We all know that what makes each and every one of us feel inspired by and committed to finding and keeping meaningful work differs from person to person. But what ties us all together in terms of employability? What are the habits of mind that help us to thrive in our lives, in and out of work? And what are the best ways of cultivating these habits of mind? This is what we've set out to explore with our Global Generation WORKS programme participants, who are all young people aged under 30 and looking to get into work.
Following on from our successful pilot hospitality training programme earlier this year - which was supported by the London Boroughs of Camden and Islington, as well as KX Recruit - our team has set out to deliver an employability programme focused on developing the habits of mind that are needed for the world of work today (details of this in the excellent report on 'Learning to be Employable' by Bill Lucas and Janet Hanson, 2016). Over the next three years, with Skills Development Fund support from City & Guilds Group, we will be working with 90 young people to help them explore their creativity, perseverance, self-belief, self-control, empathy, resilience, curiosity and an attitude of craftsmanship. We will be applying our action research approach throughout, emphasising that we are constantly on a reflective, learning journey with the young people, and encouraging them to become masters of their own learning and development through active self-awareness. This will happen alongside work experience with King's Cross businesses as well as signposting on to next steps and interview practice.
We are currently working with our very first cohort of young people on the programme, and it has been a truly humbling experience. Looking back on my experience of exploring the habits of mind for employability with the group, I felt so amazed by just how much came out between us that was so much more than we had planned for. I am now really excited about the prospect of a short-term goal that has been set as a group for a joint event with the British Red Cross refugee group in Islington, and the real opportunity that it provides for each of us, staff and young people alike, to develop our own habits of mind, as well as reflect on what's working for each of us and where we can stretch ourselves even more. I have really appreciated everyone's input, and value the way our sessions are flexible enough to allow for so much adaptation and creativity.
Here are recent reflections from different members of the current group:
"Reflecting on the habits of mind was quite challenging and personal, but that being said it was good I did it and understood the concept, which is great to have in everyday life situations. I am also excited about the upcoming event - it gives us the chance to showcase what we learnt and demonstrate our skills." - Participant, 25
"Skills, skills, skills... you don't realise how trivial they quickly become without the right mindset and head space in which you can use them. It has been a lovely experience learning all this stuff. I say learning because I did not realise its importance in the workplace until now!" - Participant, 21
"I have learned a few things today, such as paying attention to our emotions, which reminded me to persevere in my day to day achievements. Today has opened my mind on subjects that I face everyday. I hope to take what I learnt on board and put it into my daily practice." - Participant, 20
"I feel as though I am on the right path and can see the value in what I have to offer. My interests and passions are something that can be shared with others and can lead to new experiences and opportunities for both myself and others. I see that I will have to overcome some obstacles to achieve what is needed, but I also know that no hurdle is impossible to overcome." - Participant, 18
Photo: © Emmanuel Adatsi 2016