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The “C” Word

The “C” word

We said the “C” word and there was a look of disbelief among the delegates.

Everyone was looking shocked. Were we really saying that the “C” word was something that needed to be discussed on a course aimed at improving the skills needed to secure a job in hospitality?

The delegates on the course were unemployed, some had chequered employment histories, several were claiming ESA (Employment and Support Allowance).  All of the delegates on the course had had a tough time.   There were people recovering from addiction, people with learning disabilities, people who were recovering from life changing illnesses, which meant they faced large debts. It was no wonder that the “C” word – i,e confidence was in short supply for many of the people in the room.

Labour Market Skills

Red Potato has a mission to connect businesses with local communities. In the South East of England, the unemployment rate is low: The complaint from businesses is that they can’t get sufficiently highly qualified and competent staff from local labour markets.  But, despite the demand from employers, there remain many people who are still struggling to secure a job.   The reasons they are struggling maybe due to the disadvantages that were previously listed.  However those disadvantages, should not mean that they are excluded from jobs. The purpose of our courses on areas such as hospitality and catering is to help people.  Help people acquire the skills needed to build a rewarding career in service sector industries.  From our experience, rebuilding confidence is central to helping people secure their future.

Delegates on our courses go beyond the technical skills of job search, interviewing and understanding.   Delegates are encouraged to network and share their experiences.  By sharing experiences the group started to work together. By working together, the delegates then began to see the skills and competencies in themselves.  For example, numeracy skills, and skills such as empathy and perseverance. Until this point no one had recognised and valued those skills .  So, from this hesitant start the delegates have begun to build confidence.  Not just confidence to go and get a job. Instead they have acquired the confidence to challenge society’s expectations of what they can and can’t do.

It was a privilege to work with such a great group of people!


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So how’s the business going?

If you are a new business owner how do you answer this question?   Most people who ask the question “How is business going for you?”  are genuinely interested in what you’re doing and want to see you do well.   There maybe a couple of people who are looking to you to fail so that they can say “I knew it would never work, I always said she/he couldn’t hack it and the business plan wasn’t feasible” – but let’s assume most people want to see you do well.  

Whether you are an employee of a long established company or in the midst of starting up a business, it is important to be honest but positive.  

Honest:  People can usually see through bull; if you say business is great and it isn’t then your body language and demeanor will eventually give you away!

Positive: People want to see you do well and if you don’t believe in the business no else will either!   So create your own confidence, build a buzz about your business and focus on the value you can deliver to your customers and stakeholders!

Here at Red Potato we have recently been helping a group of UK based unemployed executives explore future options.   Unemployment is a dreadful option and the group meeting each week undoubtedly provides an important support mechanism for the participants.   But unemployment can also be an important spur to action – the difficult bit is enabling the individual concerned to make an honest assessment of their position and then to ensure they are in a position to take positive action to address that position.     Red Potato works in partnership with local agencies to provide mentoring, work experience and community engagement services.  We also measure the “difference” the projects we deliver make to local people.   Stay positive everyone!