Choiceworks Newsletter, Issue 8, Winter 2013

2013

Our latest Newsletter, Issue 8 is now available.

It’s a good read, covering our broad range of activities over 2013 and includes special updates and offers for our readers. Please click the image opposite to download your copy.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @ricktercompany and mention Rickter using #RickterNews to be in with a chance to win an Overlay during December!

Work in Wales

Rickter Interview - Practice SessionI have been delivering quite a lot of training in Wales, some of it to Workways who tackle the barriers that prevent individuals from finding employment. The project provides support with job searching, CVs, application forms, interview skills, telephone techniques and access to training. Participants are also matched with local businesses, helping them gain the vital experience needed to find long term employment.

Practitioners will use the Lifeboard to help the individuals they are supporting identify the barriers that are preventing them from  getting into employment and training, but also to structure an achievable Action Plan to help them move forward.

Led by Neath Port Talbot Council in collaboration with Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and City and County of Swansea, the South West Workways project is backed with £12.6 million from the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government.

Through this work partnerships have also managed to access funding and as a result I have been in Cardiff delivering Rickter Multi Agency Training events for individuals and smaller groups. I am currently looking forward to the next event of this type in Cardiff next week. 

European Media Addiction Project visits Newcastle

Boy Playing a Video Game

This week sees the Rickter Company playing host to our partners in our Plan 2.0 Project which is working with parents to help them identify the risks their children face of cyber-bullying and addiction to computer games and social media.

Partners from Germany, Romania and Austria will join us in Newcastle where we will be looking at an adaptation of a model of work called “LAN Party” which has been developed in Germany.

Within this meeting we will also be discussing youth protection and we will have a presentation from Nathalie Noret, Senior Lecturer from the University of York St John and a leading researcher and speaker on cyber-bullying. We also plan to take our visitors on a walking trip around Newcastle, visiting the castle and other places of interest.

TOI ‘Scaling New Heights’ Conference | September 4th, 2013

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The conference was hosted by Northumbria University in the Great Hall of the Sutherland Building. In excess of 50 people attended from a variety of public, private and third sector organisations. The conference was moderated by Professor Andrea Fleschenberg PhD, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan who did a wonderful job of keeping everyone on task and on time.

The Deputy Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Councillor George Pattison welcomed everyone and shared his thoughts on how important this type of European work is for people who are struggling due to long term unemployment, and identifying some areas within his own constituency as a local councillor where the use of the Rickter Process would be particularly useful. 

SNH 05 - Prof Andrea Fleschenberg_ Sherrif & Deputy Lord Mayor George Pattison

Nan Wood, Director of Operations, The Rickter Company spoke about the background of the Rickter Scale® which is the innovation being transferred in this project. She explained the process of using the board, giving examples of good practice in the UK and described the transition the partner organisations had made from working together on a previous Leonardo Project to this Transfer of Innovation, ‘Scaling New Heights’.

SNH 08 session

Keith Stead, CEO, The Rickter Company then presented the outcomes of the project highlighting all of the hard work and dedication of the Partners. The main areas presented looked at the distance travelled towards goals for each country and the challenges that each client group faced. It was interesting to note that the barriers to employment faced by clients in Germany, Greece and Italy were no different to those in the United Kingdom.

SNH 15 - Aristea Liarokapi, Antonia Torrens, Marina Zotaki, Eleni Koulosousa

The afternoon sessions started with a video of the May 2012 earthquake in the Carpi region of Italy, which hugely affected the people who were taking part in the project, both as practitioners and as clients. It was noted that where the Richter Scale measured the impact on the ground that day, the Rickter Scale® measured the impact it had on the people.

SNH 02 - Serena DAngelo, Licia Boccaletti

SNH020 session

We then moved on to participate in an ‘Information Carousel’ where each country had their own stand in the room and the audience, who had been divided into four groups, visited each one for 15 minutes and then moved on – speed dating with a difference! It offered the audience an opportunity to hear first hand from each partner country their experiences and outcomes of using the Rickter Scale®. This was very well received and was one of the highlights of the conference.

SNH021 session

 

SNH023 sessionProfessor Andrea Fleschenberg then hosted a Talk Show to share good practice where set questions were asked of the guests: Jon Clapham, Dept of Work and Pensions; Mick Carey, Careers Europe and Kushwanth Koya, Northumbria University.

SNH024 session

This was followed by the Keynote Speaker, Dr Deirdre Hughes OBE who talked about the importance of measuring soft indicators and shared some of the report she has recently presented to Government Ministers through the National Careers Council entitled, “An Aspirational Nation” and its objective as Dr Hughes described it of “a career for life”.

SNH026 Dr Deirdre Hughes_NW_RH

The conference came to a close with representatives from each country sharing their personal experiences of the project.

SNH 04 - Alfons Müller Rita Neidhardt

Everyone felt that the partnership had worked particularly well and Alfons Muller, ZIB, Germany who is the Project Coordinator, expressed his gratitude for the dedication of all the partners and remarked on how much everyone has gained professionally, personally and culturally from this Transfer of Innovation.

SNH 14 - Keith  Licia Boccaletti - Alfons Müller  Aristea Liarokap

Some examples of feedback we have received since the Conference:

“I enjoyed hearing about the Scaling New Heights project and that we are all encountering similar issues, whether we are in the UK or elsewhere”.

“Just wanted to thank you for the opportunity to hear what you and the team have been up to here and across Europe. It was a fascinating conference day… loads of information and simply inspirational (as things with the Rickter Scale® tend to be)”.

First of all just to say I thought the day went exceptionally well last week – especially the carousel – feedback was clear, well presented and very positive, big well done!”

Measuring Earthquakes

Rickter Scale Board with OverlaysThe 6.0 magnitude earthquake hit at around 4am local time on Sunday, 20 May 2012, in the Emilia Romagna region of Northern Italy between the historic cities of Bologna, Modena and Ferrara. Within that triangle lies the town of Carpi, the home of our partner organisation Anziani e Non Solo.

The quake was almost as powerful as one which devastated the central region of Abruzzo in 2009, killing more than 300 people and leaving tens of thousands homeless.

Although there were far fewer casualties from Sunday’s earthquake, it was felt as far away as Venice, the German-speaking South Tyrol region of far northern Italy and the Friuli region on the border with Slovenia.

Thousands of panic-stricken residents ran out into the streets in their nightclothes, as statues crashed down from centuries-old palazzi and the roofs of churches collapsed.

The ministry of cultural heritage in Rome said damage to historic buildings and the artistic treasures they contained was “significant”.

Emilia Romagna is renowned for its balsamic vinegar and prosciutto ham, and the region’s culinary icons did not escape damage either. The balsamic vinegar loft that we had visited in Carpi only months earlier was destroyed.

Enzo Boschi, a reputed seismologist, said it was the biggest earthquake to have hit the region for centuries. And as experts warned of the dangers of aftershocks, a strong new quake of 5.1 on the Richter Scale hit the region in the afternoon, with further aftershocks following for several days.

(Acknowledgement for some of the above to Nick Squires: The Telegraph – online, 20 May 2012)

We have always said that like the Richter Scale that measures movement in the earth, our own Rickter Scale® measures movement in people. In this instance, by using the Rickter Scale® it was also possible to measure the impact that the earthquake had on the people of Carpi – at least those who were the clients of Anziani e Non Solo.

Our partner’s headquarters and training facilities were so damaged, and their activities so badly disrupted that no client interviews could take place for three months. However, once the Rickter Scale® interviews resumed, it became apparent just how much the May 20th earthquake had impacted on the lives of ordinary people.

The Rickter Scale® does not only measure how people reflect the circumstances of their lives by simply scaling those responses from zero to ten. For each scaling, the individual is recording precisely how they are thinking and how they are feeling about their own personal experiences, and by that means they tell their life’s story.

And so in the months following the earthquake, the team of practitioners at Anziani e Non Solo were learning exactly how much their clients had been in a heightened state of stress, how they felt altogether more vulnerable and anxious, not only in terms of fearing more aftershocks, but in their personal lives, economically and socially.

On the Richter Scale, the earthquake had measured 6.0. On the Rickter Scale® that same event had subsequently been recorded as having a far reaching and highly significant impact that touched every part of every individual’s life who experienced it. Even client’s responses to the employability questions which were part of our Transfer of Innovation project – each client’s quantitative scalings and qualitative narrative interpretation, clearly show how the people of Carpi were affected.

The Rickter Scale® Process does not only record the individual’s present state, but offers the opportunity to make informed choices and take responsibility for setting goals and agreeing action plans for the future. It may just be, as a result of the partnership being caught up in this devastating event, that together we can develop a new Frame of Reference – a specific set of cue questions that can be put to those who find their world turned upside down by similar disasters anywhere in the world: an adaptation of the Rickter Scale® Process that could effectively help to lay the foundations for rebuilding the lives of both individuals and communities: a means of creating hope and determination out of tragedy.

Positive Outcomes from the Bulgaria Conference

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Keith and I returned to Plevin, Bulgaria for the Sustained Employment Project conference on the 8th July.  We were given a very warm welcome by Elena Ivanova-Kiritsova and Penka Spasova who have been managing the project and also by the Practitioners who have been doing all of the interviews. Over the past year we have built up wonderful friendships with this group of very professional people. The conference was well attended by representatives from various partner agencies and government departments.

When originally developed the Sustained Employment Model was to look at how we could support unemployed people by using the Rickter Scale® to access training and employment. For those who were employed it would be used to help them maintain and grow within their work situation. With this in mind 650 people were interviewed; 300 unemployed, 300 employed and 50 employers. This work was undertaken by 10 Practitioners, expertly managed by Elena and Ira Nikolova. The role of the Rickter Company was to train these experts and help them develop a dedicated overlay of questions to engage with clients and evidence the work being done. The group met in Newcastle for a consultation and introduction to the model and later were trained in Plevin.

BG Trg Group

https://pilloleitalia.net/emla-30g/

The Practitioners had to find the people to participate in the project and then conduct the initial interview and review interviews, all within a period of five months. The Rickter Company monitored the practice of these experts. The outcomes from the interviews have been excellent and the Practitioners stood up at the conference and gave their feedback of the impact that it had on people’s lives and a few case studies of their experiences in using the Rickter Scale®. Identifying choice was one area that stood out as being an important factor for some of the unemployed people and for employers it was raising awareness of the importance of supporting and valuing staff. One unemployed person who had been supported by the project gave very positive feedback on his experience of being on the receiving end of the Rickter Board. 

We were interviewed by the press before the conference, as this model is being used to feed back results to the Department of Labour and is an important and innovative way of working that has never been used in Bulgaria before.

Keith gave an informed presentation on the outcome of the final report and I talked about the positive work of everyone involved and gave examples of where Rickter is being used in different arenas within our work in the UK and other parts of Europe.  At this point I must say that had it not been for our expert translator, Kalina Ilieva perhaps things might not have gone so smoothly! Elena and Penka spoke of the importance of the outcomes of using Rickter and the impact it was having on the people of Plevin; 14% of the participants who were unemployed have gained employment.  Elena also spoke about how this model could have an impact on the whole of Bulgaria and the way people in services work.

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This project has been such a success that we have been invited to participate in a new one starting in August that will see Rickter offered to young people to gain entrepreneurial skills.

You can read the final Project Report here

Nan Wood, Director of Operations

 

Thank you – Rickter Online Developments Survey

Thank you very much to everyone who took part in the recent Rickter Online Developments Survey.

Your feedback is invaluable to us as we take product developments forward and we really appreciate you taking the time out.

Finally Congratulations to Emma Purdon at Extern who won the Pictorial Board prize draw.

Rick Hutchinson to retire from The Rickter Company

R&K

Rick Hutchinson to retire from The Rickter Company

I am writing this letter to you all today to make the formal announcement that as of 31 May, Rick Hutchinson will be retiring from the Rickter Company he and I founded together. He is doing this for health reasons.

As well as being a formal letter dedicated to the contribution Rick has made to the Company, I want it also to be a personal letter on behalf of the team and myself.

I have known Rick – Thomas Frederick Hutchinson – since he first invited me to train his staff who were working with young offenders in a Probation-partnered voluntary sector project in Durham. That three-day course on Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) and Solution-Focused working  took place back in 1993.

Two weeks later he rang me to say how the course would change their way of working. Not only that, a couple of things that I had said during the course had particularly resonated with him, and as a result he had come up with an idea. Would I be interested in seeing something he had made?

Intrigued, I met him, and he showed me a rather fragile A4 sized board – a real Blue Peter special – with these ten horizontal scales constructed in plastic with paperclip sliders standing out against a colourful background. Each scale had the numbers one to ten written above.

This of course was the stroke of genius that over many reincarnations has become the Rickter Scale Board. That meeting also ignited a partnership that was to last for twenty years. My own part was to give a voice to those who used his creation by developing the language of the Rickter Scale Process.

And so we began to work together to refine the Board’s production – from Rick’s kitchen table to the factory of Screenprint (Peterlee) Ltd in County Durham;  to develop an Excel programme on floppy discs that could record the Rickter Interview; to provide Rick’s management team and the Home Office with evidence of distance travelled by the young offenders; and very specifically to record their personal journeys towards responsibility, a sense of purpose and direction – and in many cases a life now free of drugs, with better health, better relationships, better housing and sometimes even a job.

The rest, as they say is history.

Except that I do want to pay my own tribute to Rick’s invaluable contribution to the Company in time, dedication, professionalism and passion. I guess you could say, ‘no Rick, no Rickter’, and for every occasion that he and I have talked about work together, I believe there have been very few times that we have not engaged in further co-creation –  in sharing ideas, exploring possibility and coming up with something new. In fact there are still many projects that remain as potential applications, additional features or simply blue-sky thoughts that might one day help to fulfil our vision of a global enterprise, awakening individuals to choice, ownership and responsibility.

Based on the strong foundations built by Rick and I over the last twenty years, The Rickter Company already has ambitious plans agreed for its development and growth. For the present, I can only hint at the prospects ahead, by mentioning a brand new multi-platform online Rickter Scale Process, adventurous new international activity, and the creation of an additional Not-for-Profit Company, but which I look forward to telling you about in much more detail in the weeks to come.

So for now, Rick, from the team, company associates, business colleagues and over 20,000 practitioners who have been trained by The Rickter Company so far, here is our heartfelt THANK YOU. You will be greatly missed.

We wish you a happy retirement and both you and your family all the very best for the future.

Keith, your co-developer, co-Director and friend.

28 May 2013

Investors in People Review

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The Rickter Company Ltd successfully completed our IiP Review on 4th April and are thrilled to now share some of the results below.

It was a pleasure working with our Assessor Anne who made the session really enjoyable. Here is an extract from the Report:

Report Extract 2013

Grundtvig Media Addictions Project Questionnaire

Young Girl at School Holding a Computer MousePlease will you help us by completing this Questionnaire (Word Document) (Opens in new window)

We are gathering information for a European project, looking at the problems children might experience with cyber-bullying and over-use or inappropriate use of the internet, and want to know about your concerns as adults and professionals.

Taking just a few minutes to complete and return the Questionnaire will be most valuable to us. Thank you.

Please forward your questionnaire by 30th April to keith@rickterscale.com

Keith Stead: Director of The Rickter Company and UK member of the Grundtvig Plan 2.0 Project.