Your skills toolkit: courses & advice to help you find work

Searching for work can feel stressful, especially when it's in a different field. But we're here to help. Read on for job hunting tips, skills courses to prepare you and career advice for finding work in line with the 2022 universal credit rule changes.

Looking for work in a new industry? Everyone has their own reason for searching for a different sort of job. Maybe you feel like you need a new challenge. Or you need to widen your search because of changes to universal credit. Or maybe your current job no longer fits into your family life. We can help you with the skills and qualifications to kickstart your job search in a new field. With everything from digital skills courses and job hunting tips to management diplomas and hospitality qualifications, the WEA has a whole variety of free* online and local classes to choose from.

Check out our skills hub here for more information or see below as we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about finding work in a new sector.

What are the first steps to switching job sectors?

There are many steps to breaking into a new sector. But before you start applying, you'll want to get a feel for which industries you'd be interested in working in. Fortunately, there's a number of way that you can do this. We have a whole range of free taster sessions that will give you an idea for what is required, both personally and skills-wise, for each role. Click here to see what taster sessions we're currently running. The government also has an online skills assessment, here, that takes just 5-10 minutes and will help you identify what potential careers you'd be suited for. 

How do I start searching for a job in a new industry?

Before you start applying for jobs, make sure you have a good CV ready. It is best to have different CVs for different types of jobs. Now that you've decided which industries you want to apply for, you'll next want to know which recruitment platform to use. Just like we all have preferred social media platforms, different sectors will often have preferred websites that they'll advertise roles on. This could be Indeed, The Caterer, Reed, Hospitality Jobs UK, LinkedIn or elsewhere. It shouldn't take you long to find this out and, believe us, it will save you a lot of time and effort in the long run.

For more advice on finding work, download our free guides here that'll give you helpful tips on writing your CV, job hunting and making a great impression at your interview. you'll find all guides here.

What skills do employers look for?

Although each job sector will have specific skills that they are looking for, there are a number of transferrable skills that always go down well if you put them on your CV. FYI: transferrable skills are core skills that can be applied to a wide range of industries and areas of your life. These can include innate personal qualities such as time management, teamwork and communication, as well as ones that you can learn, like computer skills.

On that note, if you'd like to improve your digital know-how, we can help. We offer a number of free online courses in understanding Excel, growing your knowledge of Powerpoint and gaining core IT skills. Click here for all our digital courses.

Which job sectors in the UK are short of workers?

As things stand right now, the job sectors with the most vacancies in the UK include healthcare, hospitality, retail, communication and education. In other words: if you want success in snapping up a job, these are the areas you'll want to apply for. However, as a few of these industries are vocational, we'd recommend having a search into each profession in order to see which one you'd be best suited for. Also, while some of these jobs need no qualifications, others such as education and healthcare will require them before applying - but that's where we come in.

Do you teach courses with qualifications?

Yes we do! The WEA offers a number of courses that give you a qualification on completion. Depending on the industry you want to train up in, course lengths will differ and may include different levels that you'll work through before gaining your qualification. If you are worried a lack of GCSE maths or English is holding you back in certain jobs, we also offer alternative Level 2 qualifications in functional maths and English. What's more, in most circumstances, our skills courses are free, so if you are looking to widen your job search because of changes to universal credit or changes in your family life, you don't have to worry about the cost.

For more specific details on the field of work that you have in mind, call us up on 0300 303 3464, or check out our skills hub here, where you'll find information about qualifications in; healthcare and counselling, schools and education, hospitality, community interpreting.

Any other job hunting tips?

It may seem unrelated but your wellbeing is such an important factor and not to be neglected during the search. Searching for new work can feel like a marathon task at the best of times and if you don't check in with yourself every so often you'll find yourself feeling downhearted and sluggish - both mentally and physically. So, whether you're trying your hand at mediation, going on a run, putting aside some time to learn a new skill or unwinding with a yoga class; don't underestimate the positive effect these small things can have.

For more tips and help on finding work, check out our skills hubs here, or sign up to our newsletter here for regular WEA news and updates.