Bored in Lockdown? Here’s what you can do!

The following article was written thanks to Charlotte Chase, our newest GOFISH volunteer.

With the slow easing of lockdown, it seems like classes and seminars (that actually take place indoors!) are on the horizon. But did you know that there is still plenty of time to take advantage of the skill and development courses available online? I’m going to run through a few websites and social media platforms that can help you to learn new skills, develop the ones you already have and build a network of people to show those skills off to!

LinkedIn

What’s cooler than your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram? You may not have thought it, but the answer is actually LinkedIn. It’s the hotspot for professionals, collaborators and employers and is one of the most helpful platforms you can get on if you want to market yourself as the person to hire. Creating a profile on LinkedIn is easy and free and gives recruiters an idea of what you can offer and likewise what they can offer you.

But that’s not all! LinkedIn also provides additional services to quench your thirst for knowledge. LinkedIn Learning is a platform where you can sign up for courses to gain and improve a variety of different skills. What’s so special about LinkedIn Learning as opposed to other online courses? After building your profile to include your employment experience and skills, the courses available are tailored specifically to you. In a position where you have to supervise employees? There’s the course “Building Resilience as Leader” that might be right up your street! Working from home? Learn how to “Organise Your Home Office for Maximum Productivity” so you’ll no longer get distracted by the telly. There’s something for everyone whether you’re business savvy, creative-led or just looking to learn how to finally use Excel!

LinkedIn Premium and LinkedIn Learning both offer a free month trial so don’t worry if you’re unsure about what’s on offer and if it’s worth it. Give it a try and see what you can learn (remember to cancel it if you think it’s not for you. I’ve made that costly mistake before!)

Skillshare

YouTube likes to bombard me with ads for Skillshare and honestly, it’s grabbed my attention. Skillshare offers a free week to check out what they have to offer in their in-depth online classes, categorised as “Create”, “Build” and “Thrive”.

“Create” courses are for the potential tinkerers in art, music and design. If you want to learn how to draw something other than a stickman, taking an illustration course will get you there! After becoming this generation’s next Picasso, you can share your projects with other students to like, comment and celebrate what you have achieved.

“Build” courses are for the entrepreneurs, marketers and leaders. Learning skills such as budgeting, SEO techniques and team management, you will learn how to build a business from the ground-up (maybe put some of those creative skills to use, as well!) and how to make the most out of your business potential.

“Thrive” courses are for anything from learning how maximise use of your wardrobe to learning Spanish! These are for those who want to change-up their lifestyle and productivity for the better. Feeling the stress? Introduce yourself to meditation. I personally want to know to how stop my plants from dying; maybe I should take “Gardening 101”.

These courses are led by experts in their industry in concise, step-by-step lessons. If you have a business, you can also opt in for a team plan. Some of the biggest companies are using Skillshare so you know that the knowledge is top-tier, but remember that you can read the reviews from like-minded individuals who have taken the course to get their opinion before you take the plunge yourself.

FutureLearn

World-class universities are now taking their courses to the internet with FutureLearn. Course providers include educational institutions such as the University of Bath and Cardiff University, and various organisations within the NHS, Samsung, and the British Library have partnered with FutureLearn so you are spoilt for choice!

There is a spectrum of different subjects you take lessons in, or you have the option to take a short and flexible course to add something new to your skillset. Then, after you’ve done that, you can take that new skill to the next level in a specialist ExpertTracks course so you can tell to your friends (and employers!) what an expert you are.

FutureLearn is unique because it’s biggest providers are worldwide universities and so learners have the opportunity to earn a degree in a flexible home-studying environment. Free taster courses are available so you can try out the course before opting in for its entirety which is great especially when the same subject can be taught so differently between providers. It’s also a good idea to look into what the qualification can do for you and what companies recognise it beforehand. Find the right course for you!

There are different plan options depending on what you are looking for. If you want to take one course, the option is there to take it for free for a limited time. Otherwise, you can pay a monthly fee for access to all of them for an unlimited time.

Now that I’ve told you what’s out there… What are you waiting for?

Top 10 tips for your Presentation

Top 10 tips for your presentation

Written by David Baker, GOFISH Coordinator


David’s career has encompassed retail and training all his working life. President of the Trowbridge Chamber of Commerce, Chair of Governors at Clarendon College, Chair of Trowbridge Town Team Board, Member of ‘Young Enterprise’ and Director of two Management and Training Consultancies

One thing I am confident about is that through life you will need to give many different types of presentations to different audiences for different reasons.

These presentations could include getting a job, going to university/college, within the company you work for, or a presentation for getting business. Most people can find this very daunting; young and old.

Here are a few thoughts to help you shine and make sure you are ‘not one of the rest, but one of the best’. Your career could depend on it.

  1. Without saying you should always be dressed appropriately.

You must research or at least think about your audience and situation before you get dressed. You wouldn’t want to turn up to a presentation to underground coal miners wearing a three-piece suit, or would you!

  1. A good quality presentation has one main point and it is up to you to structure around it

Pinpoint this as soon on as possible when you plan, so that you can really make sure it is the focus of your presentation. You may find drawing a mind map is a good method to stay in topic.

  1. Let your audience know exactly what you are trying to achieve.

An effective presentation should be engaging and interesting, factual and to the point. Think of ones you have attended, and learn from others.

  1. Don’t be controlled by visuals

Use visuals selectively, ensuring they are relevant and clear. You may choose to use them creatively and as headers, and build your notes around them. Do not fall into the trap of ‘Death by PowerPoint’.

  1. Ensure you tailor your presentation to your audience

Not just your clothing needs to be appropriate for your audience. Each audience will have their own agenda, and you should do your homework to find this.

  1. Always rehearse

Even some of the biggest in businesses make mistakes. Steve Jobs back in 2010 had all 500 journalists in the room turn off their Wi-Fi connections after the new iPhone 4 had problems connecting on several occasions. Make sure you practice, practice, practice, as you may only have this one chance to impress. Plan your presentation like a book. A beginning, middle and end.

  1. Don’t hide

Remember, people buy people – Impress with your personality as well – this could make a huge influence on your interviewer/audience.

  1. Body language is key

Use your body language to connect with your audience. Giving a presentation is much like acting; don’t just look at your notes, interact with your audience using body language and engage them.

  1. Don’t forget to summarise

At the end of your presentation summarise the key points and ask for questions. You want to win the audience over, and giving over the key points once again helps to concrete that in their minds.

  1. Say thank you

Don’t forget to say thank you to the audience or interviewer. They have taken time out of their working day to listen to you, and it is important to be polite.

 

I have endeavoured to outline some relevant points for you to consider. GOFISH can organise workshops and one-to-one sessions to cover Business Presentations in much more detail. Please let us know if you are interested in these free workshops.

We’d love to have your article on here too! If you are a local business, or entrepreneur please do get in contact with us if you are interested.

7 Key Steps to Becoming an Entrepreneur

7 Key Steps to Becoming an Entrepreneur

Written by David Baker, GOFISH Coordinator


David’s career has encompassed retail and training all his working life. President of the Trowbridge Chamber of Commerce, Chair of Governors at Clarendon College, Chair of Trowbridge Town Team Board, Member of ‘Young Enterprise’ and Director of two Management and Training Consultancies

An Entrepreneur is defined as ‘a person who sets up a business whilst taking on financial risks in the hope of profit’. It must be said that to become an entrepreneur, it takes a lot of time and experience, and you must be prepared to put everything on the line. Before you start anything, I think it is vital that you set your goals, because without any, you won’t know where to go, before you’ve even started.

  1. Change your mindset

Being an Entrepreneur is very different to being an Employee. An idea is sometimes like an uncut diamond, it needs to be worked on to see its full potential.

  1. Believe in yourself

You must belief in yourself, if you have an idea great pursue it. Now you need to work on it. You need to let your mind run free, a mind map is a good place to start. ‘All ideas are good ideas at this stage’.

  1. Research

Be hungry for knowledge…knowledge is power. Consider doing a SWOT Analysis. Make sure you investigate as much as you can about your product/service. Many ideas have already been tried but that should not deter you from looking at how you can add value. Be cautious of copyright

  1. Analysis Paralysis

The time has now come for you to act, take your ideas and draw up a practical plan. You could use create the SMART Process….Specific-Measurable-Achievable- Realistic and Time planned

  1. Persist

Entrepreneurship is a marathon not a sprint. Don’t give up which may enter your mind several times, persevere, have confidence, believe in your product/service. Consider what athletes must endure.

  1. Don’t Fear Failure

Failure, disappointments are all part of being an Entrepreneur. See problems as opportunities. Learn by doing….Plan-Do-Review continuously

  1. This is a journey, not a destination

In the end, you need to be your number one supporter. Believe in yourself and when no one does, and show those people what you are capable of achieving.

 

We would like to wish you the best of luck in your journeys. GOFISH can organise workshops and one-to-one sessions to cover Business Presentations in much more detail. Please let us know if you are interested in these free workshops.

We’d love to have your article on here too! If you are a local business, or entrepreneur please do get in contact with us if you are interested.

My Work Experience Week with apetito

My Work Experience Week with apetito

By George Daulman

Monday – Day 1

My first morning at apetito I spent with new employees in general health and safety training. Later, we had a tour of the building and manufacturing facilities; it was awesome to see all the departments and learn about the roles everyone had in the business.

I was then taken to apetito’s Marketing Department where I met Head of Marketing Chris Aston. He took me over the fundamentals of how they work, how they sell, who they sell too. I was then introduced to Dan, Digital Manager and my supervisor for the week. Dan took me through the plan for the week, which included a range of several different tasks and a few meetings too.

After lunch in their staff canteen – where they serve their own food – I was shown my desk and computer for the week. The first project I started on was creating an Email Campaign using Mailchimp, which I was used to using for GOFISH. This email was for Care homes about changes to their product lists. This was due to be sent Tuesday morning.

Tuesday – Day 2

After sending the Email Campaign, I then made a start on my second project which was Tactical Communications. Businesses may use social media or other platforms to send out tactically thought out posts. To do this, I researched all the months of the year, and different special days in those months, such as National Marine Week in July. I then linked this with a product, such as their Fish Pie and created an advertisement for social media linking in with their company values, such as Ethical and Sustainability and linking it with facts like 97% of apetito’s wild fish is certificated by the MSC.

It was extremely amazing to get access to the amount of resources the business had, and I learned very valuable computer skills and taught myself a new programme with help from colleagues.

After lunch, whilst carrying on with making adverts, I looked at the results from the email marketing campaign.

Wednesday – Day 3

I began the day, carrying on with my tactical communications from the afternoon before, but shortly offered to help the Visits & Events Co-ordinator sort out a room for a lunch meeting for apetito directors.

After this, I put on an apron with a rather unflattering hair mesh and helped to prepare the meal. It was great to understand how their products work, and how easy they are to heat up too; it really helped put into perceptive what their business was about, and their main selling points too.

That afternoon, I was very kindly invited to attend a meeting with apetito’s branding agency in Bath about their new brochures and product photoshoot. I loved sitting in on the meeting, and I certainly learnt so much about design, the importance of consistency, and how businesses work with other businesses.

Thursday – Day 4

I spent the first part of the morning finishing off my tactical communications project. After that I was then asked to work on some two infographic documents. These were based from market research in two different care homes they supply too. One was about their food, and the other about apetito’s service. Infographics is something I have never tried before, and I enjoyed the designing aspects of creating the document, it was amazing to think that they would be used in a meeting in the future.

I was then invited to another meeting, with their Bristol based digital marketing agency who ran their CMS based in after lunch. This meeting was much more technical, and many bits flew way over my head, but some of it which I picked up and understood was extremely interesting and useful.

Friday – Day 5

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Friday was casual and the day was shortened by an hour too; which I wouldn’t suspect for such a big employer, but I thought it worked very well in the business.

The first part of the day, I completed the infographics sheets I was working on and made some final alterations to them. I then went to work on completing a research project about another business, and looked at what they did, and who they were, as well as going through all their social media posts to get a bigger picture.

That afternoon, I helped prepare some of their materials in their warehouse for them to use at an exhibition stand later that month.

Monday – Day 6

I was asked if I wanted to attend an extra day at their new product photoshoot, something they were discussing at the branding agency’s meeting the previous week.

As a keen photographer starting out myself I was completely and utterly amazed when I went to the photographer’s studio in Bristol that day. It gave me so many ideas on how I could improve my skills, and how they run a photography shoot with timetables and plans. I spoke to so many new people, including food stylists, and the photographer about how they photograph food and other product shots, and got extremely useful tips that I now use myself.

Conclusion

Dan, Digital Manager said “I’ve had my fair share of bad work experience placements, so I was keen to ensure the experience was both beneficial and enjoyable for George; allowing him to be involved in tangible projects and taking ownership for specific tasks. George was a great addition to the team; getting stuck into all the projects and delivering them to a high level”

I would like to thank everyone involved in making my work experience week so enjoyable. Thank you to David from GOFISH, for helping to arrange the week with Zoe in HR, and a big thank you to Dan, my supervisor for organising and spending the time to tutor and challenge me with all the tasks throughout the week, and not once was I asked to make a tea or coffee, and to the rest of the apetito team for welcoming me onboard so kindly.

I did not want to leave; I loved every minute of the experience. I have learnt so much that I could never learn in a classroom and this week will stick with me for the rest of my career. The week with apetito has now made me realise that I want to work in Marketing and that my next step would be to go and study in University to achieve this.

Finally, my advice would be for anyone nervous or unsure about doing work experience is just to get as much as you can from the week. Ask every question you can think of, and make sure that you make the most of it!

Making a real difference – How to really stand out at interviews

apetito has been providing food and making a difference to the lives of the elderly and vulnerable for over 50 years. We are about so much more than just food production; you could say we are in the ‘quality of life’ business. From our range of texture modified food that won a Queen’s award for Innovation in 2016, to our award winning Chefmobil ovens, our food and catering solutions to care homes, local authorities and hospitals as well as to the general public via our sister company Wiltshire Farm Foods, are making a real difference.
And it doesn’t stop there. We want our people to be passionate and to stand out from the crowd as well. So how do you ‘stand out’ at interview?

Zoe Beauvoisin, Learning and Development Manager at apetito explains, “Firstly, you need to show your passion for what we do and tell us why you want to join a company like us. Then, you need to prepare well in advance, making sure that you have examples from your school work, college experience or extra-curricular activities at your fingertips that highlight key skills. Behavioral interview questions are a big part of our job interviews. Our managers use these types of questions in order to get an idea if you have the skills and competencies needed for the job. The rationale is that if they know how you performed in the past it will help give a sense of how you might do in the future. For you as the candidate, you’ll need to prepare answers (basically “interview stories”) that highlight the different competencies and skillsets the employer is looking for. The problem is most candidates might have a general idea of how to answer these questions, but the answers usually come out way too long and unfocused, and won’t put the candidate in the best light. That’s why you’ll need to make a concerted effort to create these stories and adapt them to the relevant competencies. For example, if we ask you to tell us about a time when you have had to work to tight deadlines (because the job role requires this), then have a real life example ready and be prepared to specifically explain what you did to make sure you hit those deadlines. Think about what the SITUATION was, what ACTIONS you took to ensure you hit the deadlines and what the OUTCOME was every time you answer a question.

Here are some other top tips that may seem basic, but surprisingly are often forgotten:

  • Check your CV and covering letter for grammar and typos – if the role requires good attention to detail and there are spelling mistakes in your CV then you won’t make it past sifting stage.
  • Do your research on the company. Can you go the extra mile and find out what we really do – don’t just quote a fact from the website.
  • Be ready to talk about your school/college & work experience – We really want to hear about you and what you specifically have done and achieved to date.
  • Preparation is really important as it allows you to show off your skills to the interviewer. Use the job description to pull out topics that the interviewer might ask you about and prepare your answers in advance.
  • Research behavioural interviewing and develop your own “interview stories”.
  • Good luck and don’t forget to let your passion shine through.

Zoe speaking to College students about the apetito product range on their visit to the local employer