To achieve Step 13, individuals will show that they can develop long-term strategies which are grounded in their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities or threats.
In earlier steps, the focus has been on developing plans, which are informed by the goals that are set, the resources available and refined through a review of the skills needed, and external input. This step and those that follow focus now on long-term strategies and how they can be developed.
The building blocks of this step are learning:
In education, we will have an overarching goal about what we want to achieve and learn. We might set ourselves a strategy for how we want to achieve these long-term goals or we may receive support from our teachers whose strategy is to help us learn and develop. When making long-term plans, it is helpful to consider what we do well, our strengths, and what we find more challenging, our weaknesses. For example, a weakness may be that we get nervous before exams but if our strengths include determination and we enjoy studying, we can use this as an opportunity to improve our weakness; we could take some practice tests to build up our confidence ahead of the real exam.
We might also find it helpful to ask for constructive input from others when considering our personal strengths and weaknesses, or the external opportunities and threats – especially when making key decisions. For example, when making choices about next steps for the future; you can consider the study or work opportunities available but also any possible threats like changes to study fees or the cost of rent if you want to move. Looking at these different factors will give you the big picture and can help you with your choices along the way.
There are many internal and external factors which affect workplaces so this skill an essential part of planning for success. A SWOT or PEST analysis are two useful examples of tools which help workers understand the context for their strategy and plans.
In every workplace, strategies are designed and decisions are made which take risks. Individuals and organisations can use an understanding or analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to inform their choices and create a more confident and safe strategy. If a strategy faces more threats than opportunities or shows up too many weaknesses and does not make best use of the strengths then it probably needs to be adapted.
When starting a new project or making key decisions in our life, it is helpful to consider the different aspects which affect our choices. For example, if we decide that we want to buy a car our strength may be that we are good at saving up but a weakness may be that we usually spend those savings on trips away. Externally, an opportunity may be that you have seen lots of jobs which require a car and you have seen several second-hand cars in your budget. However, a threat may be that there is a higher tax for non-electric cars. You can use this information to weigh up your options and help make a decision.
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 when considering topics in different subject learning, or as learners develop their own plans for themselves over time.
This step is best assessed by asking learners to complete a SWOT analysis based on a case study. The teacher should look to see that they demonstrate an understanding of the dimensions being considered, and that they can make a reasonable recommendation off the back of that analysis.
This step is relevant to individuals who develop plans and strategies to achieve goals.
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 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: