GRoW Progrmme’s Lauren Secures a College Job!

Lauren Crawford started the GRoW Programme in June and begins her new career in a Special Needs College in September.
Lauren said “I really didn’t know what to expect when I attended my first GRoW session.  I was a bit apprehensive but I needn’t have worried, it was great!  It was really empowering and I made lots of new friends.  By the second session my confidence had grown so much as I had learned new interview skills and the environment was so positive.
“I started applying for jobs straight away; jobs I probably never would have applied for in the past but I just felt ‘why not give it a go?’  In no time at all I was offered an interview for a great job as a Teaching Assistant at my local college working with people with additional needs and autism.  Even though I hadn’t any direct experience of working with people with special needs I really felt that the experience I had gained in the past in caring roles had taught me a great deal about person-centred approaches and the interview skills I had picked up gave me the courage to go for it.
“It was while I was at a GRoW Programme event that Liz Sewell was running for mums and kids that I received the phone call I was waiting for.  I was over the moon when I was told the news that I had got the job, in fact I was so overwhelmed I started crying!  Liz was so excited as she knew how important it was for me.  She’d been encouraging me all the way, even giving me advice on the outfit I wore to the interview.
“I was literally someone who suffered from anxiety and low confidence but the GRoW Programme has been such a positive experience for me.  I will be receiving lots of training and a full induction programme when I start my new job in September and I can’t wait to start.

‘My Child has ASD and I Want to Work’ Programme A Great Success


Hi my name is Chantelle and i’m running the programme ‘My child has ASD and I want to work‘ with Liz Sewell to help parents find the key issues in getting back to work when you have a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The June programme was a great success and helped us understand the main issues facing parents who want to work and have children with additional needs. Childcare was top of the list as parents reported that there are not enough qualified special needs childminders and a child with ASD can have many needs that a childminder would need to cater to. This can really limit parents from working at all or working certain hours.

Parents also spoke about their children’s schools constantly calling them when their child is unsettled at school. This can happen everyday or a few times a week, which will affect that parent to secure a long term part-time or full-time job.

Studies have also shown that:

Autism also an issue that often affects your ability to earn money. Only 11% of parents with autistic children are able to work full-time, and 70% of parents say that they don’t have enough support to be able to work as much as they need to.

We are really looking forward to our next ASD sessions which will start in September.  If you think you may be interested in joining us or have any questions you can contact me at

GRoW customer Harpreet finds work with Vision Express

Harpeet wanted a job but had been out of the workplace for 8 years and needed help to get started.  She met an Adviser from Ealing Council who was running a job fair at her daughter’s school and they referred her to the GRoW Programme run by Liz Sewell at Belina Consulting and is funded by the European Social Fund.

Harpreet said “I had been out of a job for 8 years and I didn’t know where to start.  I had worked in retail in the past but everything had changed. Suddenly everything was online and I just didn’t know where to start.

“When I had my first meeting with Liz I didn’t really know what type of job I would be able to apply for and I thought it would be difficult to find work as I had been out of the workplace for quite some time. The GRoW Programme really helped me with my confidence at that time and helped me see that I should raise my expectations and look for work where I could learn more and progress.  Liz showed me how to apply for jobs online and explained the types of jobs that would be most suitable for me. As soon as I got home I applied for two jobs.”

The GRoW Programme held a CV Workshop that Harpreet was invited to attend but she was unable to travel and so Belina’s Senior Facilitator, Mercedes Grant, visited Harpreet at her home instead.  “Mercedes came all the way to Ealing to work with me and go through all the points on my CV. She amended parts of my cv to better suit the jobs I was interested in applying for and she gave me training on how to apply online. She really helped with my motivation and confidence too and told me to keep on trying!  It gave me the kickstart I needed to get on with finding the right job and it was great to have her there for support”.

Harpreet was soon offered a job at Primark and was over the moon “I was in Tesco when they rang me and I was so pleased, I called Liz and she gave me so much positive confidence”.  Soon afterwards Liz sent some more suitable job vacancies through to Harpreet that offered more career prospects. “Even though I was pleased to be working at Primark I just thought ‘why not?’  I applied for a job as an Optical Assistant at Vision Express and soon afterwards received a call to say I had been offered an interview.  I’ve now been working there for 2 weeks and I’m really enjoying it.  I’m working 31 hours a week and It offers lots of potential for me to grow and move forward as they are going to give me full training.  My daughter and my husband are so proud of me and my husband even says he is so pleased with the advice Liz has given me. I can call her any time for advice and it’s been a really good experience”.

Belina Consulting Director Liz Sewell said “I am delighted that we were able to help Harpreet successfully find not one job, but two jobs and that she gained so much confidence through our GRoW programme. I wish her every success in her new role and for whatever she looks to achieve in the future.

Multi-tasking women, the GRoW Programme, and how we make behavioural insights work

Liz Sewell
Director GRoW Programme


The Behavioural Insights Team (BIT)  are well known for their evidence based projects that show how behavioural insights can boost engagement, job search and resilience; so I was really excited to be asked by ERSA to respond to their work following a fascinating presentation from Rony Hacohen of the Team at ERSA’s Communications Policy and Insights Network

Belina’s programmes have always used behavioural insights as a base. The academic studies that inform our work are well known: Daniel Kahneman’s Fast and Slow thinking; Nudge Theory; Maslow‘s Hierarchy of Need,  Philip Zimbardo’s work on time; Transactional Analysis; and Honey and Mumford’s learning styles. Using this research, our approach is a group programme called GRoW – Get Ready for Work  – that has training techniques that challenge an individual’s current thinking and behaviour.

Value Attachment

OctomumOne insight, Value Attachment,  has been used in America to support ethnic minorities to improve their test scores. The theory behind this is that people can Improve their outcomes if they have an opportunity to consider positive attributes about themselves before they undertake a task. Conversely, negative connotations have a negative influence. An example is when Asian women did a series of maths tests.  In one of the sessions there was a discussion before the test  of the perception  that women tend to be worse at maths. In the second test there was a discussion on how Asian people were often considered to be good at maths. In the tests, which were of the same standard, the women did better in the second test; after a discussion that indicated they would be more likely to be better at maths.

We wanted to look at how we could adopt this approach for our parents.  We work with women who initially feel that they have little to offer and that employers are not interested in them. We want to challenge that.
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The first activity is to ask the mothers to make a list of all the things that mothers do. This list usually starts with cooking, cleaning, caring and bathing.  It often then moves on to helping with homework and taking children to school before developing into transferable skills like driving, negotiating and, sometimes even, peacekeeping. The discussions in the groups become more animated and women become more confident and start to talk about the fact that they ‘do it all’ and they support the whole family and that, actually, they are “amazing”.

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Marvellous Multi-tasking Mums

We then ask them  in groups to come up with a poster/advert that sells mothers to employers and present it to the group. As you can see from the posters here, the women show that they feel positive and empowered and in the presentations they often explain that the employers would be “getting a bargain”. From Octomum. to SuperMum the posters and presentations are a pean to the multitasking skills mothers exude.

At the end of the whole programme, we ask them to reflect on the project – and often the break through moment for them is this session and it gives them the boost they need to start on their way back to work.2009-01-08 14.15.36

Get Ready for Work Training presents GRoW your own business

We are delighted to announce the launch of our new ‘GRow Your Own Business Programme’ which will be running for three Mondays from 11th June at the Hillingdon Women’s Centre with Mercedes Grant as our specialist Tutor.


Mercedes Grant

Mercedes runs her own successful pregnancy massage business. Prior to that she attended a Belina Grow programme in Islington in 2012, with her son then aged three and soon joined Belina as our first employee.  She is an expereinced GRoW trainer. The ‘Grow You Own Business’ Programme will provide practical insight into what it means to run your own business and the benefits it can bring for you and your family.

Monday 11 June 2018
Preparing your Business Plan

Monday 18 June 2018
Promoting your Business

Monday 25 June 2018
Finance – keep it simple

11.00 am – 1.00 pm
Followed by networking lunch

Hillingdon Women’s Centre,
333 Long Lane  UB10 9JU

Book on

x Grow your own business poster.compressed

Belina Jobs Bulletin – Hillingdon

Are you getting it?

Every week Belina publishes a jobs bulletin containing part-time and some full time jobs that will suit women returners in Hillingdon.

Emails come directly to your phone and you can link through to the jobs and usually apply on line.

If you want to get onto the mailing list just fill in the form below



What will be your experience of the #50 Year Career?

By Heather Ette, Marketing Officer, Belina Consulting

Last year Liz Sewell wrote a blog about the #50 Year Career and how the employment landscape has changed, particularly for women.  Young people leaving school this summer are likely to be working for a minimum of fifty years before they are entitled to their pension. Whilst women have traditionally led quite fragmented careers due to long breaks to bring up children, times are a changing and the world of work is very different now to how it was 50 years ago.

This led me to thinking about what the 50 year career actually means and reflecting on what my 70 year old self might look back on in my career. What will be the highlights? Which moments from my career were defining?  What would I do differently if I had the chance?

I guess it starts with education.  Did I really achieve all I was capable of or could I have done more? Should I have tried harder and perhaps looked into Further Education to strengthen what I had already learned?  As a Mother I continuously drum into my children the importance of getting the best education they can so that they can widen the opportunities available to them when they reach a working age. I have to say that when I was at school in the 80’s it seemed less important and the world of work didn’t seem quite as daunting as perhaps it does for young people today.

I had a modest education in a London state school but it served to secure me a job with my local council where I took all the opportunities that were afforded to me.  I began my career in the typing pool at the age of 17 and took every chance I had to hone my skills, taking Evening Classes in Shorthand so that I could apply for a secretarial position as soon as one became available. I was lucky enough to be offered the job of a newly created role that involved providing temporary cover to the Council’s 20 or so secretaries when they were absent. This gave me a thorough understanding and knowledge of every departmental area in the local authority and served me well when I joined the first ever Local Authority Marketing Department in Enfield.

I never looked back from that moment on. Marketing was the career for me and it has served me well over the past 30 years.  I have worked in a range of public and private sector organisations in industries including entertainment, leisure, transport, IT and now employability.  It has provided me with versatility and flexibility and, as technology has advanced, I’ve picked up new skills, adapted the way I work and gained confidence and knowledge with each new role.

The nature of marketing is that it lends itself to flexible working methods and as such, I’ve been able to combine my career with bringing up my family. I chose to work on a self-employed basis when my first child was born so that I had the opportunity to work from home and be there for my children whilst keeping my hand in with work.  As my children have grown, so has my role, working on a freelance basis for a number of clients and increasing the hours I work.

There have been times when I’ve missed the social aspects of work and being able to ‘bounce ideas’ around an office but I’ve kept in touch with all my colleagues from the past and as they’ve become close friends they’re always there when I need some input.

So if I envisage now how I will feel in 20 years’ time and looking back on my 50 year career what will be the stand-out moments?

Certainly I will be grateful that I had the chance to work with some amazing people, travelled the world and challenged myself in many different roles.  But probably the most important aspect will be the fact that I was able to do it and still be a full-time mum too.  It’s not always been easy but I feel it’s not just benefited me personally and financially but it’s been a good life lesson for my children to understand the importance of work and will hopefully set them in good stead for the future too.

The 50 Year Career is now a reality. What do you think your experiences and stand-out moments will be?