Hillcroft LRC

Posts Tagged ‘skills

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Film festival figures by Lacy Landre (2012) is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

At the risk of being very unpopular just before Summer begins, a reminder: You’re never done studying. Thinking about careers and building employability skills brings to mind the question often asked of children: What do you want to be when you grow up? An astronaut, a business person, a teacher, a dancer, a doctor. It’s usually a one word answer or “I don’t know”. Perhaps more useful is to ask: What would you like to continue learning?

In ‘What Color is Your Parachute?’ they suggest listing all the jobs you’ve ever dreamt of doing. In those jobs are clues to what kind of career would suit you. Sometimes I dream of being a diver, a fashion designer and a home-schooling mum. Yet I don’t really want all that comes with those jobs, I want the best parts – as they seem to me. Designing something new, exploring new places, teaching and learning with interesting human beings. So there are many careers that could suit those interests, that also make the most of the skills and knowledge I have chosen to develop through passion, hard work and luck.

An article by Raghav Haran provides some wonderful career advice – all very applicable to lifelong learning: take a different approach to the norm and don’t put limits on your ambitions. Many women know how to achieve against all odds.

You can always find out more, and most people stop short of that, so in seeking out answers and information you are already getting ahead of the rest. Here’s where the LRC and libraries really comes into play – we are the home of the ‘find out more’ mindset.

If you’re looking for ways to cultivate that mindset check out ‘Independent Thinking’ by Ian Gilbert who brings the mindset to life through stories and observations on education. The Phoebe Walters Room has inspiring career books and university prospectuses.

Critical thinking booksStella Cottrell’s book Critical Thinking Skills: Developing Effective Analysis and Arguments is a guide that can take you from college to university. It helps you look at what you read in a different light by demonstrating and explaining how academic authors build up their arguments in their writing.

How does that help you? It will help you understand arguments and guides you into weighing up the logic of them. This will not only assist you in evaluating different authors’ opinions and theories but will also benefit you in developing your own writing style to convince your tutors of how you have assessed others’ work and built up your own arguments with persuasive evidence.

The book gets you to identify bias, hidden meanings and follow a line of reasoning to its logical conclusion. It’s not only useful for essay writing, reading and making notes from academic literature but is also invaluable for debating and any piece of writing or presentation where you would need to persuade your audience of your arguments.

Cottrell’s book gives you exercises to do to build up your skills of critique, analysis and argument. It’s one you can dip into time and time again. Having read it myself it’s easy to recognise that had a book like this existed when I was university it would have been a key to getting a top grade!

Palgrave who publish the book also have a free companion website area Critical Thinking which sits under their useful Study Skills website.

If you’re just starting your studies then the Pocket Guide by Kate Williams called Getting Critical is a good starter guide and similarly advises on reading with a critical eye and developing your writing skills so you are analytical too. We also have another Critical Thinking guide by Debra Hills. Hills’s guide gives you a definition and takes you through the steps in the process of reading and writing critically and has a number of tips on using sources, note taking and planning your answers.

Careers standOur students often do group presentations as part of their course work and we support them with material on our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)’s LRC English, Maths & Study Skills page. On Monday 11 November Simon Armitage presented a fantastic programme on  BBC 4 called Speeches that Shook the World. The programme looked at speeches and speech makers that have had great impact. These included speech writers for Tony Blair when he was prime minister as well as famous speeches like Martin Luther King’s I had a Dream SpeechEarl Spencer’s speech at Prince Diana’s funeral and Emeline Pankhurst.

The programme gives you tips on building a speech to wow your audience. Here’s a taster of material you can borrow from us on public speaking and presenting.

Stack of careers booksOver the spring term there are a number of courses running helping you to kick start your working life. Our Ready steady work course supports you in the job market. Helping you build up your confidence and interview skills to get that job.

We’ve started adding a number of Viewtech Educational Medias DVDs so you can get tips on preparing for interviews, researching the job, deciding how to dress and talk about your skills and  training in a winning way.

We also support you with our Virtual Learning Environment’s LRC Careers advice page that lists employment agencies, websites and has links to assist you with writing Curriculum Vitaes (CVs) and covering letters.

Careers materialWe’ve been updating and adding to our material on careers. We not only have material if you’re thinking about studying at university but we’ve also got material if you’re returning to work after a career break or looking for a new area to work in.

Babcock’s Working in series is great for giving you:

  • skills
  • qualities
  • training
  • qualifications
  • you need for a job.

Read more about their material on the Babcock Lifeskills website.

As usual we try to make as much as we can available in different formats so we’ve added these ebooks

Plus we add to our LRC Careers advice page on the Virtual Learning Environment.


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