It’s amazing the UK takes years – literally – to remove illegal immigrants but someone who has lived, studied and worked here continually for the last 10 years paying full tax and National Insurance has just been given 60 days notice to leave the UK.  Her employers – a global organisation – on learning this, terminated her employment immediately.


How can this be right?


I totally understand and agree people who have no right to be here, who haven’t worked or contributed to the country’s taxes should be removed immediately.  Especially criminals, those who spread hate etc.


Why not set a barrier – maybe those who were here legally before say 2014 would have their cases looked at individually not as a ‘tick box’ exercise.


It seems wholly tasteless to wreck someone’s life who has put so much into the UK.


Shouldn’t we focus time, energy and resources to removing criminals who have no right to be here…….

New sales pitch – what do you think?

Over the three plus years I have been delivering Growing Talent, I’ve found it difficult to get new employers involved.  They love the uniqueness and success rate – and the fact it’s free! – but rarely put their jobs forward.


Instead of sending our short factual information, I’ve been advised to try something more ‘sales’ themed.


So I’m going to try the following but would be grateful to hear any thoughts…….


“Want to be part of the solution to London’s unemployment?

Want to develop raw talent into a priceless gem?


Growing Talent is an inclusive, free facility for bringing the unemployed and employers with permanent roles together on a maximum 12 week programme to secure new talent confidently. This is not an apprenticeship scheme but a genuine initiative that has proven to be a success for many employers and job seekers.


Our website has films and case studies from employers and their new employees – www.growing-talent.co.uk.


In short, employers select potential new hires from a pre-screened talent pool and trains them in their vacant role.  At the point of hire, both are confident on the match delivering sustained recruitment.  Open to anyone over 18 from all social and academic backgrounds, Growing Talent delivers diversity automatically.”


Growing Talent & The Minister for Education…..

I had an interesting call from the management of East London Job Centre Plus last night.  Damian Hinds MP and Minister for Employment had visited one of their sites to see how they are working with the unemployment on their journey back to work.

As luck would have it, Natasha was in the middle of doing a pre-screening session for Growing Talent.  This is an information session where unemployment people learn about Growing Talent and the potential opportunities it presents to them.

Impressed by the unique business-led mentoring forum which is Growing Talent, Damian asked Natasha and her manager Suk to send him some key details to present at The Sun employment roadshow at the Oval 28 June.

Hopefully more employers will be interested in this unique route to secure great talent within their business and get in touch.  110 people have secured permanent jobs through Growing Talent.  The unique point is, if all 146 people who started, had completed, they would all have gone into work.

The provisional job offer upfront, training and mentoring in the vacant role makes this a ‘no brainer’ for all.

Affirmation you are doing ok!…….

The best part of running Growing Talent is to see the growth in Associates on the journey.  So my favourite part is reading their evaluations at the end of the Orientation Week.


This is carried out prior to them going on site and is intended to boost self-esteem and give guidance on communication in the workplace etc.


So what did they learn?

‘I am positive in the eyes of others as well as myself’

‘That I still have the fight and strength within to achieve any goal I aim for’

‘I can be more confident than I thought I could be’

‘That I am capable of more’

‘I REALLY love recycling’

‘It’s ok to be afraid, it’s how you overcome that obstacle’

‘I can do it!’

‘I  learnt I am pretty well spoken and ow to be a little more confident’

‘I’m stronger than I thought’

‘Determination has set in’

‘I can do things I never thought possible’

‘Yes I can do anything with a bit of motivation’

‘It made me a better person and how to deal with things better’

‘I can meet new people and enjoy time spent with they’.


Having written and deliver Growing Talent, I’m not complacent to believe I do everything right.  I include a section on me as a trainer on the Associates end evaluation forms just to keep me on my toes and effective…… What did you think of Jane James, the trainer?


‘Great guide, really clear and helpful’

‘Hardworking, caring, 100% behind all of growing talent associates, very good at her role’

‘Jane is very helpful and insightful but also nice to talk to about anything that’s bothering us’

‘Very helpful and knowledgeable’

‘Brilliant, nurturing, encouraging – an amazing mentor’

‘Brilliant mentor and very inspiring’


‘Jane has been huge help and I feel very comfortable with telling her about any difficulties.  She has been very supportive’.

‘Lovely, strong, supporting lady.  Would love to be kept in contact with her for many years’.

‘A bundle of information, knowledge & strength’

‘Such an inspiration – amazing!’


It’s good to know from those we work with how we are doing.  Why not try giving those you work with an evaluation on you?

Holistic Week – Growing Talent…..

This is the ‘soft skills’ section of Growing Talent’s 12 week programme.  Usually carried out halfway through.  It’s a time for the Growing Talent Associates to meet up again and encourage each other face-to-face as well as learn some wellbeing techniques and ‘kick back’ a little from their usual work timetable!


We returned to Southwark Cathedral were we held the Orientation Week back in early February!  At least no more presentations before senior managers!

So what did we cover?:

Monday – parts 1 & s of Mental Health First Aid – a global course resulting in a qualification as a MHFAider.  This is an intense four part global programme so we lightened the learning a little with Lesley’s 3Rs!


Lesley, seen above, is part of the Health & Safety team at PwC.  Her 3Rs are Refuel, Recycle and  Refresh. It’s all about what to eat, how much sleep, exercise all the usual things we need to consider when making choices.  It’s especially difficult doing this on a strict budget!

‘I got a lot of information which I’ll put into practice!’ ‘Another important segment that allowed growth within the unknown.’

Tuesday – saw parts 3 and 4 of the MHFA programme be completed.  This time, Healthy Bites  Nutrition was sandwiched  between the two sections.  This invaluable workshop by Kate from HBN (www.hbnutrition.org) dispels myths around diets, the latest fads and new guidelines – such as only 7 tsp of sugar a day.  Kate shares the cost savings in making your own food, cost comparison and ingredients as well as how to eat quickly prepared nutritious meals on a budget!


Kate below preparing the Associates for making their own Pot Noodle!


A good workshop for sustaining health both in and out of work” ” I know what food groups are now!’


Sharing why recycling waste is so important was Dan from Suez, on the left below, on Wednesday.  This got everyone thinking.  A quick roundtable showed the difference between residential recycling across boroughs.  Indeed one of the Associates who has never recycled was inspired to go through her bins!



Thursday we talked finance.  Covering the basics we should know around debt, regular payments budgets, and so on. It’s surprising how well received this workshop is but on reflection maybe it shouldn’t be so surprising.  After all, where do you learn this stuff if you don’t have supportive, informed parents? Does the Education system have the time to do this?


‘The 3 x thirds will be really useful’, ‘I learnt about saving money and ISAs – really useful when we start earning’, ‘this was the most important topic covered for me’ ‘I learnt how to plan ahead’ ‘One million % worth it.  I understand now how to be financially stable.’

In the afternoon it was off to do an Art project!  Terrifying for some!  Their task was to visit Tate Gallery in Bankside and select an item that ‘spoke’ to them.  This could be in a good or bad way.


Left to right above inside the Tate are Mokhtar, Leon, Zainab, Ilamathy, Stefan, Ashley, Sebastien & John.


Friday morning we had a good discussion on their visit to the Tate, why they selected their piece of art and what they would ask the artist……… then they had to draw it!  You can see the results in the feature photo.  So much laughter in the room.  For some it ignited a childhood love of drawing for others it opened their eyes to a possible new creative way to feed their soul during lunchtime break and outside of work.


After some paperwork we finished up the week at lunchtime.They guys presented me with a lovely gift before going home for a well deserved break!


On Monday they returned to their employer sites:  Zainab, Ashley & Mokhtar – Harrow Green, Craig, John & Ashling – Iron Mountain – Ashling had to work this week, Leon – Pertemps, Ilamathy – Red Personnel, Stefan – Mitie Connect and Sebastien at Invest In Buy To Let.


#See Potential

#SeePotential is a Government backed campaign to get more people into work who have difficult backgrounds.   These include long-term unemployed people, ex-offenders, care leavers, recovering addicts, homeless people, single parents and military veterans.  Usually aimed at the 16-24 age group.


I attended an event on this subject yesterday at a City law firm.  Expectations were high.  The Minister for Employment, Damian Hinds, was present along with numerous charities and the employers some had worked with.


M&S partners The Princes Trust and spoke about their decade plus programme of work experience lasting 4-6 weeks which has seen 50% officially into work.


KFC & Dame Kelly Holmes Trust presented their two week work experience.  They take 16 young people at a time aged 16-24 which results in 5 into jobs at a time.


Drive Forward, a charity working with under 24 – mainly care leavers, said cvs were problematic for someone with a dysfunctional background and called for a more innovative, inclusive way.


The Minister of course did not stay for the whole event.  Which is a shame.  He may have learnt some of the issues.


The thoughts I had were:

Why were there no employers not already involved in equal and diverse recruitment present

What happens to the people who don’t secure jobs on these programme?

How long do those who do secure jobs, stay in them on these programme?

How can a short foundation of work experience without training in soft skills deliver      sustainable employment?


This event could be viewed as a missed opportunity.  There was no addressing the issues that affect all parties and therefore no discussion on possible resolutions.  No new employers to engage with.


I am very proud that every person selected on Growing Talent has:

  1. A permanent, provisional job offer at the start
  2. Orientation week – to build confidence before going on site
  3. Upto 10 weeks full-time training in the vacant role
  4. Holistic week covering personal finance, fitness, nutrition and well being
  5. Three robust manuals for onward learning
  6. The average time in employment is 2 years before moving on.
  7. 100% percent who complete secure a permanent job


I have worked on inclusive employment since 2004.  During that time I have interacted with several leading charities.  There are a number of issues I found which include:


Charities are funded by specific regions and therefore focussed on this area alone.  They won’t refer anyone into a programme where they will not be able to draw the cash incentive from their contract.


Charities often want to charge you a fee to ‘train’ you in dealing with their clients!


Charities often don’t know everything about their clients.  All of whom are also JobCentre Plus clients.  Having documentation and clearance to work in the UK doesn’t mean that person has the right to the public purse – i.e. benefits.  An employer can have a situation where they start a training programme and someone has to leave because their benefits have stopped.


Charities are sometimes funded by JobCentre Plus to get someone into work.  This means there can sometimes be quite a lot of negotiation when neither side wants to pay for travel/clothes etc.  Understandable on the JobCentre’s part as they’ve already paid the charity.


To me, it’s a ‘no brainer’ for employers to recruit through Growing Talent.  It doesn’t cost them anything and they know everything about their new talent before hiring them.


It couldn’t be simpler!  So See the Potential and use Growing Talent!


It’s a glamorous world………

for Stefan….. so far


On Growing Talent, Stefan is working with Mitie Connect at one of their global skincare clients in Fitzrovia, Stefan is exposed to the high-end world of leading brand products – including those new to the marketplace.  Of course this makes him a firm favourite amongst his female circle!


Surrounded by boutique shops ‘ including the niche Pollocks Toy Museum below – the local area is buzzing with business.



The mechanics of the role with Mitie Connect of Mailroom/Logistics Team  delivers variety – customer integration, problem solving, tracking, packing, despatching, as well as costs and recharges.  All of which suits Stefan.  The potential opportunities being based on this global entity’s site are endless!


A small team headed by Wayne, includes Jack and Leon with some support from temps and contractor implants.


As you can see below, Stefan on the left looks like ‘an old hand’….



Wayne, centre above has a lot of industry knowledge and is a ‘great mentor’ said Stefan.

Discussing how it’s gone so far below – both Wayne and Stefan agreed – so far so good!



Wayne is keen to learn the rest of the role, get working so he can save for some holidays abroad to add to the vast amount of countries he’s already visited.  Maybe he can add to his five languages as well!


Watch this space to see how Stefan gets on over the coming weeks.

Employers…Recruit a better way…

We all know that growing our own fruit and veg is something special.  Nurturing it through all the stages from seed, seedling, shoot to full grown crop.  There’s something special about the effort to create something ourselves.  Of course, the taste is always far superior to shop brought.


I’m a firm believer people are the same as crops.  When they are invested in,  nurtured to their full potential and taught business skills from scratch, they learn quicker, better and deliver commitment for the opportunity received.


Growing Talent enables both the employer and unemployed potential new talent to grow and learn together.  Over a maximum 12 week period, invaluable lifelong skills are taught on the Orientation and Holistic weeks. A maximum of 10 weeks learning the vacant role in situ ensures a confident match.


Why pay recruitment fees?  Why recruit from a cv rather then actual knowledge on potential and attitude?


Growing Talent is free.  Why not give us a try?  The next programme commences in April.  Contact me for more details of your London based recruitment.



Building an empire…..

It was clear on the Orientation Week that Leon was a leader and doer.


Owning a production company he has a passion for music and writing.  He shared a song with the other Growing Talent Associates that he’d written for his young son Matthew.  A beautiful tribute set to rap.  It worked really well…..


For his Social Enterprise challenge he used his media experience to devise a unique experience for your people in danger of or already experiencing some kind of addiction to understand their triggers, share their experience with others and get help appropriate to them,  A by product was the support family and friends would get from watching this journey unfold.


Kids Today involved filming a small group of young people over 12 weeks to give invaluable learning for teachers and parents who could watch the film on YouTube at their leisure and understand what works and what doesn’t.


Joining Pertemps as a junior recruitment consultant on Monday 6 February, Leon had arranged his first client meeting yesterday – 9 Feb!


Starting to build his recruitment business empire already……..!

Theresa May & Mental Health

An encouraging interview with Sophie Ridge of Sky News and the PM was aired yesterday morning.


Initially, I felt a bit unenthused at the start of the interview.  Sophie seemed fixated on the single market.  She asked three times about if we were leaving the single market in favour of securing our borders.


This illustrated to me the blinkered, reporting some journalists fixate on to get ‘the story’.  Three times Theresa May explained there is no opportunity to stay in the single market as we’ve voted to leave.  The negotiations will bring a different relationship. Still Sophie persisted before moving on to other topics.


This is where my interest was renewed.


The PM is highlighting mental health resources especially for children – which is fantastic news.  She recognises the biggest issue is stigma.  If people felt able to talk about their issues there is proven evidence they don’t deteriorate and get help quickly.


The PM is making a speech 9.1.17 – it will be interesting to see what she says on this.


Mental Health is  core component of Growing Talent.  We strongly believe in training participants as First Aiders.  Indeed everyone on Growing Talent complete the two-day standard global course.  There are many reasons for this – a key one is to remove the stigma associated with Mental Health.  I’m glad the Government is finally catching up!


Let’s get talking!