Once you’ve decided what skills, knowledge and technical skills you need to improve, you then need to think about where you can improve them. 

Online courses

Online courses are a great way to improve your knowledge, skills and technical skills. Our online course database allows you to search online courses from around world, some which you have to pay a small fee or subscription for and some which are free. Some courses take place once a week for six weeks, while others let you learn all in one go. Here is a list of online course which could help you increase your ability in those all important transferable skills. 

Entrepreneurial Skills

Customer Service

Written Communication

Organisation & Time Management

Business Management

Teamwork

Sales 

Problem Solving

Judgement & Decision Making

Analytical Skills

Emotional Intelligence

Entering the Workplace

Negotiation & Persuasion

Leadership

Research

Oral Communication

Volunteering 

The other great way to help you become work ready is through volunteering. You can find opportunities through organisations such as Do It. You can learn new transferable skills, knowledge or work experience that might be necessary for your career. Again, you might choose to volunteer for one day a week over a long period of time, or all in one go. 

If you are thinking about volunteering in your local community, before you jump into the next available opportunity, think about how you can make the most of it. Here are a few pointers:

What is your goal? 

What new skill or knowledge do you want to gain from your time? You need to make sure that you seek out meaningful volunteer opportunities that will align with your goals.

Treat your volunteering like a paid job. 

Even if your volunteer work is sporadic, make sure you commit to it. You may want to take on roles with greater responsibility within the organisation. 

Remember to connect with the other volunteers via LinkedIn in the same way you would with work colleagues. You can also add your volunteering experience to your LinkedIn profile and CV.

Put your experience, skills and knowledge to use. 

Regardless of what your background is, you’ve got plenty to offer! This could be something specific, such as marketing, PR or strategic planning, or something more abstract such as using what you’ve learnt in your life to guide others via mentoring. 

Work experience 

You’ll want to undertake work experience or work shadowing if your industry has completely changed and you want a better understanding of these changes. Unfortunately, finding a spot can be as tough as looking for paid work, and it involves finding the right companies or people you’d like to work with, getting your CV together and applying to different organisations. This might be through a specific placement scheme, or through emailing an individual directly. 

To help you get your foot in the door, think about your connections. Personal connections, such as family, friends and neighbours, might know someone in the right position, as well as people further afield, such as connections on LinkedIn. In a way, gaining an opportunity is a numbers game and the more people you ask, the better chance you have of getting the experience you are looking for.

If you don’t have any personal contacts, you can also try approaching an employers you’d like to work for yourself. Use social media and the company’s website to find the right person you should be communicating with, whether that’s a member of HR or someone in the team you want to gain experience in. Email them with some relevant information about yourself and your CV, and follow up with a phone call. Although a scary thought, visiting a workplace in person can show that you’ve taken the time and effort to reach out to them and they may be more willing to give you a chance. 

Every time you make a contact, create a spreadsheet of their name, position, company, when and how you contacted them, a reminder to follow up the contact and the outcome of the contact. 

Face-to-face courses

Another way to gain knowledge and technical skills is through face-to-face courses which you might study at the weekends, evenings or daytime. They can also vary in length depending on how in-depth they are and the level of qualification you will achieve from them. You can use our College Courses search to find the right opportunity in your area, whilst you can also use websites such as Find a Masters and Find a PhD for higher level qualifications.