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School students learn about warehousing from Ocado

School students find out about cool opportunities in warehousing and distribution

 

Wow that was really cool!  Walking through the fridge room at the Ocado warehouse felt like stepping out into the Arctic wilderness – except we were surrounded by ice cream packs!  It was another surprise, on a visit that took a ice axe to our assumptions about warehousing and distribution.

We are very grateful to Ocado for agreeing to host a group of young people at their warehouse and fulfilment centre. The visit by the students from Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, was the culmination of several weeks preparation work.  All of the school students were hugely impressed by this technology driven business.

Why visit a warehouse?

Red Potato works closely with many schools in Hertfordshire.  Also because of our work as an Enterprise Adviser we knew that many businesses, like Ocado are really keen to welcome young people into their business.  So we were really happy to connect the school students with the Ocado team.

So what is the big deal about the “fridge room“? Well, going into the freezer room was a challenge laid down by our Ocado guide as he showed us around the warehouse and fulfilment centre.   We were with a group of 16 & 17 year old school students who readily accepted the challenge.  It has to be said that the adults were less keen!  The challenge of walking into a freezer to voluntarily get extremely cold – even if you are surrounded by ice cream, didn’t sound good.  We all did it of course.  But, walking into the fridge room at -18 degrees was an experience that most people won’t repeat in a hurry!

The Future

The scale, pace and sophistication of the warehouse surprised everyone.  We were also given a privileged view of the software behind the operation, which was also very interesting.  Technology is driving major changes in warehousing and distribution.  It would be great to think that this visit has influencing future career choices.  Will some of the students who visited Ocado, one day be designing the next generation of warehousing and distribution companies?  We sincerely hope so.  But, predicting what is going to happen in this sector is fraught.  What we can say is that our shopping habits will change.  As our shopping habits change, so the warehousing and distribution sector will also change as it attempts to keep up with us as consumers.  We feel very lucky to have had a glimpse at some of the exciting developments at Ocado and how this company is planning for the future.

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Three ideas to bring creativity into the business

Business owners often look for ways they can stand out from the crowd, here are three ideas that will bring creativity into the business.

 

Red Potato are involved in several projects that are connecting businesses with schools.  Most importantly, these projects are also bringing creativity to businesses.

Here are three ideas that will bring creativity into your business:

  1. Participate in Careers Fairs

    Careers Fairs are run by local schools and Colleges.  From the school’s point of view the aim is for employers to meet with student that could become interns or full time employees.   For the employer, it is a great opportunity to promote the different opportunities available in the business.  The Careers Fair can also raise awareness.   Asking the question “What do you think this business does?” is a good way to engage young people at Careers Fairs.  Be prepared for some “off-beat” responses though…businesses are often surprised by the answers they get to this question!

  2. Become trained as a mentor, mentor young people

    Red Potato are pleased to support the Careers & Enterprise Company Enterprise Advisor programme.  There are many different initiatives available to help employers train to become a mentor. In many organisations mentoring is central to employee development.  Teachers in schools and colleges are under time huge pressures. It is not realistic to expect that teachers will have the time to be able mentor to all of their students. Yet business leaders have unique experiences and insights that they can contribute.  It is a bewildering world when you are 16, with many different choices.   A trained business mentor could help young people navigate through the myriad career choices.

  3. Offer work experience

    Work experience is not an easy option for businesses.  Therefore an effective work experience placement requires preparation and time from the business.  Most relevant to this, was a statement by a Welwyn Hatfield (business mentor) Dragon.  The Dragon said they had been inspired by the Dragons Apprentice Challenge to offer structured work experience, because it was good for their business and great for the community the business serves.

 

So what has all this to do with business creativity?  As a result of these three ideas, employers find that young people have a habit of questioning business practice.  Most of all businesses soon see that they have to think more creatively, in order to keep up with the challenges of the market.

 

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The real reason for a Jobs Fair

For the last few months we have been working with colleagues at The Galleria shopping centre. That work will come to fruition this week at the Galleria Jobs Fair!

The Jobs Fair at the Galleria Shopping Centre will highlight the range of jobs that are available now.  Even though they are local jobs, for many local people this will be the first time they have considered working for the employers at the event.

The benefit is also for the employers who are coming to the Jobs Fair.   The event has been really popular with employers.  The event has been so popular that we quickly exceeded the maximum number of places available:  Last week we had to find more space for the extra employers who wished to come to the event!

The value of the Jobs Fair will be different according to whether you are a job seeker or an employer.   If you are a job seeker and you find your ideal job that is a result for you.  If you are are an employer and you find an employee to help your business that is also a result.

But wait!  There is also another reason this is a good thing.  There is a real reason that the Jobs Fair is good for the local area.  New ideas are created, aspirations are raised and change happens, by bringing together employers and job seekers under roof.   Here at Red Potato we are pleased to have been a part of this process

Red Potato will broadcast a live video stream from the event in Hatfield; so make sure you tune in to the show via Periscope!

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Step into Hospitality

We took our first Step into Hospitality, in December.

…Everyone liked it so much we will be taking a second Step into Hospitality course in January 2017!

Red Potato were commissioned to design and deliver the course.  Following the course one of the delegates said “I have enjoyed this course, it opened my eyes to a lot of things I wasn’t aware off”.  – Which was great because that was the aim!

The aim of the course was to enable people to see the range of careers available in hospitality.   And that those careers are accessible for carers, lone parents or those without formal qualifications.  Prior to this course, many people said that they simply didn’t think hospitality could offer them a fulfilling career. We are particularly grateful to our guest speakers from Oaklands College and Hospitality Jobs UK who were able to dispel that myth and inspire the delegates about careers in the industry.

One of the most powerful comments was the delegate who said

“the course made me realise that I can do much more than settling for a low paid job as a cleaner”.

So what were the origins of the course? Well it came from some frank discussions with staff at Circle Housing and the Welwyn Hatfield Community Housing Trust.   During those discussions it emerged that even though there were lots of opportunities nearby, many local people were simply not benefiting.   So we worked together with to develop a course that would allow people to do three things:

  1. Gain a practical qualification in food safety
  2. Acquire the skills and knowledge to access jobs in hospitality
  3. Be Inspired!

After Christmas, we will be contacting everyone to see how they have used the knowledge, qualification and inspiration to acquire a job.  Keep reading the blog for future updates!

 

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Health and education

Red Potato develops a strong expertise in health.

Red Potato have been privileged to be working with three very different organisations over the last few months. Each organisation is different but they are linked by their commitment to improving health and wellbeing.

The three organisations are : (1) the National Health Service, (2) a beauty clinic and (3) a local charity for people living with HIV.   In each case, Red Potato were chosen to help the organisation convey messages on health by using video and animation.

The National Health Service (NHS) is one of the largest employers in the world.  The NHS is also a hugely respected organisation that serves people across the UK in their time of need.  Most people are aware of the doctors and nurses.   But did you know that to deliver this level of care, the NHS has over 350 separate kinds of jobs!  Within nursing there many different fields and specialisms.  Red Potato have been chosen to work with part of the NHS in Hertfordshire to promote the different non-clinical careers available to local people.   We are also helping the NHS launch a new website.  The website will help young people get the health advice that they might need.  We will be talking more about this in coming weeks.

Beauty Clinics provide a number of services, such as laser treatment and facials that can help with wellbeing.  Red Potato have produced a video which shows how The Letchworth Clinic improves the lives of local people.  What really struck us about working with Graeme and his team is the friendly, chilled vibe at The Letchworth Clinic.  Let us know if you think this vibe comes across in the video!

Red Potato are so lucky to work with such wonderful clients, Herts Aid is one of our very favourites! Despite – or maybe because of the subject matter, the Herts Aid team are warm, empathetic and not easily shocked.  HIV is a manageable condition and there is advice and support available.  An example of the help that is available is the Herts Aid “Time for me to Shine” project.  The project provides training and development that can help people back into work.  The training and development is delivered in a safe and supportive environment.  Critical to the project success is the network of mutual support and encouragement, that enables service users to take the next step towards re-entering the workplace or starting a small business.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2016-17 Welwyn Hatfield Dragons Apprentice Challenge

2016-17 Welwyn Hatfield Dragons Apprentice Challenge puts fire in the belly!

 

The successful launch of the 2016-17 Welwyn Hatfield Dragons Apprentice Challenge was in early October.  The teams are now hard at work putting together their plans and learning about how to fully exploit the resources available to them.

Some of the things that have been happening so far include Halloween cake sales, designing goods for the Christmas markets and of course doughnut sales!

Make sure you follow their progress over the next few months by following the Twitter feed @Dragonappwelhat

In addition to direct sales, we hope the teams will look creatively at how they can use the “resources” at their disposal.

We are lucky to have ‘A’ list SuperDragons who are happy to consider helping the teams!  The Welwyn Hatfield Dragons Apprentice Challenge is also a great opportunity to practice and develop networking skills.   If any of the teams would like to find out more about how businesses network, they should attend one of the many business network groups in the area.   One of the groups we are happy to recommend attending is the Welwyn B-49 group

If any of the teams wish to find out more please make contact with us via @Dragonappwelhat

 

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Careers Events

careers eventsCareers events

The new school term means more focus on education and crucially equipping young people with the skills to get a job.  The Red Potato team are already working with several business partners who wish to run careers events.  The events will be very different.  Each event is aimed at a different section of the job-seeker market.

Red Potato are helping market the events by engaging with schools and colleges.  We will also seek to capture some of the buzz of the events using video.  The videos will be used to prompt further action and support after the careers events.  In this way the careers event is not limited to one awesome day, but is part of a process in which employers can find, engage and retain employees.

 

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Business Start-up training & people who are HIV Positive

Time for me to Shine workshops & HIV Positive

Red Potato are really pleased to be working with our HertsAid friends to deliver part of the “Time for me to shine” programme.  “Time for me to shine” comprises of five employability workshops that will be held in September and October 2016. The workshops are aimed at HIV Positive service users. Red Potato will be delivering the business start-up training modules that form a part of this programme.  We’re really looking forward to making an impact!

Why is “Time for me to shine” needed?

It was another brilliant summer’s day for our filming – hence we have been “lucky” this year with outdoor filming; so different to the “wet” August reputation! Last week, we filmed some HertsAid service users talk about the proposed “Time for me to shine” programme.  Some of the service users we talked with,  were HIV Positive and they had experienced difficulty securing full time employment.  Consequently several people that we interviewed for the film, also said that they were interested to know more about self-employment.

We are grateful to everyone at HertsAid for their help with the filming and also their patience.  For us, the day was full of new insights.

We will be talking more about the “Time for me to shine” in the coming weeks, so do keep dropping by! For the time being here is a photo of the very helpful outreach team at HertsAid!
Herts Aid Photo

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East & North Herts NHS Trust AGM & Schools

East & North Herts NHS Trust AGM & Schools

Well done to all the schools who participated in the East & North Herts NHS Trust AGM! Red Potato worked with teams from local schools to help them prepare their “pitch”.  The NHS staff and many local health agencies were attending the Annual General Meeting (AGM) which was held in July in Stevenage.

Which schools participated?

We’re really proud of the Year 10 and Year 11 students and teachers from Monks Walk, Nobel, Chancellors, Sir Frederic Osborne and Onslow St Audrey’s Schools’.  The students spent so much time preparing for the AGM –  and then participating so effectively at the AGM.  We hope that everyone had a good time, despite the weather!

Chair 2students

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Getting lasered – all part of the job!

The Letchworth Clinic Video Shoot

Great to meet Graeme Riddle and the team at the Letchworth Clinic today!   We were made really welcome and got to know more about the range of services that are provided by the Clinic.  This is a report on the big day: The Letchworth Clinic Video Shoot!

Laser Close up

We take our video productions seriously so that meant getting the know the laser close up! The Clinic was busy even though it was a rainy day in Hertfordshire.   Graeme, Lead Podiatrist at the Clinic, has a great down to earth attitude – so if you are in Letchworth come and say hello!

Letchworth Clinic Video

Lasering at The Letchworth Clinic