July 1, 2015 : Gillian Anderson

Learning – life’s great journey

I’m sure I’m not alone in looking back and thinking that the skills I’ve learned since leaving school have been as important if not even more so than what I learned before. I have to admit to one exception: learning to touch type has saved me countless hours of pecking at the keyboard.

In the Territorial Army I learned to take apart a rifle, but I was never very good at putting it together again, so I became a medic and patched people up instead. In the RNLI I learned to tie knots and read charts, and although you might think these skills are, (mostly) irrelevant to my day job, when you have something a bit different to put on your CV, it stands out to employers.

The thread that runs through my career is that I’ve always tried to take the opportunity to learn new things, and that is exactly what I would encourage you to help your Community Jobs Scotland (CJS) employees do. Don’t expect any thanks for it, in fact you might well be greeted with a stubborn refusal to do anything which involves going anywhere unfamiliar, particularly on their own, but try to remember that even though they might give the air of worldliness and all encompassing knowledge, they will likely be nervous and most of all worried about looking stupid. Be patient and encouraging, and hopefully in the long run your support will be appreciated.

In the Territorial Army I learned to take apart a rifle, but I was never very good at putting it together again, so I became a medic and patched people up instead

Take advantage of the £200 available through the CJS training fund. There’s lots of advice to help you identify suitable courses and levels of qualifications with your employee on My World of Work. It can also help you identify the learning style of your employees – very useful to know if you’re finding that you can’t seem to get your message through.

Remember that some people learn best by reading and following instructions. Others are more visual and learn best by trying it out. If your employee doesn’t seem to be picking up your instructions well, it’s up to you to adapt your teaching style to get the best from them. We’re not all the same!

It’s also well worth having a look at My World of Work with your employee to show them how their current qualifications fit into the learning framework and to give them ideas about how they might continue their learning. Look at their skills and have a chat with them about where you think they fit with new learning. If they are anything like I was at that age, they may not have much of an idea what they want to do, but they might have an idea what they don’t like, and that’s a good starting point.

Having the training fund available gives them the opportunity to test the water and continue their learning journey, particularly if they’re new to your area of work.

Important: Opinions expressed by bloggers are their own and don't represent those of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations.

by Gillian Anderson