Tag Archives: rickter

Building Links in Dublin

Last week saw me in Dublin for a few days through UK Trade and Investment. We have commissioned some work through the British Embassy which coincides with our Marketing Plan to take Rickter into Europe.

L-R Kevin Daley (Director, Northern Lights Music), Ron Ingram (UKTI Market Visit Leader) and Rebecca Wardell (Deputy Director, UKTI)

L-R Kevin Daley (Director, Northern Lights Music), Ron Ingram (UKTI Market Visit Leader) and Rebecca Wardell (Deputy Director, UKTI)

While there I met with The Probation Service and Business in the Community Ireland to share ideas and information and hopefully to give us a foundation to build on in taking Rickter forward. It was very beneficial to discover what is happening in Ireland around Service Provision and Trade and Industry.

I was in Dublin as part of a group from the Newcastle area and in particular with some from The City of Light Foundation, which is the charity arm of Sunderland Football Club. The Foundation has worked with around 75,000 young people to help improve their lives using football and sports activities as its basis. They have worked not only in the UK, but around the globe. This group were doing a sponsored cycle ride to raise awareness and money to continue their excellent work, leaving on Wednesday morning to ride from Dublin to Sunderland, arriving Sunday afternoon.

As part of the programme while in Dublin we also attended a dinner at the Ambassador’s Residence which was very impressive. We were made most welcome by the Deputy Ambassador and had a wonderful meal and opportunity to network.

Rickter’s Two Year European Project Completed

Since August 2009 The Rickter Company has been working with organisations from Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland and Slovakia in an ESF Leonardo Lifelong Learning Partnership Project.

This has now come to an end with only the final dissemination of our work still ongoing.

The project – our first within the Leonardo framework – has been a most worthwhile experience. Nan and I got to grips with the sometimes bizarre quirkiness of Euro-speak, e.g. mobilities, informal and non-formal learning, while loving the opportunity to learn so much about the different approaches to working within vocational training in partner countries, and not least enjoying  the wonderful friendships that have been forged over two years of collaboration.

In fact, so successful have we felt this project to have been, that we are keeping our fingers crossed that by September we shall be embarking on a Transfer of Innovation partnership with our colleagues from Germany, Greece and Italy – the innovation being the Rickter Scale® Process, adapted to be language and culture specific to some of their organisations’ specific client groups. On top of that we have also been invited by our Bulgarian partner to work with them on another ESF exchange project.

ASK Website

So it would seem that 2012 might see a lot more transnational cooperation and development for the company and further indulgence in Bulgarian Mavrud wine (Winston Churchill’s favourite red), German Wurst, Greek Meze and Italian Pasta!

For more information about the actual project work that we have been doing on ‘The assessment and validation of informally and non-formally acquired skills in Vocational Education and Training’, please visit the dedicated website:


New Rickter Videos

Last week we filmed some new Rickter videos around Action Planning and Groupwork.

YouTube Video Channel

Both videos are available to view here

We hope you enjoy these and find them informative. Whilst we may not be about to deliver up the next Tarantino, we’re really embracing this medium as a way of sharing information and demonstrating Rickter products. Work on new footage is already underway – more news soon.

Meanwhile we’d love to hear your feedback, simply click “leave a comment”

Guest Blogger Bernadette Speight discusses her experience of Rickter

Social Enterprise Development Specialist and Social Auditor Bernadette Speight originally became a Rickter Scale® Practitioner back in 2009.

Bernadette recently attended training again with Rick and had this to say:

“I started using Rickter 2 years ago after training in Bradford.

I have been struck by how people feel at ease with the board and are able to make connections between elements of their life which may be holding them back or they fall into a pattern of behaviour. Using the Rickter Scale® has helped me help them to recognise what needs to happen or change and the order of these actions.

I have been inspired by the feeling of motivation that clients have had after using the board and how much information people are able to divulge without embarrassment as the process is non judgemental.

I work with many social enterprises around West Yorkshire and recommend Rickter to everyone as a versatile tool to help people evaluate where they are, monitor their progress and motivate them to continue improving their life how they want or need.”

A whole decade of Rickter

In January 2011, it will be 10 years since the Rickter Company was incorporated.

We have grown and progressed so dramatically over the years that looking back it feels like a whole lifetime ago since we started out. In the beginning our office was a tiny room jokingly referred to as ‘the cupboard’ and Rick manufactured each and every Rickter Scale® in his garage. Now we have a team of people throughout the UK and our Suppliers are producing the boards in their hundreds every week.

balloonsIt hasn’t always been easy, and there has been a lot of hard work along the way, but we are very proud to be here ten years on as we look back at our company history.

We have a truly excellent extended team of dedicated people who make up our company, and our current core team have all worked together for at least half of the past decade.

However none of the above would even have been possible without our loyal customers, who continue to champion Rickter and demonstrate their support. Our heartfelt thanks go out to you all.

There are so many challenges for everyone in the current climate, but our resolve remains firm: to offer flexibility and excellent value for money, coupled with standards of service that are second to none.

We have so many plans; we can hardly wait to start the next decade!

How is your Rickter Scale?

How is your Rickter Scale?
Daniel Cochlin, The Journal. Originally published August 2005

A small plastic board has become one of the most unique and effective ways of encouraging people to improve their lives. Daniel Cochlin found out how.

L-R icNewcastle Daniel Cochlin with Rick Hutchinson

L-R icNewcastle Daniel Cochlin with Rick Hutchinson

In an age where self-help books, lifestyle gurus and feng shui are all the rage, any newfangled product which claims to give people a helping hand in life is often viewed with suspicion. But a North East firm has come up with a new entry on the market which they claim is the best and most unique method of dealing with people’s problems.

The Rickter Scale is a coloured chart with ten categories – including employment, relationships and happiness – each numbered one to ten. Clients are then asked how they grade each topic, and their answers are talked through by experts. The Scale, designed by North due Rick Hutchinson and Keith Stead 13 years ago, allows people to discover their own aims and aspirations without being told what they are. And the model seems to be working. There are now 8500 practitioners in the UK, 78% of Connexions branches use the scale with jobseekers and Keith has just opened a sister company in Australia.

That said, I have to admit to misgivings about baring my soul to a total stranger on personal issues just using a plastic chart.

Rick explained the Rickter Scale’s effectiveness:

“It works because it is people’s own responses which are evaluated and they begin to realise what their own goals are”

This turned out to be true.

Even in a busy Durham café, I found myself staring at the board and opening up to Rick without a hint of embarrassment.

Rick then took me back through the answers and asked if there were times in my life when the numbers were higher or lower – which for almost all there were – and what number I wanted each one to be. Through some more gentle coaxing, I suddenly realised the board had mapped out where I see my life going – and had thrown up some goals I had not realised I was striving for.

Rick told me:

“With a client, I would then ask a series of more detailed questions on the aspects they were concerned about, and then offer support such as offering doctor’s appointments or careers advice. My conclusion about you is that I can see how far you have came in recent years and your values, and how your happiness is affected by factors like work, money and relationships. Money isn’t a huge issue for you – it’s important, but not as much as happiness or friendships – and it seems that humour is a big part of your day to day life and a way of dealing with problems.”

I couldn’t have put it better myself.

Back from Bulgaria

Keith Stead

As part of our work with the European Leonardo Partnership ASK Project, Keith and Nan travelled to Bulgaria for what will be the fourth transnational meeting of the Partnership.

Keith writes following their return:


Weather: generally warm and sunny.
Hotels: fine, though with animal skins on the bedroom floor maybe not the first choice of vegans.
Food and drink: incredibly cheap, very tasty, with more than generous portions.

A melting pot of cultures. And lots to see. Wish you could have been with us!

Nan and I returned home from an excellent few days with our European partners on Sunday evening. My case followed 36 hours later. Clearly it wanted to stay too.

Of course we were there to continue sharing good practice in ‘the assessment of informally and non-formally acquired learning of vocational skills’, which is actually becoming more fascinating the more we delve into the subject and the more we hear what is happening in the other countries. If you want to get a flavour of our Leonardo Project, please have a look at www.lp-ask.org

And finally a piece of fascinating trivia:

Question – What was Sir Winston Churchill’s favourite wine? Answer – a Bulgarian red, made from Mavrud grapes. I brought a bottle home, but may have to go back for more!

Next stop Slovakia. Nazdravye!

Original Rickter Scale

Thought folks might like to see the Original Rickter Scale, thanks to Blue Peter. Compare this to the current board. Bit of a difference!

The very first Rickter Board

The very first Rickter Board

Present day Rickter Board

Present day Rickter Board

What a journey we have had to get it to this stage – I believe we are on version 8. Each version has filled me with excitement. I now wonder what will version ten look like? A prize for your best guess.

Rickter hosts Leonardo Partners in Newcastle

We have just hosted an ESF Leonardo Project meeting in Newcastle.

Our European partners came from Germany, Greece, Bulgaria, Italy and Poland.

Unfortunately the Slovakian delegation were grounded by the volcanic ash cloud.

Leonardo Partners 2010

As well as teaching them a bit of Geordie language, we hit the cultural high spots of Durham Cathedral, an x-rated art exhibition at Belsay Hall in the Northumberland countryside and an Irish pub in the ‘toon’ where we plied them with Guinness and fish and chips.

Oh yes, and we also shared our experiences of the assessment and validation of informally and non-formally acquired learning of vocational skills!

The greatest challenge of course was to come to some agreement as to what all these terms mean.

Fortunately the EU provides us with a weighty glossary of Euro-speak terms and the work was completed.

We can all now talk eloquently about our mobilities, competences, certification of learning outcomes, and the amazingly cheap price of a pint in Bulgaria –all with a Geordie accent of course!