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Getting young people 'skilled up'

Within Kent County Council, we have a staff group representing younger employees called ‘Greenhouse’. Greenhouse aims to be proactive in empowering younger members of staff to fulfil their potential by encouraging them to take part in projects outside of their normal day jobs. Being a younger employee of KCC myself, I am a Greenhouse member and currently helping to start up a new project called ‘Skill Sharing’ which I wish to share with you all.

‘Buddying’ and ‘mentoring’ are two recognised resources for staff within KCC. However, these schemes are rather formal and limited in their scope and it was thought that younger members of staff have specific needs that could be better met through mutual support networks. Initially it was suggested that this could be achieved through more experienced members of staff offering support and advice to newer staff members, however following a recent meeting the idea of a more informal network could fulfil a number of different outcomes was born.

The ‘Skill Sharing Project’ will be similar to an online matchmaking service. Members of all ages will advertise the work-related skills they can share and wish to learn on the Communities of Practise website. They will then, after seeking approval from a line manager, arrange a time and date in which to do so. For example, a researcher may wish to learn how to speak in public to communicate ideas more effectively, and a public speaker may wish to learn about new methods and tools of research to construct presentations efficiently.

We are hoping that this project will not only allow members of Greenhouse to learn new skills, but also create more social interaction and a greater interest in what Greenhouse has to offer. Perhaps one day the scheme will be adopted nationally (we have ambitious dreams!), but for now we are working on testing out the project ourselves and building case studies to generate interest.

If you would like further information about the project, are conducting a similar project or would like to get involved, please contact Kirsty Russell at kirstyjoannarussell@kent.gov.uk.

If you would like more information about Greenhouse please visit here (for KCC staff).

Picture: The Greenhouse logo, a green outline of a house with two figures in the middle with the words 'Greenhouse, helping younger staff grow' beneath.

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