Sharon Senior: Reach For The Stars!

Sharon Senior: Reach For The Stars!

It’s always nice to be nominated for something and I was very touched, when earlier this year, my sister put me forward as a role model for the Fylde Coast International Women’s Day Festival. If I’m honest, I thought it was one of those online votes (a bit like do you prefer brown or red sauce on your bacon butty and just for the record, neither) and nothing more would come of it. How wrong can you be?

Fast forward to a Monday morning in March when I found myself in a classroom full of 13/14-year-old girls from Fleetwood High School – as a role model I’d been paired with a local school and their mission? To interview me about my career and to write this up to feature in the Hall of Fame at the IWD Festival.

Now, I like to think that I’m a confident person – let’s face it; I stand up in rooms full of people and present and love what I do. But I was surprised at how nervous I felt facing these young women. It made me think of the good old imposter syndrome, where we doubt our accomplishments and have a fear of being found out!! This was me – what if they didn’t think I was a good enough role model? What if my “go on, I’ll have a go at that” career path wasn’t inspiring enough?

The next hour whizzed by as they asked me some fantastic and insightful questions; “Could you do your job if you had children?”; “ Did you think you would be where you are now when you were our age?”; “ Where do you get your inspiration from?” and my favourite; “ How much do you earn?”…..

I drove away from the school feeling energised and positive and wondered how often as busy leaders we take the time to reflect and take stock of our achievements in this way. I’m not suggesting you put yourself in front of a classroom to do that but it’s worth giving it some thought as I was full of it afterwards.

I also offered to run some workshops on the day of the Festival and put together a short session – Reach for the Stars; helping young women consider their ambitions and go for it. I’d handwritten lots of inspirational advice onto stars (thanks to my fab Facebook and Twitter friends for contributing) and strung them across the room, inviting the girls to pick one that meant something to them.

Wow. How humbling was this. I started off by asking them to pair up and share something that they were good at and some really struggled with this. When I asked about the stars they had picked, comments were around “I worry that I won’t be any good at it”. I got them to reframe this by thinking about what it would be like if they were really good at it. Like the killer question in a coaching conversation, I saw a glimmer of fire in their bellies and really hope that they hold onto that feeling, along with their star.

It was an amazing day and I was proud to have been a part of it – so a big thanks to my little sister for thinking of me and getting me involved. I owe her a bacon butty (without sauce!) #IWD2019

Related posts

Sharon Senior: Reach For The Stars!

Sharon Senior: Reach For The Stars!

It was an amazing day and I was proud to have been a part of it – so a big thanks to my little sister for thinking of me and getting me involved. I owe her a bacon butty (without sauce!) #IWD2019

Why Interchange is Great!

Why Interchange is Great!

If you would like to find out more about our partnership and some of the great work that North West Employers has been doing with NHS North West Leadership Academy you can look at our great infographic, summarising our achievements over the last year.

On social media

National Networks for Collaborative Outreach Project (NNCO)

National Networks for Collaborative Outreach Project (NNCO)

As part of Adult Learners Week 2016 and ongoing development opportunities the Open University have initiated and will be leading the National Networks for Collaborative Outreach (NNCOproject. Below are the main details and contacts for those in the know.  

The focus of the national NNCO is specifically to support adults looking for part-time, flexible study opportunities to improve their long term life/career prospects. All the resources being developed will be free, online and in the public domain. If you have a focus on adult learners or are working with younger learners where the full-time undergraduate option doesn’t seem feasible (i.e. grades below those required or the need to work and learn at the same time) we would be more than happy to discuss how we can support your work.

A reminder of the 3 areas of our work follows:-

Development of a project website:
The project is now well into the delivery phase. Our web development team are working to produce a website that will aim to simplify the complex world of adult education. The main focus will be to serve adults looking for advice and guidance on non-traditional routes to and through higher education and will include all types of learning opportunities e.g. apprenticeships, HE, FE, work-based learning, recognition of prior learning, informal to formal journeys, accredited/non-accredited provision.

Over the next 5 months the project team will ensure that all necessary content is included in the website, as well as ensuring that accessibility and user testing is carried out before the final version of the website is ready to go live by end of July 2016.

Development of a suite of free online courses:
The course teams for the 6 free online courses have now been established. More details of the target audiences for the courses are below:

  • Teaching assistants and other low paid, unqualified school staff.
  • Healthcare assistants and the wider health sector workers (bands 1-4 primarily).
  • A generic ‘planning a better future’ course aimed at a wide section of low paid workers, e.g. those in retail, hospitality, service industries.
  • A social care course to support those in low paid or voluntary work in home, residential, community or family care settings.
  • A course for those who want to set up, develop and sustain a Micro-Small Enterprise.
  • A course for those interested in being involved with the Voluntary Sector.

Learners will be able to collect online, downloadable badges (between 3-5 per course) and an end of course statement of participation. So although these courses won’t carry any credit, they do offer learners something to show as recognition of their completion. All courses are due to go live by the end of July 2016.

Research and Evaluation:
The project is exploring ways to embed robust tracking and monitoring mechanisms into the website development and the free online courses to enable exploration of the use and impact of the learning assets. The assets will be evaluated using a mixture of analytics (to monitor user engagement, navigation and journeys), evaluative surveys (to gather feedback after use of the resources) and, specifically for the courses, a measure of self-regulated learning .

If you would like further information please contact one of the team below:-

Julie Gowen (SPoC and Lead) – Head of External Development
Evaghn DeSouza – Project Manager
Jen Goff – Evaluation Officer

Related posts

Why Interchange is Great!

Why Interchange is Great!

If you would like to find out more about our partnership and some of the great work that North West Employers has been doing with NHS North West Leadership Academy you can look at our great infographic, summarising our achievements over the last year.

On social media

Timewise Councils

Timewise Councils

EMMA-STEWART-800-x-400

Emma Stewart MBE, Timewise Joint CEO, talks exclusively about why flexible hiring is shaping the future of the workplace.

We are going through a radical period of change in the workplace. People want a better work-life balance and employers are responding to this. The Government has recognised this with the introduction of flexible working and shared parental leave. The public has also responded with 14.1 million workers now looking for some form of flexibility in their next role.

To push this point further, our Timewise Flexible Jobs Index highlighted that just 6.2% of quality jobs are advertised as open to flexibility at the point of hire. Nowhere is this more important than within local Government, where unprecedented pressure on budgets and services require innovative approaches to job design through both recruitment, workforce planning and commissioning.

Many councils are already undertaking agile programmes, investing in technology and hot-desking to drive a more flexible approach to managing people and services. But, this is only part of the story… Whilst 82% of managers believe flexible working benefits their business, driving a culture where people are empowered to make their own decisions about where, when and how they work, is much harder.

It means a huge shift in approaches to working for both employer and employee alike. To support you through this, we have developed the Timewise Council programme. To help local authorities develop and implement real culture change around flexible working and hiring.

Councils who undertake the programme are supported by us to re-think:

  • How to position flexible working in order to maximise performance for their organisation, managers and people
  • How recruitment processes can offer more flexible roles and build a more engaged workforce.

The Timewise Council also helps Local Authorities reduce costs when working with external suppliers, especially agencies and social care job design. Councils who lead on flexible hiring have a real opportunity to share their learnings and educate local employers on the benefits it can bring their business, as they have the potential to unlock more, quality, flexible jobs within the local community. This is particularly pertinent for people with family and caring commitments, who are unable to work within a 9-5 or full-time framework.

So why do local authorities decide to become Timewise Councils? 

Embracing flexible working and hiring delivers clear returns for organisations and individuals. Recent research from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) found that flexible working could, potentially, add around £11.5 billion to the UK economy.

Larger corporates who have been working with Timewise to implement and manage workplace flexibility, have seen an estimated £15M in financial benefits per annum – through improved productivity, reduced travel and real estate costs. Not to mention improved staff attraction and retention. Flexible working can save organisations money, not add to costs.

A case in point. Timewise Councils seeing business benefit

The London Borough of Camden became the first Timewise Council in 2014 and now encourages flexible working requests as part of all job adverts. Their strategy to support flexible and part-time working is attracting applications from a wider range of quality applicants. Between November 2014 and January 2015, 20% of new starters joined Camden council with a flexible working arrangement in place. Lambeth has become London’s second Timewise Council, and are also incorporating smarter approaches to job design, as well as promoting already existing flexibility in order to both attract a more diverse, skilled talent pool of candidates, and realise efficiencies in how jobs are done.

The full list of Councils who have now achieved Timewise Council status includes: Camden, Lambeth, Islington, Stoke on Trent and Leicestershire county councils; the tri-council partnership between North Dorset District Council, West Dorset District Council and Weymouth & Portland Borough Council. Other Councils currently undertaking the programme to achieve Timewise Council status, includes Enfield, Carlisle, Warwickshire, Taunton Deane, Surrey, Croydon, Tewkesbury and Carlisle city council.

Early feedback suggests these councils are starting to see, or are expecting to see, shifting management attitudes towards presenteeism, with their perceptions changing from having to accommodate flexibility, to seeing that it is very good for business.

This year, the Government Equalities Office and the Local Government Association are supporting the development of a Timewise Council network. Giving authorities the chance to undertake the programme at a subsidised rate, in order to build insight and learning.

We know the challenges for local government are significant, but becoming agile and flexible in how they work and manage their people, is one crucial way to become future fit. As Lib Peck, Leader of Lambeth puts it… “Being Timewise allows us to recruit a more diverse workforce and help raise the standard of living for the families of those we employ.”

 

Related posts

Why Interchange is Great!

Why Interchange is Great!

If you would like to find out more about our partnership and some of the great work that North West Employers has been doing with NHS North West Leadership Academy you can look at our great infographic, summarising our achievements over the last year.

On social media

Employment Law Brief with Darren Newman

Employment Law Brief with Darren Newman

In the first of many guest blogs by our colleagues and associates – Darren Newman provides an insightful and extremely relevant employment law update looking at the potential impact of social media in the workplace.

social-media-logos

Social media has revolutionised the way in which we interact and communicate with each other. This poses a challenge for employers. To what extent can the online activities of an employee be something that an employer can impose limits on? When can online comments made be the subject of disciplinary action?

As with any other area of off-duty conduct, the answer depends on the extent to which the employee’s activities impact on the legitimate business interests of the employer. Employees have a duty to render faithful service to the employer and publishing derogatory comments can be a breach of that duty. What an employee says online may also provide evidence that they are not a suitable person to be employed in a particular role.

Take the recent case of The British Waterways Board v Smith. Mr Smith was a manual worker who was required to be on 24-hour standby one week in every five to deal with any emergencies that might occur. The team in which he worked was not a happy one and a number of grievances were raised about alleged bullying.

Just before Mr Smith’s complaint was due to be heard, however, he was accused of gross misconduct based on comments he had made on Facebook. The comments had been taken directly from his Facebook page and some of them dated back up to two years.

Most of them simply stated that he hated his work and described his supervisors in (very) unflattering terms. More seriously, some of his comments referred to drinking while on standby – something strictly prohibited and regarded by the employer as gross misconduct.

Mr Smith argued that all of his comments – including those about drinking while on standby – were ‘banter’. He hadn’t intended them for public consumption, but his Facebook account had been hacked and the privacy settings changed so that anyone could read them.

The employer didn’t believe him and decided that he must have been drinking while on stand-by, so he was sacked for gross misconduct. The Tribunal found that the dismissal was unfair. Mr Smith had 8 years of unblemished service and consistently good performance reviews. The employer had actually known about the comments for some period of time before deciding to act and the Tribunal took this to show that the matter was less serious than the employer subsequently claimed.

The Tribunal also noted that the comments were made on a social media site used for ‘chat’ and which ‘frequently involves people making claims which are either exaggerated or simply not in fact true’. Given that a fair procedure had been followed and the employer honestly believed that Mr Smith had been drinking while on standby the only option open to the Tribunal was to find that the dismissal was fair. Frankly I think the employer had a lucky escape here. It does seem quite harsh to take everything someone says on their Facebook page – aimed solely at their own circle of friends – as the literal truth.

I can certainly imagine that someone would boast about drinking while on standby in order to seem cool and rebellious while staying scrupulously sober – and the employer had no other evidence that the employee had been drinking when he shouldn’t. But even if we take this case as being a close-run thing, there are still lessons that we can learn from it.

If the employer actually hacks into an employee’s account and obtains information illegally, then that is a different matter. But, in general, any evidence that an employer can lawfully access online is fair game.

I also think it was significant that some of the comments could be used as evidence of specific misconduct – drinking while on standby – as opposed to the employer’s concern that Mr Smith’s other comments had risked bringing the employer into disrepute. We all moan about our work – don’t we? Requiring employees to be positive and engaged while writing about their day on Facebook or Twitter is surely taking things too far. Employers may worry that when negative comments are published online they can be seen by the whole world.

However the reality is that most comments on social media are seen by almost no-one. It is important to keep a sense of perspective and think carefully about how much harm has actually been done. Where there is a more specific concern, however, then the employer is justified in taking a much harder line. In the Smith case the issue was drinking on stand-by.

In a lot of local authority work the concern will be over information regarding children or vulnerable people. Making an online comment even in jest that could lead to a vulnerable person being identified, or which might give the impression that appropriate care was not being given, is the sort of thing that an employer will be entitled to have no sense of humour about.

One of the key questions in an unfair dismissal case is often whether the employee should have understood that the conduct in question could lead to dismissal. Where employees work with vulnerable groups or where the employer has some other specific reason to be concerned about what might be said on social media – then it is worth making this clear, either in a general code of conduct or a specific social media policy.

It is best not to get carried away. A policy that is too restrictive will be widely ignored and will do more harm than good. Employers should appreciate that employees will say things online that they wouldn’t say in the workplace.

However, where an employee’s role causes a particular risk of harm if comments are misjudged or taken out of context then a strict policy is justified – and also helps protect the employee. One misplaced comment about a care home or school could erupt into a Twitter storm that can be a nightmare for the individual concerned as well as causing damage to the employer. If employees are given clear boundaries about referring to work on social media then most will be grateful to be given good practical advice.

darren-newman-195x2343

Don’t forget to check Darren Newman across the web:
Twitter: @DazNewman
Web: http://bit.ly/1KO27z9

Related posts

Why Interchange is Great!

Why Interchange is Great!

If you would like to find out more about our partnership and some of the great work that North West Employers has been doing with NHS North West Leadership Academy you can look at our great infographic, summarising our achievements over the last year.

On social media

2015 Annual Conference: Re-Imagine Public Services

2015 Annual Conference: Re-Imagine Public Services

At this years’ Annual Conference we had a fantastic line up of speakers that engaged and inspired the audience to think differently about how we re-imagine public services.

Creating opportunities for our members and their partners to connect and network is core to why we exist as an organisation. We have utilised our annual conference to bring together leaders from across public services to share ideas and practice around how we can re-imagine our public services.

Untitled-2

The event featured informative, interactive and inspirational presentations from:

Professor Tony Travers, Department of Government at London School of Economics
Matching aspirations to resources: changes, trends and opportunities

Carolyn Downs, Chief Executive at the LGA – What next for local government
68 days into a new government what are the implications for the sector and LGA priorities?

Andrew Lightfoot, Director of Public Service Reform at Greater Manchester Combined Authority 
Eyes on the prize – how will devolution change public service, from imagination to delivery in Greater Manchester?

Andy Walker, Citizen Representative 
Keeping it real – people centred thinking for public services.

Catherine Mangan, Senior Fellow, INLOGOV at the University of Birmingham
What does this new world require of us as leaders?

Annette Wetherell, Love Barrow Families Project Lead at Cumbria Partnership NHS Trust
Working with complex families differently in Barrow

11828655_924114130968878_6510170346600849349_n

We hope that as a result of the conference the delegates will not only make meaningful connections with colleagues they wouldn’t normally come into contact with, but also be inspired to take forward ideas that they have heard to their local area.

Here’s a flavour of what the delegates thought……

An exceptionally inspiring event.

As an HR practitioner working on a range of transformation activities, the focus of the event was highly appropriate. Thank you.

Another opportunity to work together as councils for the betterment of the communities we represent.

Good to get out of your own local bubble and meet other people and hear what they are doing.

Coming from an NHS organisation, it was great to understand a local government perspective – lots of food for thought.

 

We are planning a series of further events throughout the year and we hope you will be able to join us at these.

If you would like to find out more about how North West Employers can support you to re-imagine public services then get in touch with the team support@nwemployers.org.uk or 0161 834 9362.

@NWEmployers
#ReimaginingPS

 

Related posts

Why Interchange is Great!

Why Interchange is Great!

If you would like to find out more about our partnership and some of the great work that North West Employers has been doing with NHS North West Leadership Academy you can look at our great infographic, summarising our achievements over the last year.

On social media

RSPH on Devolution

RSPH on Devolution

RSPH_M_4C

Earlier this week Warren Heppolette, Strategic Director – Health & Social Care Reform Greater Manchester wrote a timely and accurate blog article for the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) blog based around how the Greater Manchester devolution deal potentially has the power to improve health, care and lifestyles for people in Greater Manchester.

You can read the full article HERE.

Related posts

Why Interchange is Great!

Why Interchange is Great!

If you would like to find out more about our partnership and some of the great work that North West Employers has been doing with NHS North West Leadership Academy you can look at our great infographic, summarising our achievements over the last year.

On social media