Why I am proud to volunteer for the Jo Cox Foundation

Mandy Taylor, Employer Engagement Manager, Blue Apple Training'' ''Contact john@thelightmonkey.com
Mandy Taylor, Employer Engagement Manager, Blue Apple Training'' ''Contact john@thelightmonkey.com
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Mandy Taylor is the Employer Engagement Manager at Blue Apple Training in Leeds

My 6am alarm indicates it’s time to jump out of bed and prepare for the joys of what the new day will bring me

The importance of a healthy breakfast to kick-start my day is something I learned working at The Town Foundation charity, so I try to eat one as I balance a hair dryer in one hand and cereal bowl in another!

I’ll check my phone for social media updates (a bit of an addiction and one that I am trying to manage!), then – as Blue Apple Training is Leeds-based – I’ll join the dreaded M62 or catch a train from Huddersfield.

I often get chatting to many fascinating people if I get the train, and as we live in a world where we often rely on text or email to communicate, I make it my mission to engage with at least one new person every day.

When at work, no two days are ever the same.

We work closely with businesses to find candidates and can offer hand picked employment programmes that can be customised to meet their needs, with candidates benefitting from our ‘Stand out from the crowd’ work skills programme, receiving training on the behaviours, skills and attitudes important to employers.

It’s fantastic to walk in and see so many learners arriving for their courses, new people visiting to see how Blue Apple can help them get back into work, and there’s something special about seeing individuals burst out of the door joyous at the fact they now feel valued, respected and “work ready”.

I’ll then meet with various team members and set out priorities for the day.

I’m a perfectionist, so organisation is key to a fulfilling working day. I hate to think I may have been a “busy fool”!

I work closely with Mike Gore, one of Blue Apple’s three directors, who also sits on the volunteer fundraising committee for the Leeds United Foundation.

My experience of charity fundraising has proved to be beneficial and thankfully as a devoted HTAFC fan, I truly believe that “we have more in common than that which divides us”, and will happily give my goodwill to any worthwhile cause, especially those supporting children and young people.

My role is to engage with businesses in Leeds and across Yorkshire, and work closely with them to ensure all their employment needs are fulfilled.

My day often sees me out and about across the region visiting clients, and if I’m in the office, I’ll be supporting with sourcing candidates for specific roles, organising events and managing the social media for the company.

I think Blue Apple Training is so successful because every person matters, and there’s no greater satisfaction than knowing that we’ve fulfilled a person’s dream of getting back into work.

Being a ‘list maker’, I always try to finish my day with everything ticked off, but the nature of the industry means it often must be put to one side.

The entire team appreciates that the most important job is to find work for worthy people, and if the opportunity arises, that is what we’ll do.

My evenings are generally busy. I dedicate my spare time to charities and good causes; something that’s very close to my heart since founding my voluntary organisation ‘The Charity Angels’ seven years ago.

It was set up to enable individuals and businesses to gift skills and goodwill to charities, rather than writing out a cheque, as – in my experience – the former often holds greater value.

Over the years I have volunteered thousands of hours, most recently getting involved with events on behalf of Overgate Hospice and the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

I’m also a proud volunteer for the local arm of the Jo Cox Foundation – ‘More In Common, Batley and Spen’ – and I’m working closely with Jo’s sister, Kim Leadbeater, as part of the volunteer team behind the ‘Jo Cox Way’ cycling challenge from Spen to London.

My recent and well-documented health issues mean that, come the end of the day, I am generally exhausted!

I thank my lucky stars for another day on earth; we really do take life for granted and should always be thankful for each and every day.