To achieve Step 10, individuals will be able identify their own skill set and those of others, and reflect that in their plans.
In earlier steps, the focus was on setting goals, and gradually building those out into plans by identifying the tasks, resources and other people required to achieve them. The focus is now on the creation of more detailed plans.
The building blocks of this step are learning:
A skill is the ability to do something. As you’ve seen, there are a huge variety of skills from being able to balance, to playing chess, to making or building something. We use so many skills every hour that we hardly notice them. Indeed, when we have mastered a skill, it can often seem so easy that we forget that we are doing something that other people can’t do.
We can think about three broad types of skills:
We can identify skills in a number of ways:
None of these methods is entirely failsafe. People may be lucky or unlucky when you are observing them, our intuitions about people are often wrong or biased, some people are good at interviews while others are not, older certificates or qualifications might not reflect someone’s current skill level. Using a combination of approaches, though, can be most helpful in getting a sense of what someone else can do.
A goal is something that you want to achieve, and a plan is how you will get there. Since putting a plan into action is all about doing, the ability to do is crucial.
There are two ways of thinking about skills:
In education there are lots of opportunities to reflect on and develop our skill set and interests. As well as using our own experience to understand our skill set, we may also receive feedback from teachers which is informed by observations in class, projects and exam results.
When making plans we can use an understanding of our skills to help make decisions. For example, we might use our exam results to help us choose to study our favourite subjects at college or university, or look for volunteering opportunities to gain more experience in a job that interests us. As well as making plans based on our strengths, we might choose to improve weaker skills by signing up for extra classes or asking teachers or peers for advice. If you have gaps in your skills, you might need support from other to help achieve your goals. For example, if you were studying Spanish and wanted to improve your speaking you could see if you know any native or fluent speakers who would be happy to practise with you.
This step plays an important role in both day-to-day work and longer-term career plans. A clear understanding of our skill set will help us apply for jobs which we can do well and enjoy, as well knowing what support we might need to continue developing our skills. In job interviews employers are looking to find out more about your skill set and what it is that interests you about the role and organisation.
When creating plans in our work, we can make best use of the skills we have and look to others for support with the skills we lack. It is therefore just as important to be aware of the skills of others around us as it is to understand our own. A good manager, for example, will use their understanding of their team’s skill set to share out tasks appropriately and support their team to succeed and grow. As we make progress in our work and career, our skill set will grow and this can lead to exciting new opportunities like taking on more responsibility or changing location.
Everybody has a unique skill set. Sometimes, when we find something easy, we don’t even realise the strengths that we have. When we understand our skills and interests, we can make plans to utilise and improve them further. Often, we enjoy doing the things we are good at. If we enjoy fixing things around the home then we might like hobbies or jobs that involve using problem solving skills. Similarly, if we find something difficult, such as typing quickly on a computer, we might decide to learn more about it or watch a tutorial so that we can get better. As well as knowing our own skill set, we can go to friends, family or opportunities in our area for help with the things we would like to improve.
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 by raising learners’ awareness of the skills that they are building or using day-to-day. Learners could also be encouraged to audit the skills that they feel they have built – particularly in the context of looking towards university or college applications for older learners.
This step can also be used if learners are undertaking any sort of work experience or sustained project where they have to create and enact a plan towards a real goal.
This step is best assessed through a sustained project, where learners have to put their ideas into practice. If that is not possible, learners could be encouraged to audit their skills, and then think about the skills that would be needed elsewhere if they were to achieve different hypothetical goals as part of a team.
This step is relevant to individuals who can help the team to succeed by making plans to achieve goals, and who allocate roles within those teams.
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 a discussion and observation. For instance:
During the recruitment process, this step could be assessed for 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: