To realise your full potential in life it helps to have a rich mix of different skills.
Maximising skills that are a strength and you love will help you to explore roles and highlight sectors of employment that you will find exciting and interesting.
You have far more skills than you may think, and you will have gained these through a blend of working, learning, playing and giving as you progress through the week of your life. While you may be “good” at certain things you will also “love” particular skills and talents.
To identify the skills you both love using and are good at, imagine you are at a party. As you walk around, you are greeted by ten different groups of people (see the following images) who love using a particular set of skills.
Firstly, choose the group you feel most at home with as they too use the skills you really love using. Then some time later they have to go! Which group would you then join? Then finally, you have a chance to meet your third favourite group. Who would they be?
Make a note of these on the Touch It section of your iCan Poster.
Me and my skills…
Me and My Skills lists a set of skills under each of the groups, tick those skills you see as your real strengths. These will be important when you think about the sectors of employment and roles you may wish to use these skills in. Tick the skills you feel you love and are good at, starting with your favourite three groups.
We are all good at different things. We can celebrate this and look for opportunities to share these with others who may have different skills to us.
To be employed is to be at risk. To be employable is to be secure. Highlight additional skills you need to develop further to stay employable in the future.
As the following Sector Wheel shows there are a whole range of different sectors that you can use your unique combination of skills in.
Connecting your skills with employment sectors
For example, someone who loves being a communicator could work in the Build It sector exploring local residents’ needs as new developments are built; they could work in the Visit It sector as a museum educator and guide or the connect it sector as an online blogger.
This diagram can be looked at in two ways. Firstly, by thinking about the types of sectors you could potentially work in, and secondly the employment fields within these sectors that might be of interest.
For example, you could combine a Develop It role in the Make It sector by designing new production machinery in the food manufacturing industry.
At this stage, while you are beginning to explore alternatives, it is important not to box yourself off by only thinking of the job title or one job role. Instead, try and create as many possibilities as you can by combining roles and sectors that link to your skills and passions. If a sector you are interested in is not listed then just include it.
Pick 2 or 3 sectors that you feel connect with your skills and passions and identify potential roles that you may like to explore further in each of these. Make a note of these in the Touch It section of your iCan Poster (Welcome Resources). You may throughout your career move around these sectors, combining these with different roles.
For example, someone who started off working in Sell It and enjoyed training others as part of this role, then moved into the Know It sector as a trainer to use these skills further. They then started their own charity training young people in the Give It sector.
Examples of the type of employment opportunities within each sector that you may be interested in and wish to target is also listed in this section. It does not include them all, but is a small sample for each, so if something you are interested in is missing then just include it. Circle all those that may interest you and make a note of them in the Touch It section of your iCan Poster.
Once again these opportunities may not be limited to one sector but may appear in some of the others.
For example, while nutrition is listed under Develop It, you could work in the field of nutrition in any of the Make It, Sell It, or Care for It sectors.
Creative working and learning conversations
To help you explore how your skills and passions could link to different sectors and roles, you may find talking with a role model, friend or mentor helpful. Exploring online job, career and work websites may also provide you with fresh information about roles and sectors that you may be interested in. To help with this there are some templates for Creative Working and Creative Learning Conversations that provide you with the questions to ask to make the most of these opportunities.
Why this session is important
To help your group or individual to:
- Identify the skills they love using and are good at
- Explore roles that link to these skills
- Identify a range of sectors that interest them
- Explore local opportunities and networks that enable them to connect with individuals in the fields or sectors they wish to know more about
What you will need
- Copy of Touch It Activity for each individual(s)
- Touch it Resources
- Party Group Posters
- Examples of jobs in sectors and roles that can be further explored with the group to illustrate how skills and passions can be combined together
- Local labour market information reflecting sectors, skills and job roles – consider arranging for local employers , education providers, community representatives to come into the session to share their stories, knowledge of the local labour market and skills needs to help make this session more interactive and engaging
- Creative Conversations Resource
- 30 minutes dependent on time availability
How to do it
Introduce this session by explaining that we have far more skills than we think, and these have been developed much more widely than just in education. We have gained them when we have joined clubs/societies and groups, volunteered in our local community, helped out at home, grown academically and tried new things out.
While we may be good at certain things we are also given a love of particular skills and talents. These are the things we really love doing.
For some people it may be listening and supporting friends, others it may involve managing their money and budgeting for the interests and pastimes they have, and yet for others it may be about being active and getting out and about to experience new things.
This activity will help identify those skills they are good at and love using and explore how they may be maximised in the future.
Use the Party Group Posters and place them around the room. Get the individual(s) to imagine that they are going to a party and as they enter the venue they are welcomed by ten different groups. Each group loves engaging in a particular set of skills and talents.
Talk through each group in turn, giving examples of their skills and talents.
Ask individual(s) to decide which group they would like to join based on the one they have most in common with, would love to spend most time in and contribute to. Encourage them to get up and stand by their favourite; turn to one another and discuss why they have chosen this particular group, what are they involved in at the moment that links to this group and how would they like to see this grow.
Be aware that individual(s) may follow friends here so encourage independence of thought in terms of the choices they each make.
Once conversations have ended, unfortunately there is some bad news – they have to move groups. Which would their second favourite be and get them to move to it. Repeat the exercise moving finally to their third favourite. Encourage them to make a note of these three groups in the Touch It section of their iCan Poster.
Ask if anyone has been in the same three groups as anyone else and in the same priority order. Highlight we all have a unique mix of skills.
Explain that being in one group doesn’t exclude the opportunity to connect with others, as often in working, learning, playing and giving opportunities individuals from different groups can work together in a combined way.
To illustrate this, use any object in the room, for example a piece of paper, explore how each group has played their part in bringing it to life. In this case the ‘Handy Andies’ will have chopped down a tree and the ‘Suits’ will have sold the paper, ‘Greenies’ will have planted new trees etc.
You also may wish to look creatively at how groups could work within others, for example, you don’t have to be a musician to work in the music business – creatives could design marketing campaigns for bands; mathematicians could work in finance for a music company and communicators could teach music in schools.
Encourage the individual(s) to then take a look at the skills listed under each of the groups in Me and My Skills and tick the skills they love and are good at under each of the three groups they have chosen. Explain to the individual(s) you are supporting that the skills they have highlighted here can be used in any of a number of different sectors. You may need to explain what is meant by a sector and using the Sector Wheel Graphic to highlight the range of employment sectors there are.
In particular make the following points:
- You can think creatively about the sector you wish to use your skills in. For example, you may love working with numbers and identified yourself as a mathematician, but numbers are needed in all of the sectors on these pages – the care sector requires people to manage budgets and forecasts in the National Health Service as much as they do in the financial and professional services field. Encourage the group to come up with the less obvious sectors in which the groups they picked could be positioned.
- Show how the sectors can combine together e.g. being an engineer (Handy-Andie) operating in the Develop It and Make It sectors where you are designing and building new production machinery in the pharmaceutical industry.
- Encourage individuals to pick 2 or 3 sectors they feel connect with their skills and if they have completed the Feel It activity, their passions too. Identify potential areas that link their skills with their passions which they may like to explore further.
- Help individuals to explore creative connections between their top three skills and their top three passions.
Within this activity there is also a list of Employment Fields that link to the sectors and this can be used to help individuals research local opportunities, learning routes and work/employment experiences. Encourage them to circle any that are of interest. Make a note of these in the Touch It section of their iCan Poster.
It is important to help the individual(s) you are supporting to understand that opportunities may not be limited to one sector e.g. while nutrition is listed under Develop It, you could also be involved in nutrition in any of the Make It, Sell It, or Care for It sectors.
Encourage individual(s) to share and discuss the sectors and roles that are of interest to them.
How do they feel these link to their skills and passions?
Also included in this section are templates for Creative Working and Creative Learning Conversations. These can help individuals to feel more confident and prepared when having discussion with employers, and/or learning providers following their completion of the Touch It activity.
What other questions to ask/points to make?
Again, be prepared to share some of your story, if it is appropriate. Explain how your skills and interests overlap and link with the sectors/roles you have worked in. Use the other examples you have prepared to also illustrate how skills, passions, sectors and roles can combine together.
Consider using the Common Obstacles to perhaps identify any barriers that could be an issue in trying to achieve what they want. Open up the discussion about how they could perhaps overcome some of these.
As the session draws to a close discuss:
- What they may have learned, or what has surprised or puzzled them about doing these activities
- Help them to identify one key action they may wish to take as a result of doing these activities