Swearing allegiance – will it deliver inclusivity?

The press is full of the idea of councillors, NHS workers etc swearing allegiance to Great Britain in the hope this will ensure our diverse communities are embraced and included rather than isolated.


The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government as well as MP for Bromsgrove is a supporter of the idea.  I’m not sure swearing an oath will carry much weight.  It will certainly be meaningless to the members of our communities isolated by fear, religion, culture etc.


However, something Sajid also said made a lot more sense.  He told the story of visiting his GP when he was 8.  He wasn’t sick.  He was attending as translator for his mum who had lived in the UK for years but never learnt the language. Sometime later she did learn English and her life, as told by Sajid, opened up.


I meet a lot of people who have family members who do not speak English despite living in the UK for decades.  This of course means they can’t work, nor can they integrate with other communities.  Studying is difficult. Day-to-day life – such as a GP’s visit – depends on other family members.


Wouldn’t it break down more barriers between our diverse cultures if we all spoke the same language?  At least then conversation could be held, understanding would grow, integration and prosperity would then follow.


Is an oath of allegiance really needed? or is it more relevant to learn English?

Ann’s Story ‘I’m really proud of myself!’

So Growing Talent 11 official ends today – 16 December – with all completing going into work…..

Ann beat a shortlist to be selected by MitieTDM’s managers – Anita & Michael for a role on Growing Talent.  The end role was something different for Ann.  As Service Solutions Assistant she would be dealing with all correspondence into and out of PwC Birmingham!  A big responsibility for the MitieTDM team when you consider the value of the client’s contracts!

At the very start, Ann had to travel down to London – a City she doesn’t know at all well – and stay in a hotel all week to do the Orientation Week – nail biting !  At least her peers on Growing Talent had seen each other during the various selection stages.  However, Ann took it all in her stride and embraced the challenge – which is a really good attitude to get through Growing Talent!!! Of course her peers were welcoming and inclusive.  After all, everyone is in the same uncertain place of little confidence mixed with unemployed status.

Despite the three train journey down from Birmingham, Ann was the first to arrive – which I highlighted to the others – but then Ann doesn’t have Southern as her train operator!!!!

Within an hour, everyone was laughing and joking as they worked through the challenges which comprise the Orientation Week to grow confidence.  First task is the most feared – but after doing it, everyone is empowered and not so wary of the final challenge.

First off is the ‘your life in pictures’ presentation.  Everyone – me included – draws at least 6 key pictures to represent their story and then has to present it!  Everyone is confident talking about things they know.  Confidence in the workplace – and in general – comes from believing in yourself. ” I can do it’ not “I can’t’.

Other workshops include personal image, what our body says about us – body language makes up a lot more of our communication than words or tone.  We definitely need to watch any little habits that we may not even be conscious of. We do situation case studies, support gap analysis, assertiveness investigation, quick fire presentation and the final one – the Social Enterprise.

This is the most nerve-racking carried out on the final day.  All Growing Talent Associates have to devise an idea that benefits a communication and has a revenue stream.  They then present this to a panel of senior managers from the employers and partners who can ask questions!!!

Despite any apprehension, Ann contributed well to everything and encouraged the others.

Back on site with MitieTDM she quickly learnt all aspects and responsibilities of the vacant role under Michael and the team’s guidance.

With her confidence growing daily, Ann returned to London for the Holistic week embracing all workshops from the finance roundtable, mental health and well being to the art class.  Liliana, Amy and Julian took Ann on a tour of Piccadilly after their task at the National Gallery.

Unable to attend the formal graduation in London next week, we sent the glass and marble trophy up to Ann where Michael presented it during a team talk.

So what does Ann think of Growing Talent?

“It’s really motivated me and given me confidence.  I never thought I could give a presentation.  If you get the chance, do this programme.’

For more information on Growing Talent check out http://www.growing-talent.co.uk.

Growing Talent 12 starts 12 January 2017.



What do the employers say who currently use Growing Talent……


“The Growing Talent Programme has offered Baxter Storey the opportunity to recruit some wonderfully talented people into our business. With all three parties working closely together, the candidate feels supported on their journey through the programme and back in to work. The opportunities of the programme along with having an open mind about where the journey will take them, the recruits have the chance to take control of their career with BaxterStorey.” Ed Walker, Operations Manager, Baxter Storey



‘Growing Talent has been a fantastic and valuable experience for us at the hotel; we are so pleased to be part of this programme and supporting such an enterprising initiative to get people who truly wish to work in to the work place and not necessarily in business that they are skilled for.  We have learnt to recruit in a different way and changed our mind set and it is interesting to meet people without seeing a CV first! ‘ Emma Brierley, HR Director, ME London Hotel


‘Growing Talent has opened our eyes to a different way of finding driven individuals who genuinely want an opportunity to show employers what they can do – and we have not been disappointed!  We look forward to working with Growing Talent again next year.’ Frances Lees, HR Manager
 Meliá White House



‘I was sold on trying Growing Talent because it is an innovative way to attract new talent.  There are no cvs or job descriptions involved. It’s based purely on personality.  The model ensures the match is right for us as the employer and the new talent joining our business.  It’s been amazing and I look forward to next year.’ Ebb Kanga, Holiday Inn


For more employer thoughts – check out  the employers page on http://www.growing-talent.co.uk.


If you are looking to hire new talent in your business, why not do it a different way.   Proven results…….


Michael Burke Investigates…….

This is something I’ve been working on to attract more employers to recruit through Growing Talent.


Hosted on YouTube at    https://youtu.be/TOdUMQskYFU    it’s an investigative style short documentary on Growing Talent. This is Michael Burke’s own words, not a script, based what he learnt from those involved.


Take a look and share what you think about it.