For me, the infinity symbol above represents the infinite opportunities life. brings. The key is recognising these opportunities and having the strength, courage and empowerment to grab them.
For the last 20+ years I’ve worked in inclusive employment, mental health and wellbeing. Working with people from all cultures and backgrounds but all with individual barriers to employment, it’s been my honour to see all grow their self empowerment and resilience to take control of and change their lives. Working together with an ethos of dignity, respect and empathy the results have been outstanding.
I’ve trained many people in employability etiquette and see well over 850 of these secure jobs they never thought they would.
In addition, I have trained hundreds of people in first aid steps for mental health and wellbeing over a variety of industry and bespoke programmes tailored to an organisation’s need from corporates, charities and the public sector.
With the onset of Coronavirus, I moved my business from a classroom environment to a virtual one. The success and positive impact from participant feedback has influenced my decision to set-up a permanent virtual arm with the aim of going live towards the end of 2020. More news on this to follow. I’m excited about the potential reach of this medium enabling many to take part without having to travel from their homes/offices saving time/costs.
Currently, apart from designing and delivering my own well being programmes for Corporates and DWP to deliver virtually to staff and the unemployed, I am a Mental Health England Licenced First Aider, trained Shout volunteer with the 24/7 free text line @GiveUsAShout – a helpline to support anyone struggling – regardless of what the issue is. I am training to be an Instructor with i-act to deliver their accredited (by Royal College of Psychiatrists and CPD) mental health and wellbeing programmes for Managers and Operatives and with Nuco to deliver their accredited Mental Health First Aider programme.
I’m also writing a book on what I’ve learned along the way and just become a VegTrug convert in growing veg – although not very impressive harvests so far!!!
Following an established career in recruitment at all levels, I found myself faced with an almost impossible task of recruiting local residents of East London into corporate jobs in Canary Wharf. It was 2005. A year-long partnership with a niche East London charity brought little success. The core issue was the lack of employability skills then taught in schools and colleges. Coupled with generational unemployment resulting in no positive role models, the basic requirements of coming to work everyday, not taking a sick day over a headache etc was missing.
I devised and delivered The Real Apprentice – an employability programme to address this which over the following eight years saw over 200 people go into work – including a grandmother who had never worked! It won multiple awards including the first EEVA awards – beating 23 European countries and the Lord Mayor of London’s Dragon Award in 2013. I’ve worked with many charities, public sector organisations, ex-service charities and community groups. Seeing someone flourish and go into work changing their lives, giving them real choice and control is amazing.
After 12 years with my last employer, I set-up my own consultancy in December 2013 and now work with private sector organisations on devising and delivering programmes which bring them closer to their communities adding real value to both.
My second passion after getting people into employment is Mental Health and Wellbeing. I am a trained Mental Health First Aid Instructor. This is a global first aid programme for recognising and supporting mental health issues – now in 25 countries! I’m proud to not only be a Mental Health First Aid Instructor who has trained over 350 people in the Standard Adult course but also a MHFALite Instructor which delivers a ‘taster’ introduction to mental health with a signposting manual over 3 hours.
In June 2014, I stepped down as non-exec director of MHFA England’s Board after two years to focus on the bespoke programmes for my consultancy. http://www.mhfaengland.org are the governing body for MHFA in England and work closely with City Mental Health Alliance. Awareness of the benefits and added value of positive mental health and wellbeing in the workplace has thankfully grown substantially over recent years. I’m very proud that two key projects I spearheaded are still flourishing today – the Stress Bucket – now called a Stress Container which is an effective tool for understanding and dealing with life events and the co-ordination of corporate business through the central MHFAEngland team to give corporate a uniformed experience – initially called Workplace.
I have designed and delivered tailored mental health workshops to the private sector to meet their needs ranging from hour-long lunchtime sessions, three-hour bespoke workshops, one hour sessions for supervisors and managers in the nuclear power field as well as delivering the standard MHFA courses mentioned above including to serving prisoners.
In November 2017 I undertook the excellent Livingworks suicide intervention course called ASSIST delivered by Grassroots in Brighton. Grassroots were instrumental in the design of #StayAlive a free to download app on suicide intervention. This is an excellent App I’ve used and shared with someone experiencing suicidal thoughts.
February 2018 I did High Speed Training’s Modern Slavery & Human Trafficking basic introduction course. Completely opened my eyes and I will use the learning in all areas of my business. http://www.highspeedtraining.co.uk
In early 2019 I underwent training with Give US a Shout – a text crisis line launched in the UK by Prince William. People can text in 24/7 without the pressure of having to ‘talk’ to someone. The training for this was intense and needed to be a Crisis Volunteer. Text Shout to 85258
None of us have health without good mental health…………..
I’m a firm believer that continuous training and learning keeps our minds active and us flourishing.