Orientation Week – What Is it? What happens?

The Orientation Week is a series of workshops to boost confidence of those applicants selected by employers for a place on Growing Talent, delivering a permanent, full-time job on completion.  It’s carried out at a central London location prior to applicants going on site with their employers.

 

For the whole of 2019, we’ve carried out all speed dating events, orientation and holistic weeks are Etc Venues in Eastcheap.  Breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea is provided along with fresh fruit, tea/coffee/hot chocolate, herbal teas and smoothies/orange juice with breakfast.

 

From the start of the Growing Talent journey, all participants – known as Growing Talent Associates – feel invested in and start increasing their self-esteem.  Their #YesICan attitude increases massively.

 

During the Orientation Week we have visiting professionals to share communication, art therapy and workplace choices to increase knowledge.

 

Within 10 minutes of arriving for the start of the Orientation Week, Associates are tasked with their first challenge.  To draw a set number of images about milestones in their life and then present them.  Yes, public speaking in front of strangers!  It works every time to showcase just how strong Associates are.  They start believing in themselves, not the perception of their labels.

 

During this week, Jade from CCF (Customer Care First – an excellent training company Jade started) delivers her bespoke 2 hour workshop with the Associates sharing all the nuances of communication from body language, spatial awareness, tone, emphasis etc to the topics to avoid in effective communication.

 

Daniel going to Pertemps and Tequila going to Churchill Services discuss topics that are ‘safe’ and ‘unsafe’ to discuss with clients…..

 

Debbie and Juliet – both going to Park Plaza Hotel in Westminster, doing the same task as Daniel and Tequila above but addressee colleagues/managers….

 

Jade and the guys above discussing the importance of tongue twisters for loosening facial muscles making it easier to speak for longer.

 

Tequila and Juliet experiencing how important communication is.  Juliet is holding a picture of a pair of boots which she has to describe to Tequila who draws what she hears.  Laughter aside, it proves the point we need to ask questions and probe to make sure we have the right information to complete our tasks at work.  As Tequila said ‘I never asked if it was a pair!’

 

The Jade’s session ended with smiles all round in the knowledge the Associates have more knowhow in communication!

 

Lesley, Head of Health, Safety & Environment at PwC always delivers her excellent ‘Zest for Life’ workshop featuring the 3Rs – Refuel, Rejuvinate and Renewal.  Knowledge, information and tips for Associates to look after themselves on the Growing Talent journey and beyond!

 

 

Lesley introduces herself and shares her journey of how she got her current role which was unplanned and totally unexpected but ended up being something she loves.

 

Explaining how humans were not designed for the predominantly desk based jobs we do now, she asked the Associates to think of their roles and come up with suggestions of a body to do their tasks adequately.  As you can see the two heads/multiple arms in the drawing below look like something of a SciFi prototype!  However, if shows we must be vigilant in taking care of ourselves so our bodies do not suffer.

 

A key thing is our body bank balance!  Things such as coffee – too much is bad but if we follow each cup of coffee with a cup of water it balances out.

 

Lesley then shared tips on nutrition, saving money by making our own lunches, batch cooking and freezing as well as top tips on relaxation and finding what works for us.

 

She then set the task of each pair of Associates thinking of three questions for the opposing pair to answer based on her workshop.

 

Tequila & Daniel devising their questions…..

 

Debbie & Juliet devising their questions for Tequila and Daniel.  I’m glad to report all gave the right answers #payingattention

 

Smiles all round as Lesley left after sharing key knowledge…..

 

Emma from Unravelling Minds attends to deliver her Art Therapy workshop and join the Associates for lunch after.

 

 

Emma shares her journey from high powered/pressurised career in fashion to complete mental health breakdown.  Art was a particular feature in her recovery and she now shares her learning with others.  Previously involved with Balloons and the Brain and now Unravelling Minds, Emma runs a unique cafe.  A safe non-clinical environment for people to bake and talk together – CBT_Cafe (Cake Before Therapy – what’s not to like!). Check out the remaining dates and information on Emma’s journey below.

 

Whilst sharing her journey, Emma invites the Associates to select one of three challenges to see how art during their lunch breaks or at any quiet time calms the mind.

  1.     Heart full of favourite things
  2.     Graffiti newspaper
  3.     Illustrate your Growing Talent mantra
  4.     Start with a doodle and see where it takes you

The concentration and quiet in the room was amazing!

Daniel’s mantra with it’s hidden message uncovered

Debbie taking up the graffiti challenge!

Juliet focussing on her favourite things.

Tequila starting off with a doodle which soon filled the page!

Juliet also shared her steps of affirmation.

Time for a group shot before an interactive lunch together.

Various workshops with me continued throughout the week ending with the Social Enterprise Challenge.  Up for grabs was £50 cash.

 

The running challenge throughout the week is to devise and deliver a social enterprise to benefit a local community and vulnerable group living there.

 

Judges l-r seated are Anna – JobCentre Plus, Judith – Churchill Services, Pedro – Head Judge from Pertemps and Shennell – Growing Talent Ambassador who completed Growing Talent on the 5th programme!

Associates standing l-r are Juliet, Tequila, Debbie & Daniel.

First to present was Debbie delivering her Brighter Futures.  Based in Wandsworth it focussed on upskilling ex-offenders by teaching them skills to refurbish a venue given by Wandsworth Council.  These skills would enable them to apply for roles with the Council in maintenance as well as FM companies.  In return the ex-offenders would share their bad choices and consequences with excluded 10-13 year olds with the target of enabling them to make the right choices.  Professionals from law, social services, medical etc would attend to help with any issues the participants experienced.  A safe space to learn, grow and become more productive.

Next to present was Daniel with his Health Hotspot based in Orpington.  Daniel described the location and need for information and choices for better health.  Many people develop intolerances to certain food groups.  Learning from others with the same intolerance on recipes, adapting ingredients etc would be hugely beneficial and break down barriers.  Equally people making choices based on media/fashion such as ‘clean’ diet, ‘sugar free’ – often includes sugar under a different name!, ‘vegan’ – how to ensure you get enough protein and so on.  Learning together builds community spirit.

Juliet’s presentation ‘Brotherhood Marching Together’ targeting the stigma within the Afro Caribbean community towards prostrate cancer using colour, music, joy and information was delivered with passion based on Juliet’s own family experience of the disease.  ‘Afro Caribbean men don’t talk about such things’. Mindful of inclusivity Juliet wanted all men in the Brixton area where she lives to be included.  So men can support men regardless of their cultural background.  Using the 02 at Brixton for the end music extravaganza, the day would start at the Museum of Black History with cancer charity specialists in place to talk about the stigma.  Affected men and their families can ask questions in a non-clinical environment.  Moving to the square where a plethora of stalls for music, food, clothes would highlight all cultures in the area breaking down barriers.  All money raised from entry fees etc would go to research.  The event would build support structures for all concerned.

Finally, Tequila shared her vision of Take Action.  A unique idea to upskill low income parents in turning their houses into homes and also making them more employable with these new skills such as painting and decorating, tiling, plumbing and so on.  Tequila shared her view that children of low income families are often introverted and don’t have a voice.  Take Action would enable the children to design their bedrooms to be their ‘space’ and give them confidence in using their voice.  Supported by local colleges and organisations like B&Q the change delivered would be lifelong and really make a different.

The judges had a tough time whittling down these great ideas to just one winner.  Who was it????

Juliet collecting her £50 prize from head judge Pedro….

Ahead of lunch with the Associates, the judges shared their journey to the current roles along with their top tips for shining at work.

 

After completing their evaluations after lunch, the Associates left to relax over the weekend ahead of starting on their employer sites.

 

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:  

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.

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………………

 

 

Stairway to opportunity?

Yesterday I finally got to see the impressive restoration at The Principal Hotel, London.  As a listed building with multiple original vintage features the launch date was put back a number of times.

 

I’d met Charlie & Amy from the HR team almost a year ago.  They came along to the Growing Talent Graduation 2017 and Amy attended one of our employer speed dating events to see if they could recruit through Growing Talent. Yesterday, Charlie confirmed they were indeed ready to join us on Growing Talent 18 which commences at the end of July.

 

Some of the stunning interiors any selected Growing Talent Associates will have the opportunity to work in….

 

The opulent lighting really fits the atmosphere at the hotel…..

 

Take a look at the ‘Hollywood’ showers…

 

 

How intricate is this mosaic outside the Palm Court afternoon tea area?

 

 

Who doesn’t love a four poster???

 

 

Great area for a nice soak after a long day….

 

 

Overlooking Russell Square itself, despite being in the heart of London with all the bustle, you literally feel a world away inside the hotel.  A great opportunity for the right Growing Talent Associates…..

GYO – Good idea?

PWC-Growing Talent-SET (2)I run a platform – Growing Talent – devised by business for the free use of business to identify and grow their potential new talent before hiring them cost free.

 

This is a mutual ‘test drive’ for both the employer and potential new employee to ensure a confident, sustainable match.

 

This is the 2nd week of a two week run on overground trains on – Southern, South East and South Western – over 1,500 carriages in all.

 

Over the last four years, more than 125 unemployed people from all backgrounds have secured permanent roles, grown in confidence and – in their own words – changed their lives.

 

But do employers really want to try something different?  Something innovative that delivers results or just keep doing what they are doing using time, money and other valuable resources but not always identifying the right person.

 

What are you thoughts?  Is Growing Talent a good or bad thing….. please let me know your thoughts……

 

http://www.growing-talent.co.uk focussing on the holistic journey into permanent employment.

Ready, set …….almost go!

Checklist!  The following is ready to go for tomorrow’s 17th Employer Speed Dating Session at Southwark Cathedral!

 

  • Employer Table names
  • Register of wannabe Growing Talent Associates
  • Profile summary sheet from employers
  • Ice breaker questions

 

With 22 talented applicants expected, it should be an amazing day!

 

Thanks to Matthew Bowden for the inspiring feature photo from http://www.freeimages.com –  it aptly shows the bright new future awaiting the selected Growing Talent Associates……….

International Women’s Day – what does it mean to you?

To me it’s a time to respect those women who everyday work hard to deliver real change to benefit others.  If can be someone locally running a drop in club for new mothers – who are naturally terrified of the responsibility  – to people like Helen Taylor Thompson – 93yrs young who was a spy in WWII, set up the first AIDS hospice in Europe and now works in using technology in the treatment of AIDS patients.

 

No matter how small their impact is on our lives, for me, it’s about telling them!

 

I am honoured to work with some amazing people on Growing Talent (www.growing-talent.co.uk).  Today I received an email from one of them who was on the programme over 2 years ago to thank me for my support.  I’m still buzzing!

 

Happy international women’s day!! Thanks for encouraging me to seek counselling and stay strong, it’s what got me through a lot and still keeps me going. Had to thank you once again in light of today as it’s what inspires me to stay strong so I can encourage other women one day.’

 

Why not use this auspicious day to tell those women who inspire you, about the impact they have had on you.  You’ll make their day and give solid meaning to #IWD2018!

Social Mobility – What is it exactly?

I was thinking about this the other day.  Maybe my definition is different to others….

 

So what prompted this thought?  I’d been invited by a global financial services organisation with a multi £bn turnover and global presence to share my work with their Social Mobility team.

 

During this meeting I explained how I devised and run Growing Talent which has got over 120 people from the ranks of the unemployed into permanent jobs which they have flourished in.  Over four years, many have returned to encourage those following them and shared how much Growing Talent had changed their lives.  Some have started their own business.

 

I gave many examples from graduates who had no direction, self belief nor understanding of what the world of employment looked like to people like Richard – mid 30s, never worked – who not only completed the programme but has been employed for over two years now.

 

People on Growing Talent come from all social backgrounds including the homeless, single parents, people who have experienced mental health issues and so on.

 

With nurturing and encouragement they have secured employment, got savings, taken back control of their lives and have immense self-belief.  To me, this is social mobility.

 

At the end of the meeting, the Social Mobility team said Growing Talent was good but what about clothes?  Clothes do not bring about change.  A mindset, encouragement into work and self belief do as my evidence shows.

 

So what does Social Mobility mean to you?  Is it a new set of clothes or is it giving the tools to someone to literally change their lives?

 

I sincerely hope the money being invested into these Social Mobility teams actually delivers real change and doesn’t just become a tick box exercise….

Businesses – want to multiple your profits by 3?

The link below – which you’ll need to cut and paste into your browser – features some interesting research from Soma Analytics.

 

HRH Prince Harry asked in a radio broadcast what affect mental health had on business. The financial cost has been well known for years as has the human cost on individuals, colleagues, families, line management etc.

 

Soma Analytics research showed  two out of three UK large businesses do not publish their mental health strategy and support for their staff in their Annual Reports.  More startling was businesses that did publish this information saw their profits increase by three times!

 

It’s well known if you look after your staff, your staff will look after your customers and business with grow and profits increase.  So why is business so reluctant to publish what they do in their Annual Reports?

 

There is no health without good mental health…….

 

Check out the feature for yourself.  What do you think?

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-42512723

 

 

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