The Porcupine Collective was formed to assist those lacking work experience, training and/or academic qualifications to articulate their strengths, values and attributes to compete for secure, meaningful and fulfilling employment.
Our first programme, The Alternative CV, found success providing disadvantaged people an ability to articulate their uniqueness, suitability and enthusiasm for appropriate roles.
At a cost per use of £100, the product appealed mainly to charities, housing associations, career advisory services and government service providers.
As the pandemic spread, the number of disadvantaged grew rapidly and a focus was placed on the possibility of a lost generation of young people. The Porcupine Collective was encouraged to look at means by which far greater numbers might be helped, more quickly, more simply and at a far lower cost.
In order to provide young people a way to determine their preferred and most suitable choices of employment, further education and training, by helping them better understand themselves, their strengths, their values, their character and their personal triggers in a way that is accessible, quick, intuitive and affordable, we set about adapting and extending the algorithmic engines used within The Alternative CV and reducing dependence on complex and expensive third party psychometric technologies.
This resulted in the launch of Future Builder.
Future Builder is a programme that utilises a proven scientific approach to develop a highly personalised Character Profile, a Career Insights Guide and a Worksheet that together empowers the planning of life and career.
Future Builder is suitable for use by ALL young people aged 16 and over, it takes 60-90 minutes to complete and it costs just £10.
The Porcupine Collective continues to serve others lacking work experience, training or academic qualifications from many backgrounds in all age groups through a variety of partners.
Getting it right first time.
The choices we make when young affect our future happiness and well-being. Our choice of education and training determines how we will spend most of our waking hours for years to come. To be truly fulfilling, what we do must be suited to who we are.
Making the right choices is vital, yet we are forced to make crucial decisions at an age at which we are least likely to know ourselves. Parents and mentors might have insight and their influence can be helpful, but more often than not it fails to lead to the engagement hoped for, as the basis for engagement is the self-awareness of the young person and this is lacking.
Getting it wrong first time leads to a life of frustrated ambition and desire, a lack of meaning and fulfilment, and potentially, mental health issues.
Our founder, Alison O’Leary is an internationally renowned career coach who has, for many years, specialised in career change and second career; that is, getting it right the second time. Porcupine was born from her desire to apply her knowledge and understanding to help young people avoid the mistakes that she so often witnesses the consequences of in adults.
Those consequences are seldom outwardly evident. Alison specialises in coaching bright, spirited people and her clients are typically economically successful and excel at leading high powered professional careers, often in finance, law, IT and commerce. Alison’s clients come to her because they feel something is missing; their choices have precluded their natural talents and character strengths, their dreams, their interests and their lifestyle goals, often denying them what mattered most. If only they’d known.
Changing careers is difficult. Changing careers takes courage. For many its easier to struggle on. Who suggested we had a right to enjoy fulfilling lives anyway? Isn’t that what retirement is for?
The Porcupine Collective is founded on helping young people get it right first time.
We serve young people the tools that:
We serve the parents, guardians, teachers, coaches and mentors of young people who struggle to engage their charges by enabling a structured and autonomous means of assessing and weighing life and career choices, leading to better informed and well-based open discussion in a supportive and positive environment.
We have and wish to extend partnerships to support young people facing specific challenges. Working with charities, agencies and organisations that specialise in unemployment, disadvantage, poverty, homelessness, fresh-start and rehabilitation, our tools can, at very low cost, provide mentors the basis of engagement and a key to unlocking enthusiasm and purpose for developing a life plan.
We value honesty, openness and integrity and work on the foundation of mutual trust, choosing partners who value plainspoken, trustworthy, reliable and dependable professionals who deliver on their promises.
THE PORCUPINE SYMBOLISM AND MEANING
How did we choose our Porcupine name?
The porcupine is child-like, curious, inquisitive, energetic and happy. Despite his endearing innocence, the porcupine is a symbol of self-preservation, reminding us that it is okay to be ourselves, and trust that it is safe to be who we truly are.
As a born survivor, the porcupine has developed everything he needs to protect himself. His stoic calm proves invaluable during times of adversity and stress and should life cast him in to deep water, his air-filled quills keep him afloat so that he can survive even the wildest of storms.
The porcupine spirit is purported to appear when you find yourself at a very important crossroads. A guardian through uncertainty, he will walk with you in new situations; create new paths, guide and protect you along the way.
The porcupine represents humility, trust, honesty, joyfulness and kindness. He has the aspiration to move mountains and the bravery to try.
The Porcupine Collective embodies the spirit of the porcupine by harnessing and cultivating natural character strengths and talents and empowering individuals to feel confident in their own unique abilities.
We believe every person has the courage and skills to move their own mountains and our aim is to champion and guide them on their way.