Nicola Knight Changing Career, Changing Job, Lockdown...
COVID-19 - a virus we had never heard of until a few months ago. It has shaken the whole world and we descended into chaos.
We saw a surge in demand for health and care workers across the UK, whilst the Education sector was thrown into turmoil as schools closed, leaving agency staff confused and potentially, unemployed.
Panic set in and mass hysteria with the daily news reporting the negative impact that COVID-19 would have on our services.
There was fear that the NHS would be overrun... The private healthcare was asked to step into the public health arena and retired medical professionals were called back to work.
As the healthcare stepped up their recruiting, residential care homes were closing their doors to all. After all, how could they take in agency workers when the residents were the most vulnerable and needed reassuring that the staff caring for them were safe from the virus.?
Sadly the Government interventions were a little too late for many homes and too many workers and residents lost their lives...
The education sector was another that was deeply impacted, but fortunately, the furlough scheme was awarded to agency workers within education too. Our Education team worked relentlessly to keep our education professionals informed of all relevant information and ensured we furloughed all the staff who were eligible to be furloughed, with our education staff rating us 9.9 out of 10 for the way in which we managed this process.
We also appreciate many of the other sectors have been hit badly, including retail, tourism, hospitality, and many more.
With many businesses closed and people currently furloughed from work, people have had the time to consider their futures, and as such we have seen an influx of people from various walks of life registering to work with us at Vetro Recruitment.
A survey was previously carried out by PeopleCert which showed that 40% of furloughed employees are currently considering a career change, however, 60% of these do not have the essential skills that employers require.
We also ran our own survey asking the public if they feel their job is secure following this pandemic, and an astounding 67% of respondents said they are worried about the security of their jobs!
With this crucial information in mind, we wanted to take the opportunity to offer some advice for anyone who is currently looking for a career in care, nursing, or the education sectors to help you not only upskill but to show you how to stand out from the crowd and land your new job.
Why are you looking for a change?
The first thing to do is to take a step back and reflect on your past experiences. Why are you looking for a change of career? What have you enjoyed the most about previous experiences and what do you dislike? What are you looking for in your new career? (eg. working school hours, school holidays off, shift work, looking for a rewarding career, career progression opportunities, etc.)
This lockdown has given people the time to address what is important to them, and many who are wanting a new career within our sectors have stated that they are looking for a career with social impact; people are wanting to give something back.
Is the prospect of working in a children’s home appealing? Or maybe working as a care assistant or a residential support worker? Maybe a teaching assistant role sounds perfect for you to work around family commitments? Or you are keen to work in a nursing environment with ambitions for career progression into more nursing jobs?
You have had this time off work to reflect. How does the thought of returning to your current job make you feel? If it is filling you with dread or anxiety, then you know you are not in the right role for you.
Have you looked at what courses there are that you can be undertaking whilst on lockdown? Many companies are offering some free courses across all sectors, which is a great starting point for you to see if the chosen new career is indeed right for you after all.
For some free and low-cost course in health and social care, take a browse here:
Alternatively, across all of our sectors, experience and life skills can be equally as important. Let’s look at the education sector. We have many applying for our Teaching Assistant (TA) roles. These are perfect for those who wish to work around their children being in school, but also having the school holidays off with their kids. Whilst there are Teaching Assistant courses you can undertake online or in college, the best TA’s are those with practical experience of working with children.
Some examples of working with children include, but are not limited to, volunteering at a local scouts group or youth club, a sports coach or assistant, volunteering or working at a children’s drama club, or dance studio, helping at your local school with extra-curricular activities… the opportunities are vast to gain some experience.
We know the future workplace is going to be tough. We know job security is a cause for concern and sadly people will be facing redundancies. We also know that the demand for work within our sectors is increasing by the day. So what can you do now to position yourself as the BEST candidate for these jobs?
Think about these questions and answer them in a covering email:
- Why would you be great at the job?
- How are you different from all the other candidates?
- How can you stand out?
- Why should we hire you?
- What are your future ambitions?
Use your email to answer these questions inline with the job description, but remember that everything you discuss needs PROOF. The proof is in the pudding as they say, so if you want to work with kids, prove you have the energy, empathy, and patience for children. If you want to become a care worker, prove you can bring humour, a friendly personality, and that you are reliable. Or to work in the mental health sector, prove that you are resilient and understand boundaries.
Once you have established this, use our CV Writing Guide to attach the Killer CV and you stand a good chance of being noticed.
Remember, qualifications are great and essential for some roles, but not all. For these roles, it is you as a person and your life experiences that will matter. Dig deep and ask yourself why you want this job, and the rest should flow quite easily.
Good luck with your job hunt, and if you are looking for a change of career into the Care, Nursing or Education field, please do browse our live jobs here: