Take Control of Your Career in a New Year; NEW YEAR ENROLMENTS Advertising Feature

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THIS New Year, take control of your future and make a difference to your life. There are plenty of opportunities to change direction and broaden your interests, and there's never been a better year to do it!

The North West offers an extensive range of courses and programmes which cater to the needs and interests of everyone in the community, including you.

It is possible to find the right course designed to complement your lifestyle and enhance your future, whatever your circumstances, age or educational background.

If you are dissatisfied with your career or wish to improve your skills, gaining qualifications and fulfilling your academic potential can shape your career and enhance your confidence, as well as giving you more choice in terms of changing occupation. You could benefit from better working conditions, increased chances of promotion, and even increase your current salary.

If you are content in your career or, alternatively, are not sure about what it is you want to do, it is worth gaining some Key Skills qualifications. In the competitive workplace, Key Skills qualifications are acknowledged by employers as valuable and practical qualifications.

Key Skills refer to the generic, transferable skills that we all require during our working hours as well as at home. Communication, numeracy, ICT, teamwork, organisational and problem-solving skills may be taken for granted in our day-to-day exchanges, but are universally appreciated and worth gaining qualifications in.

If you are interested in a specific area, start by finding out as much as possible about that subject before committing yourself to a course of study or training. It is better to decide against a course now, than to discover it's the wrong choice when you've already committed yourself.

Make a list of your interests and hobbies, strengths and weaknesses, and ask family and friends for their opinions because they may have recognised certain qualities which you were unaware you possess!

If you become interested in pursuing a particular career, talk to people who have worked in the field if possible to find out about the reality of the job.

The internet is extremely useful and provides comprehensive information concerning individual companies, as well as job-search facilities and online application forms. It also has extensive advice about getting involved in particular fields.

Information can also be found at your local library or job centre, and via telephone information lines and careers fairs. Alternatively, ask your teachers for advice, or visit a career adviser at your local careers office.

Try to be realistic about your choice of subject. If you are keen to pursue a certain career, research which qualifications are required or which subjects would be most beneficial for you to gain. You might have a way to go before you can start applying for the jobs you want, but in the meantime you can start building solid foundations for your future by following the right career plan and compiling an impressive CV of relevant qualifications and useful skills.

The choices available can seem daunting at first, but here are some excellent places to start, regardless of where your future lies.

has hundreds of courses to offer the 250,000 people who will be returning to learning in 2002.

Courses are held all over Liverpool, in college buildings, community venues and Drop-in Study Centres (DISCS).

The Arts Centre is the college's newest addition and is dedicated to students of professional media, performing arts, art and design, and fashion and clothing.

The Old Swan site offers healthcare, child studies, social work, languages GCSEs, IT and A-Levels, access and fresh start.

Bankfield Centre specialises in business, business IT, leisure and tourism, and fresh start.

Clarence Street has various A-Level and GCSE programmes, as well as languages and specialist IT. …