Who’d a thought it…..


Very proud to be part of BBCLondon’s Instagram project #greaterlondoners following nomination by one of the people I’ve helped along the way.

The journalist got a few things wrong including it was an unpaid not paid week trial I did with an accountant just starting his business.

I based the Real Apprentice work experience programme that run from 2004-2013 on my experience and again used it when devising Growing Talent in 2014-present.

The latter has a guaranteed job upfront which is awarded on successful completion – no surprises for the individual nor the employer.

Collectively to date these two programmes are responsible for over 600 people going into work, and as most tell me, change their lives. All had barriers to traditional employment at the time I worked with them.

I still see many who have gone through one of my programmes soaring in their careers on LinkedIn. I am so proud of being part of their journey. The Real Apprentice beat 23 European countries who entered the 2012 European Employee Volunteering Awards of 2012. I’m really proud of that.

I’m guilty of not affirming to myself how much positive work I do and the impact I have. I’m not alone in being guilty of that. When was the last time you reflected on the good you do and gave yourself ‘a well done’? Take the time to nurture yourself as well as others.

Thank you to everyone involved in both programmes. Team effort.

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Anyone can achieve anything if they believe in themselves. Life can be quite charmed when you think everything’s going along wonderfully. I was married for 10 years, built up a business with my husband, set up a house, had nice cars and generally thought the future was wonderful and rosy and set in stone. And then I got dumped for an older model. Overnight I became technically homeless, I was unemployed and couldn’t get a job because I didn’t have any references and basically my whole world just fell apart. I was a single parent, two children under the age of six and I thought: “What am I going to do?” Unfortunately, trying to get a job with a CV when you’ve got nothing trackable on it is really hard because people don’t see you and your talent, they see your labels and they make pre-judgements. So I was very lucky, in that I discovered there was a new accountant setting up and luckily he took a chance on me. After a paid trial week, I ended up working for him for four and a half years. From there I went into recruitment and was then headhunted by another recruitment company who had a lot of clients in Docklands. I was trying to get local people into local jobs in east London in an area with a lot of deprivation. You would have the kids that really wanted to work that were sabotaged by parents. They didn’t speak English and didn’t want their children to go to work because then that impacted them. I devised a programme called ‘The Real Apprentice’ based on my week’s trial with the accountant and it worked really well. We put in a couple of days of confidence-boosting workshops; they would join teams in reprographics, printing, reception, catering, all kinds of roles that people could learn and without the pressure of being under the microscope. The programme won awards and for a little programme that I devised to get people into entry level jobs, to beat the whole of Europe was a big deal. If that accountant hadn’t given me a chance, I might still be cleaning toilets. And when I know that people have changed their lives and you see them and they’re so happy, it makes me happy. Jane James, Westminster #greaterlondoners #london #apprentice

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