We are 1!

We are 1!  Happy Birthday to us!

The People Portfolio was born during the height of the pandemic on November 16th 2021, a challenging and uncertain time for everyone.  We knew what we were good at, the sorts of projects and people we wanted to support, but we were starting from scratch.  It was exciting and challenging and lots of fun too –  boy have we learned a lot over the last twelve months!

Some of the key things we have learned and are very grateful for include

  • Collaboration

We have worked with some wonderful collaborators and supporters who have helped us to successfully complete projects which we would never have managed on our own.  To our fabulous collaborators – thank you!

  • Go with the flow

If we had had a rigid plan that we had stuck to, we would not have achieved as much as we have. Opportunities have presented themselves in the most fortuitous and unexpected ways at times, and it’s great that we were nimble enough to positively react to them

  • Listen to that little voice when something doesn’t feel right

We’ve learned to realise that working with people and clients whose values and approaches align with ours is hugely important for us.  Early on, we were unsuccessful for a piece of work, getting down to the final two bidders.  However,  we knew that the alignment wasn’t really there.  We will now trust our gut feeling and stayed tuned in to that as we move positively forward.

  • Bidding for public sector work

We have successfully bid for three large public sector contracts (large for us anyway!).  Submitting these bids   can be a very challenging and time-consuming process.  It was great to learn that even as a newly formed micro business, you can work with others to succeed in this area.

  • Walking our talk – the ability to wear multiple hats and learning new skills

As two sole traders, it has been essential to learn new skills necessary to enable us to run the business,  including virtual facilitation techniques and technology, website building, bookkeeping, social media management.  We’ve been realistic in knowing that some skills are simply outwith our ability, but our strong network has enabled us to harness the support and guidance of others.

  • Flexible working

The flexibility offered by working for yourself is an absolute joy.  Do we sometimes work in evenings and on weekends?  Yes we do, but that allows us to flex when and where we work all week long.  You can’t put a price on that and we certainly don’t miss the regular commute!

Back in November 2020, we decided upon our name, The People Portfolio, because together, we wanted to utilise our broad and varied experiences within HR, Recruitment, Outplacement and Career Coaching to offer individuals and companies alike a range of people focused support services.

We have certainly achieved that it has been a very varied year. All that is left to say is a great big THANK YOU to everyone who has supported us so far including collaborators, clients, suppliers, friends and family and here’s to year 2!

Meet the Return with Resilience Team

As a participant on the Return with Resilience programme, it’s important that you know who you will be working with.  Our team is a collaboration of experts in their own field.  A team of experts who have come together to offer a blend of support to help you get back to work with confidence and resilience.

Morna Ronnie and Helen Hubbard from The People Portfolio have backgrounds spanning over 25 years each in recruitment and human resources.  They know what employers and recruiters are looking for when it comes to applications, CVs and interviews.

They will run a series of virtual group workshops on employability skills, drawing on their experience to help you to present your best self to potential employers and unlock the hidden jobs market.  These group sessions will also provide the opportunity for networking with other likeminded women on the programme which we know can be a real benefit.

Louise Scott and Kirsty Ritchie from Mind & Mission Ltd are qualified psychotherapists who previously had business careers in HR and Accountancy respectively.  They will provide one-to-one, confidential coaching sessions to help explore and develop your mental fitness. We know from the previous Return with Resilience programme that these sessions were hugely impactful and really help the returners to feel ready for their return to work.

Angie Garton is the menopause specialist on the programme and  will share some of the science behind the menopause, common symptoms and what you can do to manage and control them.  Angie has a vast array of knowledge and resources, so whatever your question about this potentially challenging stage of life, she can help.

All-in-all we believe our team is second to none in delivering a return-to-work programme for women in their 50’s or experiencing the menopause.

Return with Resilience is funded by The Scottish Government and administered by Skills Development Scotland.

Applications for the current programme are currently open to women throughout Scotland and can be made here:  https://jobs.hrcrecruitment.co.uk/job/women-returner-programme-return-with-resilience-8287.aspx

Return With Resilience is back!

We are thrilled to be launching Return with Resilience 2021/22! 

This is the programme which supports women over 50 or experiencing the menopause, back to the professional or financial services sector, after a career break of 6 months or more.  If this describes you, and you live anywhere in Scotland, then you can access the following free of charge : 

  • One-to-one mental fitness coaching with a qualified psychotherapist 
  • Group employability workshops on confidence building, CV writing, interview skills and job searching techniques 
  • Information and guidance on how to manage the menopause 
  • The opportunity to apply for paid work placements with some fantastic employers 

The sessions will be delivered online and you will be working with a group of likeminded women. Coaching and training will take place in November and December with work running from January to March 2022.  

If you meet the criteria above and want a fully supported return to your career then get in touch as soon as possible as places are limited. 

The Women Returners Programme is funded by the Scottish Government and administered by Skills Development Scotland. 

Applications can be made here: https://jobs.hrcrecruitment.co.uk/job/return-with-resilience-women-returners-programme-8220.aspx 

We Meet with Skillseeder

Morna was recently pleased to be asked by Skillseeder to talk about our delivery of the Scottish Government funded Be Your Best Self programme for women in agriculture. It was great to be able to spread the word about this fantastic course and explain a bit more about working with our consortium partners, what the programme includes and how to apply.

If you or someone you know is thinking about applying it should make a useful watch.

Be Your Best Self

We are delighted to announce that The People Portfolio will be delivering The Be Your Best Self personal development programme for women in agriculture on behalf of The Scottish Government.

This work is an expansion of the pilot programme run in 2020 and is an integral part of the Scottish Government’s vision to make Scottish agriculture a fairer, more inclusive industry, where farm succession is not determined by gender, training is accessible to everyone, and more women take on senior roles in agricultural organisations.

Be Your Best Self aims to support women living or working in agriculture in Scotland to build their confidence, enhance their skills, and develop their leadership abilities.

We are thrilled to be working as a part of a consortium with our friends from Mind & Mission, Leeway and Scene & Herd PR to provide an exciting and impactful programme which will run 10 times over the next 2 years.

Our first course is now underway but we are accepting applications for a range of courses throughout 2022. More details and the application form can be found here: https://www.ruralpayments.org/publicsite/futures/topics/all-schemes/women-in-agriculture. Any questions can be emailed to beyourbestself@thepeopleportfolio.co.uk.

Find out more about the delivery partners at:

https://www.mindandmission.com/

https://leewayco.com/

http://www.sceneandherdpr.co.uk/

Advice for Returner Candidates

In the final of our series of posts about our Return with Resilience programme we wanted to share some of our learning and tips for returning to work after a career break.

Depending on the reasons for your break and the length of time you have been out of the workforce it can be a daunting time, so we hope these tips are helpful:

  • Be Clear

Spend some time thinking about what you are trying to achieve.  Do you want a similar role to the one you left?  Something different? A different sector? Full time, part time, working from home?  What skills do you want to use?

  • Be Flexible

Once you have created an outline of what you are looking for, think about how flexible you can be in order to keep as many options open as possible.  For example, if you want to work part-time what flexibility can you offer regarding the particular hours you work?

  • Identify your Skills

It is important to know what transferable skills you have and to be able to “sell” them to a potential employer.  Think about the skills you used in previous roles, the strengths that you naturally have and any new skills you have gained during your career break.  Make sure these are clear and evidenced on your CV.

  • Spend your time wisely

Many returners fall into the trap of focusing their job search entirely on job boards when in reality many jobs are never advertised and are filled through direct connections and networking.  Think about how you will connect with others and be visible.  Creating a strong LinkedIn profile and being an active, regular participant are key.

  • Do your research

Which companies are you interested in?  What sectors are booming?  What companies are in the news and are therefore likely to be recruiting?  Which companies offer in-house returner programmes?

  • Get support

It’s ok to ask for help.  Think about the support networks you have around you and how they can help you e.g., by sharing your details on LinkedIn to reach a wider audience, or by practicing interview answers with you or reading over your CV. 

Finally, be open minded, returning after a break is a great opportunity to get involved with something new and exciting!  Good luck!

Return with Resilience Candidate feedback

We were delighted with the response to our recent Scottish Government funded women returner’s programme. Two examples of the impact by Ange Kerr and Sharon Le Ruez are shared in the videos below.

Learning from Return with Resilience

The People Portfolio recently collaborated with HRC Recruitment and Mind & Mission Ltd to deliver a Scottish Government funded Women Returner’s programme. The overall aim of the Government’s funding was to address gender inequality in the workplace and build on their commitment to reducing the gender pay gap.

Our project, called Return with Resilience, focused on women over 50 (or those transitioning through the menopause) who had had a career break of at least 6 months and were now looking to return to work.

This is a group in particular need of support.

A recent article by The Centre for Better Aging states, “It is clear barriers to employment for older workers were an issue before the pandemic but have been exacerbated by the economic fallout of COVID-19. Before the pandemic there were already around 824,000 people age 50-64 in the UK who were not working but would like to be. This number is rising and will continue to unless action is taken to protect older workers. Over 50s need targeted, individualised back-to-work support to ensure they don’t face an uncertain financial future.”  

We designed a supportive, interactive programme which combined group employability workshops with individual mental fitness coaching which supported two groups of 6 women in February and March.

Attracting participants to take part was a surprising initial key challenge in delivering the project.  Although we knew the programme had great content and skilled facilitators, as well as being free for the participants, we had to work hard to promote it and attract relevant delegates. 

We learned that many of these women were not active on the usual recruitment channels – i.e. job boards, LinkedIn etc., – so we had to use a range of social media channels to reach them. We also had a one-to-one call with each of them to answer any questions and build trust before having a launch call where wider introductions were made, and technical issues dealt with in a safe space. 

As we began to talk to the women, we learned that another challenge in recruiting delegates had been due to a deep-rooted lack of confidence.  Many talked about needing to really dig deep in order to take the initial leap and apply, trusting us with their journey. 

The length of the career break can often impact this and those with longer career breaks can feel so far removed from the workplace that they just don’t know if they will ever fit back into the world of work, let alone knowing where to start. 

The feedback received from the participants was overwhelmingly positive and demonstrated how very much needed support like this is –

  • “With an undeniably long career break, the programme helped me identify key skills and more importantly, transferrable skills and I have updated my CV accordingly.”
  • “Attending the workshop has given me a fresh perspective on my Job searches, I’m much more proactive now and actively seeking roles in areas that interest me.”
  • “Participating in this group gave me confidence I could hold my own space back in business.”                                                                                                                              
  • “This course has been highly beneficial to me as have been away from Financial Services for 5 years. It made me realise that I still have a lot to offer to an employer in terms of skills and experience despite being nearly 60! In fact, it did what it said on the tin as I now have a job and am so looking forward to it.”

Many of the women we worked with had caring responsibilities too, from children to parents and partners.  They had become used to putting others before themselves, and the pandemic exacerbated this. The majority of the women we worked with are now looking for either part time work or some flexibility as they go back to work. 

So, if employers want to attract this demographic of applicant, something other than the traditional 9 – 5 working pattern may be what’s needed, flexibility is key. A possible unplanned benefit of the COVID pandemic is that there are currently many more conversations happening about flexible and hybrid working as people return to the workplace. 

We very much hope that this can benefit career break returners and will encourage more companies to support this demographic.

Return with Resilience

Return with Resilience

I was first introduced to the idea of returner programmes a few years ago, when I was working inhouse as a Head of Resourcing.  I met a wide range of people who had taken career breaks, from anything between a year and 15 years+, for a multitude of reason e.g. raising a family, caring responsibilities, international travel, extended break following redundancy.  They were all struggling to get back into the workplace. 

I have since designed, project managed and facilitated several similar programmes in this field for both men and women and my biggest takeaway with every group I have supported has been what a highly skilled, resourceful and motivated group they were.  The main challenges and personal obstacles they faced were a loss of confidence and not knowing how to successfully present themselves to the market.  However once they were provided with  support and guidance in these areas, they went on to become very hardworking, successful and engaged/loyal employees. 

I am therefore thrilled that The People Portfolio is collaborating with HRC Recruitment and Mind and Mission to deliver a new returner programme, funded by the Scottish Government.  Called Return with Resilience it is specifically aimed at women from financial services or engineering backgrounds who are over 50 and/or transitioning through the menopause.  This group can often find that they face disadvantage or discrimination during this phase of their career.  The overall objective of the government’s women returners fund is to reduce the gender pay gap.  More details on the strategic aims can be found here; https://www.gov.scot/news/helping-women-return-to-work/

We will provide employability support such as CV writing, Interview and Job Search skills and delegates will also receive mental fitness coaching, from Mind and Mission, to support their confidence and resilience as they re-enter the workplace.

Return with Resilience applications are open and can be made at  https://jobs.hrcrecruitment.co.uk/job/scottish-returner-programme-return-with-resilience-7114.aspx for financial services applicants and https://jobs.hrcrecruitment.co.uk/job/scottish-returner-programme-return-with-resilience-7115.aspx for engineering applicants.

We will be posting programme updates on this blog and also on our LinkedIn page, so follow us there for the latest news.  https://www.linkedin.com/company/the-people-portfolio


Black Women in Technology

Generating Genius has been working for 15 years to ensure that talented and able students from Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds are positioned to excel in science, technology, engineering and mathematical STEM careers. 

Despite a record number of women now working in IT, new research undertaken by BCS, The Charted Institute of IT, shows that at just 0.7%, black women are still heavily under-represented in the sector.   

The People Portfolio is delighted to be supporting Generating Genius to promote their ‘Black Women into Tech’ (BWIT) programme, focussed on further closing the diversity gap. 

The programme will formally launch in January, providing participants with insight, practical knowledge and work experience with employer partners inc. HSBC, Rightmove, MAN Group, PDT Partners, and IRI Big Data and Analytics. 

Women who meet all of the following criteria should apply: 

  • Black women from African/Caribbean descent 
  • Undergraduates in any year of study, or first-year post graduate 
  • STEM students e.g. Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics or Engineering  
    OR 
    Any subject and can provide a demonstrable passion for technology e.g. has completing a coding course 
  • Women aspiring to a career in technology 

We encourage those interested to submit an application now , as places are limited. 

If you have any questions or queries, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with either morna@thepeopleportfolio.co.uk or helen@thepeopleportfolio.co.uk