It’s widely accepted that ‘jobs for life’ are a relict of the past, and it’s as well to embrace the fact.

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The traditional approach; if an individual works hard for an organisation, be it in the public or private sector, that the organisation will look after them forever more, has been consigned to the archives – anecdotal and nationwide news confirms this.

Thus the need for career management, or self managed careers, has never been more keen.

I was prompted to reflect on this when I listened to Dick Palmer speak to the Norwich Businesswomen’s network this month.

He joined forces with Corrienne Peasgood, his successor as Principal of City College Norwich, to talk about the newly formed TEN Group; ‘Transforming Education in Norfolk’, a federation of Norfolk based educational institutions, to which Dick was appointed Group CEO this August.

TEN, which currently comprises of City College Norwich, Wayland Academy Norfolk, City Academy Norwich and Norfolk University Technical College, really serves to get under the skin of what students need now and aims to provide them with the skills they will need for their future careers.

And it is a true reflection of the way that the workplace has changed.

For today’s students the picture is extremely challenging. It is estimated that current learners will have more than 10 jobs by the age of 38.

The knowledge that is reflected in this initiative is something that we can all learn from, no matter what stage our career has reached.

If you can embrace the value and ethos of managing your career as a moving portfolio, you will be enabled to take measured risks, have flexibility and most importantly, be adaptable.

So what can we do to meet these challenges?

Research supports the following actions:

n Measure your progress: Assess your progress periodically. Every six months re-evaluate your short-term and long-term objectives.

n Take responsibility for your professional development: The bottom line for professional development is that you own it. Make sure you are current and up to date.

n Work with your mentors: Invest in spending time with experienced people with an interest in your personal and professional well-being.

n Know when you need to make a change: This will be informed by the previous four.

n You do not necessarily need to make drastic changes to add richness to your working life: You can stay in situ and simply position yourself for future opportunities and build on what you have, but we should all be developing loyalty to our aspirations and continue to invest in new skills.

n Remember that playing it safe does not keep you safe: The ‘job for life’ scenario has vanished and by introducing some well thought out strategies for broadening your horizons, you can revitalise a sluggish career, keep being productive into your later years and even create a new niche for yourself.

Mary-Jane Kingsland is a business coach.

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