How much fun did you have last week?


@Growing_Talent – we had loadsa fun – and learnt a huge amount too.


We kicked off the week with the global Mental Health First Aider’s course which enables Associates to support themselves and those around them in this sensitive field.  A lot of laughs mixed with a few tears as learning gave way to lived experience ending with the power of knowledge learnt.


Joe, Mick and Becky:

Joe Mick and Becky case study

Krupita feedback

Krupita above presenting her teams findings on a mental health issue

Dan and Krupita below get ready to practice the breathing exercise for someone in distress.  It’s really difficult to practice this in a ‘make believe’ environment but really works in practice.

Dan and Krupita practice

Chris C feedback

Chris Coleman above was nominated (again) by his team to feedback their findings

Chris C, Charlene & Dan working on a task

Chris C Charlene and Dan

Our latest group of First Aiders!  With the new electronic certificate, most received theirs within 48 hours – much better than the long wait for the post!


Day two comprised the second part of MHFA and a nutrition workshop devised and delivered by Healthy Bites Nutrition (HBN) and a financial discussion with Jon Barnes.

Kate from HBN set the scene – her she’s discussing what a good lunch comprises to incorporate all the food groups and keep us feeling fuller for longer!  A top tip is to eat a rainbow of fruit and vey – different colours have different antoxidents etc.

Kate begins


Kate shared knowledge on the fad diets, what our food convience food and drink comprise and how easy it is to make a healthy, nutritious and cost effective pot noodle for lunch!  Above Tom, Mick, Sadeeq, Charlene, Julie and Joe devise their own concoctions.  Becky ate hers later and said how tasty it was – a definite convert!


‘Loved it! very informative and taught me things that I can now put into practice’ Sadeeq


Pot noodle heaven

Paying attention – well, food is about! – above are Chris Riley, Dan, Krupita, Becky, Jack and Chris Coleman……


Kate joins the guys

Kate joins the guys over a working lunch to continue the discussion.

Next we had Jon join us from PwC to deliver a thought provoking discussion on personal finance.


Jon talks money.

Jon’s talk is very informal and focuses on the everyday issues such as Standing Orders vs Direct Debits – what to look for and how to be assertive.  It progresses on to what credit checks are based on, the debt trap, considering bartering and key information on mortgages.  A rolla- coster of information.  As usual, Jon’s hour spread to almost two!


‘The best workshop – learnt some handy tips, how to save my money and manage my accounts!’ Krupita

Jon joins the guys

Jon above discussing finance issues with the guys over a working lunch.

Our penultimate workshop was with Dan Waterman from Suez talking Waste – literally!  Why it’s important to businesses and domestic households.  Dan, below, sets the scene………


Dan takes control


Becky, above won the first rize from Dan – two mini bags of Haribo!   After an informative powerpoint presentation with some crazy stats on waste, the Growing Talent Associates were set an impromptu task to devise an improvement to their existing employers’ waste management.


Some interesting ideas flowed!  Below is Sadeeq representing his team’s thoughts to Dan.


Sadeeq pitching to Danb

Jack was next to pitch his teams thoughts to an intrigued Dan…….


Jack pitching to Dan

Dan was next representing his team’s thoughts……

Dan to Dan

Becky piutching to Dan

Becky delivered the final idea to Dan above.  Dan was impressed with the unique ideas and enthusiastic way they were delivered.  He couldn’t choose one overall winner which was just as well becuase lunch was ready…… saved by the bell Dan!!!


‘Shocked to learn that some local boroughs do not recycle at all’! Chris C


Our final workshop was Art.  Prior to Chris’s workshop on the final day, all the guys went to the National Gallery with a task sheet which asked:


  1. Find a painting which ‘calls’ you – either for a good or bad reason.
  2. What is the name of the painting and painter?
  3. How did this painting make you feel?
  4. If you could ask the painter one question, what would it be?


Following a discussion on the findings, the guys were given a ‘starter pack’ comprising A5 drawing pad, pencil, rubber and pencil sharpener.  First task was to draw their paintings!  You could hear a pin drop with the concentration in the room. Which was one of the key points.  Doing something out of the norm and questioning what we see using this in art or writing can be hugely theraputic – even when we don’t need it to be!  Our batteries are almost instantly re-charged!

‘Loved the art callery visit.  It was amazing, great at bonding with the other Associates.  It was peaceful and really inciteful’ Becky


On arrival Chris gave some background to her art, her progression whilst holding down a permanent, full-time job.  She gave out handouts on technique and different modes of art.  Then came the practical.  With howls of laughter in some areas, the guys paired up and without looking at their pads had to draw their partners!  Known as blind drawing, the results are very effective.


Tom & Mick blind drawing  each other.  To make it easier, they took it in turns rather than draw each other simultaneously!

Tom and Mick

Chris then threw a curve ball – ‘we need a life model’ – so I was ‘nominated’!  The guys had to draw me – see their interretations below – I think Banksy, Damian Hirst etc should definitely be worried………………


Life model

And their interpretations – Jack, Becky, Charlene, Chris C, Chris R, Joe, Krupita, Julie, Mick & Sadeeq:

Jack O'SullivanBecky Millea

Charlene WilliamsChris ColemanChris RileyJoe StephensonKrupita KachaJulie FordeMick RaffertySadeeq Edwards


‘The art class was very theraputic.  I didn’t think I would enjoy it as much as I did’ Chris R


Finally, after an intensive four days – thanks to the Easter holidays we finished with a final photo showcasing our learning bibles also known as the London Vibe manuals!



Some thoughts on the holistic week…………


‘I’m in a happy place, a place I thought I wouldn’t be in for a long time.  People believed in me –  now I believe in myself and am not looking back’ Chris R

‘Touched greatly on the topics that we may need to change.  Some I have already adopted’ Tom

‘Everything you learn should be used all the time, everyday.  Take advantage of the info!’, Joe

‘So much fun, yet educational’, Becky

‘A chance to re-motivate and re-energise’, Julie

‘Put everything into practice and make changes’, Krupita

‘Take care you take it all in.  Some very practical information here – you never know when you’ll need it’, Dan

‘Motivational and Inspirational and worth every minute!’ Charlene