Growing Talent – Employers’ Speed Dating!

Friday 17 June was a balmy, sunny and sticky day in London. Temperatures were high so was the positive energy in this room as our Employer Speed Dating session got underway.

This is the first selection stage of Growing Talent which removes the potential for assumptions to be made by removing cvs and formal interviews. This enables the real person to be seen rather than any ‘labels’ they may have.

For employers, it enables a collaborative, unique way to tap into a hidden talent pool bringing diversity, inclusion, commitment and belonging into their business – which can only be good, right?

Passionate employers driven to uncover diverse talent for their roles that they can grow and nurture to be empowered employees defied the heat of the trains to get to our venue at London Bridge. Let’s face it, they could have given their roles to traditional agencies – wouldn’t that be easier? Probably, but easier isn’t always best!

Some had taken part previously and knew the fun ahead. For some, it was a completely new experience! No cv? No formal interview? No Job Description? What a leap of faith they took to step out of their comfort zone to join us!

Equally impressive was the integrity and commitment of the fabulously talented, but currently unemployed applicants who arrived enthusiastic, keen to meet employers without the shackles of traditional recruitment but unsure what was going to happen and of course a little glowing from their journeys! 

What gave me the biggest kick was seeing Ella and Kieran from previous Growing Talent programmes now employer side! How fabulous is that!

There’s always a little tweak to be done in the setting up of these events. As usual the amazing Julie from #Portico Welcome Team was on hand to help me! Of course, on the front desk welcoming everyone to the event was Alex – from a previous Growing Talent programme! #inspiring for the applicants.

Within minutes of entering the room to start the timed table changes – the chatter and laughter was rising as any nerves melted away.

Ricky & Sharon from #RestoreHarrowGreen seeking new talent for their diverse roles.

Lois #SwissPostSolutions & Lesley from the global financial services organisation that sponsors Growing Talent joining us to explore some potential NEBOSH H&S Executives. Both have been involved in Growing Talent from the start and of course gave tips and pointers to those they saw who didn’t quite know what to say at first.

Ella and Paul of Master-FixProperties looking for fabulous new talent to join their business. Ella of course could give some insight of the Growing Talent journey that lies ahead for those going forward.

Michael #ISS looking for new talent to join his team

Laura & Emma #OfficeConcierge joining us for the first time to look for those hidden gems of talent we have amongst our unemployed communities.

Soraya, Kieran and Rosie #SPS looking for a new team member. Like Ella, Kieran has been on the Growing Talent journey and knows what it’s like. Although when Kieran did it, Growing Talent was three months long not five weeks! 

Rosie is part of Lois’s team at SPS. Together they have given opportunities to around 38 people through Growing Talent since the first programme in early 2014. Many are still there and in supervisory positions.

Always time for one more photo! – Anna – longstanding cheerleader from JobCentre Plus, Ella and Paul #MasterFix and Sharon #RestoreHarrowGreen. Over the years, Sharon has taken over 30 people into her business and watched them grow and develop.

This week sees the second selection stage take place with 1-2-1s – mainly virtual thanks to the rail strike! Nothing detracts Growing Talent – there is always a way!

Looking forward to meeting these fabulous employers this week are: Abbas, Alex, Dimitrios, Edward, Frank, Martin, Rosanna, Shari and Sharon.

Check back to find out how they get on.

Growing Talent is a collaborative way for employers and their unemployed communities to come together on a level playing field journey to permanent jobs. Find out more on the Growing Talent tab on this website or check out http://www.growing-talent.co.uk.

Diamonds….. interested?

When they are dug up, diamonds look like insignificant dusty pieces of glass. Without the trained eye to see what amazing gems these can be polished into, their value can be missed. We aren’t just talking surface beauty here in the jewellery market but their unique strength in other industries including:

Mining – diamonds are used in deep surface drilling due to their toughness and heat resistence

Dentistry – diamond tipped tools are used by dentists for their endurance

High end speakers – diamond domes never wear out meaning the sound never deteriorates

Super computers – diamond’s heat resistance make them invaluable in this field where heat can be a problem

Construction – diamond embedded saws cut-up roadways more easily – harder to break and aren’t affected by friction heat

The same can be said when recruiting new talent. Unpolished gems are missed everyday because employers see the surface label not the gem underneath – a little like that dug-up diamond.

On Growing Talent, the polish is delivered in a unique bootcamp intensive week of orientation delivering life and workplace skills. Delivered during this week is the global I-act course – Managing and Promoting Positive Mental Health and Wellbeing accredited by the Royal College of Psychiatrists and designed for the workplace. Embracing critical awareness of emotional intelligence in all areas of life ensures by the time your selected ‘rough diamond’ arrives on your site, you have something unique and magical – your own diamond to polish.

We are launching a new campaign in January 2022. If you are looking for new talent with drive, commitment and the ‘edge’ why not try us out?

For more information check out http://www.growing-talent.co.uk

Zero cost. Zero risk.

Do we have the will to examine and question our behaviours and their impact on others?

Thanks to Netflix, I watched this brilliant film over the weekend. I was struck by many things. Yes, it had all the emotions – happy, sad, courage, loyalty, generational parallel lives, hope, adversity, ignorance, acceptance, bullying and likely many more. Overall, it left a feeling of hope, that’s it’s ok to be your authentic self and life can be fun if we drop the judgements we give others – without even speaking with them.

I originally wrote this for my LinkedIn in page. Why? because the film is a place of work comprising actors, camera crew, runners etc as is the school central to the film’s theme. Without the Emotional Intelligence to accept all work colleagues – direct reports, peers, line management, clients, supply chain etc in all sectors, as well as recognise and understand how our emotions, thoughts and behaviours impact others, businesses and their people will never thrive.

As the credits to the film rolled, we see the ‘real’ Jamie Campbell and his mum Margaret from County Durham who the film was based on. A three part documentary in 2011 featuring Jamie and his mum’s fight for him to be allowed to wear a dress to his secondary school prom.

For me, the most poignant feeling I got from the film was how little has changed. Ten years since the documentary on Jamie’s fight to be authentic yet we don’t seem any further forward. In the film, Jamie’s guide to becoming a drag queen is Hugo played by the brilliant Richard E Grant. Snapshots of Hugo’s life as a drag queen during the explosion of AIDS, had parallels with Jamie’s fight and illuminated the lack of acceptance today.

With training in how our behaviours impact ourselves and those around us, change is possible – but only if we want it.

Final thoughts – the film ended with a real shift in change of attitudes by many. I wonder how much more businesses would grow if they looked at the behaviours and impact of all within…..

Roller Coasters come in all shapes….

19 July saw the start of the first Growing Talent hybrid for ten fantastically talented, currently unemployed people keen to work.

Selected by one of the ‘Big 4’ organisations for permanent roles in their growing virtual business support teams, they commenced step one – the orientation and holistic week – virtual of course!

So what did we cover over this week?

Mondaycommunication – a vital area to get right in all areas of our lives – no matter what our social status is nor our seniority in the workplace. But how much time do we put into making sure we get this right? Have you considered the following?

  • Speaking – what is the aim of the conversation? what content will you cover? where and how are you going to hold this conversation? what are the possible outcomes of this conversation? have you considered your tone, clarity, volume and pace?
  • Listening – do you automatically listen without judgement? do you ensure there will be no interruptions nor distractions? Do you listen with empathy or sympathy – do you know the difference?
  • Reflect back – paraphrasing is essential to ensure you have understood what you have heard – get the evidence, don’t just assume.
  • Body Language – did you know non verbal cues make up the biggest part of communication?
  • What method is appropriate for the conversation you are going to have?
  • What types of conflict might you encounter?
  • What’s your conflict style? accommodating, avoidance, collaboration, competitive, compromise
  • You statements – also known as the communication destroyer. Do you know why?

There is more to communication than most think!

Tuesday – invest in yourself. Critical – not selfish. Airline safety talks ‘state put the oxygen mask on you BEFORE helping others’ That makes sense, so why not scheduling in some self care windows throughout the day? This section covered:

  • Stop avoiding fear
  • Mantra and personal values
  • Overcoming negative thoughts
  • Control your brain – stop letting it control you
  • Self care toolkit
  • Dealing with imposter syndrome
  • Nurture your soul

Wednesday – nurturing your body – a car only runs on the right fuel. So does your body. Fuel it mindfully!

  • Food fads – the power of marketing vs facts
  • Superfoods – really
  • Understanding sugar – in all it’s forms
  • Exercise
  • Social media – good, bad and ugly

ThursdayMoney talks! Sharing basic financial tips together. 3 little bottles – waste and recycling, why is it so important. Moving on. Encompassing…..

  • Managing debt
  • How to increase savings
  • Ways to increase income
  • Considering credit cards, debit cards and cash
  • Money mantras
  • How to apply for new roles uniquely

Friday – I-act – Managing and Promoting Positive Mental Health and Wellbeing

How to look after yourself and those around you. This accredited course delivers a solid understanding of what mental health and wellbeing is, over 50 tools for self care and evaluation, robust evidence reporting – amongst a whole lot more.

So what did the fabulous 10 participants feel about the week? Below are some of the feedback – anonymous in line with GDPR:

“The content was exciting and engaging – which surprised me. I was expecting it to be a bit boring because it’s delivered by Zoom”

“The journey book which accompanied the week was clear and helped me understand the course. I can refer to it ongoing.”

“This week was so worthwhile – it’s taught me how to be more professional”

“I’ve been implementing things I learned in my personal life such as delaying my response in conversations until I understand what’s been said. It’s easy to misunderstand people if you jump in too soon.”

“The contents of the week were fantastic, very informative and engaging with loads of tools to assist me going forward”

The accompanying book was significantly relevant”

“I found everything insightful and enlightening. There were a lot of topics. I especially liked mental health and how to engage with someone who might be struggling. I feel I can now demonstrate a lot more empathy. I also really enjoyed finance considering how much I wasn’t taught much about the topic at school.”

“I’m glad to have the accompanying book as I can go back and refresh my knowledge anytime.

“This is probably the best training course I have every attended. T/he contents cover life inside and outside work”

“The book will be extremely useful going forward. On the course it enabled everyone to read at their own pace.”

What were the thoughts on the trainer?

“I loved how Jane had everyone engaged and included in all of the topic areas. She allowed us to digress within reason, which helped explore the topic further but she was also able to control anything that was not relevant to our learning.”

“Jane’s style was inclusive, warm and welcoming. Everything was clear.”

“Jane is very interactive and gives off a very positive vibe. I really felt like my opinion was relevant when she asked questions and she’s always very impartial so we didn’t feel like we were being judged. It was a pleasure doing my training with her”

“Jane’s compassionate and a very good listener”

“”Jane’s style was nice and precise, she knows what she is talking about and is a confident lady who taught us in a respectful professional manner.”

For me, the week was a mutually positive experienced. When we see each other as humans, we can learn so much together. Essential for work and life – don’t you agree?

A lesson from Sicily?

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?

If our children are growing up hungry – where are businesses getting their future talent from?

Listening to the radio this morning, the above question jumped into my head. I have my solution at the end of this post. What would be your thoughts?

Time for us all to have an uncomfortable conversation maybe?

The radio feature was on free school meals and the excellent spotlight the footballer Marcus Rashford has shone on this.

Children going hungry is shamefully not a new problem for the UK. Following the end of WWII, free school meals were introduced to ensure no child went hungry. Bearing in mind this was a time when food additives, were a lot less intensive than they are now. Basic, nutritional food that ensured healthy growth for all children in the UK was the norm.

Over the following years, we seemed to lose this ‘collective’ thinking that we are all responsible for the health of the next generation.

I well remember the endeavours of chef Jamie Oliver from 2004 to address putting ‘nutrition’ back into school dinners cost effectively. This would ensure concentration in lessons resulting ultimately in social mobility. Education on an empty stomach is totally non-productive and a complete waste of money. Children can’t concentrate with their stomachs rumbling. As adults, we know when we’re hungry we can think of nothing else. Why would we think it’s different for children?

The radio feature this morning spoke about Jamie’s work and the fact two of his chefs are working in Schools in Greenwich to help feed children nutritionally during school holidays.

Marcus has re-foccused the spotlight back on the need to feed vulnerable children during school holidays as parents struggle through coronavirus.

Many parents will feed their children fast foods because they are cheap. Quantity is better than quality thinking. We know fresh food doesn’t have to be expensive. It does take effort to buy and prepare especially when trying to hold down a number of poorly paid jobs to provide a secure home.

A few of ideas spring to my mind:

  1. Tax cheap, fast food so it becomes a ‘treat’ and heavily discount fresh foods so they become the norm.
  2. I know from experience many families won’t apply for help even when they are entitled. Pride gets in the way. Radical thought here – provide free school meals for every child so not one child is ‘singled’ out as being ‘poor’. From 5-18. Schools become community hubs. Open through school holidays. This would create:

a. Employment throughout the UK

b. Community cohesion

c. Brain power amongst all our children to take advantage of education, realise their dreams, become the innovators of tomorrow, feeding our businesses making the UK a vibrant country of integrity for all.

Of course there would be a huge cost for this. But, what is the cost of not doing it?

As a business owner, I’d be in favour of increased taxes if they were going to this worthwhile cause. I wonder if very wealthy people, would be willing to make annual donations to this cause and write this off against their taxes? Some people earn telephone number salaries and are reluctant to pay HMRC. No one likes paying taxes. But if part of their taxes went to a specific cause like this, would their attitude change if they could see the good they are doing?

A minority of the UK are living in a bubble where they have so much money they will never be able to spend it. Maybe social taxation could be the answer.

Maybe it’s time to do something radical and something different.

What would be your thoughts?

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.

Growing Talent 25 has completed…… bring on GT26!

In January, we started off with 40 enthused, unemployed people applying for Growing Talent.  Following the Employer Speed Dating held mid-January, 15 were selected by employers for a 1-2-1 second stage meeting.  Offers were made, some rejected so we commenced Growing Talent 25 with three participants from diverse backgrounds who all shared one thing in common – they wanted to work!

 

Michelle & Tara from PwC joined the session and selected Annarita , below, to join them!

This is a big departure for Annarita.  Following a background in textile design she is now part of PwC’s secretarial community.

 

Kate – a regular recruiter on Growing Talent – from Firmdale Hotels, selected Kerry to join their Haymarket hotel within the housekeeping team.  Kerry is loving the role and already got her eye on progression not to mention the staff perks!

 

Annarita & Kerry – trained first aiders in Mental Health during the holistic part of Growing Talent.

 

Lastly, Sergio and Lina from ISS selected Nazzarriey to join their waste and segregation team.  Naazzaariey – seen below with Kerry is getting used to the routine of working and planning things she can do with her wages….

 

 

We wish them well on their adventures ahead now they have a regular salary coming in…..

Highlights of their journey include:

Awaiting feedback on their excellent Social Enterprise presentation and more importantly the winner!

 

Emma from Unravelling Minds showing how art helps with wellbeing….

 

Lesley mid-flow delivering her 3Rs – techniques for staying healthy in the workplace.

 

This is one of the few times Growing Talent has experienced 100% who started completed and went into work!  Great outcome for all…

 

What does the road ahead hold for them? who knows – but that’s part of the excitement of life – right?

The 26th programme starts in March…. watch this space!

 

What self-belief can do…… inspirational!

I’m not usually one to read the sports pages but sitting on the train this morning I flicked through the Metro and saw the excellent feature on Khadijah Mellah who won a charity race yesterday at Glorious Goodwood!

 

The 18 year old learnt to ride at a local stable in Brixton but only sat on a race horse two months ago.

 

Breaking all barriers, perceptions and assumptions, Khadijah said in the report ‘I definitely want to keep going – I’ve loved every second.  It’s been a whirlwind……Ambitious women can make it – that is what I want to represent’.

 

I think she’s achieved the status of showing every human being they can achieve want they want with self-belief, determination and encouragement.

 

Now, shouldn’t this have been front page news?