Deflated? Never at Growing Talent – ready for any challenge!

We all know the pleasure and the pain that Coronavirus has brought. Although we’ve all been in the same sea trying to get to the other side, we’re all in different boats.

It’s been a rollacoaster for everyone – maybe just to different degrees.

For those able to work from home, there’s maybe been the challenge that others in your family have been doing the same! Home schooling for those with children has been an added dimension – not all bad but not all good either!

Some of us have been forced to look at our own wellbeing. If we’re lucky enough to have gardens – they are likely re-designed and weed free! Some may have set some space aside for a veg plot having seen the advantages of growing your own – especially in a pandemic!

Some have taken the time to learn new skills – learn a new language, bricklaying or joined an online choir or logo class.

For some living in rooms without their own space or garden the initial lockdown is particularly tough.

Now we’re nearing the end of lockdown and the end of the furlough scheme which is seeing the unemployment figures rise exponentially. Graduates and those who have finished A levels are leaving full-time education. There has never been so much untapped talent in decades.

The poison chalice of unemployment quickly strips away self-worth and belief even in those previously highly confident with solid work histories. This needs addressing. It won’t work for everyone being put into a job without a programme of rebuilding their self-esteem – enter Growing Talent!

After six years collaboration with Job Centre Plus on Growing Talent, I was approached by two key cheerleaders of Growing Talent – also managers at JCP! – to run some programmes to address this self-esteem void along with knowledge for job searching to give those looking for work the edge wellbeing and so on.

Next week kicks off a week long programme for Jill – JCP manager at Bromley for some of her customers. Followed by two sessions the following week specifically aimed at Graduates. We’re really pleased Sophie and the team at Smart Works are joining us on these session to showcase their amazing offering.

In August a week long course is deliver for Rajen of Job Centre Plus in East London.

Meeting and exceeding the Government’s Kick Start programme our partnership will deliver empowerment to participants to sustainably move forward.

Ask any Growing Talent Associate or Graduate – we’re never deflated and always ready for any challenge!

Can’t wait to get started!Deflatd

The loo roll challenge…

This made me both smile and glow with pride.

 

Charlie-Ray was on Growing Talent in 2019.  With no experience in the corporate world and no previous exposure to Welcome Host duties.  Charlie-Ray embraced every opportunity outside his comfort zone, learning from his team, peers, management and all the other contractors on site at PwC alongside Charlie-Ray’s employer, Portico.

 

He is now well respected by all levels of management, including senior client management.

 

Accepting opportunities, trying your best whilst remaining yourself delivers potent results.

 

Well done Charlie-Ray – I look forward to watching you soar in your career.

 

 

What’s stopping you? – Yourself maybe?

Coronavirus has forced us to stop and take stock.  Yes, we didn’t see it coming.  Yes, we don’t know when it will end. Yes, we still don’t know what the end result will be.  But, this is a unique, once only opportunity to stop, take stock of where we are in our lives and ask ourselves – am I where I want to be?

 

Hopefully, for most of us it will be a resounding ‘yes’.  For those who maybe feel change is needed in some areas of their lives, what usually stops them doing anything about it is them.  The negative part of their brain interrupts with self-doubts which get louder and louder if we let them.  This is perfectly natural as our brains are programmed to keep us safe and they do this by amplifying risk – think fight, flight or freeze situations.

 

We can learn tricks to move forward such as not thinking you can’t but just doing it.  I’m minded of the people throughout history across all corners of the world who have achieved great things when on paper stereotypical thoughts would be they can’t.

 

One who had diverse careers including that of a stuntman didn’t switch to being an inventor until his mid40s.  Trevor Bayliss initially starting making products to aid his peers who had been disabled through stunts.  On hearing about the AIDS breakout, he got to thinking of the isolation of remote villages who didn’t get healthcare information easily until he invented the wind-up radio – no batteries needed.  Totally accessible.

 

A fuller interview with Trevor is featured below…..

Taken from The Conversation…  This interview was featured following Trevor’s death in 2018.

 

Trevor Baylis, who has died aged 80, left his school in London at 15 without any qualifications. But he went on to become a physical training instructor, an engineer, a stuntman and, at 45, a full-time inventor, eventually finding fame for developing the wind-up radio.

Many of Baylis’s inventions were inspired from his time as a stuntman. He had friends who had suffered life changing injuries as a result of their work. “Disability is only a banana skin away,” he often said.

As a result, he focused his effort on inventing devices to help people with disabilities in their everyday lives. He came up with over 200 of these devices, which he named Orange Aids and included one handed bottle openers, foot operated scissors, can openers and sketching easels.

Then in 1991 he saw a TV programme about AIDS in Africa. The presenter described the difficulty of getting important health information to people who couldn’t afford batteries for their radios. Baylis immediately went out to his workshop to see if he could build a suitable generator for a radio. It only took him 30 minutes to come up with a solution.

The resulting clockwork prototype worked well but he struggled to get anyone interested in producing it. In 1994, as a result of being featured on the BBC’s Tomorrow’s World programme and in an interview on the World Service, a backer came forward to help start manufacturing the radios in South Africa, employing disabled people. The vast majority of these early production radios were sold to aid agencies to distribute freely, but over time they also became very popular with consumers in the developed world and were able to be sold for profit too.

When Baylis’s design was manufactured as the BayGen Freeplay radio, it won him 1996 BBC Design Awards for Best Product and Best Design. It is still considered an iconic piece of British design, featuring in the UK Science Museum collection. Spin offs from this design included a wind-up torch and MP3 player, along with shoes that generated enough electricity from the movement of the wearer to charge a mobile phone.

The wind-up Baygen Freeplay radio. J. D. Pfaff/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA

Despite his fame, Baylis felt he had often not received the financial returns he deserved for his inventions and began to campaign for better protection for inventors. He argued that intellectual property theft should be a criminal offence. He suggested that all school children should learn about inventing and intellectual property in the same way that they learn about art. In 2003, he set up Trevor Baylis Brands to help inventors struggling to develop and protect their ideas, helping over 10,000 people and launching many spin-off companies.

Baylis provided some early examples of how design could respond to both social and environmental problems by producing products that didn’t require expensive and polluting batteries. He made his radio very durable and easy to repair so it would last as long as possible, a real shift away from the usual consumption driven product market. A 1998 study of radios with different power sources found that, despite its weight, the Baygen had a significantly lower overall environmental impact over a five-year lifetime than any other radio on the market at the time.

Ripples of change

Sustainable product design still struggles to be recognised and applied by industry today. Yet the innovation displayed by the Baygen radio, initially using human powered energy systems and later supplementing this with solar power, produced a ripple effect in the market and large corporations began to develop similar products.

Although many criticised the product for being unnecessarily robust, it wasn’t created for the same kind of use as typical radios in developed countries and instead was designed to be as durable as possible. Baylis’s radio illustrates the complexities of balancing environmental, social, ethical and economic decisions in design and is still a useful discussion piece for aspiring designers today.

Trevor Baylis embodied the role of the inventor, always looking for solutions to problems and proving his novel ideas through many prototypes. He understood the value of design and considered this to be an important step in the commercialisation of his ideas.

Baylis received an OBE in 1997 and a CBE in 2015 for services to intellectual property. Despite his many successes, he once said he had one big regret: not being selected to swim for Great Britain in the 1956 Olympics.

Wind-up radios can still be brought today.

 

If you are reflecting on potentially changing something in your life right now, don’t let self-doubt in.  Instead think about the wider impact you could make not only on your lives but those around you.

 

You don’t have to be an inventor to make a difference.

Loneliness – a crippling feeling that can ruin lives

We’ve all been lonely at some time in our lives and know the fear, isolation and hopeless feelings experienced by it.  It doesn’t matter whether we have people around us or not loneliness can creep in at any point.

 

For people who live alone or in difficult environments, loneliness can be amplified and feel very palpable.

 

I stumbled across Wavelength, a great charity in Hornchurch, Essex which has tackled loneliness for over 80 years.  Starting by giving radios to people isolated by the World War through the decades evolving to include tvs, iPads and computers to all those in need from refugees, those leaving prison, young people, adults and families anyone already experiencing difficulty in their lives without the added burden of loneliness.

 

Their research of how people felt before contact with Wavelength and how they felt afterwards shows the massive impact they make.  Working with ONS in the UK tracks the impact of loneliness and the cost in human and family lives as well as business, communities and the health service.

 

Wavelength reminded me of an interview with the inventor Trevor Bayliss who invented, amongst other things, a robust wind-up radio to be used in global, remote villages which not only tackled loneliness but also delivered information and healthcare.

 

The simplest ideas are often the most effective and enduring.

 

Long may WaveLength continue its excellent work.

 

If you know anyone who is lonely and would benefit from WaveLength’s support, don’t hesitate to signpost them Twitter @WaveLengthHelp or website: http://www.wavelength.org.uk

Lon

Doing things differently – Carpe Diem!

When life throws you a curve ball, you can either crumple or run with it.  With the lockdown continuing and people’s strange new life continuing it seemed apt to change person-to-person training to virtual where possible.

 

A little sceptical of how good it could be, I was astonished how well received my first course was.  An informal discussion on coping with lockdown, the new challenges faced, new skills learned.  Working with 16 team members at all levels of management from ISS in London, the conversation, ideas and laughter flowed.  So what was the outcome?  You can see some of their feedback below – and they’ve booked more courses kicking off with the key steps to starting a conversation, managing it if dark thoughts emerge and self care – critical to building resilience

‘Jane is a first class facilitator, she makes each session impactful and enjoyable which is a really difficult balance to achieve, I would wholeheartedly recommend.’ Andy Ingham, National Operations Manager – This is great feedback for me as Andy was the client and is a facilitator himself.

‘Good, not too formal, interactive and encouraged all team to participate throughout.’ Alison

‘I got a lot from the session just by listening.’ Leon

‘Jane was very open, calm and keep the session flowing easily.  Jane felt like one of our team.’ Loraine

‘The information given on the session was perfect and it gave me the knowledge to look for signs and how to deal with difficult conversations especially where personal circumstances are concerned.’ Mark

 

So, if you are presented with an opportunity to do something different – don’t overthink it.  Definitely don’t let self-doubt in.  Tell yourself it will be a great experience and you will learn more about yourself doing it.  What’s the worse that can happen?

 

Courses coming up include:

 

  • It’s Not About The Nail – don’t try to fix what you think is the obvious
  • Create Your role in The Future
  • Creating Empowerment In Your Teams
  • Personal Empowerment

 

From June, the licensed global Mental Health First Aid full Adult course can be run online following MHFAEngland’s intensive collaboration with global partners to develop the new virtual programme.

 

As a Crisis Volunteer with Shout for the past year, I’ve seen how dealing with crisis via text messaging has literally saved lives.  Who would have thought texting could have such a positive impact?  Nancy Lublin the founder of Crisis Text Line in USA helped set-up Give us a Shout in the UK.  Along with HRH Duke & Duchess of Cambridge, Nancy spoke about why she started the text line.

    

 

Using text instead of phone lines enables people to gather their thoughts and reflect on what they are ‘writing’ in their texts.  They can also reflect back later on the empathetic responses from the crisis volunteer.  What Nancy discovered was those in fear of their lives from others could get help without being heard using a phone.  There are now crisis text lines springing up in more countries.  Mobile carriers waive the costs of texting to Shout in the UK so it’s accessible to all.  If you are in trouble – text Shout to 85258.

 

As an Associate Tutor with British Safety Council, many of their  courses including Start the Conversation, Management the Conversation, Train the Facilitator could be delivered online – something they are looking into.

 

We all need to think of how to do things differently.  This could be a fantastic opportunity.  We just need to not let doubt in.

 

Carpe Diem – Seize the day!

 

 

 

 

The end of Growing Talent for 2019

Our Graduation on 16 December marks the closure of Growing Talent for 2019.  Thanks to the funders, it will be back in 2020 with 6 new programmes confirmed.

 

As we approach closure of this year, I reflect back on the trials and triumphs of 2019 for Growing Talent.

First the trials!

January 2019 we kicked off with the new format of Growing Talent – reducing down the time spent training in the vacant role with the employer from 10 weeks to four.  The Orientation and Holistic weeks remain the same. This has caused a few concerns.  For those people who have multiple barriers to employment, four weeks isn’t always long enough to grow in confidence to be sure the end role is the right role.

JobCentre Plus has been restructured with leads who knew Growing Talent well moved to different roles.  This has meant a vastly reduced support from East, West and North London districts.  Unfortunately, this meant we lost an excellent employer with great roles based around the M25.

With the full roll out of Universal Credit, JobCentre Plus has little contact with unemployed people who just need a confidence boost.  Each JobCentre is authorised to display what posters they want.  With so many of their own Government programmes, Growing Talent posters were never put up!  Therefore, those people submitted by JobCentre Plus often have more barriers to overcome in their quest for employment.

 

Now the Triumphs! – which for me eclipse the trials!

From January – December 2019 we had 34 unemployed people start Growing talent from all social, educational backgrounds.  Out of these, 27 completed Growing Talent and secured their permanent jobs.

 

We had our first father and son success story!  Referred by a friend who secured their role on Growing Talent in 2018, Navin applied and secured his role with Mitie based at Embankment Place.  Navin introduced his dad Nalin to me.  A fascinating career with diverse experience including a long tenure supporting the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to London!  After multiple senior management roles, Nalin decided to retire.  When he realised it was too early and he wanted to return to work, he encountered employers looking at his past experience rather than what he wanted to do now.  After an introduction, Nalin started a night role as hotel manager with Club Quarters.  He told me last week he’s now secured the day role he wanted at another Club Quarters Hotel and is very happy!

 

Bernie who was on the same Growing Talent with Navin, wanted to go to Canada and see a bear.  He told me a few weeks back he’d achieved his dream.  Bumping into the Graduates of Growing Talent and seeing them achieve their goals and grow so much is awe inspiring.

 

I know from the feedback all participants give me at each stage of their journey, Growing Talent has literally changed their lives.

 

The triumphs far outweigh the trials!

 

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?

Happy Reese!

I’ve had a decade plus link to MHFAEngland from it’s early begins of just a handful of staff to the present day.  Gillian, MHFAEngland’s Business Manager and I go back way before this time to the days of the Real Apprentice (an employment programme I ran from 2004-2013).

 

Back in 2015 Gillian and the team at MHFAEngland selected Reese to join them on Growing Talent (www.growing-talent.co.uk) with the potential of an end permanent job in administration with them.

 

Reese had minimal employment experience at the time and pretty low self-belief so it was a really scary time for him.  He flourished and secured the permanent job and has been there since.  It felt good knowing he was processing the certificates of following Growing Talent Associates who completed the MHFA Adult 2 day course as part of their Growing Talent journey.

 

Yesterday, Gillian and I met up for a long overdue catch-up and she told me she had something from Reese – the feature photo.  So great to see him looking happy and confident – four years on.

 

Anyone can change where they are in life through self-belief, determination and support.

 

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.

 

IMG_8785.JPG

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!

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