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.
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.”
Today marks one year since the official opening of the Instructus head office in Kettering, Northamptonshire. Given the significance of the milestone we’ve taken some time out to reflect on what we’ve achieved so far – and to take a look towards what the future holds…
Moving a business from one part of the country to another is never a straightforward process, but when it became a necessity to change premises CEO Andrew Hammond and the Board of Trustees could see the benefit of looking beyond the M25.
“We knew we wanted more space both for our core work, but also for our subsidiaries to utilise,” Andrew explains when talking about the factors leading to the move.
“Once the decision to relocate was made we evaluated a number of options taking into account such factors as cost, growth, access to population, access to transport, employee availability and access to those staff remaining in the business. As a result, we chose Kettering.”
The move presented an opportunity to review and revise the skillsets in the business, and in the months before the move the management team worked hard to identify and recruit a specific blend of roles and personalities. When the new team came together for the first of two induction days on 13th June 2017, it was the first sign of how well this process had gone.
Digital Marketing Executive Joe Burden remembers the induction well. “Having worked for several different organisations before, the approach that Andrew, Damian and the rest of the management team took towards building a shared culture and environment was a real eye opener.”
“What’s made the biggest difference is how hard they’ve worked to keep their promises and keep the positive environment that we’ve built. Everyone feels a shared ownership of what we do here, and that makes it a great place to work.”
For an organisation dedicated to creating and promoting opportunity, one of the biggest successes of the last 12 months has been the way that we’ve aimed to live our values.
“Instructus is an amazing place to work”, says Fiona Nichol, now Finance Assistant. “When I started I was a Business Support Administrator and within six months of working here I was promoted to Finance Assistant, being first point of contact for staff and customers with regards to invoices and other finance issues.”
“I have been in this role for just over six months now and I love it.”
Francesca Cardew has had a similar experience. “My role has developed massively since I’ve started, more than I thought it would!”
“When I joined my role was a Business Support Administrator, and now I’m the Business Admin Team Leader. Before my main responsibility was processing certificate claims and being first responder for training providers, however now I’ve developed there’s a few (by which I mean a lot) more reports to do – not to mention keeping the Operations team on track.”
“I do feel I’m able to make a difference in my role. As a team we help learners to achieve their goals, while personally I get to plan charity events for the whole company and get us to help in the community.”
While a big part of our time this year has been spent developing the internal culture, we’ve also worked hard to make sure that people outside the charity understand who we are and what we do. The tail end of last year saw the launch of new sites for our subsidiary companies the Springboard Consultancy and Instructus Skills, while the new Instructus site you’re presently on went online in March.
Rebuilding these platforms has been key for us as we start fulfilling our charitable aims, but that’s only part of the process. The real accomplishment has been the support that we’ve been able to give to Streetwise, Karma Nirvana and Reducing the Risk of Domestic Abuse, three charitable support projects that have already started to yield exciting results.
And this is still just the very start. Behind the scenes we’ve been putting some serious thought into how we can best help to create more opportunities for those who have been underserved and left behind, with one major project about to enter its next phase. The way we intend to deliver on our commitment to our charitable aims is through the hard work and dedication of our team, a message embodied by Andrew’s definition of our success over the last 12 months.
“There’s so much to be proud of, but ultimately it’s our people. We’ve collectively created a great culture and working environment and have built a fantastic team who are performing exceptionally well.”
“The last year has felt like a new beginning for the organisation, and I firmly believe we have built a strong cornerstone for our collective growth for the future, both organisationally and individually.”
Our first year in Kettering has been a success. Here’s to many more like it!
As part of a recent training and development day, the Instructus team ventured out to the Elm Bank Care Home in Kettering for a true sweat and sawdust community activity.
On May 22nd, in scorching heat, the team met at the Elm Bank Care Home in Kettering, managed by Brighterkind, to spend a few hours sanding and varnishing the home’s garden furniture. Over the course of the day the team refurbished 10 pieces of furniture in total, getting through several bottles of water and *one or two* pizzas in the process.
The restoration project, which the whole team took part in (even just in the capacity of moral support), came about following suggestions from the team and the work of engagement officer Francesca Cardew, who liaised with Elm Bank to arrange the activity.
“Working within a care home was something that came up a lot from different people in the office”, Fran said. “It is something that everyone felt passionate about, and everyone felt like they would be making some kind of a difference for the people that need it the most.”
“All of us at Elm Bank are delighted at the fantastic work that had taken place by the team from Instructus”, Home Manager Catherine Frost said.
“We are so grateful for the time taken to refurb our garden furniture, the residents are making the most of it and the lovely weather we have had recently, it has made such a difference to the feel of the garden and a pleasure to sit outside.”
When Instructus was born in 2016, we were only at the start of our journey.
As a charity we have always been committed to advancing education for the public benefit through the promotion of qualifications, training and skills; a remit we have delivered on for two decades through our work as a skills sector body. Yet with the acquisitions of CQM Training & Consultancy and the Springboard Consultancy, the Board of Trustees believed that we could do more for those underserved and left behind by society.
According to research undertaken by UK Data Service over one in three people without qualifications are living in poverty in the UK. Against a backdrop of continued austerity, rising education costs and stagnating youth employment rates there are fewer opportunities available for those who need them.
This is where Instructus can help. The expertise we offer through our brands uniquely places us to empower people to move their lives forward. Whether you want to use a single course for a specific purpose or several courses as a blended end-to-end service, we’re expanding our remit to help people learn new skills and earn relevant qualifications.
This is available as a funded or part-funded package for qualifying charities, community groups or other organisations, giving us a way to reinvest in social projects and causes where we can make a positive impact.
If you work for a non-qualifying organisation we would still love to hear from you – particularly if you would like to work with a supplier that can help you to reach your CSR targets while delivering world-class personal development training.
In 2017 our journey took us from London to our new premises in Kettering, Northamptonshire, where several new faces joined the team. We’ve relaunched our online presence, and as well as our current programmes we have several exciting projects in the works.
Yet these changes are all founded on an unwavering commitment to our values. The last few years have taken us closer to our aim of making a difference for those that need it – and now we’re ready to take that journey one step further.