Growing Talent’s Holistic Week…….

The definition of ‘holistic’ aptly fits what we cover on Growing Talent’s Holistic Week……. Dealing with the mind as well as the body delivers lifelong learning and empowerment.


18-23 June inclusive saw our return to Southwark Cathedral for this element of the Growing Talent programme.  We generally start with the two day Mental Health First Aider course which delivers a qualification.  An intense two days of growth in how we see mental health.  This time we were joined by Sirio an employer from Ballymore.  The MHFA is so thick, the guys get a gym workout by default – who needs weights!


‘I think it was very informative and raises awareness on the importance of our mental health’


‘I felt confident in my knowledge of mental health before the course but I had no idea how to deal with it.  I do now!’


After an intense couple of days, we relaxed a little with ‘fun learning’.  In Everyday Finance we cover amongst other things bank accounts, standing orders, direct debit, credit and debit cards, debt management, the power of money, saving and basic investing options – generally how to make the most of our money.


‘This workshop made me more penny conscious!’  ‘It made me challenge the way I currently bank’.


Just as putting the right petrol in a car is key to it’s efficient running, so is eating/drinking the right things for us humans!  Kate from HBN (Health Bites Nutrition) shared some myth busting knowledge as well as healthy swaps and eating nutritionally on a budget.  The practical was making a healthy pot noodle which the guys reported on the following day as being great and something they would repeat.  Shae even said she might reduce her visits to the chicken shop!!!



A curve ball on the Holistic Week is always the Art project.  The guys have to agree on which art gallery they will visit – The Tate Modern or The National.  Armed with their project sheet, they pick a piece which ‘speaks to them’.  Either love it or hate it.  They then have to ask a series of questions and bring their completed sheet in the following day.  The purpose of this is to make everyone make use of these free institutions we’re lucky to have in London.  By asking questions whilst looking at exhibitions, it makes appreciation easier and effectively reduces stress levels without even realising it!  Although there was some hesitancy at the start, all the guys enjoyed this exercise…..



‘It wasn’t something I’d choose to do but it was a new experience.  I enjoyed it.  Art is a tool to de-stress’.


‘I haven’t visited an art gallery for years.  I liked this visit and it made we realise my appetite for art is maturing and growing.  I found the drawing exercises therapeutic and will use my drawing kit as an escape from my work life’.


Next time you think of grabbing a quick bite at your desk, why not grab a quick bite outside with a pad and pencil.  Just drawing what you see is a great de-stresser, reboots your energy levels and makes you way more productive in the afternoon.  Why not try it?



Art for Art’s Sake?

There are always preconceptions about art.  Humans seem to love it or hate it.  No in-between.


On Growing Talent, we use it as a de-stress tool on the journey into work and thereafter.  How many of you reading this stop work for lunch?  Why not try grabbing a pen and paper, go outside with your lunch and draw what you see?  it’s so relaxing and reboots your energy levels.


When they knew there was going to be an art session on Growing Talent, the Associates had a mixed reaction.  Love/hate – maybe hate’s a strong word.  Uncomfortable is maybe more appropriate…..


Armed with their project sheet, Shae, Imran and Delroy of Ballymore Group & Pertemps set of to The Tate Modern to select a piece that ‘called to them’.  Either good or bad.  Their project sheets had a couple of questions they had to answer which made them stop and reflect a little longer.  This act is great for our mental health and rebooting our energy.


  1. How did it make you feel?
  2. If you could ask the artist one thing about the piece, what would it be?

On returning to Southwark Cathedral the following day armed with their completed project sheets, one of their tasks following the discussion on their visit was to draw their chosen piece!


Strangely, Imran and Delroy selected the same piece:  Babel by Clido Meireles constructed in 2001.  This is a larger sculpture in the form of a circular tower made from 100s of second hand analogue radios.  All the radios are tuned to different stations and set to an audible volume resulting in a cacophony of sound…..


Delroy said looking at the sculpture he felt it was confused yet organised.  The question he would ask ‘why use radios? are they relevant today with the lack of radios available’.


Imran felt the sculpture made him feel we live in a throw away society always looking for the next thing.  They question he would ask was how long did it take to source the materials and could he do it again with something other than radios?

Delroy’s interpretation of the piece……


……. and Imran’s……


Both agreed the session was therapeutic.  Unfortunately, Shae was delayed by transport issues and missed this session.

Description from Tate Modern’s website:

Cabel 2001 is a large-scale sculptural installation that takes the form of a circular tower made from hundreds of second-hand analogue radios that the artist has stacked in layers. The radios are tuned to a multitude of different stations and are adjusted to the minimum volume at which they are audible. Nevertheless, they compete with each other and create a cacophony of low, continuous sound, resulting in inaccessible information, voices or music.

In describing this work, Meireles refers to a ‘tower of incomprehension’ (quoted in Tate Modern 2008, p.168). The installation manifests, quite literally, a Tower of Babel, relating it to the biblical story of a tower tall enough to reach the heavens, which, offending God, caused him to make the builders speak in different tongues. Their inability to communicate with one another caused them to become divided and scatter across the earth and, moreover, became the source of all of mankind’s conflicts. The room in which the tower is installed is bathed in an indigo blue light that, together with the sound, gives the whole structure an eerie effect and adds to the sense of phenomenological and perceptual confusion. The radios are all of different dates, the lower layers nearest the floor being composed of older radios, larger in scale and closer in kind to pieces of furniture, while the upper layers are assembled from more recent, mass-produced and smaller radios. This arrangement emphasises the sense of perspectival foreshortening and thus the impression of the tower’s height, which, like its biblical counterpart, might continue into the heavens.

The artist has explained that the work took over ten years to complete from initial conception to its realisation….


Babel 2001 Cildo Meireles


Personally, I like Delroy & Imran’s interpretations ………

Before we wrapped up the art session, we undertook our own modern art joint piece. Everyone had to draw an additional drawing which had to touch the previous one.  We ended up with something, which could be a feature in an art gallery…….. It certainly gave a lot of laughter in the room…..


Joined up

I notice the Prosecco slipped in……. I wonder who drew that!