How do you develop a skill set for life?
There’s no shortcut to learning skills. We pick up many as we go through life – like learning how to communicate from an early age. But there’s always room for improvements. And learning new skills altogether.
The key to building a skill set for life is to be guided by what you enjoy doing or aspire to do. Then you can balance the skills you enjoy most, with others that you need in your chosen career.
1) Love what you do and do what you love
Those wise words were said by an American writer, Ray Bradbury. And he’s right: the single best decision you can make in your career is to choose a role that embraces the things you enjoy.
For example, if you like tinkering around with computers, consider how you develop the right skills to turn this into a career in IT. If you like being outside, or being active, there are any number of construction jobs that will give you plenty of both. You may be working for 50 years or more, so you need to be motivated to get out of bed every morning!
How do you find out what you love doing?
First, think about the skills you already have and what you enjoy doing. Write down your hard skills (qualifications) and soft skills – and the behaviours you’re developing. Can you demonstrate responsibility, for example, or resilience?
Which skills or behaviours resonate with you the most? Try to identify these and why you enjoy them. Think about the careers or jobs that will help you develop them. For ideas, try looking up your skills on the Start jobs explorer and identify which careers they’re valued in.
2) Do what you want
Starting with your skills is important. But it also helps to flip it and look at things the other way around. For instance: is there an industry that really excites you? Or a dream job that really appeals? Perhaps you want to be an ecologist, responsible for the ecosystems around man-made environments like Hinkley Point C?
How do I know what I want to do?
If you’re not sure what you want to do – or if you want to find out more about your ideal job – start with some research. If you’re interested in working at HPC, read about the many job families available on the project. Have a look at what skills you need to get the job you want. Do you have them yet or can you develop them?
3) Put the effort in to get the hard skills
Most jobs require a minimum set of qualifications or other hard skills. For example, if you want to be a business administrator apprentice, you usually need five or more GCSEs, including Maths and English.
It’s important to understand the minimum qualifications for the job you want, and then aim to do better – if you can – to achieve standout.
That said… Don’t panic if you didn’t get the results! Especially if your work or studies have been affected by Covid-19. Employers are often willing to flex their requirements for exceptional candidates. And everyone is aware of how challenging Covid-19 has made getting the grades or qualifications you need.
People who demonstrate great initiative, strong soft skills or behaviours (such as resilience) often have great potential. It also helps if you can say why you really want a job – and explain what you can bring to the role. Employers will be impressed that you’ve taken the time to think about your response.
4) Take the long-term view
Your skills, and the way you behave, aren’t set in stone for life. Your behaviours will evolve and improve over time. And you’ll develop new behaviours throughout your career and life.
The same is true for skills. Expect to learn new hard skills during your career. For example, undergoing further training and certification to work with specific equipment, or in certain environments.
You should also expect to improve and add to your soft skills over your career. For example, you may learn new communication techniques, such as how to give a presentation.
Don’t ever stop learning or developing your skill set
Maybe you’ve heard the phrase ‘every day is a school day’? It’s a cliche, but it’s true. The most successful people never stop working to learn and developing new skills and behaviours.
While a job for life may be a thing of the past, the rewards you get from a job you enjoy is timeless. And building up your skill set will bring you the freedom to pursue what you enjoy. And lead to a more fulfilling, rewarding and creative life.
Use the links below to research jobs you’re interested in at HPC, find the skills they require, and learn more about how you can develop your skills to match:
The world of work at HPC – what jobs are there, and what skills do you need?
Job families – what jobs and apprenticeships are available at HPC?
Routes to employment at HPC – how can you gain the skills you need?
Skills and behaviours valued at HPC – which behaviours and soft skills do employers look for?