From education to employment

Are You Still Employable in #FE?

Margaret Adams

The question is relevant today. Many people in #FE have had their work disrupted recently. I don’t think I can remember a time when GCSEs or A levels and other public exams were cancelled or postponed – as they have been this year.

Throughout the economy there have been many redundancies and lots of businesses have closed down. Many people unemployed today had jobs four or five months ago. Whatever your circumstances, that means it is time to consider, if you are employable today, and will be in the near future.

Here are five things that people in #FE need to think about if they plan to remain employable.

Extend Your Network

Extending your network is a good idea. Before doing anything under this heading make sure you know that good networking is all about learning what other people do and where their enthusiasms lie. Remember that your network is online and in the real world. You could extend the number of online contacts who share your interests or who have experience that you would like to know more about. You could extend your network in the real world,.

Why Does This Matter?

Networking helps you to extend professional relationships and learn about the interests of others. Use networking to help you learn and get to know about people in other organisations. Those people learn more about you, too, which can be both interesting and useful.

Networking effectively will, in the end, also help you to remain employable.

Stay On Top Of Your Job

Right now you have a job. Certain things are required of you. Can you do them all, and can you do them well? Are you sure?

Are you a hard worker? Are you someone who tries to get out of things that you don’t like doing? If you are, how will your approach influence the behaviour of colleagues towards you?

Has the job you are currently doing changed whilst you have been in post? Do any of those changes mean that you can no longer do what is required of you? For example, can you use all the software applications that you are expected to use in your job? Have you made sure you can do the things demanded of you in the technology field?

Do you regularly read about recent developments in your field? Are you someone who your colleagues in #FE turn to as a source of valuable information?

Why Does This Matter?

No one wants to “carry” those who cannot do what is required. Most people value the expertise of those who really know what they are doing and are prepared to share their expertise with colleagues.

Be Good To Yourself And Others

It can be very difficult to do this, but it is worth the effort.

  • Allow yourself, and others, to take breaks.
  • Allow yourself to go home on time, at least two or three times a week.
  • Encourage those you work with, or those who work for you, to do the same.
  • Do not take work home with you every night or every weekend.
  • Either find yourself new interests or resurrect interests you have abandoned or neglected in the past because of pressures of work.

Remind yourself that you are more than your job and you have a life totally separate from work. Remind yourself, too, that these same rules apply to other people, and not just to yourself. Take this to heart. It could be a positive factor in sustaining your employability.

Why Does This Matter?

Being good to yourself and others covers being pleasant to others and understanding others’ needs and interests. Do this and every one working with you gains.

Keep On Learning

An awful lot of what you have to do to sustain your employability is linked to the issues of learning and on-going development.

This type of learning will take you beyond what your current role requires of you. You will need to look ahead and plan your development and your possible future.

Why Does This Matter?

To remain employable you may find that you will need different skills and different expertise from those skills and abilities you have today. You may decide that you need more qualifications. That is not an issue because you don’t need all that new expertise to be accessible today, or even tomorrow.

Just become committed to relevant learning now and in the future. Take your learning seriously. Be prepared to explain to others just how important continuing to learn is.

Avoid Making Enemies

This happens in #FE organisations as well as in other sectors and industries.

Having spent quite some time in this article dealing with what you should do, there is one thing you should avoid doing and that is “making enemies”.

This is a simple instruction but people in employment sometimes DO make enemies. They are barely courteous to people they dislike. This can lead to feuds and campaigns for or against others and the questions below being asked:

“Which side are you on?”

“Just who do you support?”

You will do yourself a favour if you never get involved in giving the answer to these questions. Your aim is to develop good working relationships with every one.

Why Does This Matter?

You want to ensure you have as many people as possible who think well of you. There may come a time when you can help them or they can help you.

And Finally . . .

You want to sustain your employability.

Try out the suggestions mentioned here.

No one can guarantee you will not lose your job, but following the guidance in this article should help you to succeed more often and help you sustain your employability.

Good luck!

Margaret Adams, The Adams Consultancy Limited.

Margaret spent more than seventeen years working in education. She was a college manager when she left the FE sector. Today, she spends much of her time helping professionals to achieve their personal and professional goals. 



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