Social Enterprise Challenge!

Challenge is the right word!  Faced with the prospect of having to devise and deliver a project to benefit a local community and have a revenue stream, really tests our workshops on ‘Fake it until you make it’!

 

Negative overthinking  gives way to confidence and ownership.  It’s a privilege to watch everyone learn together, nurture each other and step up to this challenge on the final day of the Orientation Week.

 

So, how did the Growing Talent Associates so?

Stallion Cycles by Calum, below who is joining Park Plaza Hotel at Westminster. Living in a small village, Calum had noticed how congested the single road in and out was – especially when on his driving lessons! Calum’s idea was based on the ‘Boris Bikes’ of central London but for those living out of London in semi rural areas or traffic hotspots.

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Pegasus devised by Brendon was set in the Brookhouse Road community centre where he lives. Addressing self esteem, personal belief using a mixture of sports and professional encouragement. Brendon is a little camera shy so no photos of his excellent presentation.

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Scripts by Romain, above based in part on his own experience discovering acting as a vehicle away from the wrong path and crime. Taking over a disused cinema, Romain had a number of strands to using art. Life skills would be taught to 5-11 year olds – kindness and respect of others. His core audience were 15-25 using all the potential career opportunities in a theatre for them to try and consider. In addition, rooms above the theatre would be rented out for studio space and similar. Romain joined Park Plaza Hotel at Westminster.

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Life Advice by James seen above focussed on working with high school students on mapping personality to potential industries for career consideration, he also covered mentoring, investing, general life skills and opened up the opportunity to parents as well. Using a mobile unit he could visit estates/schools easily. James joined Red Personnel.

Strictly Dancing Elderly by Miyuki seen below tackled fitness and isolation in the over 65s combining tea dances with social interaction, tea and of course cake! She based this in Lewisham where she lives and shared her story of isolation since her longterm friend found a partner leaving her alone. With a growing over 65s population , Miyuki’s idea was simple yet effective. Miyuki joined ISS at PwC More London

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Street View by Stephan is based in Forest Hill where he lives. An area which has missed out on investment and regeneration over the years, Stephan had noticed how there was a growing population of homeless people on the streets and also the burgeoning art community who had no platform to showcase their work. Street View married the two. A magazine featuring the artists’ work sold by the homeless delivered a solution to address these two important issues which would easily be replicated in other areas. Stephan joined ISS at More London.  Stephan presenting below.

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Steel Games was Jordan’s idea seen below. Having stumbled into playing the steel drums as a child, he ended up as part of an orchestra which entered into a competition. Jordan’s orchestra come 2nd and they performed on Junior Panorama. Based in Anerley with multiple recent stories of knife crime, Jordan believed his idea would give those at risk of being involved a different path to consider. On one floor, he would have gaming consoles and teach young people ways to use this technology safely as well as a selection of steel drums on the bottom floor. Encouraging all to try out this diverse instrument. Jordan joined ISS at PwC More London

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A.I. delivered by Stephen was based on using artificial intelligence to deliver administrative innovations to large organisations such as JCP, NHS etc. The idea being appointments are never missed as A.I. removes the use of human error. A unique interpretation of the Social Enterprise Challenge. Stephen joined ISS at PwC More London seen presenting below.

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Lastly Michael worked hard on his E-Library idea even though he was not attending the Social Enterprise Challenge as his employer Churchill Services had a large senior management meeting which Michael presented at instead- see below! Just as nerve-racking I suspect!  Michael clearly shone as two senior managers contacted me after this Churchill event to say how impressed they were!

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Judges l-r – Mariatu – ISS, Geoff – North London JCP, Patricia – Red Personnel, Jon – PwC and head judge, Judith – Club Quarters Hotel, Pedro – Pertemps & Anna – JCP South London and overall lead for Growing Talent at JobCentre Plus.

 

As you can see the judges above had a tough job deciding on the winner. After much deliberation the £50 cash prize was won by……

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Jon presenting a very surprised Miyuki with her £50 prize for her winning idea ‘Strictly Dancing Elderly’!  Very well deserved.

Every judge made a point of saying how good the ideas were, how doable and how socially aware they were.  Empowering for all Growing Talent Associates!

 

Challenging ourselves can be scary, but the sense of achievement in pushing ourselves that little bit further is so worth it.

 

If you are facing something daunting, don’t overthink it.  Fake it until you make it!  The benefits are amazing.  Just ask the Growing Talent 22 Associates!

 

 

 

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.

 

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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!

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.

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 let the bad eclipse the good!

How easy it is to let small things/one person detract us from what’s really important.

 

Since 2004 I have worked in dedicated employability programmes encouraging and supporting those unemployed people with ‘labels’ into employment and getting employers to think a different way when it comes to recruitment.

 

When you have a ‘label’ you will be stereotyped by perceptions of others – especially employers the majority of the time.  Homeless, care leavers, domestic abuse, mental/physical/social issues to some conjure up perceptions of what that person is capable of, how much ‘hassle’ it could be to employ them.  Now I know only too well we have legislation in place to stop this stereotyping but it doesn’t work.  Humans will always prejudge someone on their assumptions/perceptions of them not the evidence of what they can do and the value they add to a role.

 

It’s a fact, those of us with ‘labels’ need a different route to employment than the traditional cv/interview/start.  In 2004 I devised the Real Apprentice which ran until 2013 getting 378 people into permanent jobs – even though it was an eight week work experience programme!  I still see two of the Real Apprentices in their jobs over 10 years later – one manages a team!

 

In December 2013 a conversation saw Growing Talent devised and launched in February 2014.  A three month, full time into work programme with a permanent, full-time guaranteed job up front, appraisal audit trail for progression monitoring Orientation Week to build confidence and Holistic Week – initially carried out as a residential stay at a country hotel has seen 148 people into permanent jobs from diverse, vulnerable backgrounds.  All employers say they would not have employed anyone through the traditional route but having seen them over a period of time learning the vacant role, working with the team and seeing their confidence and potential grow in situ made it a win win.  According to JobCentre Plus’s overall lead for Growing Talent at least 100 more have gone into work through the feedback and guidance they got in the application process.  Which is great to hear.

 

Now over five years into Growing Talent we’ve streamlined it.  Now six weeks long, still a guaranteed full-time job up front, Orientation and Holistic week – carried out as a day attendance in London with the ability to extend for more technical roles or family crisis.

 

Years on year, I get thank you gifts, cards, flowers, texts, emails – its really heartwarming to know I’m making a difference and as the guys say ‘changing lives’.

 

Getting back to the title of this post, I’ve been pondering the reason for continuing with Growing Talent.  The reason for this is 18 months ago a legal process was started by one individual applying for the programme who didn’t get through.  The pressure of dealing with this process as well as family life, mentoring others, as well as continue to run Growing Talent made me think – ‘is it really worth it’.  Had I shut Growing Talent down 18months ago at the start of this process 26 vulnerable people would not be in their full-time jobs today.  All with labels.  All previously stereotyped.

 

Yesterday, I had another pile of legal papers to work through in connection with the process mentioned above but then came the following card to my mail box….

 

 

Heavenly has made me see how important it is not to let the bad eclipse the good and as there are 147 others who think the same as Heavenly and only 1 who doesn’t  Growing Talent must be doing good and must continue!

 

Thanks Heavenly!

 

 

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?

 

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!

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