At Venn Group, we celebrate and support the careers of our employees along with their interests and passions. #peopleonpurpose defines this celebration, our teams work with collective intent and individuals are encouraged to explore their own purpose both within and beyond the office. It’s the combination and recognition of these differences that creates our effective and market leading teams.
James Whitehouse, the first of our employees to be recognised in our people on purpose series combines his recruitment career with roles as a mentor and a scout.
Before joining Venn Group in 2017 James was a secondary-school teacher for several years. Now an experienced recruiter specialising in Academic and Education Strategy roles, James recognises the particular skills teaching helped him to develop.
‘A good teacher will adapt their schemes of work to suit the different abilities present within the classroom, this is invaluable in preparing candidates for their interviews. I can adapt how I communicate and the level and type of preparation I deliver. Also managing expectations is a key transferable skill. The current market is competitive and the talent pool for niche roles is small; it can literally be a handful of people. It’s managing expectations to say this is what’s available, so how can we change or adapt the requirement? I had to do that a lot on parents’ evenings and with the children to help them value individual effort and ability, therefore a C needed to be understood as a great result for a child who is working their hardest.’
It is within Venn Group’s Empowering Employment initiative that James has been able to combine his teaching and recruitment skills to bridge a gap he felt wrongly existed when he left higher education. ‘When I graduated, it felt like I was told, “Go now, you’re not our responsibility”. There was a lack of people that could help with the process of entering the working world, to advise on how to approach an employer, how to navigate your job search and what to expect’. James approached a Birmingham City University with our programme, and mentoring was agreed as the best way to bring employability skills to their pupils.
Mentoring for James is highly rewarding, but it also comes with its own set of challenges and it’s been helpful for him to draw on his teaching experience. ‘It’s difficult trying to get students to do things that aren’t directly attached to their studies. Demonstrating the benefit it will give them is the key. The instant gratification they have from their social life doesn’t translate into acquiring a job; it’s a lot of rejection. So that’s something I’ve tried to embed into the sessions I’ve had with the mentees: resilience and getting used to rejection.’
Not satisfied with just the one outlet for his skills, James has also used his experience in teaching and recruitment to get involved in scouting for Aston Villa. ‘The networking and business development skills I have developed at Venn Group helped me massively with knowing who to speak to, at what time, and what to say. Scouting involves watching under 7-12's football, creating relationships with coaches and teams and when I see a young person with the ability, I can support them towards an Academy trial. I love being able to work for the club I support and be in a position where I could potentially change a young person’s life.’
Teaching, mentoring and scouting have the common goal of developing people; working alongside others to encourage them in achieving their potential. Development is at the heart of recruitment, and the support James provides people in these three roles brings insight to his role as a recruiter.
We are proud of the work James does and the impact his skills have; exemplifying why our recruiters are more than just recruiters #peopleonpurpose.