Getting started and looking ahead

It’s always useful to have an idea about a particular career that appeals to you, or a job you’d like to do in the future. It’s also important to think about how you might prepare yourself to be adaptable for a wide range of different jobs. Getting the skills and qualifications that lots of employers may be looking for, means you’ll be able to consider a greater range of careers in the future.

In the next 10-20 years, there will be new jobs and careers that don’t exist today: not long ago, a career as a Web Designer wasn’t an option – because there were no websites! Some job options that exist today may disappear – replaced by automation or simply no longer needed.

One thing is for sure, it’s always hard to predict the future, but we can predict that things will never stay the same!

To make yourself ‘future –proof’ you’ll need to be prepared. The best way to do this is to keep learning new skills, keep up-to-date with technology, and to manage your own career and future.


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 job search

CVs and applications

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.

If you are filling in an application form, it is important that you answer all of the questions as fully and as clearly as possible. Many application forms are now completed online so make sure you fully read and understand what is being asked of you.

Whether you are writing a CV or completing an application form, make sure that all your spelling, punctuation, and grammar are correct. It’s a good idea to ask someone else to read through and check for any mistakes before you send it off. Employers often reject CVs and application forms simply because they have lots of errors – don’t spoil your chances just because you were in a rush.

Take a look at for some more detailed advice about CVs and application forms.


Where to search for vacancies.

Many jobs and Apprenticeships are now advertised online, a good example of this would be the Get In Go Far website. Some employers advertise vacancies on their own website and increasingly use social media to promote their career opportunities. There are dozens of national job hunting websites and just two examples are Indeed and Total Jobs. If you do an online search you’ll easily find a list of these websites each containing thousands of jobs.

Newspapers and specialist magazines can also be a good source for local and national job vacancies.

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.

Don’t forget some jobs can be found informally. Many small or medium-sized employers are happy for you to contact them in person, by telephone, or email, asking about job and Apprenticeship opportunities. Employers often think that this shows initiative and see this as an important personal quality. If you go and visit a business, don’t forget to take your CV with you!



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.

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.


What types of jobs are there in the South West?

When thinking about your future, it’s useful to explore the types of jobs currently in demand in your local area and even further afield. This is particularly important if you are thinking about starting an Apprenticeship or moving into employment as your next step.

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.

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 more tourism and hospitality career opportunities than, for example, banking and finance opportunities – the majority of which are often based in London, the UK’s financial centre.

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.

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) qualifications and skills.

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, particularly in Exeter and Plymouth. These projects have resulted in a greater demand for people to work in a range careers across the construction sector.