The classic Four Seasons said it best – “Oh what a night….”

Monday night saw the relaunch of Growing Talent at the London HQ of our host and sponsor PwC.

With over 90 people present the pre-event networking was a hub of energetic networking.  Interspersed with ‘OMG it’s been so long’ as ex-Growing Talent Associates over the years met-up for the first time since their journey began.

In addition to these awesome people, guests included members of JobCentrePlus, senior management of DWP, community organisations including SLAM, Southwark Care Leavers and Breyer Foundation as well as employers – veterans of Growing Talent and those new to the collaboration – looking to find out more.

The co-ordinator of Growing Talent kicked off proceedings explaining what Growing Talent was and when it started, why, in their view, it is as important today as when it started, the social value it has delivered and the benefits to all taking part.

We were incredibly lucky to have Ian Elliott, Chief People Officer at PwC join us to share why social mobility programmes like Growing Talent are so important to the Firm, why they support these initiatives and how important it is for businesses to engage with their local communities to gain innovative talent to grow effectively.

Following Ian, David senior manager from DWP, a long-time staunch supporter of Growing Talent, shared why they support Growing Talent when it is not a Government programme.

Following David, were the stars of the event – ex-Growing Talent Associates  Charlie-Ray and Rehana – sharing their experience, where they were at the start of their journey and where they are now. 

From a starting point of no confidence nor direction at the start of his journey on Growing Talent, Charlie flourished and won promotion to his current position as Senior Welcome Host with Portico leading a team of 30 direct reports!

He’s taken ownership for a lot of diverse projects nationally, including a secondment for a number of weeks to help mobilise a new regional office ensuring new staff feel they belong and have a strong sense of connection.  This secondment was meant to be a one day trip!

Rehana was next to share her roller coaster journey on Growing Talent.  Working with Portico for a few years as Welcome Host following completion before returning to full-time education to study to be a Counsellor – a long held passion.  

But how to fund such an intensive course? 

Rehana started her own craft business ‘Sealed with a Stitch’ selling crochet items within the UK and  internationally – ideal for corporate gifts, unique birthday presents or to mark a special event.  

Easter Bunny example of Rehana’s work during Covid!

Rehana juggles this business with her position as a Counsellor supporting vulnerable people with Headstrong.

Charlie and Rehana both shared the power of what saying ‘yes’ to someone can have.  

Neither of them would have been recruited by their employers in a traditional recruitment process – but look at the awesome talent that would have been missed!

Allen, Head of Information Management Services at PwC as well as lead for Growing Talent at PwC, was last to speak and share his personal experience of supporting Growing Talent over the last nine years, from holding roundtable discussions on basic finance considerations to being a judge on our previous social enterprise challenges.

It was powerful to listen to Allen share his thoughts of meeting the Growing Talent Associates at the start of their journey and see the empowering transformation they underwent.  He still sees many working in the PwC offices continuing to grow every day.

It was fantastic catching up with some of the ex-Growing Talent Associates and learning of where they are now…..

Chloe and Sophia joined Growing Talent virtually during Covid in August 2021.  

Several promotions later for each of them, they are still working for PwC and ‘so happy’ – their words.

Sophia is now Team Leader and PwC Support Specialist coaching and developing many team members into other areas of PwC’s business. Sophia shared she can now make ‘grown-up’ decisions on investments and pensions.

Chloe is now an Executive Assistant organising and supporting her managers delivering projects.

In addition to clearly loving their careers, both shared how making their children proud of them was a powerful realisation.  

L-R – Stephan, Miyuki from ISS, Kieron, Bernie of Swiss Post Solutions, Anna – JobCentre Plus lead who has taken countless early morning calls to sort out any issues participants were experiencing over the years, Charlie-Ray of Portico, Navin and Jamie of Swiss Post Solutions with Chloe & Sophia – PwC.

The ripple effect of the positive impact on those around the Growing Talent Associates is clear.  One example, Navin shared the huge recognition his dad, Nalin, received from his employer recently (met on Growing Talent in 2019). Nalin has won so many testimonials from guests and colleagues over the years, the hotel recognised this commitment by awarding him a visit to New York taking his wife and Navin along for some shopping and sightseeing!  How great is that?

Of course, I had to get in the photos too!!!!

The post event networking went on longer than anticipated with wonderful bitesize canapes and drinks.  Thanks to the team at Baxter Storey especially the particularly tasty beetroot bites! 

Employers were buzzing about what roles they could ring-fence to take part in  the next programme and community groups were thinking of the awesome clients they could refer.

It was certainly a night to remember!

The Growing Talent story continues…….

Let’s recap the benefits so you can decide to get involved:

Potential applicants

  • No cvs nor job descriptions = no assumptions.  
  • Mentored to grow into a permanent role which you can turn into a career
  • Empowering orientation and holistic week which includes a qualification in positive mental health before going on the employers site
  • Retain your benefits, have all fares paid and get paid by the employer during the mutual ‘test drive period’
  • Be confident the role, employer and team is right for you
  • Start to believe in the talent you have within you

Check out  https://www.growing-talent.co.uk/applicants/ information session will be held on 6 February 2023. Contact me for details before this date.

Employers

  • No recruitment fee
  • Assigned Growing Talent mentor
  • Cost free robust pre-onboarding process aiding retention
  • Differentiator with competitors in commercial bids
  • Fish from an innovative, diverse talent pool to grow some awesome new talent
  • Confidence the match is right before making a permanent hire

If you are an employer with vacancies to fill in London, why not recruit a different way?  Contact me for more information or see https://www.growing-talent.co.uk/employers/

What are you waiting for?  Experience the power of saying yes!

A big thank you to all organisations including Pertemps, MasterFix Properties, Swiss Post Solutions, ISS@PwC and Aviva, ISS UK & Ireland, Office Concierge, Honeywell, Portico, Baxter Story, senior management from PwC, ex-Growing Talent Associates, members of DWP and JobCentre Plus, community groups including SLAM, Breyer Foundation and Southwark Care Leavers who gave up their personal time to attend.

A very special thank you to Adrienne Simpson who juggled her ‘day job’ as Allen’s Executive Assistant with organising the whole event start to finish – Ads – you are a superstar!

Thank you all!

Awesome!

24/08/2022

After just one week on site with Pertemps, Haajarah has an awesome 1st appraisal. Scoring 9s and 10s with strengths in all areas she is adding huge value to the Pertemps team whilst empowering herself.

Unemployment, will often, naturally bring a dip in confidence. This leads to employers not seeing the full ability and potential of a potential new recruit to their business in a typical traditional recruitment scenario.

For over eight years, Growing Talent has bulldozed traditional recruitment practices. There are no cvs, job descriptions nor formal interview based on generic questions, which amplify the negative dip in confidence and enable assumptions to be made.

Instead, we have employer speed dating, one to one chats (employer selection processes) and a robust orientation/holistic week – which includes I-act Managing and Promoting Positive Mental Health and Wellbeing – prior to the new talent arriving on site. Empowered, more confident and ready to learn.

What’s not to like?

Growing Talent is a 360 degree ‘win win’ for the individual, employer and employers’ existing team.

Ready to recruit a different way?

#socialmobility #unlockthetalentwithin #collaboration #belonging

Employers’ Speed Dating – 21 January 2020!

Our first speed dating (first stage selection) for Growing Talent commences with a quick fire speed session which enables employers to identify those they wold like to meet for a more in-depth chat about their roles on their sites.

 

With no cvs nor formal interview to undergo, the atmosphere is relaxed and laughter quickly flows.

Andy from Winlight Recruitment chatting to some participants….

 

For employers Growing Talent is the only way to ‘test drive’ someone in their vacant role ensuring they fit the role, team, company BEFORE hiring.  Even more attractive is this doesn’t cost s penny.  Run and funded by business for business.

Always smiling! Pedro and Sharaz from Pertemps checking out the untapped talent out there….

 

Equally important is the applicant experience.  Growing Talent is only open to unemployed people over the age of 18 – no upper age limit – in London who have a strong will to work but need a little TLC.

 

 

Growing Talent enables unemployed people to shine and grow on their journey to employment.  With a provisional job upfront, they are aware of the end job.  As the employer trains them in that role during the programme, there are no surprises.

Kate from Firmdale Hotels returned to share the opportunities available……

 

If you are looking to get new talent in your business confidently and cost effectively or an unemployed and looking to get a role where you have the opportunity to prove yourself …… check out Growing Talent now.

Sergio & Lina from ISS – Sergio’s first time at speed dating!

 

What have you got to lose?  Why not check out Growing Talent 26 in March?

 

Social mobility in action delivering equality and diversity automatically.

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?

 

 

Meet Growing Talent 16’s Head Judge

A long-time supporter of Growing Talent, Allen often gives-up his time to preside over the Growing Talent Social Enterprise Challenge.

 

These are ideas selected Growing Talent Associates devise and present to a panel of managers from their employer companies during their first week of Growing Talent – no pressure then!

 

At the end of each presentation, collective feedback is given before the Head judge delivers the verdict and prize.

 

The ideas have to benefit a local community, have a revenue stream and be easy to maintain.  The ideas presented in the past have always been innovative and well thought out.

 

I don’t doubt this will be the case on Friday 9 February! – check back to find out…….

Holistic Week – Growing Talent…..

This is the ‘soft skills’ section of Growing Talent’s 12 week programme.  Usually carried out halfway through.  It’s a time for the Growing Talent Associates to meet up again and encourage each other face-to-face as well as learn some wellbeing techniques and ‘kick back’ a little from their usual work timetable!

 

We returned to Southwark Cathedral were we held the Orientation Week back in early February!  At least no more presentations before senior managers!

So what did we cover?:

Monday – parts 1 & s of Mental Health First Aid – a global course resulting in a qualification as a MHFAider.  This is an intense four part global programme so we lightened the learning a little with Lesley’s 3Rs!

 

Lesley, seen above, is part of the Health & Safety team at PwC.  Her 3Rs are Refuel, Recycle and  Refresh. It’s all about what to eat, how much sleep, exercise all the usual things we need to consider when making choices.  It’s especially difficult doing this on a strict budget!

‘I got a lot of information which I’ll put into practice!’ ‘Another important segment that allowed growth within the unknown.’

Tuesday – saw parts 3 and 4 of the MHFA programme be completed.  This time, Healthy Bites  Nutrition was sandwiched  between the two sections.  This invaluable workshop by Kate from HBN (www.hbnutrition.org) dispels myths around diets, the latest fads and new guidelines – such as only 7 tsp of sugar a day.  Kate shares the cost savings in making your own food, cost comparison and ingredients as well as how to eat quickly prepared nutritious meals on a budget!

 

Kate below preparing the Associates for making their own Pot Noodle!

 

A good workshop for sustaining health both in and out of work” ” I know what food groups are now!’

 

Sharing why recycling waste is so important was Dan from Suez, on the left below, on Wednesday.  This got everyone thinking.  A quick roundtable showed the difference between residential recycling across boroughs.  Indeed one of the Associates who has never recycled was inspired to go through her bins!

 

 

Thursday we talked finance.  Covering the basics we should know around debt, regular payments budgets, and so on. It’s surprising how well received this workshop is but on reflection maybe it shouldn’t be so surprising.  After all, where do you learn this stuff if you don’t have supportive, informed parents? Does the Education system have the time to do this?

 

‘The 3 x thirds will be really useful’, ‘I learnt about saving money and ISAs – really useful when we start earning’, ‘this was the most important topic covered for me’ ‘I learnt how to plan ahead’ ‘One million % worth it.  I understand now how to be financially stable.’

In the afternoon it was off to do an Art project!  Terrifying for some!  Their task was to visit Tate Gallery in Bankside and select an item that ‘spoke’ to them.  This could be in a good or bad way.

 

Left to right above inside the Tate are Mokhtar, Leon, Zainab, Ilamathy, Stefan, Ashley, Sebastien & John.

 

Friday morning we had a good discussion on their visit to the Tate, why they selected their piece of art and what they would ask the artist……… then they had to draw it!  You can see the results in the feature photo.  So much laughter in the room.  For some it ignited a childhood love of drawing for others it opened their eyes to a possible new creative way to feed their soul during lunchtime break and outside of work.

 

After some paperwork we finished up the week at lunchtime.They guys presented me with a lovely gift before going home for a well deserved break!

 

On Monday they returned to their employer sites:  Zainab, Ashley & Mokhtar – Harrow Green, Craig, John & Ashling – Iron Mountain – Ashling had to work this week, Leon – Pertemps, Ilamathy – Red Personnel, Stefan – Mitie Connect and Sebastien at Invest In Buy To Let.

 

Growing Talent’s Orientation Week – Southwark Cathedral

Southwark Cathedral hosted the 12th Orientation Week for Growing Talent in their Chapter Room.  A light, airy room in which to learn, build confidence and relationships of trust.

 

Within 10 minutes of entering the room, the 10 ‘strangers’ started to plan their first presentation to the room.  ‘Six pictures of your life’!  Using landmarks in their lives the Growing Talent Associates – they are no longer allowed to call themselves ‘unemployed’ – confident public speaking ensues!  This is the foundation we build on for enhancing confidence and assertiveness for going on site.

 

Tuesday dawned with Gosia – part of Honeywell’s Audit/H&S team delivering a manual handling workshop.  This is delivered to ensure the guys have basic knowledge prior to a more in-depth session bespoke sessions in their roles.

 

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A slightly nervous Gosia above with the guys talking manual handling!

 

On Wednesday the Portico team – represented by Michelle, below,  – came across to deliver their ‘Give Yourself The Edge Presentation’.  Unfortunately the gods of technology weren’t listening and Michelle’s films would not play!  Still, she delivered an interactive session and gave an overview of her journey to her current role – not a straight line at all!

 

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After Michelle’s workshop, Linda one of the guides at Southwark Cathedral gave a tour on ‘hidden opportunities’.  The synergy was people who over the centuries had taken up challenges at the Cathedral – not really knowing what they were doing.  Learnt as they went and left a legacy.  This was the venue for one of the first London hospitals back in the 11th Century.

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Above the guys met Linda in the Courtyard to be briefed for the tour – great feedback!

The guys below working hard on some case studies!

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On Thursday, Chris dropped in to support the guys and share his insight.  Chris undertook Growing Talent on the 2nd programme when there was less support from Job Centre Plus and things were pretty tight.  He completed, joined Mitie Connect where he worked for two years before accepting another position with Portico as front of house reception at one of their prestigious accounts.

 

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Chris agreed to return to be one of the judges at the Social Enterprise panel on Friday.  It shows the level of commitment and passion in Growing Talent Graduates return to support those following them – Chris has to loose two days annual leave to attend!

 

Interjecting the above guest visitors with workshops, case studies, debates etc on communication, assertiveness, Social Enterprise challenge – we were finally ready for the Growing Talent Dragon’s Den – also known as the Social Enterprise ideas presentations to the judging panel.

 

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(l-r – Anna from JCP, Shane – Invest in Buy to Let, Steph – Iron Mountain, Jon – PwC, Kayleigh – MitieConnect, Christ – Portico and Tony – PwC)

 

Ideas were diverse and innovative including:

A Multi-cultural radio show by Stefan

 

A teenager interactive tv documentary by Leon

 

A community hangout for people with addiction/ex-offenders to creatively find a different path ending with an X-Factor style event – by Ashling & Zainab

 

A cultural learning space for arriving refugees to grow into contributing, integrated members of the community – by Mokthar

 

A  support venue for aspiring musicians with demo production, instrument repairs, jam sessions growing to a noticeboard website for

 

A creative venue, website and sale for member of the local community to learn new skills, make something, showcase it and sell it by Ashley

 

Lastly an internet cafe run by the community for the community with facilities for hourly hire of deskspace for those who want to set-up their own business by John.

 

After an exhausting week learning together the Growing Talent Associates departed for a restful weekend before joining their new employers………

 

Check back to see how they get on

 

Growing Talent 12 Begins!

After the preliminary screening sessions by JobCentre Plus, charities and myself we were ready for the Employers’ Speed Dating sessions held at Southwark Cathedral’s Gary Weston Library on 24 January 2017.

 

We call it speed dating because there are no cvs nor job descriptions.  The selection is based on personalities alone!  A unique way to recruit.

 

Employers had a table each and small groups of applicants on 10 minute rotation to decided who they wanted to see for the final selection stage.

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(l-r – Scott, James & Lois from Mitie Connect)

Scott and James were new to Growing Talent.  Despite not knowing what it was all about properly – they embraced the change and identified Stefan who joins the team on a global cosmetic account.

 

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Frances & Dan above are used to Growing Talent having recruited several members of staff on previous programmes.  Here they are chatting with Ilamathy.  Working for a global hotel brand – it’s not always easy identifying the ideal candidate(s).  Growing Talent allows confidence in all hires for all parties.

 

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Selvan and Shane of Invest in Buy to Let have several companies between them.  On this occasion, they were seeking a personality to fill a marketing role.

 

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Jamie & Adam of Pertemps are huge supporters of Growing Talent not only filling their own consultant vacancies but trying to support those who don’t get selected for a place.

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Ebb and Christina her colleague from Holiday Inn Bradford Lock were joined by newcomer Gemma of Crown Plaza hotel in Canary Wharf. Ebb is a cheerleader of Growing Talent having recruited from the programme previously.  She also appears in the latest film with Michel Burke – check out the Case Studies tab at http://www.growing-talent.co.uk

 

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A welcome return to Iron Mountain who have just undergone a global takeover which meant they were away from Growing Talent’s last few programmes.  Above are Steph, Russ & Michelle speaking with one of their three recruits on Growing Talent – John!

 

Finally – the Growing Talent Associates below were selected…….

John, Ashling & Craig join Iron Mountain

Mokhtar, Zainab & Ashley – join Harrow Green

Sebastien – joins Invest In Buy to Let

Leon – joins Pertemps

Ilamathy – joins Red Personnel

Stefan – joins Mitie Connect

 

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Check back to see how the fabulous 10 get on………

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yay………. Growing Talent is shortlisted!!!!!

Finalist_AWARD FOR INNOVATION IN RECRUITMENT

 

PwC I&P who back Growing Talent have been shortlisted by Personnel Today under their Innovation in Recruitment category.  This is a huge achievement considering the age of the programme which only began in Feb 2014.

 

As Architect of the programme it’s a privilege to work will all partners.  However, for me the biggest prize is getting someone into work.  Growing Talent has now got over 40 fabulous Growing Talent Associates (formerly known as unemployed)  into work including some great talent in their mid-fifties!

 

When I reflect back to what the partnership has achieved since Feb 2014, I’m amazed!  We now have a website – http://www.growing-talent.co.uk – designed by a brilliant niche organisation – Shine Design, a twitter @Growing_Talent and a linked in page.  Copyrighted manuals for the Orientation and Holistic week give great onward learning.  In addition strong relationships have been built with  JobCentre Plus – under the District Director for London and the Home Counties along with stalwart supporters – Portico, Harrow Green, Mitie, Iron Mountain, Aramark, Pertemps, Property Research Co, UpTownOil, Honeywell, Baxter Storey, Red Personnel, MHFAEngland and Wilson James.

 

It’s amazing what can be achieved through the power of working together and dogged determination!

 

Winners announced on 30 November.

‘I’m finally a working man again’, Alenchenu

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Alenchenu, without even knowing it, is sitting next to his future boss!  Taken from the Employers’ Selection & Assessment day for Growing Talent 5 on 24 April.   He’s in the electric blue shirt with Pauline of Mitie Total Document Solutions on his left.  Pauline manages the Service Solution desk for Mitie at PwC’s prestigious offices in Embankment Place.  She was impressed with Alenchenu’s style of communicating.  He listened to the questions and answered with passion.

Alenchenu is a giant of a man with a heart full of passion and empathy for others.  With a Pastor father, he is used to travelling to new congregations and joined Growing Talent to secure a steady job to give him independence.  Alenchenu’s passion for others showed in the Social Enterprise idea he devised and presented with his team partner Shennell.  Through his father’s work, Alenchenu had supported vulnerable people in deaing with any issues they had.  This shone through his presentation.  Although in his own words he ‘waffled’ a little.  Alenchenu thought this was a bad thing, but acutally it showed how important what he spoke about was to him.

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Alenchenu practising his presentation skills ahead of his Social Enterprise presentation with Shennell………..entitled ‘Bridge to Society’, a supportive return to the worlds of work and community for those leaving prison life.

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Judges above left to right were Jo from JobCentre Plus, Jordan ex Growing Talent now Executive Host for Portico, Patti –  Pertemps, Jon – PwC, Gillian – MHFAEngland, Simon – Portico and Chloe – Iron Mountain.

The Social Enterprise presentations saw the end of the Orientation Week.  On Tuesday 5 May, Alenchenu and his peers went on site to learn the vacant roles in situ.  Working with the Rapid Response team Alenchenu’s role entails the collection and delivery of high value/critical documentation and goods.  Responsible for accurate tracking and dealing with any issues as they arise.

Alenchenu’s dedication paid off!  Just a few short weeks in, he’s been employed!  It’s a shame he’ll miss the holistic week but Alenchenu aims to catch-up with the guys later.  With his steady income, Alenchenu is going to focus on education in his ultimate field of passion – robotic prosthetics.

Seen below in Service Solutions, Alenchenu’s story is just beginning……………..

Alenchenu EP