Careermag Lifelong learning 04 21 digital v3a | Page 18


Climb the ladder and shout about your skills

In the UK we have a strange relationship with modesty and being proud of ourselves . From an early age we are encouraged and moulded and then from about the age of three or four we ’ re told to “ stop showing-off ” and “ stop troubling your Nan / Uncle / neighbour / friend ’ s mum with your daft tricks ” and so we live in a state of limbo where we develop skills and abilities but we ’ re supposed to keep them under wraps .

At primary school we love art , drawing , languages , PE and all the other great things we do and then at secondary school where peer-pressure kicks in and we tend to try and blend-in and not be one of the ‘ swats ’ or ‘ nerds ’ so again our true skills are hidden and shoved to the bottom of the rucksack along with trying to speak in a French accent or put our hands up too many times .

So , these are the building blocks to our skills and how we present them to the world , or not . What we actually do is hide away from success , criticism and in the main , hide from standing out unless we ’ re one of those ‘ over-achievers who wins everything ’ don ’ t we ?
That is until we ’ re coming up to 16 and we have to apply for sixth form , college , apprenticeships or part-time jobs and suddenly we have to go “ TA-DAAAHHHHH ” ( Jazz- Hands optional ) and share how brilliant we are and what skills we have and how we can use then to the benefit of THE WORLD .
Guess what – we don ’ t have the experience and chutzpah to make ourselves known because we don ’ t have the selfreflective tools to understand them ourselves – LET ALONE share them publicly .
That ’ s why I wrote The Ladder : supporting students to successful futures and confident career choices . Based on 16 years working with over 150,000 young people and developing their skills I ’ ve learned that we need to start earlier and support their self-development , self-awareness and confidence in their own abilities .
Many of you reading this will identify with what I ’ ve written above – so let ’ s take the opportunity to support a more holistic understanding of skills than merely those measured by exams and use different ways to understand and then describe our skills .
The CASK model in The Ladder ( the Continuum for the Acquisition of Skills and Knowledge ) is a framework of simple downloadable tools which can help people of all ages to start gathering their thoughts together on their skills , their qualities and how useful they are in the world of work and careers .
To paraphrase RuPaul , “ honey , if you don ’ t understand your skills yourself , how are you gonna explain them to somebody else ”?
About the author Andrew ‘ Bernie ’ Bernard Speaker , entrepreneur , Director of National Careers Week and an author . His first book for Independent Thinking , The Ladder , is published in February .