Employer Speed Dating at Growing Talent 22!

Monday 10 June saw the 22nd speed dating event with employers at Etc Venues in Eastcheap.  Employers present looking for new talent to grow into their roles included Park Plaza Hotel – Westminster, Club Quarters Hotel – Trafalgar Square, ISS at More London, Firmdale Hotels, Red Personnel, Pertemps and Ballymore who pulled out just before the start due to sickness.


Over 20 people were selected by employers to go forward to the second stage.  Helping Firmdale Hotels with their selection was Heavenly – who was on Growing Talent 21! Heavenly is below with Firmdale’s Recruitment Manager, and longtime supporter of Growing Talent – Dan.



Helping Red Personnel from Growing Talent 20 was Abe pictured below with Jamie….

Red Jamie and Abe

Helping with logistic on the day featured below were l-r were Jacquie and Anna – leads for Growing Talent at JobCentre Plus, Sam a new manager from JCP and Shennell wo was on Growing Talent 6 and always returns to support and encourage others when she can.


Shennel and JCP

Following second stage employer selection, we welcomed 10 new Growing Talent Associates:


Brandon & Sheldon – joining Pertemps

James – joining Red Personnel

Miyuki, Stephan, Jordan & Stephen – joining ISS

Calum and Romain joining Park Plaza Hotel at Westminster

Michael – joined Churchill Services – a late comer


Check out the Orientation Week to see how they got on!  Thanks to everyone involved for making it a great event!

When you think it’s going horribly wrong……

At the start of Growing Talent 22 I was really concerned about the few applicants referred from JobCentre Plus.  Would it be worth running the programme? where the media reports of over 2 million workless households in the UK all outside of London?  It costs so much to run each programme – currently c£3,200 per head for a group of 10 – was it cost effective to keep running it?


Luckily the funders have always said ‘yes – even if one person gets a job, it’s the right thing to do’.


After a slow start, the applications started flowing in.  Over 55 from South London District alone and a few more from North London.  Sadly West and East districts did not refer anyone.  Shame as there is a permanent job at the start of the Growing Talent Journey for all selected by employers to take part.


So a full week of 1-2-1 compatibility meetings are scheduled this week.  If yesterday’s schedule is anything to go by, there is so much eager talent ready for development by an employer.


Check back to see who gets selected at our Employer Speed Dating event on 10 June where employers including Ballymore, ISS, Firmdale, Club Quarters, Park Plaza Hotel, Pertemps & Red Personnel will be looking for their new talent.

Speed Dating – Growing Talent Way!

It was the first time at our new venue – Etc Venues in Eastcheap – would everyone find it ok?  Of course they all did.


The room was buzzing with employers from diverse industries including Northbank BID, Crown Plaza Hotel, Portico, Red Personnel, Pertemps, Park Plaza Hotel, Ballymore, ConnectPlusServicesM25 and Baxter Storey.  Armed with their ice breaker questions and summary profile sheets as well as their open minds, the conversation and laughter flowed.


Just some of the employers who joined us for our speed dating session in January………..

 Antonia & Julie from Portico at PwC



 Pedro of Pertemps  Jamie – Red Personnel

 Katherine & Gerald of Northbank BID

 Cameron looking for talent for Ballymore



Andy of ConnectPlusServicesM25


 Maria & Ebb from Crown Plaza Hotel




The format was 10 minutes at each employer table in small groups of 2-3.  Following the ice breaker question would be ‘tell me a little about yourself’.  Now all applicants had met with me first and been told to prepare an ‘eBay’ style ad on themselves ready for this question!  A snapshot of their life – at work, at home and future career desires.


Employers would then select their shortlist of applicants they believe could grow into their roles over the six week journey to meet again on a 1-2-1 basis before provisional job offers would be made.


Everything ran like clockwork until one group went the wrong way mid-way trough causing laughter mayhem! Of course going out of sync meant an employer table was always left without any applicants!  Great for coffee/loo breaks though.


Finally, the event was over.  I’m not sure who was more exhausted – the employers or applicants!  Even new employers agreed this was a unique and interesting method to secure new talent without a cv/traditional interview.


We ended with six people invited to go forward with provisional permanent job offers:


Charlene – Guest Services Agent with Crown Plaza Hotel

Kristina – Guest Services Agent with Park Plaza Hotel

Abraham – Resourcer with Red Personnel

Joseph – Commis Chef with Park Plaza Hotel

Estela – Welcome Host with Portico

Jess – Welcome Host with Portico.


Excited and ready for the challenge ahead, the new Growing Talent 20 Associates prepared for the Orientation Week before going on site to train in their roles……









What it takes to get a job & keep it? – some thoughts by those who know!

After almost completing Growing Talent 17 and going into their permanent jobs, the Growing Talent Associates have learnt what it takes to get a job, keep it and grow it into a career.


Therefore, one of their final tasks was to compile a poster illustrating this.


First up was Delroy who is on the journey with Ballymore Group working in Maintenance….

Delroy was clearly enthused by the previous art workshop and drew his key points…..

Delroy Poster

Imran with Pertemps learning the rope of a Junior Recruitment Consultant split his poster into four key points.  All of which are invaluable on this journey….

Imran Poster

She split her poster into the three stages….


Shae Poster

They could almost run Growing Talent themselves!


Art for Art’s Sake?

There are always preconceptions about art.  Humans seem to love it or hate it.  No in-between.


On Growing Talent, we use it as a de-stress tool on the journey into work and thereafter.  How many of you reading this stop work for lunch?  Why not try grabbing a pen and paper, go outside with your lunch and draw what you see?  it’s so relaxing and reboots your energy levels.


When they knew there was going to be an art session on Growing Talent, the Associates had a mixed reaction.  Love/hate – maybe hate’s a strong word.  Uncomfortable is maybe more appropriate…..


Armed with their project sheet, Shae, Imran and Delroy of Ballymore Group & Pertemps set of to The Tate Modern to select a piece that ‘called to them’.  Either good or bad.  Their project sheets had a couple of questions they had to answer which made them stop and reflect a little longer.  This act is great for our mental health and rebooting our energy.


  1. How did it make you feel?
  2. If you could ask the artist one thing about the piece, what would it be?

On returning to Southwark Cathedral the following day armed with their completed project sheets, one of their tasks following the discussion on their visit was to draw their chosen piece!


Strangely, Imran and Delroy selected the same piece:  Babel by Clido Meireles constructed in 2001.  This is a larger sculpture in the form of a circular tower made from 100s of second hand analogue radios.  All the radios are tuned to different stations and set to an audible volume resulting in a cacophony of sound…..


Delroy said looking at the sculpture he felt it was confused yet organised.  The question he would ask ‘why use radios? are they relevant today with the lack of radios available’.


Imran felt the sculpture made him feel we live in a throw away society always looking for the next thing.  They question he would ask was how long did it take to source the materials and could he do it again with something other than radios?

Delroy’s interpretation of the piece……


……. and Imran’s……


Both agreed the session was therapeutic.  Unfortunately, Shae was delayed by transport issues and missed this session.

Description from Tate Modern’s website:

Cabel 2001 is a large-scale sculptural installation that takes the form of a circular tower made from hundreds of second-hand analogue radios that the artist has stacked in layers. The radios are tuned to a multitude of different stations and are adjusted to the minimum volume at which they are audible. Nevertheless, they compete with each other and create a cacophony of low, continuous sound, resulting in inaccessible information, voices or music.

In describing this work, Meireles refers to a ‘tower of incomprehension’ (quoted in Tate Modern 2008, p.168). The installation manifests, quite literally, a Tower of Babel, relating it to the biblical story of a tower tall enough to reach the heavens, which, offending God, caused him to make the builders speak in different tongues. Their inability to communicate with one another caused them to become divided and scatter across the earth and, moreover, became the source of all of mankind’s conflicts. The room in which the tower is installed is bathed in an indigo blue light that, together with the sound, gives the whole structure an eerie effect and adds to the sense of phenomenological and perceptual confusion. The radios are all of different dates, the lower layers nearest the floor being composed of older radios, larger in scale and closer in kind to pieces of furniture, while the upper layers are assembled from more recent, mass-produced and smaller radios. This arrangement emphasises the sense of perspectival foreshortening and thus the impression of the tower’s height, which, like its biblical counterpart, might continue into the heavens.

The artist has explained that the work took over ten years to complete from initial conception to its realisation….


Babel 2001 Cildo Meireles


Personally, I like Delroy & Imran’s interpretations ………

Before we wrapped up the art session, we undertook our own modern art joint piece. Everyone had to draw an additional drawing which had to touch the previous one.  We ended up with something, which could be a feature in an art gallery…….. It certainly gave a lot of laughter in the room…..


Joined up

I notice the Prosecco slipped in……. I wonder who drew that!



Mr Fixit!

With Growing Talent 17 in full swing, I’ve been making site visits all week.  One of the stand out ones was Delroy at Ballymore in Vauxhall.


Ballymore were taking part for the first time – so no pressure on Delroy to impress!  Joining the GM’s team at their Empress Gardens estate, Delroy is currently looking after the day-to-day maintenance of one building.  As a high end residential block, everything has to be pristine.


Located adjacent to the new American Embassy the area is developing quickly with new businesses and executive homes being built in the area.


Ballymore not only build residential and commercial properties, they maintain and run them as well.  Meaning customer care and relationship building are just as key to success as job ‘know how’.


Delroy is already being looked at for promotion as the estate is growing to nine buildings and he’s only been on site four weeks!  He’s absolutely loving it.


As his first job since 2010, no formal qualifications and only with the experience of running his own business, it was almost impossible for Delroy to secure the right role for him through the traditional route.  Through Growing Talent, he’s been able to showcase he is right for the role with Ballymore and changed management’s mind on the talent and potential amongst the ranks of the unemployed!  They confirmed they will recruit through Growing Talent again – great news, thanks to Delroy’s attitude and enthusiasm.


Delroy below in his own office complete with his own tropical fish tank for those mindful moments essential in any working day!


A strong career with Ballymore lies ahead for Delroy if he stays on course….. A great role model for others following him.