26 Aug Many of you may not know this
Many of you may not know this, but the idea for Hope Place came to me early 2008 while I was on a career break from my role as a Senior HR Advisor home-schooling our teenage son after a permanent exclusion. As I learned more about social exclusion, I came across a report called, Priority Review: Exclusion of Black Pupils “Getting it. Getting it right” (September 2006). One sentence in that report from Martin Narey, Director General of HM Prison Service (2001) struck me profoundly:
“The 13,000 young people excluded from school each year might as well be given a date by which to join the prison service sometime later down the line.”
One day in early 2008, I thought to myself, we had the resources to help ourselves as a family, but what about other people who didn’t? What about those who have been excluded and, we’re now in the forties and fifties? Then, a God idea – what if I was able to offer training and development to the community to the same high quality as delivered in the workplace? Instantly, I knew it would be called Hope Place.
I started in 2011, offering free workshops to parents focusing on self-esteem and, confidence. Even then, I thought Hope Place would concentrate solely on training and development but, when I left my role in 2014, Hope Place moved into HR contracting and consulting with organisations.
In line with the theme of Hope, I wrote and launched my first product range, inspirational quotes in 2015 called, ‘Encouraging You to Be Your Best.’
In 2016, I designed my second and third product range, ‘The Mum Range’ and, ‘The Dad Range.’ My sister joined the business in 2017. Despite those achievements, I realised I had moved away from the purpose of Hope Place.
In early 2017, however, I was about to learn that social exclusion isn’t always as evident as school exclusion, low educational attainment, unemployment, or mental illness.
While working with a client, I was invited to attend an event for Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Staff as part of the organisation’s response to addressing inequalities. Honestly, I have never had any interest in these types of events. But, partway through I slipped in and sat at the back. I wish I had attended from the start. The speaker, who was of African origin shared her inspiring experience of overcoming inequalities with grace. But what really got my attention were the backs of the participants, it was as though they had the word DEFEAT written across their backs. I realised then that you can be employed and socially excluded.
Several weeks later, at a development event, the HR Director (of the same organisation), said, we know that BME staff are:
* less likely to be recruited
* less likely to be promoted
* more likely to be disciplined
I thought, at least he has the guts to admit it what others skirt around.
A year or so after the event, I increasingly found myself advising individuals on how to navigate employment processes. Most were unaware of what their employers’ policies said and how to make the necessary representations, but, their way would have been so much easier if they had known.
In response, we rebranded our service ‘Helping you become HR wise.’ We launched a new blog series on 1 September 2018 called ‘If you don’t know, get to know.’ to give people the knowledge and skills to navigate employment processes with confidence.
Undoubtedly, HR skills, paired with education and, empowerment are powerful combatants to social exclusion, and our mission is to develop resources to educate, empower and equip people to become HR-wise.
© Dawn H Jones
Updated 14 September 2020