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Developing your career during COVID-19 times

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Developing your career during COVID-19 times

BY Skillset 31 Aug, 2021

If you are searching for a new job, considering transitioning to a new career or returning to the workforce after a career break, knowing the right steps to take in the current covid environment may be difficult to figure out.

Skillset’s CEO, Craig Randazzo has more than 20 years in the career and skills development sector and is also the Chair of the Apprenticeship Employment Network NSW/ACT (AEN). Craig, like many other business leaders in the NSW Central West, has led his employees through the last 18 months of the covid-19 pandemic and understands the challenges the pandemic has brought for businesses, those engaged in training, and job seekers. He believes that whilst the pandemic has altered the employment landscape, there are many pathways people can take advantage of when searching for a job, transitioning careers or making plans to return to the workforce.

Here are Craig’s tips for being successful with the next stage of your career journey during the current covid-19 situation:

Review the industries in demand

“Checking out where the jobs are is a good first step when contemplating a new employment path,” explains Craig.

According to the May 2021 ABS Labour Force Survey, the five industry sectors in the Central West experiencing the strongest employment are:

  1. Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
  2. Health Care and Social Assistance
  3. Education and Training
  4. Accommodation and Food Services
  5. Manufacturing

Craig suggests reviewing the industries in demand and then evaluating your own skill set. From this, identify any transferable skills you have which can readily transfer to a job in one of these sectors. Your transferable skills might be a combination of foundational and technical skills (also called hard skills or job-specific skills) and skills that help you perform your role at work (called enterprise skills or soft skills), such as creativity and innovation, interpersonal communication, digital literacy and the ability to problem solve.

Once you have pinpointed your transferable skills, you can then start looking for opportunities that are matched against these. This may include a range of strategies including responding to actual job advertisements through to sending your updated resume or CV to recruiters who specialise in these industries.

Investigate NSW Job Trainer

To respond to the covid-19 pandemic, the Australian Government in combination with the State Governments across Australia, has partnered with a range of training providers to increase vocational training and skills development opportunities so that people can upskill in industries where there is demand for workers and more secure employment.

NSW Job Trainer is aimed at young people (16-24 years), those who are unemployed or expecting to become unemployed, or those receiving an income support payment (e.g. JobSeeker, Austudy, Youth Allowance) and offers reskilling and retraining in industries which the National Skills Commission has identified as experiencing high growth. Eligible participants also have to be living or working in NSW, be an Australian or New Zealand citizen, permanent resident or humanitarian visa holder, and no longer be at school.

More than 100,000 training places are being offered by the Job Trainer program across more than 20 high growth industries including health care and social assistance, transport, warehousing, manufacturing, retail, and wholesale trade.

If you don’t have the required skills to work in a sector experiencing high growth and are looking for more secure employment, Craig recommends investigating the NSW JobTrainer program and the courses which are available to you.

Consider a career in essential services

The pandemic has certainly highlighted the value of jobs in essential services – these are jobs which must still happen during covid to support the functioning of our society. These include, but are not limited to, jobs in the following areas:

  • Nursing
  • Teaching
  • Allied Health
  • Aged Care
  • Emergency services
  • Trades

Many jobs in these sectors require specialised qualifications and training that can only be obtained at university or through registered training organisations, as well as on the job. As a result, transitioning to a career in any of these fields will require an investment of time and a long term focus. It is worth noting however, that jobs in these sectors are very resilient to changes in the economy and can offer lifelong and very fulfilling careers. If you are interested in a career that offers secure work over the long term, then it may be worthwhile exploring career opportunities in these sectors.

Be proactive!

During these uncertain times it is necessary to watch your own mental health and try to remain as positive as you can.

“As part of staying positive, it is important to be proactive,” says Craig. “This means researching and utilising career development resources when considering the next stage of your career.”

Skillset’s CareerLink program is one of these resources. This free career development service is available to all residents of the Central West and includes access to career information to assist with job readiness, as well as material and tips about job seeking skills, training pathways and the job market. For those in the 25-44 age group, these people also have the opportunity to book a career planning conversation with one of Skillset’s qualified career consultants and learn more about career development options available.

There are also several useful career development websites that are worth exploring such as:

  • myfuture – provides information on career pathways to help with career decision-making.
  • Australian Skills Classification – this helpful guide provided by the National Skills Commission allows users to see skills used by particular occupations, and the transferability of these skills to other occupations.
  • myskills – provides online information about vocational education and training options available.
  • JobOutlook – a comprehensive website providing guidance on Australian careers, labour market trends and employment forecasts.

Final words …

In closing, Craig offers the following words of advice about persevering with the next stage of your career journey:

“Remember, no one knows your unique set of skills, experiences, abilities and passion better than you, so make sure you have a good understanding of how all of these combine to make you the ideal candidate for that next opportunity. Set yourself some achievable goals, and remember personal resilience and drive, and a passion for your chosen vocation beat ‘raw talent’ hands down every time.”

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Australia Skillset would like to acknowledge and pay respect to the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work.
We are honoured to be on the ancestral lands of those whose cultures are among the oldest living cultures in human history. We pay respect to the Elders, past, present and to the younger generation of the community who will be the future leaders in years to come.