Graduate Powerhouse!

Approached by JobCentre Plus – South East to write a week long programme aimed at Graduates who were unsure of their next steps, I wrote the workshops to be delivered by Zoom to highlight key thinking not usually discussed in a family, education nor business environments.

 

Through my work on Growing Talent, and before it The Real Apprentice, I’ve long known the fabulous hidden talent amongst us that employers are missing out on because people do not know how to share what’s inside them.  After much preparation, research, scheduling, I finally had an Agenda to deliver 27 – 31July 2020 that I was happy with – but would the participants be?

 

Covering a different, but related theme, each day including employment, empowerment and wellbeing each day using a variety of discussion, whiteboard feedback, powerpoint, films and polls, firm connections were quickly built with a sound commitment to stay in touch.

 

The empathy, encouragement, strength and bravery in each session between all participants for each other was palpable.  This was a joy to witness.  People helping people no matter their background, culture, religion or ethnicity.

 

So what did we cover?

 

Monday – Who are you, elevator pitch – what is it, why is it important, how do you compose one effectively, what do employers look for?

 

Tuesday – Where are you, where do you want to be, what’s in-between?  Your career plan, self-evaluation as a tool for choosing a career.

 

Wednesday – cvs – the good, the bad and the ugly, how to ace a virtual interview, what’s a personal brand?  why are they important?

 

Thursday – Understanding our brain, how it functions and how it can stop us moving forward, fake it until you become it, use the Power Pose, self care, wellbeing toolkits, manage pressure

 

Friday – Perfecting our elevator pitch and personal brand, constructive feedback to partners.

 

So what were some of the thoughts at the end of this great week?

 

“Good afternoon Jane, I would like to just thank you once again. It honestly changed my life and helped so much. I wish you the best and I hope I can stay in contact.”

 

“Just wanted to thank you again. It was an amazing and impactful time.”

 

“I wanted to say thank you for this amazing week. You have helped and encouraged me to look at things in a different light. I think you’re an amazing women and I can’t thank you enough for giving me and the other girls your valuable time. 
Keep doing what you are doing and making other people feel great. Thank you for also introducing me to some new amazing humans! “

 

The power of sharing knowledge – inspirational and can be life changing.

 

 

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

Growing Talent is coming to Birmingham!

After a successful five+ years running Growing Talent in central London, we are running our first dedicated programme in Birmingham City Centre in March 2020.

 

If you are looking for new talent and want a risk and free way to do this, get in touch – jane@thejjc.net.

 

If you live within easy reach of Birmingham City Centre, are currently unemployed but want to work – why not check us out.  More information at http://www.growing-talent.co.uk or speak with your work coach at Job Centre Plus.

 

The time for a new challenge is now!

 

 

Orientation Week – What Is it? What happens?

The Orientation Week is a series of workshops to boost confidence of those applicants selected by employers for a place on Growing Talent, delivering a permanent, full-time job on completion.  It’s carried out at a central London location prior to applicants going on site with their employers.

 

For the whole of 2019, we’ve carried out all speed dating events, orientation and holistic weeks are Etc Venues in Eastcheap.  Breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea is provided along with fresh fruit, tea/coffee/hot chocolate, herbal teas and smoothies/orange juice with breakfast.

 

From the start of the Growing Talent journey, all participants – known as Growing Talent Associates – feel invested in and start increasing their self-esteem.  Their #YesICan attitude increases massively.

 

During the Orientation Week we have visiting professionals to share communication, art therapy and workplace choices to increase knowledge.

 

Within 10 minutes of arriving for the start of the Orientation Week, Associates are tasked with their first challenge.  To draw a set number of images about milestones in their life and then present them.  Yes, public speaking in front of strangers!  It works every time to showcase just how strong Associates are.  They start believing in themselves, not the perception of their labels.

 

During this week, Jade from CCF (Customer Care First – an excellent training company Jade started) delivers her bespoke 2 hour workshop with the Associates sharing all the nuances of communication from body language, spatial awareness, tone, emphasis etc to the topics to avoid in effective communication.

 

Daniel going to Pertemps and Tequila going to Churchill Services discuss topics that are ‘safe’ and ‘unsafe’ to discuss with clients…..

 

Debbie and Juliet – both going to Park Plaza Hotel in Westminster, doing the same task as Daniel and Tequila above but addressee colleagues/managers….

 

Jade and the guys above discussing the importance of tongue twisters for loosening facial muscles making it easier to speak for longer.

 

Tequila and Juliet experiencing how important communication is.  Juliet is holding a picture of a pair of boots which she has to describe to Tequila who draws what she hears.  Laughter aside, it proves the point we need to ask questions and probe to make sure we have the right information to complete our tasks at work.  As Tequila said ‘I never asked if it was a pair!’

 

The Jade’s session ended with smiles all round in the knowledge the Associates have more knowhow in communication!

 

Lesley, Head of Health, Safety & Environment at PwC always delivers her excellent ‘Zest for Life’ workshop featuring the 3Rs – Refuel, Rejuvinate and Renewal.  Knowledge, information and tips for Associates to look after themselves on the Growing Talent journey and beyond!

 

 

Lesley introduces herself and shares her journey of how she got her current role which was unplanned and totally unexpected but ended up being something she loves.

 

Explaining how humans were not designed for the predominantly desk based jobs we do now, she asked the Associates to think of their roles and come up with suggestions of a body to do their tasks adequately.  As you can see the two heads/multiple arms in the drawing below look like something of a SciFi prototype!  However, if shows we must be vigilant in taking care of ourselves so our bodies do not suffer.

 

A key thing is our body bank balance!  Things such as coffee – too much is bad but if we follow each cup of coffee with a cup of water it balances out.

 

Lesley then shared tips on nutrition, saving money by making our own lunches, batch cooking and freezing as well as top tips on relaxation and finding what works for us.

 

She then set the task of each pair of Associates thinking of three questions for the opposing pair to answer based on her workshop.

 

Tequila & Daniel devising their questions…..

 

Debbie & Juliet devising their questions for Tequila and Daniel.  I’m glad to report all gave the right answers #payingattention

 

Smiles all round as Lesley left after sharing key knowledge…..

 

Emma from Unravelling Minds attends to deliver her Art Therapy workshop and join the Associates for lunch after.

 

 

Emma shares her journey from high powered/pressurised career in fashion to complete mental health breakdown.  Art was a particular feature in her recovery and she now shares her learning with others.  Previously involved with Balloons and the Brain and now Unravelling Minds, Emma runs a unique cafe.  A safe non-clinical environment for people to bake and talk together – CBT_Cafe (Cake Before Therapy – what’s not to like!). Check out the remaining dates and information on Emma’s journey below.

 

Whilst sharing her journey, Emma invites the Associates to select one of three challenges to see how art during their lunch breaks or at any quiet time calms the mind.

  1.     Heart full of favourite things
  2.     Graffiti newspaper
  3.     Illustrate your Growing Talent mantra
  4.     Start with a doodle and see where it takes you

The concentration and quiet in the room was amazing!

Daniel’s mantra with it’s hidden message uncovered

Debbie taking up the graffiti challenge!

Juliet focussing on her favourite things.

Tequila starting off with a doodle which soon filled the page!

Juliet also shared her steps of affirmation.

Time for a group shot before an interactive lunch together.

Various workshops with me continued throughout the week ending with the Social Enterprise Challenge.  Up for grabs was £50 cash.

 

The running challenge throughout the week is to devise and deliver a social enterprise to benefit a local community and vulnerable group living there.

 

Judges l-r seated are Anna – JobCentre Plus, Judith – Churchill Services, Pedro – Head Judge from Pertemps and Shennell – Growing Talent Ambassador who completed Growing Talent on the 5th programme!

Associates standing l-r are Juliet, Tequila, Debbie & Daniel.

First to present was Debbie delivering her Brighter Futures.  Based in Wandsworth it focussed on upskilling ex-offenders by teaching them skills to refurbish a venue given by Wandsworth Council.  These skills would enable them to apply for roles with the Council in maintenance as well as FM companies.  In return the ex-offenders would share their bad choices and consequences with excluded 10-13 year olds with the target of enabling them to make the right choices.  Professionals from law, social services, medical etc would attend to help with any issues the participants experienced.  A safe space to learn, grow and become more productive.

Next to present was Daniel with his Health Hotspot based in Orpington.  Daniel described the location and need for information and choices for better health.  Many people develop intolerances to certain food groups.  Learning from others with the same intolerance on recipes, adapting ingredients etc would be hugely beneficial and break down barriers.  Equally people making choices based on media/fashion such as ‘clean’ diet, ‘sugar free’ – often includes sugar under a different name!, ‘vegan’ – how to ensure you get enough protein and so on.  Learning together builds community spirit.

Juliet’s presentation ‘Brotherhood Marching Together’ targeting the stigma within the Afro Caribbean community towards prostrate cancer using colour, music, joy and information was delivered with passion based on Juliet’s own family experience of the disease.  ‘Afro Caribbean men don’t talk about such things’. Mindful of inclusivity Juliet wanted all men in the Brixton area where she lives to be included.  So men can support men regardless of their cultural background.  Using the 02 at Brixton for the end music extravaganza, the day would start at the Museum of Black History with cancer charity specialists in place to talk about the stigma.  Affected men and their families can ask questions in a non-clinical environment.  Moving to the square where a plethora of stalls for music, food, clothes would highlight all cultures in the area breaking down barriers.  All money raised from entry fees etc would go to research.  The event would build support structures for all concerned.

Finally, Tequila shared her vision of Take Action.  A unique idea to upskill low income parents in turning their houses into homes and also making them more employable with these new skills such as painting and decorating, tiling, plumbing and so on.  Tequila shared her view that children of low income families are often introverted and don’t have a voice.  Take Action would enable the children to design their bedrooms to be their ‘space’ and give them confidence in using their voice.  Supported by local colleges and organisations like B&Q the change delivered would be lifelong and really make a different.

The judges had a tough time whittling down these great ideas to just one winner.  Who was it????

Juliet collecting her £50 prize from head judge Pedro….

Ahead of lunch with the Associates, the judges shared their journey to the current roles along with their top tips for shining at work.

 

After completing their evaluations after lunch, the Associates left to relax over the weekend ahead of starting on their employer sites.

 

Check back to see how they get on…..

BBC London People – #GreaterLondoners ……..

Really proud to be nominated to @bbclondonpeople Instagram project #greaterlondoners.

 

Although the journalist got a few things wrong, including it was an unpaid week trial I did for the accountant not paid it made me reflect on what I have achieved.  Through the Real Apprentice and its successor Growing Talent, I’ve got over 600 people into permanent full-time jobs – literally changing their lives – as they tell me.  All with barriers.  All without the confidence to secure a job the traditional route.  One of these, Shennell, nominated me for this #greaterlonder project. #proud #humble

 

I drew on my experience years later when devising the Real Apprentice which run from 2004 to 2013 and won multiple awards including the best of Europe to Growing Talent – 2014-Present.

 

It’s amazing the difference we can make to others without realising the impact we make.  I’m guilty of not reflecting on what I do enough.  I believe most of us don’t reflect on our actions and affirm just how great we are!

 

Take time to nurture yourself.

Check out the feature below:  

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.

 

Growing Talent 22 starts – remarkable!

What’s remarkable? Lots of things – depending on who you ask!

 

For employers it’s likely the fact they recruit in a free, no risk way.  Selecting from a pre-screened pool of talent, employers don’t select those who can do the roles but those who have the ability to grow into their roles.  This is key.  The six week journey of Growing Talent enables both parties to be confident the match is right before the point of hire saving time and money.

 

For participants it’s likely the fact there is a permanent provisional job upfront – the prize they secure on successful completion.  They don’t have to rely on  trying to ‘sell’ their skills and potential through a cv to secure an interview nor explain gaps in skills, qualification, self-confidence if they manage to secure that elusive interview.

 

For JobCentre Plus (JCP) – it’s the fact their customers go into permanent jobs and learn skills to stay employed thereby not returning to benefits.  In addition, many of their customers not selected by an employer for a permanent role, learn from feedback given to enhance their future employment approaches.  While I quote 148 into permanent jobs – JCP will say the figure is much hire – which is great to hear!

 

For Care Leavers’ Organisations – employment is the critical key  to leaving care confidently.  Having a steady income enables everyone to make choices in their lives.  It gives us all control.  It isn’t enough to have somewhere safe to live without the means to pay the rent!

 

For me – it’s the fact a programme I designed, wrote and delivered is still being funded by a global financial services and is now on it’s 22nd programme!  I never expected this and shows the critical key of never doubting yourself – if you do, you’ll talk yourself out of doing anything!  If you keep going, you will find solutions for problems as they arise.  I also find it remarkable how difficult it is to get this unique, free tool to employers and those looking for work.

 

Seth Godin – talks about the Purple Cow.  When we have so much choice and so little time, we often don’t see what’s there unless it’s remarkable.  Cost & risk free recruitment without any catch is remarkable and still doesn’t get ‘word of mouth spread’  What are your thoughts on spreading the word?

 

 

 

 

Employment – it’s all about the preparation strategy… or is it?

Like any board game – preparation, planning research are all essential elements to increase our chances of winning – which are mirrored in searching for employment.

 

I received an email over the weekend which made me stop and think.  Maybe not everyone shares this logic.  Who teaches us about workplace etiquette after all ?

 

Over the weekend, I received an email.  I had to re-read this several times.  I have another Growing Talent programme about to start and applications are already coming in.  However, nothing in my 20 year career history working in inclusive employment prepared me for this email……..

 

‘Can I use your address to re-direct my mail?’  This individual was a complete stranger.  Why would they think it appropriate to ask such a question?

 

There is no 2nd chance to make a 1st impression.  Preparation, planning and research will help everyone make a great 1st impression!

 

What do you think?

 

 

 

 

Workshops – how were they on the Orientation Week?

Growing Talent is not a ‘refer and forget programme’.  It’s not just about the Growing Talent Associates being evaluated for their roles but for them to evaluate all parts of Growing Talent too!  We all have a voice – let’s use them!

 

What was the best part of the orientation Week?

‘Learning about the 5Ps and building the Social Enterprise’

‘Learning how to cope with stress’

‘The presentations and meeting the employers’

‘Learning more communication skills’

‘The Art Therapy class’

‘Personally for me it was how to breath properly and deal with pressure’

 

What was it like delivering your Social Enterprise idea to a panel of managers?

‘I was slightly nervous, however, I did better than I expected to do using the skills taught over the week’

‘I was more nervous than I though I would be – but overall it was positive and showed me I can be more confident’

‘I was nervous but covered everything I’d prepared and delivered it confidently too’

‘I was so nervous but did it – and won – I’m so proud of myself’

‘I was nervous at the start but the more I talked about my idea the more confident I grew’

‘This for me was the highlight of the week.  Made me develop my thoughts, do meaningful research and overcome nerves.  The judges were really welcoming’

 

This is the question I always dread on the evaluations!: –

What are your thoughts on the trainer – Jane James?

‘She is very knowledgeable, warm and humane whilst also strict and no surprises. Her programme is the  most helpful opportunity I’ve had’

‘Jane was nice, helpful and wise’

‘Amazing’

‘Very nice and helpful.  Engaging and interesting’

‘Great – Jane is very knowledgeable about the business world and delivers a very positive, honest approach.’

‘I think Jane is genuinely down to earth and to the point.  She doesn’t mince her words.  I found her very helpful and understanding this week.’

 

Asked ‘if you could go back to the beginning – would you still apply for Growing Talent?

 

I’ve very pleased to say there was a resounding YES!

 

Check back to see how the guys get on over the coming weeks…..

 

 

 

 

 

Orientation – the fun way!

After 5 years, 2019 saw the introduction of a sleek new format for Growing Talent.  Now 6 weeks long with, in exceptional circumstances, the ability to lengthen this to a max 12 weeks, it still has the two core elements essential to completing the Growing Talent journey – Orientation Week & Holistic Week.

 

The Orientation Week takes place after selection but prior to going on the employer’s site and training in the vacant role.  This is designed to build confidence, set challenges, raise self-esteem and of course building team work.

 

A new venue as well at Etc Venues in Eastcheap saw the additional of breakfast for all Growing Talent Associates each morning on the Orientation !

 

A selection of cereals, cold meats, cheese, pastries and of course a smoothie corner!

 

The coffee centre for cappuccino, lattes as well as teas was a welcome shot of caffeine during the week!

 

Monday saw Lesley – Head of H&S at PwC join us to deliver her invigorating 3Rs (Refresh, Renewal and Rejuvenate) workshop designed to enhance wellbeing.

 

Lesley shared her top tips on healthy choices, staying awake and energised as well as the amount of ingredients in a shop brought muffin (you really don’t want to know the answer!)

 

On Tuesday we were joined by Emma from Unravelling Minds who delivered not only her experience of intense workload causing her mental health issues but how she used art therapy as a recovery tool and now uses it as a solid wellbeing tool.

 

You could hear a pin drop as Emma set tasks for the guys to complete.  All agreed they were so much more relaxed after Emma’s workshop and would use the tools she’d given them during lunch breaks etc to stay mindful of their own wellbeing – a crucial attribute for us all.

 

Wednesday we focused on public speaking and presentations as well as discussing all ideas for the Social Enterprise challenge at the end of the week.  This comprises each Growing Talent Associate devising and delivering an idea to benefit a local community.  It must have a revenue stream and be ‘doable’.  This is delivered before a panel of managers from their employer sites who decide on the winner for the £50 cash prize!

 

Case studies, communication, skills gap analysis, conflict management, employment etiquette, challenges under the Equalities Act 2010, what if scenarios, networking tasks as well as how to do a good handshake made up middle of the week.

 

Jade from Customer Care First (CCF) joined us on Thursday to share knowledge of the intricacies of speaking, listening, annunciation, body language etc – communication is pretty tough to do right!

 

Jade above explaining the core elements of communication.

Estela, Joseph and Abraham above with Jade trying to list what conversations are ok to have with colleagues – not as easy as you might thing under the Equalities Act 2010 – challenges can be made by third parties who overhear what you say!

 

Empowered by the week and what they had achieved, we were ready for the Social Enterprise challenge.

 

Judges l-r Antonia – Portico, Jamie – Red Personnel, Adam – PwC, Julie – Portico, Ebb – Crown Plaza & Mark – PwC

 

The judges listened to six excellent ideas before deciding Jess’s ‘Wake up – to Make-up’ was the winner.

 

 Jess collecting her prize from Adam of PwC

 

To finish off, we had an excellent networking lunch.

 

So what did the guys think of the week?  Just a few comments below…..

 

‘The Orientation Week helps you gain confidence, learn about the work culture and polish our own skills.  It is a good way to prepare yourself for going into/back to work.  Growing Talent offers  high quality training.  It takes Associates seriously and acknowledges their talent.  I have never been on anything like this before.  I feel valued.’

 

‘The Orientation Week is so worth doing because it helps you build confidence for your workplace so you can be even better at what you do.’

 

‘I’m glad Growing Talent exists’

 

‘The Orientation Week enables you to transition into work more smoothly.  It gives you skills you can use as a head start in your role.  Fab – what an amazing opportunity!’

 

 

 

 

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