2nd Graduation – Growing Talent 26.11.15

At 12noon I arrived at the venue in More London for the ceremony.  Known for always beeing really early, you might think it a bit excessive as proceedings weren’t due to kick off until 4pm!  However,  I’m always early to catch a flight due to ‘what ifs’, so this would be no different.


Preparation prevents poor performance, and I was not going to have anything go wrong if I could help it!  First hurdle – one of the lights in the room was out and the technicians had to sort it out.  Then I was confronted with a three screen facilities – only ever used one!  Yikes.  I pushed every button before conceeding defeat and calling the av team.  A very helpful Nick came down installed the right lead – hiding under the stage!, flicked a switch on the wall panel and the presentation magically appeared on all three screens – as you can see!



The trophies arrived – with one broken – luckily for the one person who couldn’t attend!!!!

Inside the box

Marble plinth with heavy colour glass logo – these are heavy!


By the time the set-up was complete some of the Growing Talent Associates had started arriving!



Of course Reese – now working at MHFAEngland and Mali at Invest In Buy To Let got straight into catch-up mode!  Well, it has been a few months since they were on the programme.


HG two

Nigel – MD of Harrow Green and Sharon – Executive Assistant came to support all their guys – Jason, Michael Daoud, Joshua, Maxine, Selwyn, Matt, Joshua, Jose, Shanika, Ernst, Kearon, Leighon, and Will now working in a mixture of software assistant, HR, customer service and operations!

Jon Barnes, Head of Building & Technical Services for PwC, opened proceedings.  Without Jon’s support there would be no Growing Talent!



Nervously waiting to share a snippet of their experience was Chris from Growing Talent 2 – who since completing has trainined as a MHFA Instructor and now co-delivers this workshop along with creative writing, communication in the workplace and a poetry workshop he has devised.

Jane in the centre from Growing Talent 4, shared her experience from an enthused ‘I’ll try anything and want to learn everything’ outlook to securing a supervisor’s role with Baxter Storey at a new site.

Chelsea who was on programme 6 told how her determination despite her personal circumstance won through especially with the support of her work coach at JobCentre Plus.






Founding directors of Invest in Buy to Let – Selvan and Shane above supporting Mali – now Marketing Manager from Growing Talent 6!  Go Mali………….


Small world, Selvan discovered he went to the same school as Anna, one of the leads from Job Centre Plus!



On arriving at work today, Kavita from Growing Talent 3, presented me not only with a lemon and poppy seed muffin – my fav – but also a beautiful bunch of flowers ‘it’s because of you I have the money to do this’ she said – Isn’t that fabulous?




So far 74 people have started Growing Talent.  60 have completed and secured permanent, fulltime jobs.


Growing Talent 8 starts January 2016 in London – contact me for more details.



D Day for Growing Talent Associates!

It’s been a long wait for some.  Today is the 2nd graduation to recognise the commitment and fabulous talent of those Growing Talent Associates who have completed and started their careers.


Celebrating programmes 3 – which started in the summer last year – through to the 7th programme – which completed last week – means there will be some serious catching up to do!


Stairs at Latimer

From the 3rd Growing Talent we have Matt who had been homeless for a couple of years, encountered depression and despite having a HGV licence didn’t have the confidence to secure a job.  His confidence flourished on Growing Talent and he joined Harrow Green as an operations specialist – packing, portering, driving etc.  Now he has his own place and is the warehouse supervisor!  Matt has supported many people following him on the programme.  Also celebrating today are David and Kavita.  Both joined a professional services Firm.


cropped group

The 4th programme above features Michael, Kit, Selwyn, Daoud, Joshua, Mitchell, Maxine, Courtney and Jane all joining to celebrate today.  Going into a mixture of manual and office roles, the diversity covers all ages, ethnic backgrounds, education and social issues.  One of the great stories here is Jane.  A single parent to two children, Jane had held a number  a number of managerial roles and even been part owner in a business.  She came with an open mind and willingness to do anything.  The roles Baxter Storey were looking to offer Jane were Barista or Sales Assistant.  Her enthusiasm, support of the team, flexibility and adaptability saw her complete Growing Talent and secure a Supervisor position for a brand new site!


Team plus

From the 5th, we will be joined by Camilla, José, Shanika, Shennell, Alex, Reese, Reece, Jason and Alechenu.  Alechenu made history by being employed after just four weeks!  José had shown his determination before Growing Talent.  Arriving in the UK with little English after working in the hospitality sector in Madeira.  In the UK he worked in various hospitality roles improving his English by day and studying for his HR qualifications at night.  Growing Talent was his opportunity to get the job he had dreamed of.  He joined Harrow Green as HR Assistant Manager!  Fabulous achievements from all the guys………….


GT 6

From the 6th programme, Mali, Mehmet – already secured a bronze award from his company for outstanding service! – Leah, Marta, James, Joshua and Chelsea.  Chelsea has achieved amazing things.  She committed to Wilson James 100% throughout Growing Talent despite having to sort out her accommodation issues – a legacy of leaving care – and is now a strong team member.  Leah has got herself noticed by everyone (not intentionally) including Portico’s Chairman Edward Griffiths!  She has implemented her own processes on reception, taken part in various events including as a Magic Maker at the recent bonfire night in Chiswick, sang for the team and clients and basically never said ‘no’!


Making the magic


Lastly, programme 7 which only finished 20 November!

Orientation Group

Celebrating today are Ernst, Jacqueline, Jerome, Kearon, Leighon, Maria, Michael, RoseMarie & William!  All have achieved amazing things along the way.  William had a bad finish to a 15 year career as a carer.  He relished being in work again – even the 6am starts with Harrow Green!  RoseMarie had run a theatre for 20 years doing everything from the set design and building to bookkeeping.  However, three years ou of work and dented her confidence.  A passion for property saw her secure a role with Invest In Buy To Let – who already had Mali from the 6th programme.


It amazes me when organisations talk about the lack of diversity in their business.  I’ve never focussed on diversity.  I’ve always treated everyone with dignity and respect adjusting the support I give to meet their needs.  The result is diversity is delivered  because confidence and trust are built!


Since the beginning of Growing Talent, we have mentored, supported, nagged and encouraged 60 fabulous people into employment.


It’s the best feeling in the world knowing you have played a small part in someone’s growth.