Some years back, I was introduced to Adam who had just started working with Jamie at a national recruitment company.
Sharply dressed, seemingly able to talk to anyone at any level confidently and make up really good raps for audiences ‘off the cuff’. A real ‘presence’ in the room, Adam was late teens when I met him not sure of the path he would ultimately take.
Several different jobs over the years followed before Lockdown hit. At Christmas 2020, after almost a year of uncertainty the global pandemic has brought us all to trying degrees, Adam took the massive, in my view, step of getting on a plane and going to Tanzania. Without a job/home to go to there, Adam wanted a complete change.
He reached out to me to discuss his next moves and explore his thoughts – I was honoured.
I was shocked by the reality of Dar es Salaam from the photos Adam sent me which were the polar opposite of my perceptions of what this African City would be like.
Curtesy of Adam, I share a photo of his new home City:
According to Adam the pace of life is much slower compared to London and has given him time to think what he really wants to do.
Taking the time to ask ourselves ‘are we happy?’ and ‘does it feel right’ enable us to take the pulse of where we are and helps answer those questions of whether to keep going down a certain path or change.
Adam’s had the time and space to figure out his next move by relocating to Tanzania – even if to some of us it feels like a step too far.
Of course, it may not be practical to relocate to the other side of the world to find what we want to do. We don’t have to. Giving ourselves some space alone to think about our own happiness and whether what we are doing ‘feels right’ will give us the same ignition for our own next steps.
I firmly believe there have been many positives to the global pandemic as well as the many well known negatives.
The world has learned a lot from each other sharing knowledge, information, research as well as stats and their process of handling infection rates. This collaboration has produced two vaccines cleared for rollout as well as India’s home produced vaccine about to be rolled out in India.
Whilst there is still a long way to go until the pandemic is managed via immunisation, I wonder if Governments will learn from the collaboration to date and continue with this going forward. Think of the positive changes that could be made.
Watching the Focus item on French 24 tv this morning, I wondered if the changes Italy is going through is something we can learn from in the UK on ‘levelling up’ areas of deprivation and past industries such as our mining towns, coastal resorts, previous manufacturing areas and so on.
Sicily experienced decades of young people leaving to work in the more prosperous North leaving. behind a growing older population and economic degeneration.
Focus explained the pandemic saw many younger people who had migrated to the North for work, returned to their parental homes in the South at the start of the pandemic. Working from co-working hubs socially distanced with fast fibre internet connection, they can work as well as if they were in their office in the North.
What they’ve noticed is the economic regeneration locally. Municipalities are rolling out fibre optic networks in their best locations to entice this positive change to become permanent. One featured a ceramic museum which now has the dual purpose of being a co-working space with fast internet and great views across to the Aeolin Islands. The quality of life for these young people has increased, there is no ‘brain drain’, older generations have their families around them and local businesses are experiencing regeneration.
The North of Italy will continue as a buoyant business hub with offices thriving after the pandemic is over. But they are aware the benefits presented by the pandemic will be permanent – a true ‘levelling-up’ of the country.
The UK has spent a lot of money because of the pandemic. Surely it’s vital to spend a little more to invest in fast internet across the UK to not only enable people to work anywhere, if their job supports remote working, but also ensure every child has access to technology to enable them to develop their careers of the future.
We have seen pockets of the UK experience decades of deprivation as businesses/industries have closed with nothing replacing them. The below picture is typical of a lot of towns left behind when businesses/industries closed or moved. We see many high streets have lost their vibes as big chains moved in and now those big chains are failing. Many high streets over the decades has lost their independent stores to large chains, pubs and betting shops.
Isn’t this an ideal time to turn the tide?
What could these communities look like with the right investment?
Have you heard the name David Richards? Went to Silicon Valley to learn the IT trade, set up a college course for young people to get into IT in Sheffield, UK and headquartered his IT company WANdisco in both Sheffield and California… me neither. Why?
Why hasn’t the media picked up on this insightful business acumen from David before? Why has he not been used as a positive role model for young people living in areas where they can’t see a way to progress?
Setting up businesses in areas where there is deprivation means you have an untapped talent base locally who would be committed with the investment of training leading to genuine jobs they can build their futures on.
Check out David on Wikipedia and copied and pasted feature below shown on BBC News website this morning.. Imagine if every area of every country had insightful employers like David? The opportunities for true social mobility are endless. What do you think?
Social mobility: ‘When we set up a tech firm in Sheffield people laughed’
By Ross HawkinsPolitical correspondent, BBC Radio 4 Today
David Richards was mocked when he chose Sheffield as the European headquarters for his computer firm.
He says that explains a lot about the lack of social mobility in the UK.
“Most of my friends in London thought it was some kind of staged joke,” he says.
Raised in what he calls a “lower middle class” home, David emigrated from Sheffield to Silicon Valley in the US aged 23 to work in IT.
The company he went on to found, Wandisco, is now worth £400m and employs 300 people.
When he wanted to bring the firm home, he chose Sheffield, where he sponsors a course at Sheffield College, which trains students for careers in computing.
But as a new report is published showing sharp differences in life chances for less well-off children around England, he says private companies must shoulder some of the blame.
“The private sector in particular needs to recognise you can’t just create companies solely in London,” he says. “You just cannot do that.”
The way firms cluster in the South East might explain part of the problem – but the Social Mobility Commission says it is complicated. Life chances for many in the south are poor too.
Children from less well-off families are likely to end up in low-paid jobs no matter how well they do at school in some parts of England, its report says.
Those in the areas where social mobility is easiest earn twice as much as those where it was most difficult.
The commission says persistent poverty means some families risk being “locked into disadvantage” for generations. It is demanding the government does more to boost social mobility.
Children who went on to the lowest salaries were raised in places that were typically more deprived, had fewer good jobs and fewer outstanding schools, according to its report.
Much of this is obvious to less well-off young people living in Sheffield.
“In my school, teachers didn’t really motivate you. Their way of motivating was kind of like: ‘You’re not going to pass’,” says 17-year-old student Jamanuel.
16-year-old Jasmine adds: “My school did not have work experience, so if I got to look for a job now, I have no idea what I’m doing… We didn’t have that support at school, so I do think the city is divided.”
The father of one of Sheffield College’s current star students stacks shelves in a supermarket for a living, David Richards says, but builds computers in his spare time.
“Opportunity is not spread evenly in the UK,” he says.
“If he was living in Silicon Valley… he’d be working at one of the big tech companies.”
The Social Mobility Commission report – drawn up with the Institute for Fiscal Studies – compares how much people who received free school meals as children earned at the age of 28 in different parts of England.
Their median wages in the best performing areas were more than £20,000. In the poorest performing, that figure was less than £10,000.
A government spokesperson said: “Now more than ever, our focus is on levelling up the opportunities available to every young person in this country and we will do everything possible to make sure no-one is left behind as a result of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.”
According to the commission’s report, life chances were best for disadvantaged children in places including East Hertfordshire and Wokingham in Berkshire.
Bradford and Hartlepool were among the worst performing towns. So too were West Devon, and the Chilterns.
Researchers only examined the earnings of men, the commission says, because data for female earnings would not have been comparable.
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.
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!
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?
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?
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….
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.
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!
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?
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