Fair Chance Fund
finds 15 schools

Fair Chance Fund
finds 15 schools

It has been quite a week at Ivy House thanks to the brilliant NatWest Group. Via The Fair Chance Fund, NatWest have given 15 schools the opportunity for pupils to take part in The Ivy House Award and teachers to gain places on the award-winning Life Leader programme. All places are fully funded by NatWest.

This means the world to us and is completely aligned to our mission to put human development at the heart of education – giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to thrive – both in work and life. For us this means proactively enabling social mobility and embracing diversity, so that that your background will no longer be the key determinant of your success. Change that creates a collaborative, resilient, purpose-led generation; young people who create lives they love and make a meaningful contribution to our communities, organisations and society.

The Fair Chance Fund has been set up to achieve that mission, making the game-changing leadership and life skills learned in The Ivy House Award available to all students, irrespective of their background or the school they go to.

The NatWest Group have partnered with us to fully fund 1,000 places on The Ivy House Award over two years, as well as supporting teachers from each school with their  personal and professional development through our Life Leader programme. The response we had from schools was incredible, and although we would have loved to give funding to each and every deserving school who applied, we had the very hard job, in the first instance, of selecting only 10.

To give you an idea of just how hard the decision was, here are some of the things we read in the applications:

“We are made up of a diverse cohort very much serving our local communities and our key value is to leave no student behind and provide them with an entirely inclusive education with a clear focus on personal development opportunities. This would make a huge impact on our communities allowing some of our most disadvantaged students the ability to develop key transferable skills for their post-18 routes.”

“A significant number of our young people come from a disadvantaged background including a high number of Looked After children. We profoundly believe that the circumstances of a young person’s life should not determine their access to opportunity or be detrimental to their life chances. We believe in equality and we think that this project could boost self-esteem, aspiration, self-believe and leadership in an identified group, providing them with additional support to help overcome their social, economic or personal barriers.”

“Participating in The Award would help our students to stand out when applying for university, apprenticeships and jobs in the future, but more importantly it would help them to become more rounded, reflective individuals, which will ultimately help them to live more fulfilling lives. Many of our students could never dream of participating in a programme alongside students from Eton and Charterhouse and this will hopefully help them to have the confidence to see they can achieve the same things as anyone else can.”

So, you can understand why the NatWest Group and Ivy House teams felt the need to bend the rules a little and selected 15 schools to take part – so that we could reach as many students as possible with this amazing opportunity.

We’re absolutely thrilled to welcome the following schools to the Ivy House family from January 2021:

  • Rothesay Academy, Isle of Bute
  • St Stephen’s School
  • Craigie High School
  • Girvan Academy
  • Dromore High School
  • North Chadderton Sixth Form College
  • Northallerton School and Sixth Form College
  • Richmond School and Sixth Form College
  • The Bishop of Winchester Academy
  • Wardle Academy
  • Churchill Community College
  • Chesterfield High School
  • Barnwell School
  • Dagenham Park Church of England School
  • Emmanuel College, Gateshead

Helen Cook, Chief HR Officer of NatWest, said this of the opportunity: “NatWest is thrilled to be able to support students, no matter what their background, to take part in The Ivy House Award; a programme that will make a game-changing difference, not only to their careers but also their lives. At NatWest we are committed to supporting local communities to thrive in practical ways, like helping to develop critical future skills. Working with students and teachers in this way enables us to do just that.”

Please join us in congratulating the first schools to benefit from the Fair Chance Fund and thank NatWest for being the first partner to help us make our dream a reality.

If you’d like to know more and would value a conversation, just let us know.

Ivy House wins 2 awards!

Ivy House wins 2 awards!

Not 1, but 2 awards have come our way and we could not be happier!

In a roller coaster year of working remotely, transforming our way of delivering programmes and support students to navigate the unknown, receiving this recognition is the icing on the cake.

The Digital Education Awards recognise the best digital people, products and platforms driving quality education and lifelong learning.

The Ivy House Award won ‘Breakthrough Product of the Year‘ which makes us incredibly proud, because we’ve built a programme that is truly one-of-a-kind, bringing exec level leadership and life skills development to students – at a time when they need it most.

We’re already working with some incredible schools, and are on a mission to bring this game-changing learning to less-advantaged students through fully funded scholarships over the coming years. We’re passionate about making this learning available to any student that wants it, and were prepared to do everything we can to make that happen.

On top of that, The Award was also ‘Highly commended’ in the category ‘Online Skills Course of the Year‘, which made us do a little dance (sorry you missed it). Equipping people with the game-changing skills to become extraordinary leaders and lead extraordinary lives is at the core of everything we do, so to have been highly commended by the Digital Education Awards means so much to us.

But wait – there’s more!

The work we do in the corporate world has also received an award for Top Leadership Development, with Ivy House recognised among training and coaching companies in the UK by Manage HR.

We are very proud of our face-to-face NPS score which is 95. Our first virtual NPS was exactly the same – 95 – and in fact one of the latest virtual programmes we delivered received a score of 100!

We’re extremely grateful to all our partners, clients, friends and fellow pioneers for the incredible support – quite frankly, we couldn’t have done it without you.

For anyone who is not familiar with what we do, feel free to download one of our brochures to get more of an insight into our award-winning (that’s right!) programmes.

Elke Edwards becomes Number 1 Best Selling Author

Elke Edwards becomes Number 1 Best Selling Author

It’s not every day you get to call the founder of your business a Number 1 Best Selling Author.

But that’s exactly the accolade given to Elke Edwards, whose first book Extraordinary: How to lead a bigger, braver, more extraordinary life was released on 16th September and immediately climbed to the number one spot on Amazon. Time for some socially-distanced celebrations!

If you can’t tell from the title, the book is about how to build a life that feels as good as it looks. Elke draws on decades of experience to share the 7 transformative skills that once mastered, make a game-changing difference – whether you’re 15 or 55.

Elke shares why she decided to write it: “Many years ago, I got divorced. It was a really tough time because I wasn’t leaving a horrible man or an awful life.

My ex-husband was (is) a good man, we had 2 wonderful children, a successful business and a beautiful home. But somewhere deep inside I knew I wasn’t living my right life.

I just knew it was possible to feel more alive, more engaged, more connected and even more challenged. From somewhere deep inside I was getting a message – “go and do it – create your life – find it – make it happen – it will be fine- it will be amazing – you can do it”. 

So I did. It was tough. Sometimes really tough but it was also the greatest learning journey of my life.

‘Extraordinary’ is the book I wish I had back then. It’s the book I searched for and couldn’t find. It’s the book that shows you how to put your extraordinary life together – not the one laid out for you but the one you were born to live.”

And just a quick peek at the Amazon reviews shows that Extraordinary is already impacting people’s lives.

“Wow, what a book! This book will change your life… whatever you want to achieve or change in your life this book is your key to making it happen! The best thing is once you have it you can go back to whenever you need a bit of direction or help getting clarity to help you achieve an extraordinary life!”

“This book has made such a difference to how I lead my life. It’s packed full of useful learning and stories that have challenged my perspectives, calmed my mind and helped me to understand what is truly important.”

We’re incredibly proud of Elke and it has spurred us all on at Ivy House with our collective mission to change the world – bringing life-changing leadership and life skills at the heart of how we develop every new generation.

Find out more about the book and download your free chapter today.

NEW: Game-changing programmes

NEW: Game-changing programmes

Leadership development that’s award-winning, available virtually and (here’s the good bit!)… affordable!

Thanks to our new programmes, you and your people can develop the critical leadership and life skills your organisation needs in a cost-effective way (from as little as £550 per head!).

Looking for a bespoke solution designed to meet your specific needs? We’ll work with you to build your own programme that maps to your learning outcomes, agreeing a budget and timeline that works for you.

Want something you can get started with straight away? Our 100% virtual Life Leader Programme brings game-changing leadership and life skills development to every part of your organisation in an affordable way. Plus, our flagship Master Programme is now available as a virtual or blended solution that brings the very best in personal and professional development for your talent.

Or a programme that can be funded through the apprenticeship levy?  The Professional Apprenticeship Programme offers a fast-track leadership development opportunity for the future leaders of your business, supporting your early-in-career talent through to senior managers.

To meet this challenge and support these pioneers, we’re working on a suite of brand new, blended, virtual and face-to-face programmes for your emerging talent, graduates and apprentices. Each one can be tailored to respond to the unique needs of your organisation.

Get the lowdown on all our solutions.

Virtually ready

Virtually ready

When life gives you lemons, get on and do the stuff you were going to do any way, but quicker.

Not the catchiest or coherent proverb but it’s certainly our thinking at Ivy House right now when it comes to delivering our programmes virtually.

We’re not talking about online learning where you simply work through a set of materials and finish with a certificate to add to your portfolio. We’re talking about a virtual way of delivering the game-changing life and leadership skills development, executive-level coaching and personalised training, guidance and ongoing support that Ivy House is known for.

And we’ve done it bloody quickly. All our existing programmes are now available as virtual solutions, either in part or in full, so that organisations can give their emerging talent the critical skills needed right now to get through this extraordinary time. It’s something that we’ve been looking at behind the scenes but in true disruptive style, we’ve been given the starting pistol to accelerate our progress.

The truth is, as every individual, organisation and education provider will be pioneers of a completely different world in the months and years to come. We will all have to continue to adapt, adjust and be brave enough to leave behind the old ways of thinking and doing. More than ever we’re going to need incredible leaders.

To meet this challenge and support these pioneers, we’re working on a suite of brand new, blended, virtual and face-to-face programmes for your emerging talent, graduates and apprentices. Each one can be tailored to respond to the unique needs of your organisation.

Although we’re virtually ready (pun intended) we’d love a conversation with forward-thinking HR, Talent and L&D leaders to share ideas.

Ivy House in the news

Ivy House in the news

If you’ve been avoiding the news lately (because, let’s face it, it can get a bit depressing) you might have missed some great coverage of Ivy House!

City AM

Ivy House founder, Elke Edwards, talks about taking leadership development on a new path with Ivy House – one that doesn’t wait until it’s too late

The Telegraph

5,000 student places have been released for 2020-21 on The Ivy House Award, our pioneering leadership programme for sixth formers.

Independent Education Today

We worked closely with Canford Head Teacher and innovator Ben Vessey to create The Ivy House Award.

Like what you read? Get in touch with us to find out how we could support you and your emerging talent.

Future leader challenges
need you to act now

Future leader challenges
need you to act now

We gathered a group of the most experienced and forward-thinking HR and Talent Directors to discuss their challenges around developing future leaders. Their industries are diverse, and their challenges vary, but one concern is shared. If you don’t tackle the issue in advance, you will be left with a huge leader-shaped hole and no time to fill it.

You can’t wait for the perfect plan to develop your emerging leaders, or until the senior leaders are all engaged… you just have to start. We heard from Bernadette Bruton, Global Talent and Organisational Development Director at Aviva; Elaine Vaile, Group Head of Leadership and Organisational capability at RBS; Alex Holland, Vice President of Talent and Development at RS Components and Janet Tidmarsh, Head of Leadership and Development at Sainsbury’s.

Our guests heard great insight into how these women started to change the future of their companies by tackling the difficult issues and planning a new way forward all the while moving their organisations from a state of ‘knowing’ about the problem to ‘doing’ something about it.  What they all made very clear is that, as talent leads, it is essential not to get bogged down the institutional prevaricating that characterises so many organisations and just get started. The very act of putting your plan in place will, in itself, be a catalyst for change. 

First you need to find your senior leaders who ARE interested in supporting and developing emerging leaders and kick something off. Reverse mentoring, an emerging talent programme, a shadowing programme. Just get started.

At Ivy House we work with clients to support their unique needs and develop programmes to support and develop the individuals. Their plans are not always fully formed when we start talking. But what we notice is that even those who start with just a few of their high potentials and create something for them, very quickly seem to attract support from areas where they previously had no traction.

Our panel members were also in union when it came to individual approaches. You can’t force one type of development programme on every colleague. By connecting forward thinking leaders with emerging talent, you will inject your organisation with a new energy. By giving them the kind of development that inspires them and makes them feel valued, you will kick something off. 

Our panel today talked about the great work they are doing, the progress they are making and the challenges they still face.  So don’t think all large companies have it all sorted – they don’t. Don’t think there is a silver bullet – there isn’t. But there is a very real threat… if you are not feeding your talent pipeline and preparing them for the future, you are in danger… so just start.

The Ivy House mentor experience

The Ivy House mentor experience

The Ivy House mentors play a fundamental role in the development of the next generation of leaders. Drawing upon their experience and expertise, they provide 1:1 guidance and support to our programme delegates. It is a hugely rewarding experience for everyone involved.

Spinny Witter, who heads up the mentor programme, says, “I have had the extraordinary pleasure of seeing first-hand the impact our mentors make. The feedback we get from our delegates is fantastic. They really appreciate the opportunity to connect to senior people from a range of forward-looking organisations. Both sides find it a truly inspiring process.”

We’re always delighted to hear from people who want to get involved. We look for senior leaders who believe passionately in giving the next generation the support they need to really fulfil their potential. Aside from the mentoring itself, our mentors have the opportunity to join Ivy House events and network with other senior leaders from a diverse range of backgrounds and experience.

Here is what some of our current mentors have to say:

“There is nothing better than seeing a person exceed their own hopes and expectations and it is humbling to be able to provide a bit of support on their journey. I probably learn more from my mentees than they do from me.”
Kate Griffiths-Lambert, Charles Stanley

“I supported one of my recent mentees as they applied for and got their dream job and I could not have been more proud!”
Sarah Anderson, Gordon Ramsay Restaurants

“Mentoring is a two-way street. We listen, we share experiences, we guide but we also learn from young professionals at the same time. Any situation where both parties contribute to the process of improved leadership in companies benefits society as a whole.”
Patrick Dewilde, Citigroup

“It’s invigorating to work with such talented, enthusiastic, and humble new leaders. Of course, it’s nice to feel I’m doing something positive for someone else but the thing I value the most is how much I’ve learnt from the mentees I worked with and how much I have personally grown through reflecting on my own experiences. Highly recommended.”
Chris Mitchell, Office for National Statistics

The word from Aviva

The word from Aviva

Ivy House has had the extraordinary pleasure of working with Aviva to develop their emerging leaders both on The Ivy House Programme and through our in house offering. We caught up with Bernadette Bruton, their Global Talent and Organisational Development Director, to hear more about her experience.

An exciting and determined group of emerging leaders at Aviva have come together with other delegates from a diverse range of forward-thinking companies for a transformational development experience.

“When we went out to the market to source a partner for our Emerging Leader Programme the team at Ivy House were streets above the others; they absolutely love what they do, they know intimately the audience they are trying to attract and develop and they brought an energy and a passion into the room that completely separated them from the rest.

Ivy House have built an innovative programme that truly responds to the changing needs of the next generation and future leader landscape, they are a valued partner in our business.”

Aviva engaged Ivy House to deliver their Global Emerging Leader Programme. It’s been an incredible journey. The 100% NPS score says all you need to know about the energy that was in the room.

“When we made the decision to partner with Ivy House for our in-house Global Emerging Leader Programme we were delighted that our Alumni delegates became part of our marketing campaign. They are telling the stories, bringing back their learning and applying it in our world; they are being recognised for the changes and impact they have made. Essentially, we have our own ‘future leader’ ambassadors right across the business – and that’s working really well.”

We also asked Aviva what they thought about The Award for schools and the impact they believe that will have.

“We’ve done a lot of research about the workforce of the future. Overwhelmingly it’s telling us that purpose and a feeling of contribution are core needs of the next generation; developing that in school rather than when you’re 30 at work makes perfect sense.

I believe in what Ivy House are trying to do, driving a depth of self-knowledge and building self-leadership skills in young adults, before they move into the world of work will pay dividends.
Understanding inner traits and connecting with purpose, not just business purpose but their own purpose, will undoubtedly lead to healthier individuals and more successful lives.”

Ivy House interviews… Eliza Filby, Generations Expert

Ivy House interviews… Eliza Filby, Generations Expert

Eliza is an historian, lecturer and corporate advisor on the evolution of generations and how people’s values and behaviours are changing and the implications for work, politics, consumption, society and economics.

Q: Professional development of staff who then leave wastes time and resources. Given the Millennial and Gen Z preference for diverse experiences, are employers fighting a losing battle to retain staff?

A: This pinpoints the major challenge companies have in thinking they have got to retain their talent over a substantial period of their working life. For a Millennial to do the same thing for longer than 8 years is seen by them as a failure. They want diversity of experiences. The trend is not just towards diversity within a career but multiple careers.

A great analogy here is TV channels; Baby Boomers grew up with 3 terrestrial channels, whereas Millennials and Gen Z’s have had the ability to create their own channel. This reflects how they see their careers. Companies will struggle to keep this generation of talent. But there are certainly things they can do to stop them leaving.
Developing a training programme that doesn’t just stop after the graduate programme is important. Companies need to offer a working environment and training that is bespoke for the individual to flourish in the organisation.

Supporting them working in different locations; travel to Millennials is what the company car was to baby boomers. There is more status attached to going to work in New York for six months than a pay rise.

I knew a Millennial employee who worked in a large telecommunications firm for eight years with 10 different jobs across departments. She was given diversity of experience, roles and skills but then wanted to leave sector altogether. She liked the company and appreciated the lengths they had gone to, but she wanted to work in a different country, in a different sector: tech not communications. I don’t think she is unusual for her generation.

Q: What do companies need to think about to attract both Millennials and Gen Z’s to an organisation as they are so different?

Firstly, it’s important to know the difference. Millennials are not young anymore. They have caring responsibilities; over 50% are already parents and many more will need to care for their parents. Respecting and understanding their care and responsibilities is important. They want an employer who is inclusive; not just about shared parental leave but in a family-friendly environment with a flexible learning and development culture. Also, even though they are in their mid-20s to mid-30s, they don’t want to stop learning.

To attract Gen Z’s, you really need to talk their language and reach out to them via their mediums which is primarily video. They are also a politically switched on activist generation and see employment as a two-way contract.

As an employer, you really need to ask are your values aligned with theirs. Gen Z are savvy and sophisticated and won’t buy into false advertising in any way. The interview process needs to shift from not what employee can bring to company but to a dialogue and 2-way assessment as to whether the fit is right.
They are the most ethnically diverse, gender diverse and politically diverse generation there has ever been.

Employers can also retain them for longer by enabling them to be an entrepreneur within the business. Let them be successful disruptors within your business.

Q: Can it be ok for people to leave? If companies invest in alumni networks might staff return later having learned and grown even more?

A: Yes, there are some brilliant programs out there where staff are supported as they leave and then come back with more information and experience. The mentoring programme is geared towards getting you out if that is right for the individual. Which is fascinating. It’s like parenting; push them out of the house for them to flourish and then they will come back as a better version!

If you try to restrain them in to the corporate straitjacket you will lose them before you need to. There is something to be said for a very different form of leadership and management which focuses on the person as an individual and what they are interested in.

This is a natural consequence of a transactional economy. Nothing is forever. Jobs are not for life. My mum worked for John Lewis for 55 years. I’ve had three careers before I’m 40.

Q: Do differences in generations apply across cultures and countries?

A: There is a major difference between east and west. In India and China, the Millennials are like baby boomers in the west. They want stability, life insurance, savings, assets and to follow the path of standards and respectability as baby boomers did in their 20s and 30s.

Gen Z’s are much more similar around the globe than previous generations were. Technology has allowed common touchpoints such as downloading Ariana Grande or following influencers. There is a globalised youth culture which Millennials didn’t have. Travel and international study has changed.

Q: How can company leaders communicate with different generations in an accessible way?

A: There are four generations in the workplace for the first time. There needs to be generational understanding not just generalisations.

This means truly understand what they are influenced by. It is a reciprocal two-way dialogue. Baby boomers are still clinging on to their traditional ways. But we’re moving beyond the lanyard years and a silo-driven culture. We’ve gone from a generation who wants to be siloed to a generation who wants to create.
Gen Z’s can’t understand why you pick up the phone and can’t just email or why everyone sits in formal hierarchal structures.

Understanding must happen first. Then skill swap. Reverse mentoring is also important. You can also add Millennials to the board. Encouraging generational diversity can only be a good thing.