GET STARTED - August 2021

Welcome to the August edition of Get Started!

FIRST of all, let us just take a moment to welcome you back to the August edition of GET STARTED. 

Our theme this month is Taking the Initiative.

Banksy, a famous (but anonymous street artist) said; 

‘Lots of people never use their initiative because no one told them to.’ 

Now we’re not talking about going out and writing graffiti all over, but what could you do that is different? 

Something that will create opportunities and allow you to take action?


Have you ever thought about volunteering? We’ll be focusing on the benefits of volunteering, as well as highlighting some local opportunities that are available right now. Why not take that first step and get involved?

Volunteering is an important part of society and has many benefits – not only to yourself but also to the wider community.

You get to offer help to worthwhile causes, people in need and the community and there is also evidence to show that volunteering can have a positive impact on your mental health too. On top of all that it also helps you develop skills you can use to help you find work and transfer to the workplace.

Below we’ve handpicked some volunteering opportunities we think you might find interesting, as well as highlighting places you can start looking locally if you’d like to do some searching for yourself.

Trustee – The Angelou Centre
Many charities are screaming out for young people to join their trustee boards, as they have historically gone to folk who are a bit older.
As a trustee, you will help the charity make decisions regarding their finances, strategy and future directions, as well as get a good feel for how a charity is run. Getting hands on experience like this is gold dust and can really help to develop your communication, teamwork and even managerial skills.
Due to the nature of the work they do, this trusteeship is only open to those who identify as a woman.
To find out more click here.
Closing date: 17th September 2021

Newcastle Fundraising Group Coordinator – Guide Dogs (North East)
Are you looking for some experience managing a group of people before asking for that promotion but not sure where to look, then why not apply to this coordinator role?
You’ll be tasked with managing volunteers out in the field doing fundraising and this would be a great way to get some hands-on experience and skill up.
To find out more click here.

Various – Hospitality and Hope
Based in South Tyneside Hospitality and Hope have a variety of volunteering opportunities, including helping them out at their Foodbank in South Shields.
If you are interested all you need to do is get in touch here

Happy to Chat Volunteer – North Tyneside
Easy to get along with, dedicated and looking to help? If that sentence describes you then why not volunteer through VODA for their Happy to Chat service?
In this role you’ll do a little bit of ‘housekeeping’ aka setting up the sessions and tidying away, but also initiating chats with local residents to get the conversations going.
This is starting back up soon on the 3rd of September in Wallsend, but they’re looking to expand across North Tyneside.
If you’re happy to chat apply here.

If you are finding it difficult to know which path to take, looking at further education, or maybe want to start on the path to your dream career, Steps To can find you local volunteering opportunities which will help you to develop new skills and take those small steps to reaching your goals. The Steps To Project works with a range of organisations that offer voluntary positions, for example, Meadow Well Connected have a variety of roles, including Garden Volunteer, Play Work Volunteer and Events Volunteer.
To be eligible for the project you must be unemployed, aged 18-29 and live in the North Tyneside area.
To find out more about how Steps To can help you, visit here.

Fancy taking the initiative? You can do your own search to see what volunteering opportunities are best for you, using the links below:

North Tyneside – Voda
Newcastle – Volunteer Centre Newcastle
Gateshead – Gateshead Volunteering
South Tyneside – Inspire South Tyneside
Sunderland – Sunderland Volunteering

If you’re on the job hunt, you can kill two birds with one stone as places such as Indeed and LinkedIn also include local volunteering positions as well as paid roles. Vonne also list jobs in the charity sector – so they’re a good one to keep an eye on.
Volunteering can be a great option to take the initiative and get some hands on experience and a bit of a taster for a future career. Getting into a job that suits your needs can be tough and it’s all about taking the right steps, however big or small, to reach your own goal. Steps To A Brighter Future can help with this, and work with a range of companies and charities to support young people into employment with a range of volunteering opportunities, skills development, free courses and qualifications. Contact for more information.

Taking the Initiative

Taking the Initiative is one of the fifteen Entrecomp Competencies and can be characterised as ‘acting and working independently to achieve goals, stick out intentions and carry out tasks. Taking up challenges and beginning processes that create value.’

We have all heard of needing to ‘take the initiative’, but what does it mean and how do we do it?

Taking the initiative means we do things without having to be told or we can spot and take advantage of opportunities that may pass others by. It can also mean taking a proactive approach to handling responsibilities or overcoming difficult situations.

For example, maybe your manager has been off sick and one of your colleagues has filled the role without any hesitation or problem. They’ve taken the initiative by spotting the opportunity to act and make sure the team work together effectively. When a promotion comes up, they will have had hands on experience and so be able to demonstrate that they can deal with responsibility.

Showing initiative is becoming increasingly important in the workplace, employers want someone who can think on their feet and complete tasks without being told exactly what to do. People with initiative are motivated to do things and get things done on their own, without the need to be micromanaged so you can see why organisations are looking for this type of employee (so well worth developing this skill).

A good example of taking the initiative would be to set out future plans and targets. On our free Understand Enterprise course, you’ll complete work on the steps you’d like yourself or your business to take, which will help you to achieve the goals you have laid out. You’ll also complete a skills scan to identify potential development needs in the knowledge, behaviours and skills that are required to run a business. To find out more information about Understanding Enterprise click here.

OK, so you want to take the initiative but what sort of things can you do to be more proactive?

Stretch yourself - This can be something as simple as starting a new hobby, maybe you have joined a local swimming team? This can all be linked back to spotting opportunities and taking advantage of them and getting out of your comfort zone to learn valuable skills.

Ask for feedback – Have you ever completed an essay that you were proud of at school or college, only to receive an E or D grade for your efforts? Did you receive feedback on it? Did you ask for any? It is important to receive and act on feedback from all parts of life. How can you improve on something that you haven’t done particularly well, if you’re not told what you’ve done wrong and been able to try to fix it?

Go above and beyond – If you do more than is expected of you, eventually you’ll gain the recognition that comes with this. Again, this is all about pushing yourself to do more and getting out of your comfort zone. By doing this, you’ll gain self-confidence and be more likely to do more of this in the future.

Speak up and share ideas – This is all about having confidence in your ability. If you think you’re right about something, then share your views. Perhaps your friends want to take a certain route to the shops, but you know a way of getting there quicker or you’ve been asked to do something a certain way at work but are certain that you know a more efficient way of completing the task.

Be prepared – Benjamin Franklin famously said, ‘if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail’. You always need to be prepared for the unexpected, whether something goes wrong with plans, or you need to jump in to save the day, by being prepared you can manage any unexpected situations easier.

What will you get out of being proactive and taking the initiative?

Build self-confidence
It can take a lot of courage and determination to show initiative. A good start would be to set small goals that can be achieved (which we talked about back in January), step out of your comfort zone and try to be more confident with the tasks that are ahead.

Learn new skills
Taking the initiative (especially when it comes with new roles and responsibilities) can help to develop new skills, reveal skills you didn’t know you already have and can help with re-evaluating your current skills to find new opportunities.

These skills could help you grow both professionally or personally and help you to stand out from the crowd! Communication, problem-solving, creativity and building your self-awareness and self-efficacy (which we talked about last month) are all incredibly important skills that you could potentially develop.

Make mistakes
How can making mistakes be a good thing? If mistakes aren’t being made and everything is going exactly the way that was planned, how can we grow and learn?
Making mistakes is one of the best learning tools and taking the initiative will help to make them, learn from them, and do a better job next time. The first part of making a mistake is to acknowledge it, as you can only learn from the error if you admit to what you have done wrong.

Another important part of making mistakes is to move on from them. Yes, it is very important to learn from mistakes to enable growth and development, but it is equally important to know when to move past a mistake and to not dwell on them too much.

Taking the initiative is an important part of learning and development, have some confidence in your ability and remember don’t be scared to make mistakes along the way.

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