Monthly Archives

March 2014

Changing career or going for a promotion?

By | Career coaching

Life and career coach, Natalie Lancer, explains how further learning or training may be the key to landing the job of your dreams.

Gaining further qualifications may be necessary to progress to higher positions in your workplace, and employees may find they hit a ceiling without them. However, there are other reasons to study further.

Firstly, you may get formal accreditations for skills you have already picked up in the workplace. This recognition of your skills could be crucial for when you are applying for other jobs or going for promotion, as qualifications are a standardised way of representing the information that you know. Secondly, undertaking a qualification can breathe new life into your job. Frameworks within a course may make you consider new ways of working. Thirdly, you may start to see your job from different perspectives, perhaps the viewpoints of your customers, helping you to empathise with others and get new business as a result. You may also broaden your existing network of contacts.

Many adults change careers at some point during their working life and a new qualification may facilitate, or even be necessary, to do this. There are many courses, such as Psychology or Law, that are suitable for Distance Learning, where you can study from the comfort of your own home, whilst remaining in paid employment.

Your previous experience is always valuable, for example, a business person will be in strong position to train as an Occupational Psychologist as they understand the issues businesses face. They could study for a Psychology degree via Distance Learning without quitting their job, and look into training at a specialist company following this. Of course, many people study out of pure interest and enjoyment.

There are many good reasons to continue learning. Now, due to the proliferation and success of Distance Learning, it is easier than ever to study courses at any level, including Certificate, Diploma or Master’s. The world is your oyster.

Natalie Lancer set up to help individuals find courses to study by Distance Learning. She did a Distance Learning course in Psychology, whilst in full-time employment. “I found it difficult to know where to start. There was no website where all the on-line courses were listed and I realised that creating one would provide a valuable resource for all types of people interested in upskilling, whether that be employees, mums, carers or career changers”. Natalie can discuss your course and career options in one-to-one coaching sessions. She can also give you expert guidance CVs and interview technique.

For more information, contact Natalie Lancer at

Graduate Employment Prospects

By | Career coaching

Natalie Lancer, life and career coach, looks at the facts and figures about graduate employment prospects.

Every year, the Higher Education Careers Services Unit (HECSU) and the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) collate the results from a government survey which asks graduates about their current employment. The latest (2011) edition of ‘What Do Graduates Do?’ provides a snapshot of how graduates from 2010 were employed six months after graduation.

Of the 233,865 graduates who responded to the survey, 9% were unemployed and 60% were in UK employment (including anything from a temporary to a graduate job). The majority of graduates outside those two categories were continuing their studies.

The six graduate subjects yielding the highest employment rates (percentages shown in brackets) were: Marketing (71%), Media Studies (66%), Art and Design (66%), Business and Management (65%), Architecture (64%) and Sociology (64%). These data remain largely unchanged since 2008, with the exception that Engineering graduates have fallen out of the top six.

Many graduates go on to further study to help secure a job. For graduates seeking employment in the science sector, a Master’s degree increases employment prospects significantly, explaining the absence of Science subjects in the list above. In fact, 18% of Biology graduates, 27% of Chemistry graduates and 29% of Physics graduates went on to study a Masters or PhD on completion of their first degree. Furthermore, to practise as a lawyer or barrister, it is necessary to undergo further training. Although only 38% of Law graduates were in employment six months after graduating, 26% remained in education, the largest number of non-Science graduates undertaking further study. The discipline with the highest number of graduates studying for for a teaching qualification was Mathematics (8%). Although Medicine, Dentistry or Veterinary Science are not listed as separate subjects, data from HESA (Higher Education Statistics Agency) shows that 99% of graduates from these disciplines were in employment or further study, sixth months after completion of their undergraduate degree (2010-11 data set).

As well as the importance of degree subject, the university you attend also enhances employment prospects. According to the High Fliers survey 2012, the top ten universities most targeted by employers are Manchester, London, Cambridge, Nottingham, Oxford, Bristol, Warwick, Durham, Birmingham and Bath (in that order). Employers often exhibit at careers fairs or ‘milkrounds’ at universities, aimed at students in their penultimate or final year, to attract top calibre applicants. In addition, your degree classification is paramount. According to the High Fliers survey, seven out of ten employers require a 2:1 or above.

So what can you do to maximise your employment prospects? Apart from securing a place at a well-respected university and working towards obtaining a least a 2:1, it is important to find work experience. Many employers recruit for work placements a year before the intended start date, so do your research early. You may have to do some on-line aptitude tests which you can practise using widely-available books. You can improve your performance by analysing your answers with an adviser.

Other companies operate a less formal work experience programme, where speculative applications may result in successful outcomes. For this, you will need to send in a CV and a covering letter explaining why you would like to do work experience at the company and what you can offer them. These documents need to be well-prepared and drafting them with the help of a professional may prove to be money well spent.

There are various websites that also can help you find work experience, including and Perhaps the most successful way to get work experience is to network. Make sure you swap details with family friends, as well as any speakers and lecturers you meet and ask about any opportunities they may know about. Contact the development office from your school or university who will put you in touch with relevant alumni, who will often go that extra mile to help you. You should also visit your university’s Careers Service which will have its own connections for you to explore.

Getting involved in committees, from fundraising to sports, or getting a part time job whilst at school and university, will develop and demonstrate valuable skills, enhancing your employment prospects further.

Natalie can discuss your course and career options in one-to-one coaching sessions. She can also give you expert guidance CVs and interview technique.

For more information, contact Natalie Lancer at