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Build your career


One of the key components of success in any career is continually expanding your knowledge and skills related to your chosen profession. However, it is one thing to understand the importance of developing your potential, and it is another to fit continuing professional education into an already busy schedule.


Between work responsibilities and family obligations, finding time to squeeze in classes can be tough. This is especially true for those whose jobs find them working unpredictable or long hours. One resource to consider is classes offered through professional associations affiliated with your industry. These classes have the advantage of being tailored to your needs, as well as offering flexibility.


The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) is a leader in occupational education. The association offers its members a wide variety of opportunities to grow in their careers by continuing their education. "The construction industry offers so many different career options, we want to help our members determine the best fit for their aspirations and then help them pursue and achieve their goals," says Dennis Day, AGC's executive director for public affairs.


Harnessing the Power of the Internet

The AGC Online Institute delivers, manages and tracks training through the Internet. It enables organizations to efficiently train any number of employees, customers or the general public through self-paced courses.


The Online Institute combines all the elements of a training program, such as delivery, access to instructors, training administration and students into one Web site. Students get a valuable, interactive learning experience, which features modular content, peer discussion groups and online instructors. Courses range from "Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response," to how to run an effective meeting.


Course content is presented in self-paced modules that give students the flexibility to structure their learning around any schedule. Students always know where they are in the course and can immediately return to where they left off.


Interactive exercises are modelled after a traditional classroom so students have a hands-on experience that will help reinforce the material and prepare students to take the exams that are given after most modules.


Learning Today, Leading Tomorrow

AGC also offers its members a Supervisory Training Program (STP) designed specifically to meet the needs of the construction industry. Developed, updated and field-tested by and for contractors, the program consists of 11 courses that focus on the knowledge and skills that every supervisor must have to be an effective manager of people, time, equipment and materials.


Since its inception in 1976, more than 100,000 people have participated in one or more STP classes. Each course is activity-based with discussions, case histories, problems and exercises. Participants draw upon their own field experiences and learn by interaction with others from all areas of the construction industry.


Management Development

Members can fine-tune their careers with AGC's Management Development Programs, ranging from a construction project manager course to an advanced management program and a leadership in construction workshop.


These classes are the industry's premier educational offerings for those who want to hone their leadership skills as they advance in their careers. The management classes are intensive programs taught over a span of three days to a full week.


"Members of the construction industry take their careers very seriously," says Day. "AGC's role is to help these high achievers reach their goals, while at the same time making sure that our industry has a steady supply of well-trained, uncompromising individuals."


For more information on AGC and its training programs, contact the association at its Web site at


Create a good impression in your new job!


Congratulations! You've just been appointed to your new job.
Now the real work begins.

It is important from the beginning to convince your new employers that, in selecting you, they have made the right choice.

* Demonstrate that you are highly-motivated and eager to get started.

* Discuss your duties and responsibilities; and establish your priorities. Set challenging, but achievable, short-term and long-term goals.

* To enable you to fit in quickly, find out as much you can about your company and its organisational structure.

* Identify the most successful and highly valued people in the firm and analyse the reasons for their success. Use them as your role models. Associate with colleagues who are perceived as ideal employees.

* Prepare carefully for meetings with your boss. Try to anticipate questions and be ready with positive and considered responses. Make sure you are always well-informed. Keep up to date on current issues.

* Learn all you can about problem-solving techniques.
When you are given a problem to solve, tackle it enthusiastically and systematically.

* Establish a reputation as a good team player by developing good working relationships and cultivating friendships with as wide a range of people in the company as possible.

* Participate fully in your company's training programme;
and avail of all opportunities to extend your knowledge
and develop work-related skills.

* Learn from your own mistakes and the mistakes of others.

* Do more than is specified in your contract. Volunteer for assignments that will help raise your profile within the company.

* Complete all work on time. Don't make promises unless you are sure you can deliver.

* Develop a reputation for honesty, loyalty and integrity.

* Since your job description will form the basis of your performance appraisal, it is important to review it regularly.

From 'Four Minutes to Job Interview Success'
published by Assignments Plus Business Publications


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