Jane James Consultancy

For bespoke employment, mental health & well being programmes. The road ahead offers multiple opportunities….

Who teaches work ethics?

Yesterday, the Metro featured a disturbing piece on graduates leaving university without basic workplace ethics i.e. the soft skills essential for life long employment.



Basic skills such as teamwork, problem solving are missing along with the work ethic soft skills – timekeeping, attendance, communication etc.


A spokesman for higher education said schools should teach this.  Schools would probably say the reverse – it’s Uni or parents’ responsibilities.


So in all of this buck passing, who should and is equipped to teach this?


There isn’t a one size solution to this problem.  Many young people from diverse backgrounds aren’t aware of these soft skills whether from a dysfunctional or privileged background.  The fact is this simple area of employability skills can prevent someone getting a job, keeping it and growing it into a career.


I encountered a graduate who was outwardly very confident, with strong communication skills but no idea where flirting stopped and sexual harassment took over!  Her work in the role was excellent but her communication in the workplace makes the whole team feel uncomfortable.  What she doesn’t realise is a claim can come from anyone in the office or someone passing through it.


Another person had the importance of attendance and sickness explained to them and the consequences on the team, business and her prospects of securing the permanent job.  Having attended just half the days she should have due to sickness.   Silly reasons like having had a Friday off for a stomach bug, been fine over the weekend and then get another bug on the Monday doesn’t look great to the employer.  Now on her final chance – will she take on board the guidance given?  We wait to see……..


A key missing point is JobCentre Plus.  In general, everyone – graduate or not – will be a client of JobCentre Plus before going into work.  Maybe this would be the best area to focus on these essential soft employability skills?


Remember when hiring in the traditional recruitment way – you won’t usually have exposure to someone’s ‘soft skills’.  Maybe a trial period like would help?







Employers sign-up for Growing Talent 13!

My thanks to Amrik of Pertemps for the feature photo – which I have borrowed for this post……..


Now half way through Growing Talent 12, we are open for Growing Talent 13!


So far confirmed employers include Red Personnel, Iron Mountain, Pertemps & Baxter Storey.  All have been impressed with their current Growing Talent Associates and are keen to recruit more!


If you are an employer with permanent jobs, why not give it a try?  No fees to pay!  What have you got to loose?

#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!


Spreading the word……..

An interesting event yesterday at the Institute of Directors in Pall Mall, London.  Hosted by Pertemps the event was mirrored in Birmingham and Leeds.  A great concept on some key areas of business/employment.


Steve kicked proceedings off with some key stats……  Some of which mirror key differences in the UK’s geographical make-up.


  1.   Permanent roles are up by 13% in London but 33% outside this area
  2.   Skilled labour is a massive worry for business
  3.    76% of employers felt a diverse workforce was key to a successful business
  4.    So far business confidence has not been dented by Brexit


Matthew of a leading business think tank then raised some interesting points.  Amongst them:


  1.     Employers will keep doing what they’ve been doing in the short term.
  2.     Over 40% have absorbed costs out of the profit margin but won’t continue to do this.
  3.     28% of employers are looking to automation to reduce jobs
  4.     It’s essential there is a migration system to ensure skills can still be brought in.


The most animated speaker who held the room’s attention was Dominic from a global financial services firm.  Dominic spoke about three key areas – Salary Sacrifice, Employment Status and Apprenticeship levy


Salary Sacrifice – the choice between goods and salary.  From April 2017 items such as childcare vouchers, workplace gym, mobile phones, MBAs – any employer provided goods will be subject to tax.  This will mean employees will see a reduction in their take home pay.


Employment Status referred to the changes in IR35.  This is largely where someone self-employed essentially works for one client.  They take instruction from that client and invoice that one client without the benefit of employed status – sick/holiday pay etc.  Uber, Hermes, City Sprint are current headline examples of this.   There are over 30,000 Personal Service Companies (predominantly in the Public sector) in the UK who work like this.  Will it change post 1 April 2017?


Apprenticeship Levy affects employers whose payroll bill exceeds £3m.  They will have to pay 0.5% of their entire payroll bill into a fund – managed by the Government.  They will then have unto 24 months to draw-down the money they’ve paid in to run apprenticeships.


Finally, Will from an employment law specialist ended the event with some more interesting facts.


The national minimum wage will rise 1 April 2017 by 30p to £7.50 for over 25s, 10p an hour to £7.05 for 21-24yrs, 5p to £5.60 for 18-20yrs and 5pm for under 18s to £4.05.  The apprenticeship rate is raised by 10p to £3.50


All employers will have to report their gender gap, pay, salary, bonus each year.  The aim is to have this information published by 4 April 2018.


Will explained the ‘gig economy’ which is fast becoming the employers’ preferred status of employing talent in many areas – such as couriers, taxis, and so on.  ‘Employees’ get the flexibility of  working hours/days they want without any commitment to be available.  This is applicable to all including those with dependents.   Equally, the employers don’t pay any benefits at all.  HMRC is very keen to get this clarified due to the revenue they are missing in employers’ NIC and so on.


My personal thought is people with dependents, health issues or any form of support requirement won’t earn enough from these type of salaries and often end up claiming in work benefits as well.  So it could be argued the taxpayer is paying some of these prominent employers wage bill!


These changes commence in the Public sector first but migration to the Private sector is expected by 2018.


Watch this space!……….





New Addition at Red Personnel

A recent graduate, Ilamathy had little employment experience prior to Growing Talent.  Her personality and enthusiasm saw many employers want her to join them before she selected James and the team at Red Personnel.


A niche recruitment company, Red is based close to Baker Street.  A buzzing area with few major chains and lots of independent retailers/businesses.  The vibe is calm and serene – a bit like Red’s offices!


So, did it turn out to be the experience Ilamathy expected?  Was James happy and impressed ?


So many questions…..




James explained how well Ilamathy had got to grips with the basics of recruitment.  She’s already uploading jobs, calling clients, sourcing cvs for the consultants, mentoring candidates as well as managing Twitter!


This was the first time an employer had selected a participant from Growing Talent without actually being there!!!  James was on holiday at the time so his Director – Jamie – convinced Ilamathy the role at Red was the right one for her.


So how did they both feel about this ‘blind date’?  Great a perfect match.



l-r James, Vicky, Ryan, Ilamathy, Chetan & Vanessa


‘I’m so happy’  Check back to see how well Ilamathy gets on over the coming weeks…..

Leon – the new king of Recruitment?

Who knew recruitment could be so cool!


After an in-depth selection process, Leon was selected by Pertemps to undertake the Growing Talent journey with them.  The ultimate role on completion was Recruitment Consultant.


Leon has a strong background in sales and music production.  Having his own production company, he knows a thing or two about business.  He also has a strong,  supportive streak of empathy – ideal for working with people!


Recruitment was an unknown area for Leon prior to Growing Talent so I was keen to find out how he’d got on during the first couple of weeks.


As you can see from the feature photo Leon has taken everything in his stride!


‘I’m met my targets, got some new clients and can’t stop to talk now as I’m interviewing someone’!  The small team Leon works with all agreed he’s fitted in really well considering we’re at week 3!


Pertemps is a very social organisation with lots of evening events.  This is currently a bit of a sore point for Leon – he’s not used to full days and then nights out!  Welcome to the heady world of recruitment!



Luckily, Leon finished his interview in time to come and say goodbye.  Seen here on the left with Adam and Jamie Director of Pertemps and Red Personnel.


So is he the King of Recruitment?  maybe not right now but he’s on his way!

Pick a colour!……..

Whilst surfing the Internet, I came across this great ‘colour chart’ for vegetables.


It’s the first I’ve seen that not only give you the calories, all the vitamins/minerals contained by ideas on how to eat them as well.


Easy to carry around, I will definitely be using this in my holistic week of Growing Talent as well as my own weekly shop!


Why not try using it too and see if there is a positive impact on you!

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.

The World of Property Investment….

Growing Talent 12 ( is now firmly underway.  Reports so far are all good.


Yesterday I visited Sebastien who has a background in sales, abroad and at home.  With a passion for property but no experience he was a strong fit for Invest In Buy To Let who selected him to join them via the Growing Talent programme.


Two weeks in – the shine is not wearing off!  Cold calling, researching and evening events have meant Sebastien has been able to work with multiple people and learn quicker in situ.  He’s building his own client contacts and formulating strong relationships.


Luckily, Silin from Growing Talent 10 works for Shane, one of the directors in his other business Create A Business.  Based at the same venue, she can give Sebastien the encouragement doing the programme demands.


It always amazes me how some people write off those who are unemployed without knowing their stories, personalities etc.  Everyone on Growing Talent has to work full-time – often unsociable hours – for no money other than their benefits.  Grated, at the end there is a permanent job on offer where both employer and new employee have a confident match.  But the journey to that goal can be quite gruelling – especially the longer you’ve been out of work or the more negative, discouraging voices you have around you!


It takes a lot of tenacity and integrity to complete Growing Talent – definitely not for the faint hearted!

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