How easy it is to let small things/one person detract us from what’s really important.
Since 2004 I have worked in dedicated employability programmes encouraging and supporting those unemployed people with ‘labels’ into employment and getting employers to think a different way when it comes to recruitment.
When you have a ‘label’ you will be stereotyped by perceptions of others – especially employers the majority of the time. Homeless, care leavers, domestic abuse, mental/physical/social issues to some conjure up perceptions of what that person is capable of, how much ‘hassle’ it could be to employ them. Now I know only too well we have legislation in place to stop this stereotyping but it doesn’t work. Humans will always prejudge someone on their assumptions/perceptions of them not the evidence of what they can do and the value they add to a role.
It’s a fact, those of us with ‘labels’ need a different route to employment than the traditional cv/interview/start. In 2004 I devised the Real Apprentice which ran until 2013 getting 378 people into permanent jobs – even though it was an eight week work experience programme! I still see two of the Real Apprentices in their jobs over 10 years later – one manages a team!
In December 2013 a conversation saw Growing Talent devised and launched in February 2014. A three month, full time into work programme with a permanent, full-time guaranteed job up front, appraisal audit trail for progression monitoring Orientation Week to build confidence and Holistic Week – initially carried out as a residential stay at a country hotel has seen 148 people into permanent jobs from diverse, vulnerable backgrounds. All employers say they would not have employed anyone through the traditional route but having seen them over a period of time learning the vacant role, working with the team and seeing their confidence and potential grow in situ made it a win win. According to JobCentre Plus’s overall lead for Growing Talent at least 100 more have gone into work through the feedback and guidance they got in the application process. Which is great to hear.
Now over five years into Growing Talent we’ve streamlined it. Now six weeks long, still a guaranteed full-time job up front, Orientation and Holistic week – carried out as a day attendance in London with the ability to extend for more technical roles or family crisis.
Years on year, I get thank you gifts, cards, flowers, texts, emails – its really heartwarming to know I’m making a difference and as the guys say ‘changing lives’.
Getting back to the title of this post, I’ve been pondering the reason for continuing with Growing Talent. The reason for this is 18 months ago a legal process was started by one individual applying for the programme who didn’t get through. The pressure of dealing with this process as well as family life, mentoring others, as well as continue to run Growing Talent made me think – ‘is it really worth it’. Had I shut Growing Talent down 18months ago at the start of this process 26 vulnerable people would not be in their full-time jobs today. All with labels. All previously stereotyped.
Yesterday, I had another pile of legal papers to work through in connection with the process mentioned above but then came the following card to my mail box….
Heavenly has made me see how important it is not to let the bad eclipse the good and as there are 147 others who think the same as Heavenly and only 1 who doesn’t Growing Talent must be doing good and must continue!