Need a little bit of inspiration in gaining extra work-based experience to boost your career prospects? Our tips could help you make real progress with the practical experience requirement (PER) and, in turn, see you finally realise your goal of ACCA membership
There are often many more opportunities to gain practical experience than you might think. It often pays to think creatively and be proactive with your practical experience supervisor and colleagues.
There is also more to practical experience than meeting ACCA’s membership criteria. As you witness first-hand how different techniques can be applied to different tasks or business areas, you should find your own sense of job satisfaction improving.
You will also equip yourself with the skills to become an effective manager or practical experience supervisor in the future.
A secondment is a great method of varying your experience. Staff often transfer to other posts (or departments) for a fixed term, and these can be excellent opportunities to gain a different level of responsibility and new challenges.
When trying to find a suitable secondment, look for opportunities to provide extended cover; for example, for staff on maternity or long-term sick leave, or on a sabbatical. Your practical experience supervisor, or those that can authorise such moves, may not have considered a secondment to be an option for you, so make sure you proactively present the secondment in a way that benefits everyone.
Project work is another way of picking up new experience. This involves participation in team or inter-departmental projects. It is generally a good idea to volunteer for project work as it might lead to opportunities you had not considered when originally planning how to meet your performance objectives.
Tasks such as negotiating, writing reports, hosting meetings, planning ahead and coordinating the activities of others will develop your personal effectiveness skills, which are mandatory practical experience requirements.
Shadowing can also give you valuable new insight. Shadowing involves observing the working practices of a more experienced colleague, usually for a task for which you cannot yet be given sole responsibility.
You can learn a lot by watching and listening to fellow employees – provided they have the time to explain their actions as they work.
Shadowing keeps disruption to colleagues to a minimum, but don’t forget to ask questions as many people respond well to the opportunity to demonstrate their own specialist skills.
Job rotation involves temporarily swapping roles with a colleague. After receiving clear instructions, a job rotation can allow you to perform new tasks yourself, allowing you to gain valuable insights and acquire new skills.
People who have undertaken job rotations often develop fresh ideas and feel a new enthusiasm when they resume their original role.