200 hours completed!

Around May 2019, I saw a news feature with Duke & Duchess of Cambridge launching the 24/7 UK crisis text line Give Us A Shout.

The idea seemed simple and brilliant. Mobile providers waived their fees for texts to this service. Anyone struggling with their emotions from feeling lonely to idealation to complete suicide, any age, could text the word SHOUT to 85258 and get help to take them from a hot moment to a cool calm.

As a completely text service 24/7, those struggling didn’t have to overcome fear or anxiety of speaking to someone via a telephone line. Nor did they have to take part in a video call.

Completely anonymous.

This idea peaked my interest. The new launch was to engage with volunteers to train to go on the platform and support. The training was long and intense.

A coach is assigned from joining Give Us A Shout until a volunteer decides to leave.

This wrap around support for texters and volunteers is unique so I applied and thankfully was accepted.

Starting off as a baby chick (new volunteer) I could only take one texter at a time. The commitment is to give 200 hours to the platform before deciding to leave.

That target seemed light years away and completely unattainable. However, I received the following email from my Coach – I didn’t even realise I passed the landmark!

Congratulations on having spent 200 hours on the Platform.

Thank you for giving so much of your time and empathy to our texters. We really appreciate every second you’ve spent with us on the Platform…….720,000 seconds to be exact!

I’m sure that when you made a commitment to do 200 hours of volunteering with Shout it seemed almost unattainable, and yet you have made that commitment a reality and for that we are all so grateful to you.

We look forward to you continuing to support texters and other Shout Volunteers with your invaluable experience for many more hours to come.

My plan is to continue volunteering as long as I can for this unique service. Feedback shows me, it really makes a difference to those struggling.

I always teach people I work with ‘Never look at big targets. They always feel unattainable. Instead, look at bite sized steps. You’ll soon achieve your end goal and learn so much along the way.’

I know I have.

If you or anyone you know is struggling, no matter the time of day or night or issue that’s on your mind, text the word SHOUT to 85258. Help is there. You don’t need to go on any struggle alone.

The benefits of virtual learning

For the 10+ years I’ve been a MHFAEngland Instructor, I’ve been looking for a mental health and wellbeing programme to deliver which was accredited by a qualifying body delivering real value rather than the usual courses that just end with a Certificate of Attendance.

I stumbled across http://www.i-act.co.uk who devised mental health and well-being products specifically for the workplace. Both courses come with a 168 page manual, 50 self-help tools to use and 95 referral organisations for different mental health issues.

Having done the manager’s course – Managing and Promoting Positive Mental Health and WELLBeing – accredited by the Royal College of Psychiatrists with CPD points – I knew this was a key product which would deliver real value to my clients.

I decided to apply for the Instructor’s accreditation to deliver both the manager course and the ‘Understanding and Promoting Positive Mental Health and WELLbeing in the Workplace’ for non-management employees.

At the start of this week myself and others from all corners of the UK, Bahrain and Hong Kong met online with one of the co-founders Pete – a Clinical Psychiatrist and mine of information – also our Instructor. After watching Pete deliver, we then had to deliver the whole programme in our own style with a couple of peers giving feedback.

Solid connections were made. Messages of encouragement flowed over WhatsApp as we all became accredited instructors.

I now intend adding these two excellent courses to my portfolio of training to employers looking to ensure their staff at all levels are maintaining optimum levels of wellbeing duding real value to their bottom line and brand reputation.

The opportunities that open up when you least expect them can lead to incredible places.

Speed dating – Growing Talent style!

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?

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?

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?

 

Doing the right thing or risking a lawsuit? Food for thought?

As a Mental Health Instructor for over 10 years, I am enthused to see the growth towards seeing and respecting mental health in in the same way we see and respect physical health.  Everyone is comfortable enquiring if a cold is better – not quite so comfortable asking how someone is feeling on their return to work after say depression.

 

The internet is full of well intentioned plans and events to raise the bar in talking about mental health and I see more employers supporting events like #MHAW2019 – Mental Health Awareness Week which starts 13 May.  Really great intentions.

 

But is there a risk of being sued under the Equalities Act 2010 and taken to Employment Tribunal?

 

Some of the employers I know allow all staff, regardless of screening to see if they are equipped to listen to someone else’s pain, to be a ‘listening ear’.

 

You don’t know what you are going to hear when you sit down to listen to someone struggling.  It can be an emotive area the listener has strong views on – such as self-harm.  Even if they can listen without judging – are they knowledgeable on how to signpost someone on? do they know how to take care of themselves after listening to someone’s pain?

 

I feel very strongly that we should be talking more openly in every day conversations about all human issues especially mental health.  But I feel just as strongly that we need to train those listeners how to listen, signpost and look after themselves.

 

Why not have a #MHAAT (Mental Health Aware And Trained) badge for trained employees to wear all year – not just one week.  Wouldn’t we make more of an impact and reduce the risk of a challenge under the Equalities Act at Employment Tribunal?

 

What do you think?

As an employer – how do you know you’ve found ‘the one’?

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…

 

 

http://www.growing-talent.co.uk

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs………….

If we listened solely to the media, we could be duped into believing all is ‘doom and gloom’ on the prosperity of the UK.  This of course, again thanks to media outlets, is all due to Brexit.

 

There is no balanced reporting.  So I wanted to share how businesses appear to be growing – especially in London.  For the last year or so, employers have been few on Growing Talent.   Now the excitement is swelling with 14 different employers with multiple jobs!

 

Clearly some businesses are looking very bright. They are not waiting for the outcome of Brexit but taking the opportunity to expand and grow now!

 

So, if you are reading, listening, watching the news – remember there is another side, maybe more positive, which isn’t being reported.

 

Jobs, jobs, jobs – the future will be bright for those selected by employers at the end of July/early August!

 

 

Mr Fixit!

With Growing Talent 17 in full swing, I’ve been making site visits all week.  One of the stand out ones was Delroy at Ballymore in Vauxhall.

 

Ballymore were taking part for the first time – so no pressure on Delroy to impress!  Joining the GM’s team at their Empress Gardens estate, Delroy is currently looking after the day-to-day maintenance of one building.  As a high end residential block, everything has to be pristine.

 

Located adjacent to the new American Embassy the area is developing quickly with new businesses and executive homes being built in the area.

 

Ballymore not only build residential and commercial properties, they maintain and run them as well.  Meaning customer care and relationship building are just as key to success as job ‘know how’.

 

Delroy is already being looked at for promotion as the estate is growing to nine buildings and he’s only been on site four weeks!  He’s absolutely loving it.

 

As his first job since 2010, no formal qualifications and only with the experience of running his own business, it was almost impossible for Delroy to secure the right role for him through the traditional route.  Through Growing Talent, he’s been able to showcase he is right for the role with Ballymore and changed management’s mind on the talent and potential amongst the ranks of the unemployed!  They confirmed they will recruit through Growing Talent again – great news, thanks to Delroy’s attitude and enthusiasm.

 

Delroy below in his own office complete with his own tropical fish tank for those mindful moments essential in any working day!

 

A strong career with Ballymore lies ahead for Delroy if he stays on course….. A great role model for others following him.

 

Ready, set …….almost go!

Checklist!  The following is ready to go for tomorrow’s 17th Employer Speed Dating Session at Southwark Cathedral!

 

  • Employer Table names
  • Register of wannabe Growing Talent Associates
  • Profile summary sheet from employers
  • Ice breaker questions

 

With 22 talented applicants expected, it should be an amazing day!

 

Thanks to Matthew Bowden for the inspiring feature photo from http://www.freeimages.com –  it aptly shows the bright new future awaiting the selected Growing Talent Associates……….

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