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So how are we progressing with our new year resolutions?  Fallen off the diet bandwagon yet?  Exercise commitments already forgotton? Has the email inbox exploded from unread spam?  Every year I await the media shower of new year commitments and ambitions. Magazines full of diet suggestions, clearing out your closet and managing your time more effectively.  As my colleague Emma Lindley has already blogged its clear that we relish a blank page at the beginning of the year and in this digital world its harder than ever to do so (although there is always the reset button).

Don't get me wrong starting afresh can be a good thing, it's heartening and positive but I am conscious that too often we feel we have failed and then  demoralised from our inability to change the little things and keep to our personal goals.  But let's not be too disheartened and give ourselves a break.  2012 was a challenging but celebratory period and 2013 looks as though we are in for the same, but being a positive person I firmly believe we will get through to the other side.

So in the mood of new year cheer perhaps you are looking for inspiration or personal goal so here are a few SkillsBank opportunities to tempt you..


Volunteer as a business mentor?

The RSA’s involvement in enterprise has long been established. Here is an opportunity for Fellows with business experience to be trained as mentors through the Get Mentoring, which offers free training and supports a community of enterprise mentors across the UK.

Research has shown that 70% of small businesses that receive mentoring survive for five years or more, which is double the rate compared with non-mentored entrepreneurs. Experienced mentors  not only boost capability and capacity in small, medium and micro businesses, but also radically increase survival rates. As well as the benefits for the businesses, Mentors report major benefits including an insight into the hot topics effecting businesses today, development of skills which can be applied to other interactions and the chance to build some meaningful contacts with individuals in the next generation of businesses.  Training is free and can be undertaken at workshops or online. Register on the Get Mentoring website


Become a School Governor with SGOSS

The RSA is working to alongside the School Governors’ One-Stop Shop (SGOSS) to try and fill some of the many school governor vacancies that currently exist across the UK. SGOSS is a small charity that recruits and helps place governor volunteers working in partnership with employers, local authorities and schools. It has already helped place over 15,000 volunteers and its services are free to all.

Why do it?

  • Children need all the help they can get to equip them for life after school.   SGOSS are looking for great school governors who can help improve educational standards across the UK.
  • Good governing bodies make a material contribution to the performance of their schools.  (Ofsted)
  • The need for governor volunteers with transferable skills has never been greater. There are 33,000 vacant governor places in schools in England.
  • You will need to be 18 or over; however you don't need to have children or have any detailed educational knowledge.  Schools want governors with varied experience from all walks of life. The role involved 6-8 hours per month in term time only. I myself have recently agreed to be a governor for a school in Furness Vale, Disley.

    If you are interested finding out more contact SkillsBank or apply directly via the SGOSS website

    As for my own resolution for 2013? Four years ago I made a resolution not to have any more new year pledges and have stuck to it ever since!


    Vivs Long-Ferguson

    Deputy Head of Regional Programme



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