you and lastly, Section 3 covers how to get to your planned destination. This involves creating your own action plan, looking up possibilities of work experience, voluntary work, networking, and creating contacts. It also considers how to compete job applications, and prepares you for interviews. Finally, you will look at using social media to aid in networking.

At the end of the three sections, you will find information on next steps, which will signpost you to relevant websites and resources relating to further development of your learning in relation to planning a better future.

We do encourage you to study every section of this course, as each section is relevant to the next one, and often refers to activities previously carried out. The course is flexible, and there’s no time limit for completion. You can take it in small chunks, working whenever you like.

We recommend you try to engage with all of the sections in order to receive a statement of participation at the end, which recognises the learning outcomes you have met. You can then show this to your employer as evidence of your learning, if you wish.

There are guided activities throughout the course, which will help you to reflect upon your own practise, and a range of interactive quizzes at the end of each section, which gives you the opportunity to earn your badge for that section. You might find it useful to talk about your work in this course with a friend, partner, or work colleague. It might help you to stay motivated, and also give you new ideas.

I do hope you enjoy the course, and I wish you luck for your future career development.

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The guided activities throughout this course will help you to reflect on your life-long and life-wide experiences to help you to plan for a better future. Throughout the course you will find activities that ask you to write down your thoughts and feelings based on the issues being discussed. There will be a few simple questions that encourage you to focus your thinking. It would be helpful for you to spend some time thinking about what you have learned within each section, and how it relates to your current situation and future goals.

These activities are not there to test you, but designed to help you reflect in more detail upon what you have read. These activity spaces are entirely for your own use to help you recognise what you have learned. Nobody else will see what you write here. The aim is to help you become more reflective, by bringing together aspects of both your personal and work experiences so you can review and learn from them.

Here’s an interview with Steven Donoghue about combining work and study.

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Transcript

Lynne Johnson
Hi, Dan. Thanks for joining us today. Tell us a little bit about what you’re doing at the moment.
Daniel Morrissey
I’m a trainee quantity surveyor for a company called Willmott Dixon and I’m also at university part time one day a week.
Lynne Johnson
Which university are you at?
Daniel Morrissey
Liverpool John Moores University.
Lynne Johnson
And are you also working with Willmott Dixon in Liverpool?
Daniel Morrissey
Ah, no. I’m working with Willmott Dixon in Birmingham. But I started university in Liverpool. So, because I knew all the lecturers and everything, I thought I’d stay at Liverpool University.
Lynne Johnson
And so what’s your career goal in the end?
Daniel Morrissey
To be a quantity surveyor. Long term aim, is to be a commercial manager.
Lynne Johnson
So it sounds like not only are you thinking about being a quantity surveyor, but you’ve even got a longer-term goal in mind.
Daniel Morrissey
Yeah. Yeah. Hopefully, yeah.
Lynne Johnson
And how did you decide that being a quantity surveyor was going to be right for you?
Daniel Morrissey
My friend’s dad was a quantity surveyor, and I used to always be around their house and he used to be saying how good his job is, what he used to do and everything, and it seemed like it was quite interesting. So that was what I first thought about being a quantity surveyor and then I looked it up myself and it seemed something that I’d quite enjoy, because it’s a lot to do with maths and math was my best subject at school. So I decided then go down the route of being a quantity surveyor.
Lynne Johnson
And when you heard your friend’s dad talking about being a quantity surveyor, what bits of it was it that really attracted you to that?
Daniel Morrissey
There was quite a few bits, it was on site as well, which interested me as well, because I didn’t want to work somewhere where I was always in the office and he was always going out for meetings with clients and it seems like every day wasn’t the same, every day was different and that was something that I wanted to do when I decided about what job I wanted. So I knew I wanted to do a job that wasn’t the same every single day and quantity surveyor seemed like the right role.
Lynne Johnson
And were there other careers you were considering at that time?
Daniel Morrissey
There wasn’t at the time, because I was only just working out what I wanted to at A levels and stuff like that. So I didn’t really think that far ahead at that age.
Lynne Johnson
OK. So you started to make this decision to become a quantity surveyor at the time when you were doing your A levels.
Daniel Morrissey
Yeah. Yeah.
Lynne Johnson
So once you’d made a decision to become a quantity surveyor, did you apply straight for university at that point?
Daniel Morrissey
No, I didn’t. I decided to do it a different route, and become a trainee quantity surveyor for a PQS firm and it was at the time when there was a recession. So unfortunately, I got made redundant.
But then I decided to do it through university and I went to university for two years, full-time and then I decided now was the right time to become a trainee quantity surveyor, and actually work at a company. So I decided to do my last year part-time, and work for Willmott Dixon doing, like gaining experience.
So it’s helped me, because I can actually relate to my course and everything that the lecturer is talking about, and trying to explain, I can see it from a practical point of view, as well as from a written point of view.
Lynne Johnson
So it sounds like your plans really changed from the beginning, when you started as a trainee surveyor and then that didn’t go to plan, and you lost your job at that point. I mean how was that at that time? How did that feel?
Daniel Morrissey
At the time when I got my redundant, I was panicking and everything but then I spoke to my manager at the time and he said that due to the construction industry at that present moment, he said it’s best to go to do a degree full-time and that’s what I did and I’m glad I did that as well, in a way, because I got time to think more about my university, and the assignments, and exams and then it all worked out for the good in the end.
Lynne Johnson
So whilst at first it felt a bit, oh my goodness, this isn’t going to plan, after getting a bit of advice from someone in the industry, you actually reflected that a different route could get you there just as well and how do you feel about what you’re doing at the moment? Are you enjoying it?
Daniel Morrissey
Yeah, I’m really enjoying it at the moment, because I’m working four days a week. But then I’ve got that one day a week where I’m at university where I can still speak to lecturers, and gain more knowledge about the dissertation I’ve got to do, or any assignments that I’ve got to do. It’s a good balance, I think.
Lynne Johnson
So you find that the two things really complement each other-- the working and studying that subject alongside it.
Daniel Morrissey
Yeah. Yeah.
Lynne Johnson
So what skills do you think you particularly gained from working alongside studying?
Daniel Morrissey
I think I’ve gained people skills, and how to speak to different types of people – from subcontractors to my colleagues and I think that’s quite helped me and the knowledge and experience I’ve gained from doing work experience, and doing work, working and doing that part time, degree part time, I think I’ve gained a lot more knowledge and experience doing it that way as well.
Lynne Johnson
So if you want to become a quantity surveyor, what are the most important skills you need for that role?
Daniel Morrissey
I think you’ve got to be very organised, and keep on top of everything knowing what work you’ve got to do in the next week, or the week after. I think you’ve got to be quite motivated as well, because the jobs are maybe for a year. The project’s maybe for a year, or maybe two years some times. So you’ve got to keep staying motivated, and seeing the end goal, which is very important.
Lynne Johnson
You mentioned that you had advice from your friend’s dad, and you also spoke to your manager when that job hit redundancy. What other kind of career advice have you had? Who else has kind of given you support in your career planning?
Daniel Morrissey
Well when I was applying for the job at Willmott Dixon, I’d got advice off my lecturer to see what kind of, what to write in a cover letter, and how to make myself come across and I also went to a career zone which is at the university and they showed me how to write a good CV, because mine was too long at the time and they shortened it down, and showed me how to present all my work experience and my grades. I think that really helped. It was beneficial.
Lynne Johnson
So it sounds like through your career planning, you’ve had a number of sources of advice all the way through and some of them have been the more formal kind of careers advice, but also just advice from friends, people you’re working with, and also your lecturers.
Daniel Morrissey
Yeah. Yeah.
Lynne Johnson
And looking forwards, I mean, how do you think your university career and this work placement will make a difference to you actually finding work?
Daniel Morrissey
I think it will help massively, because I’ve got the experience, well I’ll have the experience and then I’ll also have the degree, which will help me with the knowledge of my role and also I’ll be able to deal with difficult situations, because I may have had them before. So I know how to adapt and change situations to make them more beneficial.
Lynne Johnson
And is there anything that concerns you in that kind of forward planning? Any barriers you see that might be standing in your way to you moving forwards?
Daniel Morrissey
Only that it’s I know that I have to do work outside of my job in university to make sure that I complete my assignments on time, and revise my exams and I think that’s the only real barrier at the moment.
Lynne Johnson
So it’s really just the difficulty of kind of planning your time well, and making sure that you do well at both your studies and also the commitments of working alongside that.
Daniel Morrissey
Yeah. Yeah.
Lynne Johnson
So how are your managing to pay for your training?
Daniel Morrissey
Willmott Dixon are funding my training at the moment. So they’ll pay for my degree and also they’re paying for my RICS, which is the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. So that’s good.
Lynne Johnson
Great and that’s the accreditation you need, isn’t it, to actually call yourself a professional chartered surveyor in the end and is that normal that a company in construction would help fund your training?
Daniel Morrissey
Yeah, yeah. It is in the construction industry.
Lynne Johnson
Great. Thank you very much for your time today, Dan. That’s been really interesting.
Daniel Morrissey
That’s great. Thank you.
End transcript
 
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