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!

Annarita’s thoughts on Growing Talent

It’s been an intense journey for Annarita. Following a difficult period of unemployment and various issues in her personal life, her self-esteem and joie de vie and plummeted whilst her anxiety had risen.

 

With her streak of courage and bravery, Annarita accepted the provisional role with PwC in their secretarial team even though it was completely outside her usual work area.  She embraced every challenge thrown at her along the way.  As you can see in the feature photo with head judge, Allen from PwC, Annarita’s idea won the Social Enterprise challenge.

 

So now she’s graduated and gone into work with PwC – what are her thoughts on the journey she’s been on?

 

‘If I could go back to the beginning, I’d still do Growing Talent.  It’s given me the chance to get a step in the door and get back on the career ladder.  I’ve learned it’s about the journey, jot the destination. Stepping stones lead to a giant rock of your dreams.  Growing Talent helps people move forward with their lives’.

 

What is Annarita’s top tip to complete Growing Talent for those following her?

 

‘Try and take in all the information given as you may feel like you don’t need it right now but at some point down the line you’ll realise you do”

 

Any motivational thoughts Annarita?

 

“Keep going! Every step counts towards your personal growth whether it’s emotionally, financially or physically, take notice, be aware and step back – look at what you’ve achieved as each day passes.  One day you may find you’ve obtained all the things you have always dreamt about”

 

So there you have it from one that knows.

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!’

 

 

 

 

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…….

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

 

Green Light To Talk Mental Health!

Inspiring step by one of my clients today.  Leading the way to encourage businesses to talk openly about mental health issues with staff at all levels.

 

Will others follow?  All great changes started with a small step. This is mental health awareness week so it makes sense to do something fitting.

 

But wouldn’t it be much better if we wore green ribbons all of the time to signify we are comfortable having a conversation on Mental Health?

 

It almost seems we are only giving permission to speak up about mental health on a set date!  Which is crazy.

 

We all know someone who is struggling with a mental health issue.  Lets start a conversation, and keep talking/listening/signposting.  Remember to be mindful of your own wellbeing as well.

 

Take very good care of your mental health.