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 [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] 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.