To achieve Step 0, individuals will be able to identify when they are finding something too difficult.
This is the first step in Aiming High, and the focus is first on individuals recognising the limits of what they can do.
The building blocks of this step are learning:
When we first do things, we might find them difficult. This is a normal part of learning to do something, and over time it will get easier as we get better.
However, sometimes we might be in a situation where we find something too difficult to do. We might find something too difficult for different reasons:
We might know that something is too difficult if we cannot work out what to do next, or how to do it, or we cannot answer something. When something is too difficult, we might also feel some negative emotions. For example, we might feel sad, disappointed, angry or scared.
Thinking about how to manage these emotions is important, and we explore this in Staying Positive. It is important that if something is too difficult, then we don’t just keep going because that might place us in danger.
It is important to think about the danger that is present in a situation to know whether it is something that we should keep trying at, or whether we should not because it is too dangerous:
If something is not dangerous, then it might be worth trying again, and persisting in case we can work it out by ourselves. We might be able to find something out or ask someone to help us.
If something is dangerous, then we absolutely should not attempt it if we do not feel completely confident that we know what we are doing. For example, if we are doing anything that needs expertise, qualifications or training that we do not have.
If something is dangerous or feels dangerous, then we should never attempt to do it ourselves.
In this case, we should ask someone who has higher expertise to help us, or a qualified person if required (for example, for repairs or anything involving gas, electricity or water). If that person isn’t available, then we should stop and wait, or come back to it later.
In education, we learn new things. Often, it can be more difficult at the start and we may find ourselves feeling frustrated. If we find ourselves in a situation where something is too difficult, like learning how to use a new piece of equipment or starting a new subject, we may need to find out more about what needs to be done from a peer or teacher. Knowing our limits helps us to take a positive approach to overcome them and learn something new; we can’t always do everything perfectly.
Workplaces are made up of people with a wide range of skills and knowledge, as well as different tools and resources. If you realise that something is too difficult and is stopping you from carrying on with your work, it is important to recognise this and make use of what is available to help you. It might be as simple as asking a colleague to show you or sharing a handy shortcut. Everybody has different strengths and these are opportunities for you to develop.
Trying out new things and taking on challenges helps us to find out what we enjoy; it might lead us to discover new hobbies, interests and friendships. However, we also have to be careful if we realise something is too dangerous. For example, if we find a leak at home or a car needs fixing, and we don’t have the right qualifications, expertise or training, we should call an expert.
To best practise this step of Aiming High, apply what you have learnt to a real-life situation. Choose one or more of the activities below, remind yourself of the key points and strategies in the step, and have a go!
To teach this step:
This step can be reinforced in the classroom context, where learners can be asked to identify whether they are struggling with something that they will be able to get better at with practice, or whether it is too complicated and they need to help. Any dangerous situations should be highlighted so that learners understand the limits of what they can sensibly do.
This step can be assessed through discussion or through a reflective exercise where learners are given different scenarios and asked to consider whether the situation is one where they should continue to persist or whether they should stop because there is danger.
This step is relevant to everyone completing tasks at work.
To build this step in the work environment, managers could:
There are plenty of opportunities for building this skill in the workplace:
For those already employed, this step is best assessed through discussion. For instance:
During the recruitment process, this step could be assessed by:
We work with a wide range of organisations, who use the Skills Builder approach in lots of different settings – from youth clubs, to STEM organisations, to careers and employability providers.
We have a lot of materials available to support you to use the Skills Builder Universal Framework with the individuals you work with, including:
We also do a lot of work with organisations who join the Skills Builder Partnership to build the Universal Framework into their work and impact measurement systems. You can find out a lot more using the links below.
At home, you can easily support your child to build their essential skills. The good news is that there
are lots of ways that you can have a big impact, including: