Strive Success – September 2018

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Strive Training is launching its vocational Level 2 Warehousing and Storage course in Tottenham, following the course’s success in Croydon.

Tottenham’s course is backed by Orridge, a multinational stocktaking company working across UK. The company will host a group assessment for participating learners, who will also benefit from a half-day experience where learners will have a chance to practically learn about the company’s processes and culture, while gaining essential practise using their warehousing equipment.

Orridge have a number of Stock Counter vacancies available. Suitable learners from the cohort will be interviewed, with successful applicants even having their first shift organised before the completion of the two-week, NCFE-accredited course.

Strive Training’s CEO, Jonny Phillips, believes employer-links are key to effective Job Outcomes. “Partnering with quality employers enables us to provide a new level of support to JCP advisors. Not only can we work with them to provider learners with accreditations, skills, confidence and motivation – but also sustainable employment.”

The course runs Monday August 28th to Friday 7th September, 9.30am – 4.30pm.




At the invitation of Croydon Council, Strive Training successfully delivered the innovative ‘All About Me’ retail skills program in the Whitgift Centre for the benefit of local residents with disabilities.

Students spent the mornings in a ‘pop up’ classroom before spending the afternoons engaged in real-life work experience with retail partners based in the centre.


Michelle Scott, Croydon Council’s Employment Support Officer, commented that the innovative project was part of the Council’s plans to create opportunities for all local residents. “We want to support people’s ability to get the qualification, practical skills, confidence and all important work-experience they need to get into sustainable employment.”

Participants were delighted with the program’s structure. “To have everything under one roof, in a retail setting, was just perfect. The council, Strive, the employers…everyone was just amazing. For the first time I can say that I’m ready for work!”

Strive Training Croydon Outreach Liaison, Gary Grant, believed that the program’s success is an example of client-focus engagement. “Croydon Council recognise that learners want to see a real path of opportunity, and that’s what we’re all about at Strive. It’s been a perfect match, and we look forward to growing this inspiring initiative.”



Strive Success: Robert Battie


Hi Robert! So how did you first hear about Strive Training?

Well, the first person to tell me about Strive Training was Honorine, my work agent at Purley Job Centre.

How did you feel when a training course was suggested for you?

My confidence at the time was very low, so I wasn’t sure about doing a course that could. Even when I eventually plucked up the courage to attend a course, I still felt anxious.

But I knew I had made the right decision as soon as I  walked into the centre. Everyone, from the reception team to the trainers, made me feel at home. I felt my confidence coming back.


What courses did you complete at Strive?

I would go onto to complete English, Maths and IT courses, as well as the Employability course. I can honestly say I learnt more at Strive than I did at school.

Wow! So what’s next for you?

I am now starting a warehouse course – and with Ananta’s encouragement, I will apply for a job at John Lewis partnership – which is part of the course.

We hear you were quite a personality at the centre!

I had the best time with the team. Honestly, I would like to say a big thank you to June, Prince, Elena, Ananta and the wonderful Maria Theodorou.

The whole experience with Strive Training has been unbelievable. They has helped progress in education and made it fun. And I made some good friends along the way!

I would 100% recommend Strive Training to others I never knew they was so many good people out there. It feels strange to say, but I’m very excited for what the future may hold.



Fleur-Elise Williams, Resourcing Advisor:

Over the past two months Dunelm have worked alongside Strive to attract some great candidates for our store vacancies across London.

In all of the Strive Training centres that we have visited, they have all been the most welcoming and friendly staff and customers. This not only reflects on how well they work but also in their strong pools of candidates that they work with. I always like to give a good description of our job roles and what we are looking for in our stores, which in return Strive absorb and provide us the most suitable job ready candidates.

The calibre of candidates is excellent and the preparation Strive put in with the candidates who are put forward to our interview days makes them stand out. The knowledge of our brand is key, and this is known by Strive and is delivered by them as well.

Dunelm looks forward to working with Strive much more in 2018 in as many stores as possible.




Hi Jamara – so tell us, how did you find yourself at Strive Training?

I came across Strive through the Croydon Job Centre, who referred me to the Warehousing course attached to Argos.

That’s great! And you’re started straight after the course finished?

Yeah! I started at Dunelm on the Monday, having just finished my course on Friday – I never thought this would happen to me!

How was the experience?

My experience was very good, because they helped and supported me with applying for the jobs both at Argos and Dunelm – and I was offered both jobs!

What does having a job mean to you?

Getting a job means everything to me. I have been out of work for over five years, and this means I can become more independent and not have to rely on other people. I have learnt a lot and built my confidence and professionalism in a working environment.

Infact, I landed myself with two jobs in the space of the two week course. It’s amazing.

We’re so excited for you!

Strive Training have made a real a difference by helping me and others to getting a job. I think the relationships you have built with the employers so they are able to fast track you to interview is amazing. I would highly recommend anyone who needs help and support in finding work to come to Strive Training, it changed my life!



Joanne White, Partnership Manager, Harrow JCP:

Harrow Jobcentre have had the pleasure of working with Strive Training for the last four years.

We have an excellent working relationship and they have always listened and delivered programmes to suit our customer needs in moving them closer to the labour market.

They have a strong understating of the provision gaps and needs of our customers within the borough of

Harrow and neighbouring boroughs which include Hillingdon and Brent.

Even though Harrow has two large Colleges, Harrow and Stanmore, the preferred choice of JCP staff lies with Strive Training. Strive have a presence in Harrow Jobcentre. Sylvia attends every Tuesday and Thursday. Sylvia has built strong working relationships with all work coaches.

Sylvia is very professional, courteous to both staff and customers and is a pleasure to work with.

We recently have had Olga from Strive Training join us in Harrow Jobcentre on a daily basis. We identified that with UCFS there were many customers who have little or no IT skills. Olga supports our customers to complete their on line UCFS applications and advises customers on training provisions to support them going forward. Again Olga is professional, knowledgeable and is a pleasure to work with.

Sylvia and Olga have made a huge difference to our customers, they have helped turn their lives around and supported them through their journey.

It is a pleasure to work with Strive Training and hope that we continue to do so in the future.


What’s your name and position?

I’m Ananta Patel –  Strive Training’s Business Relationship Manager.

My job is to build, nurture and sustain relationships across our business, this includes partners and stakeholders as well as employers that we work with across our centres.

I would like to create a portfolio of employers to work with that support Strive’s delivery so we can support those who are long term unemployed back into work and deliver the best service to our partners and stakeholders.


Tell us about your professional background.

I started in Retail as a Sales Assistant at the age of 16. I then went off to do my degree at Loughborough in Business Enterprise.

Once graduated, I went back to Retail for the interim, whilst seeking the ultimate Graduate job! This didn’t happen so I stayed in Retail and was fortunate enough to be given the chance to work my way up to a Recruitment & Training Manager for WHSmith LTD at Heathrow Airport. I did this for 5 years and then started with a publishing company as a HR Manager.

I took a long career break to look after my daughters (which I must say was the best job!) and then landed in the Training sector as a Recruitment & Business Manager which then led to working for LearnDirect and now Strive Training.

What does a typical day look like for you and what are you currently working on?

A typical day is arranging and attending meetings with existing and prospective referral partners, working with employers on their recruitment plans and where possible understand their business and recruitment needs. I’m also very busy promoting any live job opportunities across our centers and referral partners as well as screening and selecting the right candidates. I’m a big believer in proactively attending events and networking meetings. And of course, developing and supporting our amazing outreach team is a big priority.

What are your biggest professional challenges?

Definitely changing the mindset of some of our learners – “it’s not what you can’t do… it’s what you can do.”

What do you think has changed in the employment sector over the past two years?

The clear focus on job outcomes, which I think is a very positive development for all of us.

I’d also say the increased recognition of the importance of training and developing; there are more people who are long term unemployed with barriers that prevent them from gaining employment and therefore need a lot more support in there job search and training.

Favourite movie of all time?

The Wizard of Oz!

…and chocolate?

Oh that’s an easy one – Snickers!

Which London attraction would you take an out-of-town friend to visit?

To all the fabulous museums and galleries in London, followed by an evening drink at the Shard – spectacular!

What do you want to focus on the most over the next six months?


In the last 4 months, Strive Training has facilitated 65 job interviews and 24 job outcomes with the following companies:

  • Waitrose

  • Argos

  • Costco

  • Eleanor Homecare

  • Lifeways

  • Dunelm

  • Primark


Talk with a Trainer: Maria Theodorou (Employability Course)

You’ve been an Employability trainer for about six years now, training thousands of people! You seem to have the same zest for it as the day you started with us. How’s that possible?

I honestly believe my motivation comes from helping learners of all possible levels, backgrounds, cultures and learning needs regain confidence and self esteem. For me, it’s all about identifying the range of skills, abilities and qualities they never realised they had.

It’s a tremendous feeling to help learners overcome barriers and limitations while exploring different jobs they can and would like to do. I

In essence, I’m lucky to be able to help people take the first steps to get from where they are now to where they want to be.


Students always seem so motivated after your courses, no matter their background. How do you do it?

I don’t think they realise it but they are the key contributors! I try to create a safe, comfortable and stimulating learning environment where everyone is valued and their input and interaction beneficial. Peer learning builds confidence.

They have a genuine opportunity to reflect what they have of value and assess the way forward – exploring different realistic job/training options. That is truly universal!

Looking back on the years, can you give us a sample of success stories stick that stick out in your memory?

Goodness where do I start!

I remember this wonderful lady who was tragically suddenly widowed. She had four children and had never worked. When I asked what skills she felt she had she responded “none really, I’ve only ever been a parent.” So not only did she recognise and appreciate useful workplace skills she had but had enough confidence to apply – and get – a part time job in retail, which was ideal for her.

Another was a a man in his late 30s, who due to severe depression walked out of his job one day – and never left his house for 3 years. He finally ventured out but was prone to panic attacks.

On day one of the course, he said that he didn’t think he would be able to see the week through. He did, made good friends, and was able to create a very good CV. He also understood that the 3.5 year gap did not have to go against him.

What do you think makes Strive’s employability course so different to others out there?

Having worked for a number of different providers, the first thing that stands out for me is that Strive so truly care about the learners and what real value they can get of from the courses.

And you know, it’s not only whilst they’re on the course but also post-course. They are able to contact Strive and the Tutors for further support with job applications, CVs, Cover Letters and so on.

Strive Training ensure that these values and integrity is mirrored in the Tutors they invite to join the team.

And of course, the digital EmployabilityPlus platform is amazing – it makes things so straightforward for learners to create, edit, manage and send their CVs – and apply for jobs. And learners have lifetime access to it!

Can you tell us a little bit more about Strive’s EmployabilityPlus digital CV platform. What can students do with it?

The worst feeling is staring at a blank Word doc when you start to create a CV. No more! EmployabilityPlus makes things so straightforward for learners to have a great looking CV – and more. The tools includes eye-catching templates, the ability uploading certificates, work samples, videos, and more. Many learners feel quite proud with this and it helps to build confidence.

Learners can send their digital CV via the platform, and track it to see if it’s been opened by the recipient. They can also download them as Word or PDF docs.

There are tens of thousands of live jobs posted on the platform as well.

Students seem to really enjoy the skills diagnostic they start off with. What’s this tool about, and why is it included?

The skills diagnostic provides learners with a lost of jobs that they may wish to consider based on their unique personality, interests, education levels and transferable skills. It is a huge boost and help for many learners as it realistically helps them to explore jobs they had not thought of before and which could be viable for them to apply. Equally for those who know what career they want but unsure how to pursue because don’t have the qualifications they think they may need. It’s confidence boosting because they have a lot of control over their choices and how the tool is used.

How do less “digitally confident” students react to the digital innovations the course offers?

Initially some “less digitally confident” learners feel a little insecure about use the digital systems but once they get going with support and encouragement their confidence is significantly boosted because they can follow the steps intuitively and practically. It’s about helping them to overcome fear of using digital systems – which is so important in both their professional and personal lives.


Strive Training awarded coveted Matrix Quality Standard – again


The Matrix quality standard has once again provide full accreditation to Strive Training.

The Matrix Standard is a unique quality standard for organisations to assess and measure their advice and support services, which ultimately supports individuals in their choice of career, learning, work and life goals.

Educational organisations who receive the Matrix standard are successfully assessed on for key areas:

  1. Leadership and management
  2. Resources
  3. Service delivery
  4. Continuous quality improvement

John Stapleton, Head of Quality, says that the Matrix quality standard is an important achievement for the organisation. “Our partners and learners rightfully expect the highest levels of quality from us. As such, we must ensure that each step of the the student journey is thoroughly examined – and not just be our internal quality team, but by impartial external quality professionals. I’m delighted that were very pleased with what they saw at Strive.”


Thanks Strive

Dear Strive Training,

In a fortnight, I will begin work as an Editor at a big publishing company called Thomson Reuters in Canary Wharf….I am really pleased to have found some new work at long last and I hope to gain a bit of valuable experience with a good company…I must thank you as I definitely believe that your course helped me to get the job….Thomson Reuters were the first employer to see my modern digital CV. At my interview with the company last week, I was also asked a lot of the same questions that we practised during the employability course.

Above all, you really boosted my self-confidence and this meant that I gave a much better interview performance than would have previously been possible….

Azmina G


To Strive Training,

…Within 24 hrs after submitting my CV from the

Employability course I got my first call for an interviewer….Within a week, I was made an oer to work with a company called TEW Plus/LB Foster ltd…I have been recommending the Strive Training to anyone who needs help getting back to work…

Liome T