From education to employment

Beyond Covid – A Careers Advisers Perspective

Sarfraz Ahmed, Careers Advisors, Leicester College

The last few months of a lockdown has enabled us to reflect on our priorities in life, what our purpose in life is and to a certain extent begin to recognise our own vulnerabilities as well as testing our mental agility and the ability to rethink and reshape how we all work. It has allowed us to reach out to each other and find some hope within the madness created by a pandemic spreading fiercely across the globe. Affecting not only our health but the way think about think about all that we took for granted and all that we once relied upon.

As politicians debate the crisis on a daily basis, there has been an increased emphasis on careers guidance as more and more people turn to careers advisers, careers leaders and career coaches to provide them with a range of different solutions to this crisis. To help put into place much needed interventions required to tackle the aftermath of the pandemic on every aspect of work, study and training.

In the past few months we have seen evidence of work is disappearing or adapting and the impact that this has on our work-life balance which has shifted dramatically under lockdown and could shift again, making it difficult to make effective transitions, this can be more difficult for young people or those entering the job market for the first time. Especially graduates looking to securing roles that will allow them to develop skills that correlate to their desired profession. In these unprecedented times it is more likely to remain stagnant, afterwards, once the jobs market re-calibrates, allowing people time and space to re-focus and rethink their next move.

It is important as careers professionals that we remain agile and sensitive to the changing needs in the workplace, focusing more on skills that a desperately required and transferable in a post-Covid world, skills such as empathy, independent working, communication and resilience will help us to navigate whatever ‘the new normal’ will look like, I feel those things will essential than ever before.

Historically speaking, after a period of recession or crises, there tends to be a period of development creating new areas of economic growth, therefore it is important to that we be vigilant, and encourage those that that we support to remain positive and begin to develop a mind-set that gives us them fresh prospective which will help them to navigate the ever-changing economic landscape and to access new opportunities. We must encourage our clients to stay true to their passions and to about passionate about taking chances. We have all had to adapt to reshape our thinking patterns reprogramme the way we do things. To think outside the box, to embrace new technology, to put ourselves in front of the camera, and reach out to those that need our advice and guidance in these turbulent times. In the past few months you could easily be forgiven for letting your career aspirations begin to sway.

However, it is important to point out that we all in this together; we all have to find a path through unprecedented times. We must always be looking at ways that we can use diversify and adapt to meet the needs of the economy and prepare our clients to what employers are looking for. We need to ensure that we don’t forget our skill-set and knowledge and expertise to support those that need help as they find their place in a post Covid world. It is our job to be there to support them when ideas do not always go to plan. I feel failure and knock-backs make you stronger and sometimes redirect you to other opportunities, it can also fuel your passion even further, and can test your resilience time and time again. Think how many times have you fallen? What has picked you up and get through the day the week? We must all start looking within ourselves as we will need to find strength by not giving up on our dreams and to remain focus on our goals even if this means retraining and rethinking the way we work, and our role in a post Covid world.

What these few months of lockdown have really taught me is that humans need contact with other humans, isolation can be a killer and can create self-doubt and disbelief and can effectively derail you.

It is our job as Career Advisers, Careers Leaders and Career Coaches help people to remain positive and help people to access opportunities and support them to make effective transitions. We must encourage people to open up and talk about their dreams and goals. Remember the advice that you give could have a profound effect on individuals. It could help define who they are; and their purpose and what role they will have in rebuilding and reshaping the economy. We must continue to inspire, to advise, to provide effective and purposeful guidance to our clients and give them hope, to put their dreams into context, but support them to realise their goals, as without an end destination, their dreams will just remain dreams and not a reality that is tangible, something that will allow them to forge a living in the new normal.

Sarfraz Ahmed, Careers Advisors, Leicester College

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