Getting where you want to be – a different path?

We’ve seen the misery inflicted on ‘A’ level students with the release of predicted grades last week and it seems the same is set to follow those receiving their GCSE results this week.

 

Students who worked massively hard and got great grades in their mocks and from their teachers were marked down on the basis of the overall history of their school’s performance.  Does it necessarily follow that a student attending an underperforming school who works hard, studies long and has positive role models in their life cannot soar?  I don’t believe it does.  Many people experience deprivation and barriers in their life but are able to focus on their goal, work hard and get where they want to be.

 

Education is seen by many adults the world over to be a passport out of deprivation for their children.  Unfortunately, not all children see this when they have free education offered to them.  But many do.  Many want to rise-up, work hard and move forward.

 

The one piece of positivity I noted this weekend was the story of strong apprenticeships – see feature photo.  I don’t mean the administration or customer service year long apprenticeships we’ve become used to but quality apprenticeships that lead to great careers and move people to where they want to be without judging them on what circumstances they were born into.

 

The feature picture reminded me of a meeting I had last week with a London Council.  Their apprenticeships are broad and varied including Surveyor, Engineering – two years plus and starting salaries of £21K+.

 

University is a passport to a better life for some.  But so are Apprenticeships.  There is more than one solution.  Look at apprenticeships on offer including at your local council.  The ideal opportunity for you could be nearer than you think.

Deflated? Never at Growing Talent – ready for any challenge!

We all know the pleasure and the pain that Coronavirus has brought. Although we’ve all been in the same sea trying to get to the other side, we’re all in different boats.

It’s been a rollacoaster for everyone – maybe just to different degrees.

For those able to work from home, there’s maybe been the challenge that others in your family have been doing the same! Home schooling for those with children has been an added dimension – not all bad but not all good either!

Some of us have been forced to look at our own wellbeing. If we’re lucky enough to have gardens – they are likely re-designed and weed free! Some may have set some space aside for a veg plot having seen the advantages of growing your own – especially in a pandemic!

Some have taken the time to learn new skills – learn a new language, bricklaying or joined an online choir or logo class.

For some living in rooms without their own space or garden the initial lockdown is particularly tough.

Now we’re nearing the end of lockdown and the end of the furlough scheme which is seeing the unemployment figures rise exponentially. Graduates and those who have finished A levels are leaving full-time education. There has never been so much untapped talent in decades.

The poison chalice of unemployment quickly strips away self-worth and belief even in those previously highly confident with solid work histories. This needs addressing. It won’t work for everyone being put into a job without a programme of rebuilding their self-esteem – enter Growing Talent!

After six years collaboration with Job Centre Plus on Growing Talent, I was approached by two key cheerleaders of Growing Talent – also managers at JCP! – to run some programmes to address this self-esteem void along with knowledge for job searching to give those looking for work the edge wellbeing and so on.

Next week kicks off a week long programme for Jill – JCP manager at Bromley for some of her customers. Followed by two sessions the following week specifically aimed at Graduates. We’re really pleased Sophie and the team at Smart Works are joining us on these session to showcase their amazing offering.

In August a week long course is deliver for Rajen of Job Centre Plus in East London.

Meeting and exceeding the Government’s Kick Start programme our partnership will deliver empowerment to participants to sustainably move forward.

Ask any Growing Talent Associate or Graduate – we’re never deflated and always ready for any challenge!

Can’t wait to get started!Deflatd

Something in the air?………

Every time a new technology is introduced, it’s hard for everyone to see its potential and viability to work changing lives for the better.  Where would the world be without the great inventors throughout history devising their ideas into prototypes and trying to get backing to bring it to market?  How many laughed at their endeavours?  Yet they didn’t stop.  The kept going with their belief this would benefit people.

 

We’d all agree we couldn’t do without computers in our pocket – also known as smart phones.  Yet when computers first came out they were viewed as not making any great differences to our lives.  Only their inventers saw the future potential for humankind.  Now we couldn’t do without this technology.

 

So looking at the report that Dominic Cummings is supporting this ‘new’ technology of sucking CO2 out of the air seems incredulous.  But it’s proven to work in submarines for decades – why not in the atmosphere too?  Of course at the start of any new technology, the invention is hugely expensive and the equipment massively bulky but history shows it will not stay that way.

 

Imagine the jobs that could be created, the better health of humans breathing better air, better vegetation and so on.  The potential knock on industries and jobs to this technology could be huge.

 

The State of the Planet, Earth Institute at Columbia University blog has really interesting facts about the potential to use CO2 collected through this proposed initiative.  McKinsey & Co (global management consultants) estimate there is $800million – $1trillion business in realising CO2’s possible wider uses in the building materials industry for one.  It can be converted into either a liquid or a solid.  So many potential uses for a byproduct of air that could be used to our benefit instead of detriment.

 

We know CO2 is currently used in refrigeration, cooling systems and fire extinguishes.  If it works well here, why not in the new industries this initiative could open us.  Climate change is crucial if we want the planet to be healthy for those following us.

 

On paper it seems very exciting.  According to the press, £100million has been won to invest in this new technology.  Will we seize the day and open up this portal of opportunity or will we over analyse and see someone else pick up the ball?

 

We’ve got to try, haven’t we?

 

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?

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.

 

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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!

Growing Talent 22 starts – remarkable!

What’s remarkable? Lots of things – depending on who you ask!

 

For employers it’s likely the fact they recruit in a free, no risk way.  Selecting from a pre-screened pool of talent, employers don’t select those who can do the roles but those who have the ability to grow into their roles.  This is key.  The six week journey of Growing Talent enables both parties to be confident the match is right before the point of hire saving time and money.

 

For participants it’s likely the fact there is a permanent provisional job upfront – the prize they secure on successful completion.  They don’t have to rely on  trying to ‘sell’ their skills and potential through a cv to secure an interview nor explain gaps in skills, qualification, self-confidence if they manage to secure that elusive interview.

 

For JobCentre Plus (JCP) – it’s the fact their customers go into permanent jobs and learn skills to stay employed thereby not returning to benefits.  In addition, many of their customers not selected by an employer for a permanent role, learn from feedback given to enhance their future employment approaches.  While I quote 148 into permanent jobs – JCP will say the figure is much hire – which is great to hear!

 

For Care Leavers’ Organisations – employment is the critical key  to leaving care confidently.  Having a steady income enables everyone to make choices in their lives.  It gives us all control.  It isn’t enough to have somewhere safe to live without the means to pay the rent!

 

For me – it’s the fact a programme I designed, wrote and delivered is still being funded by a global financial services and is now on it’s 22nd programme!  I never expected this and shows the critical key of never doubting yourself – if you do, you’ll talk yourself out of doing anything!  If you keep going, you will find solutions for problems as they arise.  I also find it remarkable how difficult it is to get this unique, free tool to employers and those looking for work.

 

Seth Godin – talks about the Purple Cow.  When we have so much choice and so little time, we often don’t see what’s there unless it’s remarkable.  Cost & risk free recruitment without any catch is remarkable and still doesn’t get ‘word of mouth spread’  What are your thoughts on spreading the word?

 

 

 

 

Don’t stereotype – see the talent behind the label!

It’s risk and cost free. There is some amazing, diverse talent amongst the invisible unemployed because they don’t have the skills, qualifications or ‘blag’ to ‘sell’ themselves in a recruitment interview. Believe me – employers/recruiters are missing out using cvs and traditional interview methods.

Be honest – were you trained for your job before being hired? I know I wasn’t – but I do have lots of ‘blag’. It wasn’t always that way for me. Which is how the seed for #GrowingTalent was planted back in the early 90s. With more labels than you could shake a stick at, I was stereotyped. Employers saw my labels not my potential.

A mutual ‘test drive’ saw me secure a foot into a job – which I held for over 4 years – before securing a permanent job in recruitment which I grew into a career before starting my own business. Multiple awards for getting well over 600 people with ‘labels’ into work later, I’m still amazed at employers hesitancy to give the same opportunity to others they received themselves when they were starting out.

The feature photo shows the diverse talent of those on the 21st programme of Growing Talent. All have commitment, empathy and drive to succeed. They just need a chance to shine. Luckily these guys have that chance.

Let me ask you a question – Where would you be now if someone in your past hadn’t given you an opportunity to shine? Pay it back and make a difference. Permanent employment changes lives – literally and adds value to employers’ bottom line.

Amongst our Growing Talent Associates we have care leavers, single parents, those with strong employment history and those with little, those with learning, social and medical issues, some are degree educated, some have been managers some run their own businesses. Now they have the opportunity to secure permanent jobs by training and growing in those vacancies before being hired. Open to anyone over 18 – no upper age limit. Defined by their performance not label.

 

Employers for Growing Talent 21 include MitieTDM, Portico, ISS, Firmdale Hotels, ME Hotel Group

 

What to get involved?  Then get in touch!

Labels = Stereotyping

Quite rightly there is a lot of talk around ‘slave labour’ and ‘modern slavery’.  There is an undercurrent of this in the UK especially in the ‘hidden market’.  There are vulnerable people who are exploited and their ‘exploiters’ – I won’t say employers – quiet rightly should be held to account.

 

However, I do believe this isn’t a black and white subject.  I now hear of unpaid interns, work experience and similar programmes being labeled ‘modern slavery’ or exploitation.  Is this right/fair?

 

From the Modern Slavery Act 2015  this definition is to me is very clear ‘These crimes include holding a person in a position of slavery , servitude forced or compulsory labour, or facilitating their travel with the intention of exploiting them soon after’

 

For those of us stereotyped by society due to our personal circumstances such as homeless, unemployed, single parent, on the domestic violence register, mental health or physical issues need a different route to sustainable employment to those not living with these labels.

 

Some time ago I was a single parent, officially homeless with two children under 6, on the domestic violence register and holding down a number of deadend casual jobs to feed my children.  Although not diagnosed, the situation I was in was clearly making me anxious and depressed.

 

I knew the only way I could change my circumstances for the long term was to secure a job which would lead to a career.  But how could I do that?  I hadn’t worked in the previous 10 years apart from building up a business with my ex-husband who was not going to give me a reference!  I saw the look on employers faces when I mentioned I was a single parent and officially homeless.

 

Then I had an idea.  Before having my family, I’d worked for a global organisation in financial services.  I was not on benefits – the DHSS at the time (prior to JobCentre Plus) advised me to get married again – sensitive right?   I found a local accountant and offered to work for them for no money for a week.  At the end of that week I would either be paid and given a permanent part time role or I would be unpaid and released.  I worked for that accountant for over four years before  securing a permanent full-time role in recruitment which led to some amazing achievements including setting-up my own business.

 

Was I exploited?  No I had an opportunity to learn a role and showcase what I could do without having to ‘sell myself’ at interview with little recent experience and zero confidence.

 

Years later whilst working for a national facilities company as Recruitment Manager, I noticed how difficult it was to recruit and sustain local people.  There are a lot of residential estates around Canary Wharf but, at the time, a lot of 3rd even 4th generation unemployed families.  I remembered my experience all those years before and devised the Real Apprentice.  A work experience programme that focussed on building self-esteem and work place ettiquette.  The Real Apprentice ran for over eight years and got 75% into permanent jobs.

 

The Real Apprentice was vetted by multiple award bodies during this period and won several awards year on year including BiTC – Big Tick, Dragon Award – Lord Mayor, Opportunity Now, Race for Opportunity, ENEI, The best of Europe against 23 countries  and a Justice Award.

 

So clearly – no one felt the Real Apprentice was in the category of the often, and not always correctly, used term ‘modern slavery’.

 

I was approached by one leading employer from the Real Apprentice and challenged to devise something better. In December 2013 Growing Talent was devised with a provisional  permanent job offer upfront, an Orientation Week to build confidence and work place etiquette prior to going on site, a Holistic Week to deliver soft skills knowledge including personal finance, fitness, nutrition, art, as well as qualification as a Mental Health First Aider. An audit trail provides accurate progression status and is managed by the individual.  Unpaid, participants retain their benefits and have their travel paid.  If they choose to drop out they are not penalised by JCP.  Giving them control and the ability to showcase what they can do without the pressure of traditional recruitment. Over 140 people from all backgrounds have secured permanent jobs and flourished

 

No cvs, no formal interviews and no job descriptions.

 

For those who don’t have ‘labels’ and aren’t stereotyped their default is often straight to shout exploitation/modern slavery.  Just think for a  moment.  If you were stereotyped because of your ‘label’ would you be able to showcase your ability in a formal recruitment interview?

 

For those of us who have experienced this stereotyping, we need a different, bespoke solution to securing a permanent sustainable role.

 

What do you think?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Employment – it’s all about the preparation strategy… or is it?

Like any board game – preparation, planning research are all essential elements to increase our chances of winning – which are mirrored in searching for employment.

 

I received an email over the weekend which made me stop and think.  Maybe not everyone shares this logic.  Who teaches us about workplace etiquette after all ?

 

Over the weekend, I received an email.  I had to re-read this several times.  I have another Growing Talent programme about to start and applications are already coming in.  However, nothing in my 20 year career history working in inclusive employment prepared me for this email……..

 

‘Can I use your address to re-direct my mail?’  This individual was a complete stranger.  Why would they think it appropriate to ask such a question?

 

There is no 2nd chance to make a 1st impression.  Preparation, planning and research will help everyone make a great 1st impression!

 

What do you think?

 

 

 

 

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