From the outset, Real Ideas has been supporting and enabling a wide range of people to demonstrate their talents, skills and discover how to use those with and for others, in work, communities, projects and schools.
Those who know us, know we value talent, new ideas and new ways of thinking. So over the last 15 years we have focused and enabled a range of development opportunities particularly for young people, enabling them to come and work for us whilst being supported. This has given them the opportunity to grow and develop their skills sets in a real work environment whilst also keeping us forward facing and challenged- in a good way!
We see developing talent and skills as nurturing and enabling growth to happen- up, sideways and down- to build solid roots and foundations and see progression about breadth and depth of knowledge and skills, not just a typical climbing of a management ladder. From apprenticeships to internships, short summer placements, to junior positions and most recently Kickstart opportunities, we have always created entry points right across the organisation.
Over our 15 years we have created over 30 apprenticeships roles that have enabled those without formal work experience or qualifications to bring their value, insight and further develop their skills. We’ve also encouraged those already working with us to enhance and grow their knowledge at a higher level.
We’ve had to continually flex and challenge ourselves whether it’s looking at the frequency of pay, qualifications sitting behind development opportunities, partnerships with organisations like RANK who have created leadership development opportunities and support, to internal coaching mentoring and informal development. All of these approaches have seen staff progress in the organisation, take further responsibilities and lead areas of our work or use their experience with us as a launch pad to something else- university, supervisor roles with other companies, new ventures or higher-level apprenticeships with other companies.
For some staying with us as an organisation isn’t quite right but what they say is their time with us has helped them understand what they want next.
What we’ve learnt over all this time, is that we have to be prepared to be constantly challenged and open to flexing an approach or way forward. We know that too often for young people, starting out in a career that 3 months in is often a time of uncertainty and doubt in a job and at 6 months the ability to absorb and learn changes and needs to be done in different ways. It requires a team effort to support someone and the network of colleagues, partners and others who support is invaluable and critical in ensuring a success.
We continually provide programmes or short experiences to provide a flavour of the way we work, help young people uncover and discover their aptitudes and talents, it broadens our recruitment pool. Wherever possible we believe that if you’re undertaking work with us then you should be paid, something we hear often from young people about the length of time organisations ask them to volunteer with no reward so from paying for trial shifts with us, to paid intern placements during the summer we ensure that happens and in doing so removes socio economic barriers that might exist.
We’ve benefitted greatly as an organisation from growing our own extraordinary colleagues to being introduced challenged to consider other perspectives and current trends/knowledge that young people bring with them. We get to support and admire and learn from the leadership skills they develop, the way they collaborate and their ability to take forward our values with honesty/ integrity and commitment.
It keeps us real and keep the ideas flowing.