The World of Work

What types of jobs are there in the South West?

Across the South West people are working in hundreds of different types of jobs and careers. However, there are some types of businesses more commonly found in Devon and Cornwall, compared to other areas.

New technology, particularly digital technology, is likely to continue to change the way that we currently work. Some jobs may disappear, but new roles will inevitably be created. There will be an increasing demand for skilled engineers and technicians. Across the UK, there are already increasing opportunities for people who have Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) skills and interests.

Towns and cities across the region will also have different types of businesses that may be fairly unique. For example, in the coastal towns of Devon and Cornwall, there are many marine engineering companies that reflect our location and access to the sea.

The South West is also a holiday destination. This means you’ll find many tourism and hospitality career opportunities. Cornwall and Devon have always been (and remain) important areas for food production.  However, technology has changed the way that people work in the agricultural, fishing, and food processing industries.

Devon and Cornwall have a high population of older people compared to many other parts of the country. The National Health Service is the UK’s largest employer and, with our aging population, the number of job opportunities in medical services and Health and Social Care is expected to grow in the future.

As you travel around the region you will notice new housing estates and business units are being built, along with other major building and infrastructure projects. These projects have resulted in a greater demand for people to work in a huge range careers across the construction sector, including building, designing, planning and selling.

What are Employers looking for?

In every town and city there are hundreds of different businesses, all offering a wide variety of jobs and opportunities. Despite this variety, when employers consider taking on school or college leavers, they often require a similar set of core skills and qualities needed in most jobs.

These can include:

  • Maths and English skills
  • Basic computer and ICT skills
  • Communication skills
  • Team working skills
  • Good time-keeping and attendance
  • A willingness to learn new things

Although some employers require specific job-related qualifications, for many employers a person’s willingness to learn can be the most important quality of all.

Preparing for a job search

Before starting to apply for jobs or Apprenticeships, you’ll need to prepare a CV.

This should be no longer than two sides of A4, well laid out, and easy to read. You need to make a good impression!

Your CV should include details of: your skills; the qualifications you have or expect to achieve; and any paid or unpaid work experience. Towards the top of your CV it’s always good to include a ‘personal profile’ – a few lines that will give the employer an idea about what type of person you are.

You can get examples of CV’s and more information from the Nation Careers Service, here.

Where to search for a job?

Many jobs and Apprenticeships are now advertised online, the Get In, Go Far website offers essential information on becoming an apprentice. Employers advertise vacancies on their own website and social media to promote their career opportunities alongside job search websites such as Indeed and Total Jobs. If you do an online search you’ll easily find a list of these websites each containing thousands of jobs.

If you’re aged 18 and over you can use job vacancy information provided by Job Centre Plus and their Universal JobMatch system, as well as through recruitment agencies found in most towns.

Preparing with Job Interviews

It’s normal to feel nervous when attending a job interview. The more practice you can get, the more confident you may feel. If you have not had a job interview before, some schools and colleges can organise mock interviews with real employers so that you can practice your interview technique and get some feedback from the person interviewing you. The key thing is to be prepared, think about the company you are meeting, have some questions prepared about the role and think about why this job is important to you.

Visit the National Careers Service for advice on how to prepare for a successful job interview. This website also has a list of questions that are commonly asked at job interviews.

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