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I want to work but have no skills

66Mustang66Mustang Member Posts: 3,717 Disability Gamechanger
edited October 2020 in Coffee lounge
Summary: I want to work in the future but I don’t have any specialist skill and fear a life of unskilled work.

Long version: I have been thinking about the future and maybe that if my situation improves, I will be able to work, but then my thoughts drift on to the fact that I don’t have any skill, talent or passion that I am really good at, at least that is useful in a workplace.

(I love driving but couldn’t do that as a career due to my issues and not being able to drive alone or on the motorway.)

I have “secondary” talents, for example I’m very neutral and see both sides of arguments, and I am very calm in stressful situations, but none of these are actual, applied skills that someone will pay me for! What I mean is if I go to an interview and say “I’m calm in a stressful situation” an employer will say “very good but can you fix this engine/fill out these accounts/drive this bus/operate this machinery” etc. I don’t have any practical, employable skill, like being able to fix a car or drive a lorry, if that makes sense. I just have the secondary skills, like being good in a stressful situation.

Because of this, I’m worried I will not be able to get a job, or if I do, that it will be something like stacking shelves which I am not knocking because the country wouldn’t function without them but is not something I want to do for my whole life. Also, as I am not into relationships and plan to live alone I will have to be paying my bills and mortgage out of my single salary, not two salaries, so it needs to be enough to be able to run a house off of.

Having never had a job I’m not expecting to walk into a well-paid job as soon as I am ready to work, and I have family that will allow me to live at home for as long as I need to so I’m not being pushed out, but it would be nice if I could afford to be independent at some stage.

I’m just wondering if anyone can relate to my position, either having been in the position before or in it now, and wants to share their experiences. 

Thanks!
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Replies

  • leeCalleeCal Member Posts: 2,674 Disability Gamechanger
    Have you thought of taking careers advice at all?
    i tried it years ago and actually it wasn’t so good but things have moved on a bit over fifty years! 

    If you don’t mind heights you could train to be a fireman. If you don’t mind the public you might train to be a policeman, Or if you don’t mind animals you might become a zoo warden. Quite few things come to mind but I think probably you need expert advice.

    when I was seventeen or so I had general skills but no specific ones until the jobcentre made me work for a carpenter. He gave me the benefit of his experience and over time I learned the rudiments of carpentry. Later on these skills were my lifeline for a while and on and off over many years when I needed money. I know how awful it must feel at the moment but there will be a solution, it’s just a matter of you converging on it, it’s out there. 
  • 66Mustang66Mustang Member Posts: 3,717 Disability Gamechanger
    Thanks for the helpful post @leeCal, I really appreciate it.

    I might do just that. I’m in the support group for my ESA which I think means I can access advice if I ask for it.

    I guess the gist of what you are saying is that I just need to choose something, and stick with it?
  • Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,395 Disability Gamechanger
    @66Mustang Thank you for sharing this with us and I hope we can help clear your head a little about it!

    Just throwing this into the mix, would you consider studying for a qualification? 

    Also, what do you enjoy and could you see yourself doing happily?
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  • 66Mustang66Mustang Member Posts: 3,717 Disability Gamechanger
    @Cher_Scope thanks for the reply.

    Yes I would definitely consider study. In fact I’m not ready to work just yet so now is the perfect time to study while I focus on my health at the same time.

    I think part of the problem is I don’t know what I enjoy as I haven’t been able to get out into the wide world and explore different activities to see whether I like them or not.

    There is one thing I can think of that I am good at which is managing money. I actually do a bit of informal financial advising for family members for free and trade on the stock market on their behalf using their money. However, I signed up for an A level in maths and just couldn’t cope with division of algebra so decided I probably wouldn’t be up for a career in accountancy or something similar as I guessed you needed a degree in maths for that!!
  • Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,395 Disability Gamechanger
    @66Mustang Oooh well this gives us options  :)

    You don't need a degree in maths to become an accountant so don't let that pesky division of algebra stop you.  

    The Prospects website explains:

    Although many accountants will hold a university degree, it's often desirable rather than essential. Even if it is a prerequisite for a role, the degree can usually be in any subject.
    So, while maths and economics at A-level followed by an accounting degree may be advantageous, if you didn't go down this focused route you'd still be able to get the qualifications you need - as professional bodies provide courses for students and workers at all levels.

    On that website are also links to professional bodies who run courses.  Maybe give it an explore and let us know what you think!  
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  • 66Mustang66Mustang Member Posts: 3,717 Disability Gamechanger
    Thanks @Cher_Scope

    I actually switched the maths to economics which I am studying now so may still be useful.

    I will go and have a look on that website now :)

    Thanks, I really appreciate you taking the time to reply  :)

  • 66Mustang66Mustang Member Posts: 3,717 Disability Gamechanger
    That site has made me feel a lot better, thanks for sharing it. I had better get on with studying my economics :smiley:
  • chiariedschiarieds Community champion Posts: 6,248 Disability Gamechanger
    There's also Scope's 'Support to Work' programme to remember for future use. See: https://www.scope.org.uk/employment-services/  :)

  • Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,395 Disability Gamechanger
    edited October 2020
    Great call @chiarieds

    @66Mustang I'm so glad it helped.  if we can support you along the way please let us know.  I'm a big advocate of lifelong learning and think you would really enjoy it.  

    Also, you mentioned you didn't think you had skills and I wanted to say don't underestimate yourself, life will have taught you more than you think.  You are an articulate, intelligent person with bounds of potential so follow your aspirations  :)
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  • 66Mustang66Mustang Member Posts: 3,717 Disability Gamechanger
    Thanks for the suggestion @chiarieds, I will definitely take a look.

    @Cher_Scope thank you very much for the kind words, they mean a lot to me :)
  • OverlyAnxiousOverlyAnxious Member Posts: 1,018 Disability Gamechanger
    Have you tried the governments new 'skills search' site?  Might come up with some interesting suggestions...  

    https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/skills-assessment

    Some of mine are Biotechnologist, Medical Physicist, Production Manager, Helicopter Engineer...and Nail Technician!  :D
  • 66Mustang66Mustang Member Posts: 3,717 Disability Gamechanger
    @OverlyAnxious thanks for the reply and the link. I just filled that questionnaire out but I answered “it depends” to quite a few of the questions. It suggested what seems like every job to me, from electrician to beauty consultant to demolition operative to blacksmith!!

    I might do it again later and try to be a bit more decisive with my answers. 

  • Ross_ScopeRoss_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,001 Pioneering
    edited October 2020
    Hi @66Mustang :) 

    Great discussion as it is a topic that many people will relate to in some way or another.
    I would add that volunteering is always a great path to go down. It's often not very time consuming but can lead to opportunities in the future if you get your foot in the door with a few places because of the connections you can make. It also helps with confidence building and skill development. 

    It made me aware of career prospects that I'd not even considered before and in some cases it allowed me to make some good use out of my interests because I volunteered with organisations that carried out work relating to areas I am passionate about.
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  • 66Mustang66Mustang Member Posts: 3,717 Disability Gamechanger
    That is a really good point about volunteering. I’m not very good at the usual volunteering roles but maybe when I am ready there would be a charity shop willing to take me on as a volunteer bookkeeper or something.
  • janer1967janer1967 Community champion Posts: 6,130 Disability Gamechanger
    @66Mustang I wouldnt discount the retail trade thats where I started out. I was a shelf stacker but then worked my way up and stayed with the same company for 30 years.

    I had so many different roles from cashier, admin clerk, payroll clerk, then went onto trainee management and ended up in some head office advisory roles before becoming a Human Resource Manager for the same company they sonsored me to do my degree as well

    Its not where you start its what you make of it
  • 66Mustang66Mustang Member Posts: 3,717 Disability Gamechanger
    @janer1967 thanks that is a really good point. Thanks for the tip.
  • janer1967janer1967 Community champion Posts: 6,130 Disability Gamechanger
    @66Mustang Also remember any work is good experience as is any interviews 

    Getting a foot in the door is the main thing and can lead to lots more we all have to start at the bottom but if you join a good expanding company then the world is your oyster

    If you are looking at retail then aldi and lidl are the ones expanding, if you live near an amazon depot they are recruiting 

    Also DWP are taking on work coaches dont know if that is in all areas tthough
  • 66Mustang66Mustang Member Posts: 3,717 Disability Gamechanger
    edited October 2020
    Thanks again @janer1967

    I agree from what I have heard getting a foot in the door is the hardest part. I’m not ready to work right now as I’m still working with clinics on my mental health but once I get it a bit better I will consider doing what you say.

    I don’t have any work experience but I do have experience of meetings because before COVID I attended monthly meetings at the clinic I go to where staff and patients liaise with each other to suggest improvements. It was quite a professional atmosphere and I got paid £25 each time for it. I guess that would count a little bit as experience. 
  • janer1967janer1967 Community champion Posts: 6,130 Disability Gamechanger
    It would count to some degree but the best experience is working on a regular basis as it proves you have the commitment ang loyalty to hold down a paid job.

    Even if it is voluntary work which again may work to get your foot in the door and for some experience you dint have ti di it forever but being in work is the way to finding work easier
  • 66Mustang66Mustang Member Posts: 3,717 Disability Gamechanger
    edited October 2020
    Yes I agree with that definitely
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,680 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @66Mustang, I hope the advice above has been useful. I just wanted to jump in and say that you have a lot of potential! I'm glad you feel the economics will be helpful.

    Have you ever looked at The Prince's Trust? Here is what they offer:

    How we support young people

    We are open to young people aged 11 to 30 from all over the UK - no matter if they have been facing some serious issues such as homelessness or if they've been in trouble with the law. If they're willing to aim high - we are here.

    We have returned £1.4 billion in value to society through our help for young people over the last 10 years alone.

    We work with delivery partners across the UK to offer hundreds of free courses, grants and mentoring opportunities to inspire young people to build their confidence and start a career. We will be there to support them to achieve their full potential. 

    It looks like they can be really flexible and the website also has success stories. :)
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  • 66Mustang66Mustang Member Posts: 3,717 Disability Gamechanger
    @Chloe_Scope thanks, I did get in touch with them for help with funding towards my economics course but they said they couldn’t help as the maximum help they give is £500 and the course cost over £500. Apparently I was not allowed to take the £500 then make up the difference myself.

    That said I think I will look to them for advice and maybe mentoring when I am ready to start work, hopefully they can help with that :) thank you.
  • woodbinewoodbine Member Posts: 2,147 Disability Gamechanger
    Have you considered going to uni? you can do access courses if you don't have the required "A" levels our daughter went back to uni at the age of 27 having dropped out first time round she now has a good job in HR with an American bank here in the UK, another route of course would be the open university where you study at your own pace.
  • 66Mustang66Mustang Member Posts: 3,717 Disability Gamechanger
    @woodbine yes I would love to go to university but I don’t think I would cope with student life at the moment. I do live quite close to a university so if I got in there it would be ideal as I could commute from home rather than live in digs. Unfortunately, the university I live close to is Cambridge which is rather tricky to get accepted to!! 

    In all seriousness though university is something I plan on doing in the future though as a mature student.   :smile:

    Thank you for the post.
  • GeoarkGeoark Community champion, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,316 Disability Gamechanger
    I spent around 10 years unemployed, previous to that I had always worked in warehousing and had no qualifications. Knowing it was extremely unlikely that I would be able to return to the type of  work I was used to I did start to wonder if I would ever get back to work.

    Volunteering during those years meant I could further develop minor skills I had and learn new ones. It also gave me a wealth of experiences I could draw on when it came to answering their questions. Volunteering also has another aspect to it that is often over looked. I did volunteer as a receptionist at a homeless charity, it took me less than three hours to work out that it was not for me. That is fine, it is not failure but part of the learning experience, especially as I was considering to start applying for reception jobs as way into a company. I ended up in their volunteer recruitment team and loved my time there until I got a job.

    Something I would recommend is learn how to use Microsoft Office, especially Word and Excel. I thought my skills were fairly basic, however one reason I have stood out was my skills in these two programs were above what most of my colleagues were capable off. To give an example, one of the early tasks I did was to divide costs between different types of clients. It took me ten minutes to write a quick calculator in Excel which sped up the process and was always accurate. While I had a basic understanding of some of the functions it was only when I got into work I could put them into practice. Having a good understanding though meant it was easy to pick up. Even now I am still learning, yesterday I used merge field codes to resolve a formatting issue with a mail merge file. Because I am very much self taught the senior officer just needed to give me a clue for the direction to go and as I explained to him, if I simply follow his instructions I would likely forget, researching how to do it would be the best way for me to learn not just for then but for the future.

    I now work with large data sets and need to make some sense of them. Understanding pivot tables, vlookup, and some of the less used formulas makes life a lot easier, not just for me but my seniors and line manager. Most of my work is finance based, scrutinising accounts and fixing mistakes, pulling together different invoices from different sources, understanding what can and cannot be charged and responding to queries, validating some invoices and authorising their payments, going through legal contracts to see who is responsible as well as understanding the legal, regulatory and procedural structures which I work under. 

    My highest qualifications now are level 4 and not related to any of these. When I started after being unemployed for so long we were actually financially worse off, having to use public transport through the centre of London, I now earn above the national average wage, something I never thought I would achieve.

    It has  not been an easy journey, health scares including at one point being tested for cancer, ongoing health issues, and some really blinding mistakes. Having an employer who doesn't have an issue with mistakes, but insists you sort it out, with support if needed, and learn from it helped a great deal. I have days where I feel I am out of my depth and drowning but have pulled through it. There have been some funny moments. 

    Where does he live?

    7 Sisters Road

    What number?

    7.

    The name of the road of course being Seven Sisters Road.

    Or the poor young lady I was shadowing to see what they do in a department on a Friday and she asked when I would like to do it. As I sometimes forget words and use different ones she managed to keep a straight face as I said she wouldn't want me dogging her all day so the morning would be fine. I could not understand why the rest of her team were laughing and one or two even had tears in their eyes. The word I meant to use was hounding. I could not even work out what was so funny until I mentioned the incident to someone I worked with. 

    So yes, I can understand where you are coming from. However from what you have said it seems that you have given it a lot of thought and doing the right things to enable you to move into the work place when the time is right for you. My own belief is a passion to life long learning and developing new skills will always go a long way to future proofing your work prospects. 

    As an individual I stood alone.
    As a member of a group I did things.
    As part of a community I helped to create change!

  • 66Mustang66Mustang Member Posts: 3,717 Disability Gamechanger
    edited October 2020
    @Geoark

    Thank you very much for taking the time to share all that.

    It sounds like you were in quite a similar position to me and it is really inspiring to read about how you progressed into a job that is not only well paid but from your other posts on this forum I know is fulfilling for you as well.

    What you say about acquiring/developing minor skills makes perfect sense. I like to think I gained some minor skills from the meetings I go to at my clinic but I understand volunteering is the best way to properly immerse yourself and really develop.

    I always thought I was pretty good at Office at school, but I haven’t used it now for almost 10 years, so things could well have evolved a lot by now. I’d best get up to speed and brush up on my skills.

    Thanks for sharing the funny stories as well, haha.

    Again I really appreciate you sharing all that, it must have taken a while to write.
  • CressCress Member Posts: 325 Pioneering
    " I want to work but have no skills"
    I'd say you were perfectly suited to a career in counselling...I'm only half joking!
    Good luck  and best wishes for whichever path you choose.
  • SallyHSallyH Member Posts: 31 Courageous
    Hey there! I just wanted to give my thoughts! 

    Have you ever thought of trying the Open University? If you're not up for the student life but have thought about uni, it might be a good thought! I know employers absolutely adore seeing a OU degree since it means you can be self reliant and don't need micromanaging. They also love people who went to uni 'late' since it's seen as self development rather than an obligation. 
    If you don't have any A Levels you could try a flexi college course? Or even a foundation course to get you into a uni thing too! Distance learning is your friend! 

    There's tones of free courses online too to help develop skills. And if you don't like them you can just stop doing them without question or money lost. OpenLearn and FutureLearn are the biggest ones, but if you have a little money spare you could try something like SkillShare where there's thousands of short courses taught by people in those industries. They're less 'structured' but usually involve activities to help you get the taste of something!

    Also, I currently work in an accountants. If you do try to pursue accountancy here's some advice: You don't need a finance/maths degree to do it. At least two of our current trainees hold history degrees, and one has a geography one. As long as you get a good grade and have a passion for it there's a large likelihood of you being picked up as a trainee. Also, there isn't an age limit. Although Accountancy isn't for me, if you wanna go for it, do. Don't discredit yourself! 
  • 66Mustang66Mustang Member Posts: 3,717 Disability Gamechanger
    edited October 2020
    Thanks @SallyH for the great advice.

    I’d never considered that about an OU degree being desirable because it displays self sufficiency. Or, about going to university late displaying that you did it out of choice rather than because you had to. Both very good points and make perfect sense.

    I’ll have a look at the online courses you suggest. If nothing else it will give me something to do as I am always bored at the moment!

    Thank you for the tips about accountancy as well. That’s really good to know.

    Just to say to all that this thread has turned out much better than I thought it would and I just want to say I really appreciate every reply, it does mean a lot to me.
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,680 Disability Gamechanger
    We're always happy to help @66Mustang, you bring a lot to the forum and it's the least we can do. :)
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  • 66Mustang66Mustang Member Posts: 3,717 Disability Gamechanger
    Thanks @Chloe_Scope that’s really kind of you to say :)
  • dkb123dkb123 Member Posts: 109 Pioneering
    edited October 2020
    I suppose one of the best things I inherited from my father was his love of gardening, the time he took to teach me as a child how to plant and grow things set me up for life, I didn't use my knowledge until many years later because I never lived anywhere with a garden, but now 50 years on I have one, and it's one of the joys of life, you say you are calm and relaxed, which you have to be when being outdoors in all weathers,
    Its what you make it, just a hobby, or a sideline, or a full-time job, it pays very well, you can work for yourself, others or create a landscape company, the choices are very wide, you can study horticultural or be a permaculture gardener  or a smallholder, homesteader,

    I work from home, I am my own boss and make enough money to be very comfortable, I sell plants and do a farmers market stall once a week, and I live an organic life, that's the key, to find what you are happy doing.

    My father said if you can find a paying job that you would do for free, you will never work another day in your life. 
    God bless him.   
  • OverlyAnxiousOverlyAnxious Member Posts: 1,018 Disability Gamechanger
    I'd like to be a gardener in a large park or stately home.  Mostly working alone but with directions from a head gardener (I'm rubbish with people but much more a sheep than a shepherd!).  Outdoors, giving hundreds of people a lot of pleasure without having to interact with them, and you can always see the visual reward from gardening.  :)
  • dkb123dkb123 Member Posts: 109 Pioneering
    The walled Victorian gardens with the sunken sections and high south-facing walls and  seats for quiet contemplation seem to me, to be magical places  
  • 66Mustang66Mustang Member Posts: 3,717 Disability Gamechanger
    That does sound like a really nice and fulfilling job to do. A family member is actually in that kind of profession albeit more tree surgery and ground maintenance type roles and they like it on the whole.

    @dkb123 those sound like some very wise words from your father.
  • 66Mustang66Mustang Member Posts: 3,717 Disability Gamechanger
    I'd like to be a gardener in a large park or stately home.  Mostly working alone but with directions from a head gardener (I'm rubbish with people but much more a sheep than a shepherd!).  Outdoors, giving hundreds of people a lot of pleasure without having to interact with them, and you can always see the visual reward from gardening.  :)
    This might be a stupid question but could you cope with the mud? :o Mud does not trigger my contamination OCD I think maybe as it is not made by a human but not sure. Maybe you are the same?
  • dkb123dkb123 Member Posts: 109 Pioneering
    I don't think anyone should be afraid of mud, its only water and soil, and they are the basic life-giving properties of the earth 
  • OverlyAnxiousOverlyAnxious Member Posts: 1,018 Disability Gamechanger
    66Mustang said:
    I'd like to be a gardener in a large park or stately home.  Mostly working alone but with directions from a head gardener (I'm rubbish with people but much more a sheep than a shepherd!).  Outdoors, giving hundreds of people a lot of pleasure without having to interact with them, and you can always see the visual reward from gardening.  :)
    This might be a stupid question but could you cope with the mud? :o Mud does not trigger my contamination OCD I think maybe as it is not made by a human but not sure. Maybe you are the same?
    Depends where it is...  On outdoor clothes/gloves?  Yeah, no problem.  On my face from over-zealous weed pulling?  Not a fan!!  :D

    I used to do a lot of gardening and rarely had any issues with the contamination side of the OCD.  Always wore long sleeves and gloves so didn't get any contaminants on my arms or hands, and was careful not to touch my face or 'splash' anything onto it.  I got more anxiety from the injury risk with tools instead.  Even something as simple as weeding a patio can lead to a nasty scuffed knuckle and blood appearing...  I rarely used power tools and prefer to do things manually.  Sadly it's the stomach issues that stopped me doing any gardening last year, could no longer do the bending and lifting etc.  As I keep mentioning on here, I'm really hoping to move somewhere with a garden to try and get back into it a bit.
  • dkb123dkb123 Member Posts: 109 Pioneering
    raised beds are very good if you find it difficult to bend and lift 
  • 66Mustang66Mustang Member Posts: 3,717 Disability Gamechanger
    dkb123 said:
    I don't think anyone should be afraid of mud, its only water and soil, and they are the basic life-giving properties of the earth 
    To be fair, and I will be the first to admit this being an OCD sufferer, the whole point of OCD is that it is irrational. So while you may be quite right, there may be people who are afraid of mud and need to work on it. :)
  • dkb123dkb123 Member Posts: 109 Pioneering
    yes you are right, it's a difficult illness to overcome 
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,680 Disability Gamechanger
    Hey @66Mustang, how are you this morning?

    Just wanted to share this blog post with you: Here's why we should employ disabled people.
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  • 66Mustang66Mustang Member Posts: 3,717 Disability Gamechanger
    edited October 2020
    Hi @Chloe_Scope I am not too bad thanks!

    I have read your article and think it’s a really good one. I agree with a lot of what you say. Even though the article is written from the point of view of somebody who encounters physical difficulties I can still relate to it as a person with psychological issues. 

    I definitely think my issues have made me a stronger person. One notable thing which maybe you can relate to is that little problems in life don’t affect me as they would most people, as I have more important things to worry about. Little things that can really affect a lot of people, like computer problems, or spilling something on my shirt, don’t bother me and I just get on with dealing with it. Maybe this makes us more resilient employees - if I got a snotty email at work or my boss shouted at me, I wouldn’t care as much as some people do!

    Your points about organisation and problem solving are really valid in my opinion as well. In all aspects of life we often have to work around a central problem (our disability) and these are useful skills to have in a workplace. I like your little joke about literally taking the long route which I can also relate to with my driving due to not being able to use certain roads.

    I honestly still don’t know if I’m technically disabled or not, but my conditions are certainly not enabling. Apparently if you have had a persistent mental health issue for 12 months then it can be classed as a disability so from an employment point of view I probably would be seen as disabled. I do worry about getting a job as there are things I can’t do, like drive on certain roads and I would even struggle in meetings. But I guess we all need to focus on what we can do and not what we can’t.

    Thanks for sharing the article. :)
  • dkb123dkb123 Member Posts: 109 Pioneering
    Good to see you are focusing on the positive and what you can do 
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