I got married in March last year, and we used a photographer who gave us 300 digital images on a stick drive. We have so many and we don’t have them in an album. It’s hard to know where to start.
I work for half a week for a skills programme based here in the old county of Avon, which is now parts of South Gloucestershire, Bath, Bristol and bits of North Somerset. I travel around a compact and very vibrant place. Your sphere, creative and digital, is expanding in this area. Lots of people are interested in it. It’s got a lot going for it. It’s customer facing, it’s seen positively: It’s cool! It’s growing. Other sectors aren’t so lucky. Health and social care is a nightmare. There are skills gaps and skills needs all over.
My role and project officially ends in March as it is funded by Europe. There will be a legacy, of course, meaning that I will continue to support people who I have set up. It’s a massive project. It has enabled me to work with and meet loads of good people from start ups, sole traders and small to large businesses, all those seeking to improve their skills and improve their businesses. I usually do a couple of meetings a day. I meet people to follow up and find out if they need anything, as well as making new connections meeting new people who need skills and training for their business. Later today I have a meeting with a management coach who is a sole trader, in her first year, like you. Tomorrow morning I’ve got an engineering company of 500. It changes a lot.
I work for the other half of my working week for a charity based in Bristol to support people aged 16 to25. I work in employer engagement. It’s not target driven. It’s for all kinds of people, for care leavers and people who are danger of becoming homeless for example, people who are residents, or to some degree or level are in the care system, or who have no parents. They are people who need a job and a place to live.
I’ve been working there for ten years. My role there is sponsored by Deloitte. I create opportunities. There are lots of youngsters we can work with, not necessarily care leavers, but people not in training or education perhaps. I find them jobs or education. I work with various companies, offer them mentoring training. I shape employer engagement for the charity, and make it sustainable. In Bristol there are 1000 youngsters who sleep rough. Shocking isn’t it? We make connections to help them out and up. 25% of those thousand homeless people are work ready. They just need the opportunity. Some of them are already in work, but homeless. I guess I use my skills and connections from one half of my week for the other.
Unofficially, which is perhaps less dry, I can connect people looking for some skills. It’s all about networking. I meet all kinds of professionals; accountants and photographers like yourself for example . I can help in business to business networks and communication. I link people together supporting opportunities to train and mentor. Most big organisations, most people really, want to do the right thing. But there is so much of the wrong approach from organisations, especially in target driven programmes. I’ve been doing this a while now, so If I don’t know the answer about skills and training I will know someone who will.
I might end up working full time for the charity. They have asked me to. It depends whether the business has something for me after March. The two work well together. The connections from one work well for the other. We shall see. It’s all up in the air.