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.
Last week was the 28th Orientation and Holistic element of Growing Talent! We covered a lot including:
- Emotional intelligence and behavioural impact
- Conflict styles and management
- The power of body language
- Nutrition on a budget – the perils to avoid
- Wellbeing windows and non-negotiables
- Basic finance tips and tricks
- Workplace ettiquette
- Case studies – what would you do in these real situations?
- Facing fear and overcoming procrastination to move forward
- Fake it until you become it
- Automatic habits
- Challenging thoughts
- Schedule in self-care
Working from etc venues in Fenchurch Place, London Monday – Thursday last week, we enjoyed an energising breakfast, mid-morning break, full on lunch with hot and cold options, desserts and cheeses. Smoothies, vegetable shots and tea, coffee (in many different compilations) as well as water!
On Thursday Paul, Ella and Suaad’s prospective employer was able to join us for a networking lunch along with Anna and Mick from DWP. Ella, Florence and Suaad shared some of their experiences over the week and questioned Paul, Anna and Mick on how they had dealt with a range of things from Covid to conflict both at work and in their personal lives. I sat and listened with pride at how their confidence had grown over that few days. Our guests were very generous in sharing past and present experiences. Mick’s previous life in the Met Police gave a lot of insight that maybe we don’t always think about. It was a powerful reminder that everyone has a back story we usually know nothing about.
After the ‘grilling’, We had a sumptuous lunch together before departing for the week.
The feature photo above shows Ella, Suaad and Florence completing their @I-act Managing and Promoting Positive Mental Health and Wellbeing ready to use some of the tools and learning to empower their resilience in the workplace as well as support those around them where they feel safe to do so.
So what did Ella, Florence and Suaad think of they journey so far?
“I enjoyed all of the workshops and found them very informative- I didn’t necessarily have the most open mind (I generally don’t about lots of ‘work training’ things) in advance of attending but Jane’s attitude and openness made me want to attend. What I enjoyed the most (besides the food which was phenomenal) was being able to openly share my background, hopes and fears, experiences with others in such a safe and encouraging environment. So much about looking for work requires us to be constantly positive in attempts to oversell ourselves. What Jane does so well, and what I enjoyed the most, was being able to be a whole person- with room for improvement but a clear pathway to that improvement. It was such a boost to my self-esteem and made me feel that there were practical steps to moving forward that didn’t involve berating myself for not having achieved them yet.”
“I found the ‘five second rule’ very practical- I could definitely recognise that in myself and the way my brain talks me out of doing things I am worried about. I also found the discussions around confrontation and interpersonal workplace relationships (and outside) really helpful. Also the continual emphasis on maintaining good channels of communication is definitely something I am trying to keep permanently in mind until it becomes second nature.”
“Personal well-being and learning how to structure your work day to make sure your mood is optimal and you’re making the most of your day. If you take a proactive stance and not react to what life throws at you, you can be in control and change the quality of your day to day experiences.”
“Jane has been wonderful over the week. The way the programme was delivered over the week shows this is something Jane deeply cares about and enabling participants with the right information and boost of confidence/morale is just as important as securing a job. After facing unemployment you have to mentally prepare yourself before starting a job, you may feel out of the loop or in a low mood. By completing a holistic short course beforehand, it allows you to evaluate how you are doing on a scale and gives you insight to what to work on going forward.”
“The I-Act course is a great source to keep around and use as a reference, it provides a great summary of different types of mental health issues and illnesses. Once again, it is a tool you can use to see how you’re doing on scale and can be used to advocate for yourself and others. Courses such as this are needed to destigmatize the issue of mental health, a simple heartfelt conversation may change the trajectory of someone’s health and even their life.”
“I am very grateful and happy to be given this opportunity, it is a unique and lovely programme that would not be possible if curated by someone who didn’t understand how to genuinely help people (to help themselves!). It’s clear this is a labour of love and it really shows in the quality of the programme and the impact it has on me over just one week. Bravo, thank you!”
“Jane made us feel very comfortable and secure enough to share our personal stories as to what led us to Growing Talent. I also enjoyed the company of the other people on the journey with me. There was nothing that I didn’t enjoy. I looked forward to each day!”
“The whole concept of having a “Holistic Employment Programme” is such a great idea and perfect in my situation. It provides a level playing field for everyone. Thank you!”
If you are unemployed, live in London and interested in a different route to employment – check us out and or speak with your work coach at JobCentre Plus.
If you are an employer with permanent jobs in London which you are willing to train in, why not consider Growing Talent? Like Ella, Florence and Suaad you will have empowered, resilient, enthused, empathetic new talent before you formerly hire them with qualities you wouldn’t usually see in traditional recruitment – and it’s free. Get in touch to discuss.
There’s something about London. The vibe is completely different and unique to anywhere else for me.
When out of the City, I don’t appreciate how lucky I am to have the flexibility of working in such a diverse, creative environment.
Of course, some might say ‘that’s rose coloured glasses’ but isn’t everything about the way we look at it?
Walking towards the offices today, I noticed the melting pot of diverse buildings, intricately carved ornate old buildings – still standing 100+ years after being built – without power tools! – standing proudly amongst the glass array of newer office structures built with the climate in mind.
IThe diversity of the people who have walked these streets over past generations and those who will in the generations ahead hit me. What would they make of the way we live now? The lessons #Covid have taught us, or not?
The overwhelming thought I was left with was how brilliant us humans can be. Of course I won’t dwell on the disrespectful few on the train into London this morning who just had to be first off!
I’ll focus on the view instead! The atmospheric Tower Bridge with the glass structure of City Hall in contrast.
Wherever you are, whatever you are doing – focus on the positive.
Despite Growing Talent, an inclusive employment programme I run, being on hold due to the pandemic, it’s always lovely to catch-up with some of the people who have participated over the years on how they are doing especially now.
Amongst the doom and gloom, uncertainty and insecurity the global pandemic has spread, some heart warming news!
Catching up with Jane, Debbie & Sharlene from past Growing Talent programmes, it was great to see their ignited self-belief and drive for personal growth has not been diminished by the challenges presented by Coronavirus.
Jane updated me on her current role. Still with Baxter Storey, who she joined on completion of Growing Talent 4, but now at a different account, she decided to use some of her personal time volunteering in her local community to help young people. Despite the application and joining process – rightly thorough screening – Jane is determined to support and encourage those that need it. Just as enthused as she was at the start of her journey all those years ago, it was a joy to learn how well she’s doing.
Debbie contacted me to share she had made it into print! Yes, her Christmas jumper, almost as bright as her smile, lights up the PwC welcome floor in the Welcome Team’s newsletter to raise money for charity on the annual ‘Christmas Jumper Day! Despite a challenging year – more so for Debbie who loves her intrepid travelling to far flung places, Debbie has also just won a new internal role after being interviewed by a Partner at PwC! Fearless as a lion and always up for a challenge – Go Debbie!
Just this week I learned Sharlene had come full circle. After completing Growing Talent in 2019 she joined a national facilities company in their facilities administration team. Unfortunately, like so many, Sharlene was made redundant earlier this year. Did she retreat into herself? Of course not! She moved house and got a job with Department of Work and Pensions as a Work Coach encouraging unemployed people to find the right role for them – and hopefully referring some to Growing Talent once the pandemic is over!
I am always in awe of the spirit, determination, innovative, empathetic DNA of the amazing people I work with on Growing Talent.
I know the next chapter for Jane, Debbie & Sharlene is going to be amazing because they will make it so.
For more information on Growing Talent check out – http://www.growing-talent.co.uk
It’s been an intense journey for Annarita. Following a difficult period of unemployment and various issues in her personal life, her self-esteem and joie de vie and plummeted whilst her anxiety had risen.
With her streak of courage and bravery, Annarita accepted the provisional role with PwC in their secretarial team even though it was completely outside her usual work area. She embraced every challenge thrown at her along the way. As you can see in the feature photo with head judge, Allen from PwC, Annarita’s idea won the Social Enterprise challenge.
So now she’s graduated and gone into work with PwC – what are her thoughts on the journey she’s been on?
‘If I could go back to the beginning, I’d still do Growing Talent. It’s given me the chance to get a step in the door and get back on the career ladder. I’ve learned it’s about the journey, jot the destination. Stepping stones lead to a giant rock of your dreams. Growing Talent helps people move forward with their lives’.
What is Annarita’s top tip to complete Growing Talent for those following her?
‘Try and take in all the information given as you may feel like you don’t need it right now but at some point down the line you’ll realise you do”
Any motivational thoughts Annarita?
“Keep going! Every step counts towards your personal growth whether it’s emotionally, financially or physically, take notice, be aware and step back – look at what you’ve achieved as each day passes. One day you may find you’ve obtained all the things you have always dreamt about”
So there you have it from one that knows.
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!
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!
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.
It’s difficult and time consuming trying to identify the right talent for your business before hiring, not just from a skillset point of view but also personal outlook, fit with the team and company ethos as well as future potential, before hiring them.
At the point of hire in traditional recruitment, a lot of time and money has been spent on composing the vacancy, advertising it, potentially engaging recruitment agencies, a contract has been drawn-up, payroll has been set-up – all without knowing if the individual is a good fit in all areas and has the potential to grow.
If there is a ‘miss-match’ there is not only a cost implication but also a decrease in team moral.
Surely a ‘try before you buy’ works for both sides. Enter Growing Talent! Now I know what some employers may think who have not been involved in anything like this before…”the unemployed never work out”, “there is no commitment from the unemployed – they’re used to not working”.
As the saying goes – the proof is in the pudding – as many naysayers have found.
Alex, on the current programme with Portico, recently had his first appraisal. After just a few short weeks on site, he’s exceeded expectations in all areas. Outstanding feedback from the team is a natural self esteem booster. Alex is looking forward to the remaining training ahead. Already, he’s been identified as a perfect addition to the team – something the employer would not have secured without Growing Talent.
Why aren’t all employers recruiting through Growing Talent? I’d love to know…