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Session 7: Creating my action plan

Introduction

Red, yellow, blue and green jigsaw pieces
Figure 7.1

In Sessions 5 and 6 you have been looking at how to start working towards your goals. You may already have an idea of where you want to get to and what difficulties you may face. You have taken an overview of your circumstances and possible constraints, as well as what aspects of your life might help you achieve what you want to do.

If you are still undecided about your ultimate goal you may want to revisit one of the earlier sections as reflection is an ongoing process without deadlines!

In this session you will start to think about what your first or next step towards your goal will be and where you can find the information and support you need.

Learning outcomes

After working through this session you will have:

  • an understanding of the various skills that could be developed within a caring role, and how some of these are transferable to other contexts

  • an appreciation of personal qualities developed through a caring role

  • an idea of the directions carers might like to go in

  • an idea of what it is possible for carers to achieve in their immediate future

  • an understanding of the learning options open to carers

  • an idea, or ideas, about possible learning paths

  • as a learner, how to go about finding out what you need to know

  • the ability to use information technology (IT) to carry out reflective activities in writing and communicating

  • the ability to use the internet to find information useful to you

  • the ability to explore and use new ways of expressing ideas.

Stepping stones and my action plan

Someone typing
Figure 7.2

The following activity involves planning the steps along the way to reaching your goal. Here you need to think about where you are trying to get to, and within what sort of timescale. Think very carefully about what you need to do to get there, starting from ‘now’ and where you are at the moment. Just take a moment to think about the journey you have taken in doing this course – think back over the activities you have done and what you have learned from:

  • your past experiences (Activities 1.1 and 1.2)
  • the skills and qualities you have (Activity 3.1)
  • anything that will help you, as well as any difficulties you may need to overcome (Activity 6.2)
  • any people that you know will be there to help you (Activity 6.3).

You may in fact have several goals in mind: some may be quite specific and achievable within a short timescale; others may be broader in scope, longer term, and perhaps more complex. Think in terms of bite-size chunks or stepping stones. Thinking about a series of small steps makes it easier to identify and plan what a next step might be.

Remember, there is a lot of information and advice available if you would like further guidance on planning your future. If you would like help with issues that this course has raised for you, visit The Open University’s Careers Advisory Service or any of the websites listed in the Resources section of this course.

This course has been informed by the experiences of carers who have taken part in the same process of reflection as you have here.

Jade, for example, surprised herself by reflecting on her own qualities and skills in the making of this course:

Just thinking about it today, I’ve kinda amazed myself … I’ve not really thought about it properly until now, I’ve kinda shocked myself, just, well I have actually achieved something!

All the people you’ve met here are at different stages on their own journey. Many now feel more confident about the route they are already taking or have been inspired to try something different.

Before you write your own action plan, you might like to look at an example. We have created this one based on the steps that Jade might have set out for herself while she was thinking about volunteering.

Table 7.1 Jade’s long-term goal and first next step
My long-term goal

I’d like to get a career going – something to do with helping other people – maybe children or young people.

I know I’ll need some qualifications, but I don’t know what they are.

What I am going to doWhere I will go for help or adviceWhen I will do this
I need to get involved in something straight away so that I’m not stuck at home.I need to talk to a careers advisor or my local college to find out my options.I’ll make an appointment for next week.
I could volunteer? That’s flexible and might get me some useful experience to help me decide what to do. I need to check whether that will affect my finances.I need to see about volunteering. I could talk to a local charity, or I could contact a volunteer centre.I’m going to ring the volunteer centre tomorrow and see about a meeting.
I can’t start college right now so I’m going to find out as much information as I can, to plan what I might do next Autumn.Are there any training or apprenticeship opportunities?I’ll see if college knows about this? Next Monday.
I need to make sure my finances are ok so I’ll talk to my local carers centre, or even Citizens Advice.I’ll do that in the next week too – the volunteer centre might know.
The first step I am going to take will be to …
Focus on finding somewhere to volunteer, so that I can get going with something straight away
So I’m going to find out online about my local volunteering centre. I’ll do that tonight and ring them tomorrow.

Activity 7.1

Activity 7.1 My long-term goal and first next step

Timing: We suggest spending around 15 minutes on this activity.

Go to Activity 7.1 in your Reflection Log. Once you have completed the activity, make sure you save the document again.

Or use this document  to fill in a table setting out your long-term goal and first next steps – your action plan – and then write a sentence starting ‘The first step I am going to take will be to…’

If you are working in a group, or with a mentor, you may want to discuss and share your plan and your sentence with others.

Summary

You have now completed Session 7. This session focused on how to create an action plan and it helped you review your learning. Session 8 asks you to reflect on what you have learned from journeying through this course.

To consolidate your reflective learning on this part of the course you may like to complete the following quiz, which was inspired by the Action Plan Tool available from the National Careers Service website.

To build on Activity 7.1 you may want to use this tool for yourself, as it will help you to produce a detailed action plan for what you might want to do.

Quiz

To conclude this part of the course and consolidate your learning you may like to complete the final quiz. If you wish to gain a digital badge, you must achieve 40% or more in this quiz.

This quiz provides evidence that you are achieving the following learning outcomes:

  • a clearer understanding of the experiences that carers could reflect on, including their roles, actions and decisions
  • an understanding of the various skills that could be developed within a caring role, and how some of these are transferable to other contexts
  • an appreciation of personal qualities developed through a caring role
  • an idea of the directions carers might like to go in
  • an idea of what it is possible for carers to achieve in their immediate future
  • an understanding of the learning options open to carers
  • an idea, or ideas, about possible learning paths
  • as a learner, how to go about finding out what you need to know
  • the ability to use information technology (IT) to carry out reflective activities in writing and communicating
  • the ability to use the internet to find information useful to you
  • the ability to explore and use new ways of expressing ideas.

If you need a reminder about the quizzes and the criteria for getting a badge, visit How to complete the course quizzes.

Session 8: What I’ve learned

Acknowledgements

This course was written by Lindsay Hewitt, Sarah Burton and Julie Robson.

Except for third party materials and otherwise stated (see terms and conditions), this content is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence.   

The material acknowledged below is Proprietary and used under licence (not subject to Creative Commons Licence). Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following sources for permission to reproduce material in this unit:

Images

Figure 7.1: iStockphoto.com

Figure 7.2: © Mountains Creative/iStockphoto.com

Every effort has been made to contact copyright owners. If any have been inadvertently overlooked, the publishers will be pleased to make the necessary arrangements at the first opportunity.

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