Learning together….virtually!

It’s strange how Coronavirus has managed to change my mind completely on virtual training. I know some remote locations globally have used virtual methods to deliver skills, training and education in all areas for many years.

Up until March this year when the Coronavirus curve ball hit us all, I didn’t feel I personally could deliver valuable training online. How wrong was I?

Having done nothing but virtual training over the last six months I see how much more inclusive and nurturing it is. It gives a much wider reach enabling people based throughout the UK and beyond to join from the comfort of their home sharing their knowledge and experiences.

I know see 90% of my business going forward will be on a virtual platform rather than classroom environment. So many more advantages to the virtual stage. All being there is good internet access of course!

At the start of the pandemic I made the decision to find an exact product to replace MHFAEngland’s three courses I’m licensed to deliver. Their half day awareness course, one day champion course and two day adult First Aider course. None of which are accredited.

I discovered http://www.nucotraining.com which recently added three accredited courses which match what I was looking for. Nuco has a solid reputation in the first aid, H&S and associated environments.

However, there was a few steps first! I had to apply and be screened against Nuco’s criteria. I also had to do a L3 formal Education and Training course with CTC before I could be accepted for Instructor training. I was a little deflated as I’m pretty impatient when it comes to me getting things done! CTC’s website showed the L3 qualification took unto a year. I really didn’t want to wait that long!!!

Thankfully with the curve ball of Coronavirus and home working, I managed to complete the L3 in under three months! Once I had this qualification I was able to get accepted by Nuco on their last virtual training session for Mental Health First Aid planned for 2020.

Everything fell into place beautifully!

Level 1 is a four hour workshop to raise awareness which a written paper at the end to prove knowledge and attain the Level 3 qualification.

Level 2 is six hours with a written paper and practical session to gain the

Level 3 qualifies someone to be the First Aider and is 12 hours long with 2 papers to complete and a practical session.

The beauty of virtual training is illustrated by people on the Instructor’s course with me. Based throughout the UK as well as Guernsey and in Afghanistan!

Martin, the Nuco Instructor, shared techniques and resources. Engaging, challenging and robust.

An exhausting but strangely energising experience.

Now I have a 5 accredited courses on mental health and wellbeing to add to my portfolio of workshops available for clients wishing to ensure the wellbeing of their staff.

Opportunity presents itself in the most unexpected ways.

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.

 

 

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…..

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!’

 

 

 

 

What an honour!

Running Growing Talent, it’s my responsibility and privilege to mentor and support vulnerable people to successfully complete and secure the permanent job on offer – literally changing their lives.

 

Like most things we experience vulnerability is on a scale.  People on Growing Talent come from a wide range of backgrounds. Some will be very vulnerable others not so.

 

This support doesn’t end with the programme.  I continue to mentor and support long after the programme has finished.

 

It’s been a difficult few months for one graduate of the programme from seven programmes ago.  Still employed and doing well at work but experiencing some personal issues.  A pendulum of events and emotions over the past few months will continue a while longer.  I have no doubt the person concerned will conquer this period and be a much more empathetic force.

 

I am very proud to have received this award and know that I do make a difference.

 

We should follow Action for Happiness’s view on automatic living.  We bundle through live without actually living it.  Taking a breath to take in our surroundings and live in the moment is so key to our wellbeing and strength.  I personally believe affirmation every day and a reflective period on what we have done well at the end of each day boosts out self-esteem and positivity.

 

I’ll look at my award every now and then to remind myself I do make a difference and do a good job.  Why don’t you try it and see how your self-esteem increases?

MHFA Lite – Introduction to Mental Health

This is a three-hour workshop comprising a foundation of knowledge on the area of Mental Health First Aid.

 

Key areas covered in this comprehensive course include:

 

  • Language & Stigma
  • What is Mental Health?
  • Some common Mental Health issues
  • Supporting people in distress
  • Personal wellbeing

 

The 17 delegates were from all levels of staff at a global professional services Firm based close to London Bridge.

 

Interaction flowed as knowledge was shared through the Graffiti Wall, Stress Container, personal experience films and colleague discussion.

 

It’s always a ‘wait with baited breath’ moment until the evaluation forms have been analysed to see how well the course and me, the instructor, were received……

 

Firstly a few thoughts on the course:

‘Amazing course, felt very emotional during the training.  Feeling more optimistic about how to approach mental health and well being’

‘A good course  which brought home the importance of caring for yourself whilst caring for others’

‘Fantastic training’

 

& The Instructor:

”Well delivered, good level of audience participation’

‘Clear and approachable, created a comfortable environment for questions’

‘Passionate & easy to follow’

Rated  very good (top mark) by 12 of the 17 and Good (second highest) by the remaining 5.

 

I look forward to the next course on 9 June 2017

 

Get in touch for more information on mental health & wellbeing training available…..

 

 

World Mental Health Day – 10 October 2016

This year I attended an event hosted by EY led by MHFAEngland where they launched their new Instructor’s pack, new branding – including logo – and vision for the future.  The audience were fellow Instructors across MHFAEngland’s core product offering – Standard, Youth and Armed Forces MHFA.

 

new-mhfa_logo_rgb

It was great to see a video message from global leaders in the field of Mental Health First Aid and know what we are doing really does make a difference.

The stats on courses run in England look promising too:

115,294 – Standard         24,259 – Youth          7,782 – Armed Forces

So the word is clearly spreading……………..

The theme for the day was ‘Take 10 to Talk’.   Shouldn’t this be part of our DNA everyday?  Let’s start noticing those around us and spotting those subtle, early changes to start a conversation.
MHFAEngland’s vision:
Train 1 in 10 people in Mental Health First Aid
Ensure business and communities see Mental Health on parity with Physical Health
For everyone to seek help for mental health issues without fear of discrimination
Interesting to see Norman Lamb MP is setting in  motion the beginning legal journey to make mental health a partity with physical health within all businesses.
Now, wouldn’t that be something?
What do you think?
Should businesses be made to have trained Mental Health First Aiders?

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.

Growing Talent – Keeps Growing!

A New Year sees the start of a new Growing Talent programme.  Now on the 8th programme having secured over 60 people into permanent full-time jobs!

 

So far 23 jobs have been pledged by various corporate employers and partners.  Wide ranging roles from Recruitment Consultants, to Receptionists, Administration Clerk, Security Vetting Supervisor, Industrial Cleaning Technicians, Hospitality/Food Services Assistant, Business Moves Porters, Mini Bus Drivers and Forklift Truck Drivers to name a few.  With a salaries ranging up to £25Kpa.

 

Looking forward to the personal growth stories that will follow……………..

 

If you know anyone who could do with some mentoring into a permanent job – direct them to http://www.growing-talent.co.uk………………..

Across the pond…………….

Looking forward to a transatlantic Skype in January with Mental Health professionals in Washington looking to enhance their offering to the corporate market.

It’s so important to remember in mental health and well being training that ‘one size does not fit all’.  Each organisation will have different needs to ensure their workforce are happy, healthy and able to support each other.

What fits the public sector won’t fit the private sector.  Then of course there are all the SMEs, charities, non-profit etc.

As we see people as individuals and respect their individual resilience in coping with life/work events, we should see businesses the same way.  Their cultures and resources will all be different as well.

A great instructor will always listen to the core needs of the organisation and deliver a course to meet these areas, An essential consideration is to remove the stigma/embarrassment by making each element of the course interactive with case studies, quizs, discussions and a little bit of artwork!

Breaking perceptions.  Getting Managers to be people first.  Discussing and agreeing potential easy changes the workplace can introduce such as making mental health the subject of team talks, ensuring staff understand confidentiality will be observed in those initial conversations rather than escalation to a full blown HR investigation is key to making the workplace healthier and happier for all at all levels.

For business minds out there – a healthy workplace is a productive one.  Remember there is no health without positive mental health.

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