Learn how gardening can boost your wellbeing!

Gardening has been know to transform the lives of many.

If you have always been interested in growing a vegetable patch or learning the basics of planting flowers, here is the reason why you should:

Stress Relief

Soil contains a natural anti-depressant that can make us happier.

Boost your immune system

Spending time around soil and plants helps boost your immune system.

Vitamin D

You will be more exposed to Vitamin D which is needed to keep bones, teeth, and muscles healthy.

Healthy mind

Gardening has been proven to reduce the risk of dementia, reduce stress levels and promote a good night’s sleep.

Physical activity

One hour of light exercise can burn up to 330 calories, a great opportunity to exercise while doing something you enjoy.

Healthy food

Growing herbs and vegetables provides you with healthy foods at your disposal.

If you would like to learn how to grow vegetables, plants, and herbs or explore how gardening can benefit your mental health, join us on our FREE online short courses, click here to find out more.

Are you looking to be more active this Spring? Why not try our top five Lancashire walks.

Walking is not only good for you physically, but it also has many other advantages for your wellbeing. Taking time to walk in nature has been proven to help with depression, reduce anxiety and improve your mood. If done regularly, it will strengthen your bones and muscles and promote weight loss.

Did you know? Plants emit a chemical called phytoncides that help strengthen the immune system.

Start your walking adventures in our beautiful county, Lancashire, where there are many great places to explore with your family, dog, or friend.

Here are our top 5 places to visit:

Beacon Fall Country Park

Beacon Fall Country park promises 110 hectares of remarkable woodland, moorland, and farmland with plenty of wildlife to discover. You can also venture up to the Beacon Fell summit that is 266 meters above sea level with breath-taking views.

The Forest of Bowland

The Forest of Bowland is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and has many spots for you to explore. You could visit Hornby Castle or the stepping-stones over the River Hodder.

Yarrow Valley

Yarrow Valley has over 700 acres of land with woodland pathways. The area has local historical importance with the land being used for bleaching, dyeing, calico printing, and mining. Set off you walk at the Visitors Center to grab a free history leaflet and learn the history of the area.

Rowley Lake

This beautiful and natural setting is on the outskirts of Burnley and promises a tranquil walk around the seven-acre lake with stunning views.

Hatch Brook Waterfall

Hatch Brook Waterfall is situated in Brinscall Woods and can be discovered as part of a walk around the Wheelton Plantation which is packed with industrial ruins and miming remains.

Lancashire offers many beautiful scenic walks that can massively impact your physical health and wellbeing. There are lots of places to explore. Why not download the AllTrails app which can be used as a guide to the wonderful world outdoors? And remember, do your research before you start. Make sure the walking trail is right for you, don’t overexert yourself; start small, and before you know it, you will be a walking pro!

If you’re looking for more ways to take control of your health and wellbeing, why not try one of FREE courses, click here to find out more.

Top things to consider when writing your CV

CV writing can be a daunting task, especially if you haven’t updated it in a while. Here’s our top things to consider when writing yours!

Starting from scratch? Use a template.

Don’t worry too much about how it should look, there are hundreds of templates available on the internet. You can also access templates via Microsoft Word. This will give you a great basis for starting your CV.

Keep it simple.

Having an uncomplicated CV makes it a lot easier for employers to read. Make sure you have your full name, email and telephone number; followed by subheadings which should include your:

  • Personal statement
  • Key skills
  • Work history
  • Achievements
  • Education and qualifications
  • Hobbies and interests

Keep it less than two pages and focus on creating an engaging personal statement to keep them reading; tell your prospective employer what makes you unique and try to avoid buzz words such as hard-working and passionate.

Tailor your CV

Tailor your CV to match the job you are applying for. Look at the person specification/job description and write your skills to match for example:

Job description:

Essential skills include social media management and Microsoft Office.

CV brief example:

In my previous role, I used the full Microsoft Package including Excel to collect client data.

I created and scheduled content on the business social media channels which included Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

List your achievements

Your CV is a place to blow your own trumpet. Think about what you have done in your everyday life and previous roles. Did you raise money for charity? Tell them. Did you implement a new system that improved customer service? Or maybe, you won a special award? List it.

Proofread

The most important of all. A typo, spelling error or another mistake may seriously hinder your ability to get past the short-listing stage. Ask a friend or family member to proofread, you can also use Grammarly – an app/website that will help check it for you.

If you would like further support with your CV, join us for one of our FREE online courses, click here to find out more.

Scribble your way to wellbeing

Are you looking for a creative way to improve your wellbeing? Well, we can help you do just that!

Grab a pen and paper, or if you are feeling fancy, some coloured markers. Sit comfortably and scribble.

Yes, you heard correctly – scribble! Let go of any worries about your abilities. Drawing is calming for your mental health! It can help you develop concentration and improve your focus. It can also be a way to draw your attention away from a busy and stressful day and distract you.

Once you have your scribble, you will have what looks like a mess on paper. Don’t worry, using the room around you for inspiration; fill in the shapes on the paper, use patterns from the curtains whatever pops into your head. Keep drawing until your page is full. It doesn’t matter what you draw, just that you are drawing and filling up the mini shapes in your scribble with patterns you’ve made.

If you would like learn more creative ways to improve your wellbeing, click here to view our FREE online courses.

How to use social media to help with your job search?

Today’s online social world has changed the way recruiters look for the right candidates, which means it is a great starting point when looking for a new job. It is also common for businesses and organisations to post job vacancies to their social networks. Using social media as part of your job searching strategy can help you secure the job you want!

Here is some advice and information to help you get started on your social job search.

Clean up your profiles

The most important thing to do before you start your job search using social media is to clean up your profiles. Ask yourself the question: Do I want a future employer to see this tweet, status or picture? Remove any visible party pics and any articles or memes that can be considered as politically divisive.

LinkedIn

If you do not have LinkedIn, now will be a great time to join. People refer to LinkedIn as an online CV which can help you get noticed. This network is actively used by recruiters and businesses to find potential candidates.

It is important that you keep your profile up to date; join groups and get connecting with people; you can also search for live vacancies with thousands of listings from a variety of sectors. Add to your profile that you are actively looking for work, which will prompt recruiters to get in touch with you.

Twitter

When using Twitter in your job search, be professional. Make sure you have your LinkedIn
profile in your bio with a professional picture. Use the social network to follow companies you would
like to work for; keep up to date with industry news; and search for jobs. You can also follow recruiters, get involved in professional discussions and retweet information about topics related to your industry. Each day, search for key terms related to the job you would like, such as ‘jobs in Lancashire’, ‘care support work’ or ‘customer service job’ – this will show you a variety of tweets with these words in, potentially your next job!


Using social networks to look for employment will increase your visibility to potential employers. It opens another channel of finding work and gives you the advantage over those who are not actively searching on social sites. You can now even search for vacancies on Facebook, but remember to change your profile privacy settings before doing so!

If you would like further support, information and advice to help you with your job search sign up for a FREE short course that can help you find employment or retrain. Click here to browse our courses.  

Is your child starting primary school this September?

Here’s our tips and advice to help you, help your child on their first day of primary school.

Talk about starting school often, get your child excited!

Talking about starting school will help your child become familiar with the idea. Be excited for them, explain how they will make new friends and how they will get to learn lots of fun, new things. The more you talk about it, the more they will become comfortable with the idea. Your child trusts you; if you’re excited and happy for them, they will more than likely mirror your emotions.

Practise life skills

Now is the time to help your little one to learn day-to-day tasks. From putting on their coat and shoes to washing their hands. It will encourage your child to become independent and give them the necessities to look after themselves; it’s also a huge help for their new teacher who will have 25 other pupils to help.

Practise the school run

With so much uncertainty it may be unlikely that you will get to visit your child’s new school and meet their teacher, but you can do the school run. Take your child along, explain to them what is happening, park up outside the school and maybe show them the playground from the school gate. Show your excitement, speak to them about the different games they could play, and ask questions: What game would you like to play? The more familiar the idea of school is, the more relaxed they will feel.

Help them with numbers and the alphabet

Start practising counting from 1 – 20 and singing the alphabet song. Get your child familiar and ready for school. There are plenty of fun and engaging videos online that will help them learn their numbers and alphabet. You could also count stairs or cars, play eye spy or other letter and number games.

Tears on the first day

This all depends on the child; some will wave you goodbye and others may be a little more hesitant. This is to be expected and most parents will be feeling anxious about this too. Your child’s teacher will more than likely be a pro at getting your child in the classroom, help is there if you need it. Bring your tissues, as we know it is not just the little ones that cry. Remember your child is safe and they will be fine, and if anything, they will have lots of fun in school making new friends and playing with the new toys their school has to offer.

If you would like further information, help and support explore our Family Learning courses. We offer FREE sessions such as Ready, Steady, School and Fun with Phonics that can help your child with their journey into ‘big’ school.

Best Tip for Interview Success

Have you ever over-prepared for an interview, then said too much or too little? 

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one. Here’s our best tip for interview success. It will help you provide a clear, confident response to answer those tricky questions.

The answer is in the STAR – literally!  The acronym stands for:

Situation         |         Task    |         Action     |    Result

This technique is the tip you need to answer your interview questions in a strong and structured way.

Using our example interview question. Here is how you do it:

Example Question: Tell us about a time when you managed a project.

Situation: Set the scene and provide background.

In my role as Office Manager, I was asked to carry out a project to integrate a new communication system into our current day-to-day processes.

Task:  Describe your task

It was my role to oversee the project, set milestones and responsibilities, and evaluate the success of the integration.

Action: What did you do?

I first wrote a plan on paper to set deadlines and important milestones. The plan included tasks, responsibilities, and the actions needed for the successful integration of the communication software.

Tasks set out included communication to staff, training sessions, test sessions, and follow-up drop-in sessions. The responsibilities highlighted the actions needed from other departments such as IT and marketing.

All teams then met to discuss the plan. We also had follow-up meetings after each milestone to ensure that the project was still scheduled to be completed and deal with any issues that may have arisen.

After the software training sessions and the first roll-out, we asked for feedback, we continued to monitor the performance, and then evaluate its success.

Result: What were the outcomes?

The project went really well. We successfully implemented the new software by the deadline, with 100% training roll-out and a 95% positive feedback from staff. We followed up the other 5% with focus groups.

This technique is a proven way to make sure you do not miss anything, while not sharing too much! The STAR acronym is an easy way to remember how to structure your answers in those nerve-wracking interview situations. 

If you would like to learn more about interview tips, CV writing, and other ways to get ahead in your job search, why not join us on one of our FREE short courses. Click here to find out more.

We can also provide tailored advice and guidance. Contact our expert tutors at enquiries.lal@nelsongroup.ac.uk for more information.

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