As the cost of social distancing and remote working wears on, it’s vital to remember why we are taking these measures: to protect others, protect ourselves, and to ease the burden on the NHS.
Colleagues from across the Instructus family have shared their applause in support of the great work being done by those in the NHS, care homes, food supply chains and other key roles. These people are working on the front lines, in unfathomably difficult conditions, to ensure that as many of us as possible can make it through the COVID-19 pandemic.
To all of the heroes working out there for all of us – we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
On 27th September, 13 members of the Instructus team travelled north to take part in a hike up Kinder Scout, the highest peak in the Peak District.
It was a challenge that took the team to over 2,000 ft above sea level, and one that we undertook to support Johnny’s Happy Place, a not for profit, community interest company based in Kettering.
After an early start (a 6:00 AM meet at the Instructus office in Kettering) we clambered on to a minibus and snoozed our way through the 115-mile journey.
Once we arrived in Edale, we headed off to start our hike at 9:30am making our way to the toughest part – Grindsbrook Clough, where we had to scramble using our hands and feet to make our way up the steep gradient.
We eventually made it to the top of Grindsbrook Clough where there were breath-taking views surrounding us which made the hard work worth it. Unfortunately, the views didn’t last long as the weather took a turn for the worst and it began thundering and hailing. Although this wasn’t great, completing Grindsbrook Clough was enough to keep us going.
The team were given the option to either take the short path or carry on with the longer path that had been planned as the weather conditions only seemed to be getting worse. Yet we remembered what we were doing it for, and everyone stuck together and decided to carry on with the plan.
After a few hours of wading through muddy fords and clambering over rocks, we arrived at the beautiful Kinder Downfall and made our way down to Jacobs Ladder.
Before too long we were back on the bus, cold, soaked to the bone but proud of what we had managed to accomplish.
For a while we have been considering different ways that we can combine development days with charitable projects. After a few discussions, it was agreed that a sponsored hike would be a great way to challenge ourselves.
We chose to work with Johnny’s Happy Place due to the great work that they do within our local community. They aim to provide support to anyone within the community, with a particular focus on well-being. Amongst their services they offer £1 meals, free tea and coffee, pay what you can hairdresser, counselling and more.
The team worked well together and completed the hike in five and a half hours, and thanks to our generous sponsors we smashed our fundraising target of £400. We’re thrilled with the outcome of the hike and so thankful to those who have donated to such a great cause. The rewards of the day definitely outweighed the tough parts and we are already thinking about what we can do next.
This weekend, Fran, Hena and Scarlett visited the Keystone Centre in Kettering to deliver the sponsorship to Johnny’s Happy Place. In total the team raised £475.74 for the charity – an amazing sum that made the wind and rain completely worthwhile.
We’d like to wish a huge thank you to everyone who sponsored and supported our expedition.
As personal development and training experts with a global reach, the Springboard Consultancy focuses on women who want to take control, become more assertive, increase their confidence & build themselves a more positive attitude in both their work and home lives.
The programme gives you the time to reflect, share and most importantly, set achievable goals for now and the future. Working across 48 countries, we take like-minded individuals on a transformational journey, as well as positively helping organisations change and reshape.
– Staff and employers alike affirm to the programme’s success. – Individuals speak of a new sense of purpose, an open approach to change and a more positive attitude. – Employers report being delighted with the changes to their staff, who show a more focused and positive outlook, offering solutions rather than problems as well as increased motivation.
With courses being delivered over 30 years, the Springboard Consultancy is a key part of the Instructus group. To find out more about this amazing opportunity, click here.
At Instructus it’s important that we not only support each other in our organisation, but also support those in our local community. As part of living our values our team have the opportunity to contribute their time and skills to local causes that matter to them.
Alison Timson, our Group HR Advisor spent an afternoon last week putting sixth formers in a local school through their paces. Alison spent the day running mock interview sessions with the students to get them ready for whatever path they choose to take, whether it be employment or university.
This is what Alison had to say on the day…
“It’s amazing what these young people have got involved in and what they’ve already achieved, but they need encouragement to analyse the skills they’ve learned from taking part in a choir, going on a school trip or volunteering.”
“They need to realise that in an interview they have to quickly build rapport with the interviewer and sell themselves. We spend their whole childhood telling them not to talk to strangers and not to show off, and then expect them to behave totally differently in an interview situation.”
“It’s important that young people have an opportunity to try this in a safe setting before they head out into the big wide world for job interviews or interviews for university places.”
A Community Focused Company
Engaging in community activities is a huge part of Instructus life and is something we take pride in. You may have seen that we have worked on a variety of charitable activities from helping out the elderly and local animal shelters, and also through our educational charity projects such as MARS.
Alison’s work fits perfectly with our achievements with the MARS Project as it focuses on bridging the gap between school and working life. We want to ensure that young people are confident in themselves and are ready for any challenge that is waiting for them.
We would like to wish the best of luck to those involved in the mock interviews and anyone else going into working world for the first time!
You may have seen that as part of our training and development days, we love helping out the local community. After spending our last two Instructus development days volunteering at care homes, we decided to switch it up and head down to NANNA’s Animal Rescue on May 23rd.
NANNA (Northamptonshire Animals Needing Nurturing and Adoption) is a small charity located in Irthlingborough, Northants. NANNA care for various animals ranging from Cats and Dogs to Alpaca’s and Pigs, with the hope of re-homing most animals to their “fur-ever” homes.
A team of 11 volunteers clubbed together and headed over to NANNA’s for the day to help out with the different tasks requested from the rescue home. As many of the team at Instructus have a big love for animals, it was clear to see that there was a lot of excitement to get stuck in with the tasks given.
Eloise, one of the volunteers, said “it was really rewarding to see how valued a day of our help was at NANNA, especially as we could help with a variety of tasks and get involved as much as possible”.
Some of our tasks included:
Clearing out the animals
As well as helping out with the workload NANNA had set, Instructus also made a generous donation of cat litter, rabbit food, guinea pig treats and more.
“Working with the team at NANNA’s was really good fun” said Sachin, another volunteer.
“The team there are really friendly and really care for the animals. Not only were we carrying activities to help the animal rescue shelter, but the activities also required us to work in groups which helped us in our communication and team working skills.”
Here at Instructus, we love to make a difference and it was obvious this had been the case at NANNA’S Animal Rescue. It was a credit to be able to help out with tasks that help both the volunteers and animals in the charity.
We are always looking for ways to contribute to our local community. If you have a project or activity that you would like us to volunteer for, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This April we rolled out the red carpet for the graduates of the very first Moulton Apprenticeship Readiness Scheme – better known as MARS.
MARS marks our first full-scale project as an educational charity. With employer visits taking place alongside personal development sessions, the project prepares GCSE pupils for the working world in a way that schools can’t do alone. Launched in partnership with Moulton School & Science College, MARS provides a comprehensive primer on real work experience.
On the evening of the 24th we joined the first cohort of pupils at Northampton Filmhouse for a gala graduation ceremony. The event, held before an invite-only crowd of families and educators, was a pure celebration of what the pupils had achieved. As for why we held the event at a cinema? That’s simple – beyond the glamour of the venue, we also wanted to share the pupil’s successes on the biggest screen possible…
Unlocking Student Potential
For their final project the pupils opted to create video presentations about the course. Each group took a unique approach, from slide presentations to stop motion, and their exuberance and energy crackled on the screen. The end result was a kinetic trip through how their own life experiences have readied them for the world beyond school.
Afterwards the pupils took to the stage for their graduation, delivered by HM Lord Lieutenant for Northamptonshire, David Laing.
Speaking on the night Angie Dabbs, Deputy Head Teacher of Moulton School & Science College, said “good career guidance is critical if students are to raise their aspirations and capitalise on the opportunities available to them.”
“The academic curriculum only goes so far in preparing young people for the world beyond the classroom. We very much believe in the whole person, and in unlocking the potential of each student so that they can fulfil their dream. The MARS project, designed by Instructus, fitted that bill perfectly and so we jumped at the chance to be involved.”
“MARS has enabled our pupils to consider the gap between their GCSE subjects and what an employer might be looking for in a trainee or apprentice.”
While we’re excited about future programmes, it’s still sad to say goodbye. We wish these pupils every success in their GCSEs and beyond. Whatever happens next, they’ve enjoyed a layered learning experience that they wouldn’t have otherwise had.
As far as pilot programmes go, this makes the MARS launch an incredible success.
MARS is an educational project for Northamptonshire. If you’re a Northants-based employer or educator and would like to know more we’d love to talk to you.
The real Living Wage is the only rate calculated according to the costs of living. It provides a voluntary benchmark for employers that wish to ensure their staff earn a wage they can live on, higher than the government minimum. Since 2011 the Living Wage movement has delivered a pay rise to over 160,000 people and put over £800m extra into the pockets of low paid workers.
This accreditation covers Instructus Skills, CQM Training & Consultancy and the Springboard Consultancy.
With our focus on giving people of all ages access to skills development and employment, earning a Living Wage accreditation is a huge step towards demonstrating our values through our actions.
Tess Lanning, Director, Living Wage Foundation said: “We’re delighted that Instructus has joined the movement of over 4,700 responsible employers across the UK who voluntarily commit to go further than the government minimum to make sure all their staff earn enough to live on.
“These businesses recognise that paying the real Living Wage is the mark of a responsible employer and they, like Instructus, believe that a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay.”
“I have learned a lot about myself and have enjoyed the programme.”
2018 saw the partnership between the Springboard Consultancy and Streetwise draw to a close. The project, as originally set out here, focused on delivering Springboard training to a group of young, vulnerable women in the North-East, helping to support Streetwise’s charitable focus on the physical and mental health of young people from the area.
The course was delivered between April and June 2018. Following a post-course catch up with the participants, we’re now able to share the impact of this project with you.
Working with Streetwise
“Encouraging and empowering to women in all areas of life.”
Instructus were keen to work with Streetwise due to their fantastic work supporting disadvantaged young people. Streetwise’s aims are very much in-line with our own charitable objectives, and when we started the discussion last year it became clear how we could work together.
With the involvement of licensed Springboard Consultancy trainer Sue Wild, we worked with Streetwise to identify a course that would benefit not only the young women in attendance but also the Streetwise team themselves. The aim of this course was to build their confidence and self-worth and to help change their circumstances for the future.
The Streetwise team identified the beneficiaries through a referral process. These young women accessed the project seeking support and advice on matters including confidence, self-esteem and anxiety. These women were at risk of becoming “invisible” in a busy cityscape, and the demands on them can be greater than they can manage.
“It’s applicable to people in a range of situations and circumstances.”
The project returned positive results, with some specific outcomes for participants including:
Securing a job following the first workshop day.
Realising self-worth and capacity and securing a job with more responsibility.
Finding a new workplace and being happier than in previous employment.
Deciding to follow dream and study Fashion at university.
Asking for a pay rise – and getting it!
The young women have realised their self-worth and are now determined to develop themselves, as shown through their positive feedback on the course.
“I have begun achieving my goals and objectives and continue to work towards them more. I now know it is okay to be proud of myself and my achievements.”
“This programme has been great, and I have experienced being around positive people. I now feel it is possible and worth meeting new people and finding friends.”
“I’ve learned that I have to be the one to make a change in my life and did so by leaving my job I was unhappy in to do better paid temporary work.”
“I have realised my values a lot more and they have become clearer. I have also managed to get a better job while taking part in this programme and I’m glad as I like my new job.”
Training for Everyone
The feedback given by the Streetwise team echoed the young women’s positive appraisal:
“Having experienced these kinds of activities and exercises for ourselves means we can relate in better ways to personal development. We now have more experience at working this way and know what it is like on the receiving end.”
“This will inform our skills in the future in how we work both in one to ones and in group work settings with young people.”
“The opportunity has deepened our tool kits as youth workers and has benefited each of us personally. I feel much more positive and forgiving for myself, I am more assertive and am much more aware of self-care.”
These results showed that all participants met the personal goals that they set at the start of the project.
The young women shared that they had:
Increased their confidence.
Changed their mindsets for the better.
Developed their assertiveness.
Reduced their social isolation and anxiety.
As well as the above many of the women have progressed in their careers, something we had set as a target at the start of the project.
Paving the Way for the Future
“The programme has allowed me to maintain my values whilst also focusing on new things that I’ve realised are important to me.”
Working with Streetwise was a fantastic step for our charitable outreach and paved the way for the work we’ve done since. The positive results that Sue Wild achieved with these women shows the importance of guided personal development; not only for those in a vulnerable position, but also for those that support them.
We have loved every second of working in partnership with Streetwise and would like to wish the participants all the best for the future. We have so much confidence in you!
On Tuesday 24th July (and at the height of the heatwave), nine members of the Instructus team ventured to the Shaw Healthcare site in Kettering to sand and re-varnish garden furniture for the residents to use and enjoy over the remaining summer months.
The home, which provides 24-hour support, cares for up to 60 older people. Residents include the physically frail and those living with a diagnosis of dementia.
“As requested by the service, the volunteers from Instructus varnished and cleaned up our garden furniture which has had a big impact on the appearance of our home. We are very much delighted in your hard work and we are all very appreciative in the work that was carried out”, said Sharmaine Hall, Deputy Manager at Thorndale Care Home.
“All the staff in attendance were professional, polite and had good customer service skills. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your hard work and delicacy.”
We are always looking for ways to contribute to our local community. If you have a project or activity that you would like us to volunteer for, please get in touch with us at email@example.com.
In June our first course for victims of domestic abuse concluded with participants reporting encouragingly positive results. The course, which took place in Oxford, saw Instructus partner with Reducing the Risk of Domestic Abuse, a support service that develops and delivers services for those affected by domestic abuse in Oxfordshire.
Undertaken by Springboard Consultancy trainer Pat Miller, it is the first of our charitable projects to reach completion.
From the evaluation, 100% of the participants reported feeling more confident and that they had more control over their futures.
The Results in Full
In addition to the impressive results, participants were enthusiastic about the benefits of undertaking the course. Feedback included:
“I really enjoyed the programme. I gained a positive understanding of certain aspects that have taken place in my life. Instead of feeling sorry for myself, I now have taken my past and allowed it to make a stronger version of me.”
“Overall it was an amazing experience, and I would highly recommend it for all age groups and backgrounds. Although I was the youngest of the group, I felt my opinions were still valued and that is important.”
“An amazing course that has enriched and enlivened me at such an important and significant time.”
With the Oxford programme we were also able to support Yellow Submarine, a charity that supports children and adults with learning disabilities and autism. They provided the catering for the programme which was co-staffed by adults with learning disabilities, providing them with employment and opportunities to learn and grow as individuals.