Speed dating – Growing Talent style!

The toughest thing to overcome when looking for employment after a period of unemployment is being judged on your label(s).

 

By that I mean recruiters/employers ofter see your label(s) and the assumptions they make about the potential impact of those label(s) without speaking with you to understand the facts.

 

For example, a homeless, single parent who is unemployed will often be perceived as someone who is unstable and unreliable with zero transferable skills into the world of employment.

 

In reality, homeless doesn’t always mean ‘sleeping on the streets’ – although I think sleeping is the wrong word.  No one can sleep soundly on the streets with all the dangers that environment presents.

 

Single parents, in my experience,  have an array of skills which add value to employers.  All are great problem solvers, they are life coaches, highly organised solution finders with strong time management skills along with the drive and attitude to succeed to be positive role models for their children as well as establish a career path for themselves.  Any employer can train in their area of expertise but they can’t train ‘attitude’.  They are missing an excellent talent pool.

 

At Growing Talent, based on my own experience, we do not allow traditional recruitment methods.  There are no cvs nor job descriptions.  Employers select based on their belief of someone’s attitude to grow into their vacancy.  As every applicant has usually more than one barrier to employment, we partner with JobCentre Plus to ensure a financial safety net if someone is selected but doesn’t complete and secure the provisional permanent job offer.  This removes the ‘fear’ from those unemployed people who really want to work but have that nagging ‘what if’ in their heads.

 

So, to ensure employers and applicants are on the same level playing field, we have a speed dating session.  These always start really quietly.  Within 10minutes everyone is relaxed, laughing with each other and showing who they really are.

 

In small groups, applicants spend 10 minutes at each employer table finding out a little about the company and permanent jobs on offer.  The employers have the same window of time to find out a little about all applicants.

 

Some examples of previously employer speed dating events:

 

Employers select their shortlist from this event.  Shortlisted applicants attend a 1-2-1 meeting on the employer site where the job is based to learn more details.

 

At the point any offers are made to go on the Growing Talent journey with the employer, everything is known upfront about the end job.  There is no mystery around salary, bonus, benefits, hours, shifts etc.

 

How often do you go for a traditional job interview and leave as mystified as when you went in?

 

Growing Talent removes any doubt for both sides and everyone loves the spontaneity of speed dating – who not use it in recruitment?

The final countdown…..

So the final Growing Talent kick’s off tomorrow with the Orientation Week.  The 24th programme.  Over the five years Growing Talent has run it has seen 157 go into direct, permanent employment with a potential four more on the current programme – Daniel, Juliet, Debbie and Tequila.

 

Many employers have been involved from hotels to corporates, filling diverse roles from manual, hospitality to office, HR, administration etc.

 

It’s been a great journey so far and will hopefully continue into 2020 and beyond – funders willing of course!

 

We wish Daniel, Debbie, Juliet and Tequila a fab journey over the weeks ahead as their confidence, skills and ability grow to secure their permanent jobs.

 

Check back to see how they get on….

BBC London People – #GreaterLondoners ……..

Really proud to be nominated to @bbclondonpeople Instagram project #greaterlondoners.

 

Although the journalist got a few things wrong, including it was an unpaid week trial I did for the accountant not paid it made me reflect on what I have achieved.  Through the Real Apprentice and its successor Growing Talent, I’ve got over 600 people into permanent full-time jobs – literally changing their lives – as they tell me.  All with barriers.  All without the confidence to secure a job the traditional route.  One of these, Shennell, nominated me for this #greaterlonder project. #proud #humble

 

I drew on my experience years later when devising the Real Apprentice which run from 2004 to 2013 and won multiple awards including the best of Europe to Growing Talent – 2014-Present.

 

It’s amazing the difference we can make to others without realising the impact we make.  I’m guilty of not reflecting on what I do enough.  I believe most of us don’t reflect on our actions and affirm just how great we are!

 

Take time to nurture yourself.

Check out the feature below:  

Mental Health – when do we start teaching it?

The conversation has been getting bolder and louder over the part decade or so on Mental Health.  Businesses are now putting in place some training around starting and managing a conversation when a change is noticed.  We know a lot about self-care and the importance of observing our self-care techniques as ‘non-negotiable’.

 

However, with the report published below, we can see how earlier intervention is essential. Check out the link below… the stats are shameful.

 

https://news.sky.com/story/teachers-to-work-with-nhs-to-support-mental-health-of-young-people-in-schools-11761403

 

1 in 9 of children in full-time education aged 5 to 15  has a diagnosable mental health condition.  Maybe read that again.

 

In 2017 there were 226 recorded suicides of people in full-time education including primary schools.  Again – shocking.

 

We know education about road safety has reduced road deaths.  We know regular brushing of our teeth reduces teeth decay.  We start learning these things at home before we’ve event gone to school.

 

Shouldn’t parents be talking openly to their children about feelings, kindness to others, it’s ok not to feel ok and it’s a strength to alway talk about our feelings?  Surely this would start to normalise mental health.

 

Of course not every parent is equipped to provide this guidance.

 

Schools have a lot on their curriculum.  Considering the huge cost to society, business, NHS, communities, families etc, isn’t it now worth making part of Ofsted’s school inspection look at the provision of mental health resources in our schools to nourish the future generations making them more robust in dealing with life issues?

 

The earlier the intervention the better the recovery.

 

Do we make a difference now or wait for the time bomb to stop ticking and just explode?

 

Orientation Week – Growing Talent 22

The purpose of this week is to instil confidence and self-esteem prior to going onto their employer sites.  The workshops and challenges are designed to bring out the best of everyone so they can be the best version of themselves!

 

As an introduction, everyone, myself included, has to do key milestone of their life in pictures and present it!  The reason for this is to show everyone we can do more than we think we can and to understand the black times we go through do not define us.  We are all talented human beings.  Some of us just believe this more than others!

 

First external workshop is the 3Rs delivered by Lesley head of Health & Safety at PwC – seen below on Tuesday 18 July – day 2 of our Orientation.

 

Lesley 3 rs

A complete focus on individual wellbeing – mind, body and soul! Sharing her background and current role as Head of Health & Safety at PwC, Lesley delivered and interactive, informative workshop where everyone learnt something new.

Lesley shared tips and tools to enable all Growing Talent Associates to look after themselves on their journey to complete Growing Talent and of course continue once they have gone into work.

Thanks Lesley!

We did various challenges on workplace communications, conflict management, assertiveness, nerve management, relaxation techniques, assertiveness as well as ‘fake it until you make it’ – Dr Amy Cuddy – check her videos out on YouTube.

 

The next external presenter was Unravelling Minds with their Art Therapy workshop – you could hear a pin drop as the concentration and relaxation levels soared.  Delivered by Emma below who shared her journey of descent and recovery in mental health….

Emma starting

Emma stayed for lunch and chatted more with the Growing Talent Associates.

 

As communication is such a big part of human – let along work – life, Jade of Customer Care First delivered a two hour workshop on different techniques and strategies to be effective communicators….

 

Jade pening CCF

A lot of laughs as well as learning!

 

The thread of communication wove through the week with the ultimate challenge of devising and presenting a social enterprise idea to a panel of managers from the employers taking part.  But this is a story on it’s own!  Check out the later post for more……

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.

 

IMG_8785.JPG

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!

The end of the road…………

Today is the final day of Growing Talent 21.  Nine of the 13 who started the journey have completed and secured their permanent roles.

 

Their true grit and determination has paid off.

 

Congratulations and respect to:

 

Amar – joined MitieTDM – Specialist Internal Firm Services

Bernie -joined MitieTDM – Specialist Internal Firm Services

Navin -joined MitieTDM – Specialist Internal Firm Services

Kelly – joined Melia White House Hotel

Heavenly – joined Firmdale Hotel

Robert – joined Firmdale Hotel – initially as Kitchen Porter but his performance saw him start as Commis Chef

Natasha – joined Firmdale Hotel

Charlie-Ray – joined Portico at PwC

Katrina – joined Portico at PwC

 

We wish them all well in their careers ahead………………

 

 

Holistic – Day 4 – Fitness Reigns Supreme!

After completing the 2nd half of the Art project, the Growing Talent Associates were issued with a challenge to design a wellbeing magazine using the knowledge they had learnt for features.

 

After some bewilderment, they grasped the challenge and hit the ground running – after a few lattes of course!

 

Amar and Robert decided to do a front and back cover using the front for wellbeing topics and the rear for nutrition although the chilli drawn by Amar was a strange colour due to lack of felt tips!!!!

Here they are presenting the finished ‘magazine’! helped by Shennell!

 

A close up of Natasha & Charlie-Ray’s Fitness Weekly & presenting it’s finer points….

 

Charlie-Ray show cased clap press-ups – a feature of their magazine:

 

Looking good……. but after 3 …….

 

Exhaustion hit!!! Well done Charlie for showing us though!

 

Last, but not least, Shennell and Adeyinka delivered their magazine idea….

 

A fun day, with new lessons learnt.

Qualified #MentalHealthFirstAiders!

As part of Growing Talent we deliver the global Mental Health First Aider qualification for every Growing Talent Associate on the programme and invite some of the employer managers as well.

 

This intense course makes up the first two days of the Holistic Week, which for Growing Talent 21 was 29 and 30 April 2019.

 

The course teaches confidence and awareness in recognising a change in someone, starting a conversation, signposting on to appropriate help and – vitally – self care.

 

The first day sets the solid foundation of the work of mental health covering legislation, the start of MHFA in Australia the spread throughout the globe, depression and suicide.  The five global steps of intervention are introduced and used throughout the day.  ALGEE is fundamental in remembering the process to support someone and ourselves.  Keen to ensure there is no communication misunderstanding, I introduce ‘reflect back’ from the start of the MHFA course.  After listening, it’s essential in my opinion to reflect back what we’ve heard to ensure we have the facts.  Especially crucial when raising suicidal thoughts.  Day two covers anxiety, personality and eating disorders as well as psychosis – focussing on BiPolar and Schizophrenia.

 

Shennell joined us for the week to support and encourage the guys.  She did Growing Talent some four years ago.  She took a photo of her original manual and the current one for comparison.

 

 

We all agreed the new manual is a big improvement and a gym workout as well!

 

So after two exhausting days, what did the Growing Talent Associates and employers think?

 

“Intense course but essential in today’s society”

“This course has exceeded by expectations.”

“I’ve learnt a deeper understanding of mental illness and methods to support”

“This course gave me a better understanding of mental ill health”

“I can now empathise what a person may go through”

“It has changed my approach to mental health.”

“My confidence has increased a lot.  I can now understand rather than judge people”

“I have learnt so much”

“A very insightful two days”

“I now have the knowledge  to support someone and keep myself safe”

“A brilliant course.  Please continue to teach it”

 

There was unanimous agreement on increased knowledge, tools learnt, fear factor greatly reduced and confidence to plan, start and signpost a conversation with someone struggling.

 

A great day at the office then!

 

All delegates were given the homework to spend one hour on themselves before returning on Wednesday for the continuance of the Holistic Week.

 

We should all take time to nurture ourselves.  Don’t you agree?

 

Doing the right thing or risking a lawsuit? Food for thought?

As a Mental Health Instructor for over 10 years, I am enthused to see the growth towards seeing and respecting mental health in in the same way we see and respect physical health.  Everyone is comfortable enquiring if a cold is better – not quite so comfortable asking how someone is feeling on their return to work after say depression.

 

The internet is full of well intentioned plans and events to raise the bar in talking about mental health and I see more employers supporting events like #MHAW2019 – Mental Health Awareness Week which starts 13 May.  Really great intentions.

 

But is there a risk of being sued under the Equalities Act 2010 and taken to Employment Tribunal?

 

Some of the employers I know allow all staff, regardless of screening to see if they are equipped to listen to someone else’s pain, to be a ‘listening ear’.

 

You don’t know what you are going to hear when you sit down to listen to someone struggling.  It can be an emotive area the listener has strong views on – such as self-harm.  Even if they can listen without judging – are they knowledgeable on how to signpost someone on? do they know how to take care of themselves after listening to someone’s pain?

 

I feel very strongly that we should be talking more openly in every day conversations about all human issues especially mental health.  But I feel just as strongly that we need to train those listeners how to listen, signpost and look after themselves.

 

Why not have a #MHAAT (Mental Health Aware And Trained) badge for trained employees to wear all year – not just one week.  Wouldn’t we make more of an impact and reduce the risk of a challenge under the Equalities Act at Employment Tribunal?

 

What do you think?

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