Recruitment process improvements

What happened - We always underestimate how hard it will be to make decisions on applicants, and as the number and quality of applications increase - this only gets harder! We're aware that we have to disappoint a lot of people, and we would never want a side effect of the Bootcamp process to be that we put people off having a go because they don't get in. 

What we've changed - We'll be again reviewing how we run the application process and looking at how we make sure we value each person who applies. We're also working hard to increase the number of Bootcamps we run each year so that more people can come! 

Adapting to a new pedagogy takes time

What happened - Our fantastic new training manager Anna Collins has brought with her a new rigour in training methodology that the rest of the team is starting to use. Though much of what we've done previously, like the scenario, fits in well with this pedagogical approach, building it into all we do is taking some time.

What we've changed - We're allocating more time for staff training so we can share skills internally.

We underestimated how much supporting mentors can help

What happened - we led a session for mentors to familiarise them with their role and share some best practices, thinking it might be only somewhat helpful.

What we've changed - we've learned how important it is to do this because we don't always 'see' how mentoring happens, and what the impact of transformative relationships can be for Bootcampers. We're going to make sure future mentors are better prepared for this than ever before.


We wasted time visiting a venue that wasn't fully accessible

What happened -  Michelle wasted half a day visiting a new potential Bootcamp venue that had confirmed they were a fully accessible venue and also had accessible accommodation, only to find bathtub/showers in all "accessible" rooms! 

What we've changed - When speaking to venues Michelle now specifies in more detail, that she needs "fully accessible bathrooms, that are a walk-in wet room, with no baths or shower cubicles/edges".

We're not sharing our learning internally well enough

What happened - Genevieve is taking part in the fantastic Campaign Lab course as part of her training and personal development. For the last three trainings Genevieve hasn't managed to debrief with the team the valuable knowledge and insights she's taken away from it. This doesn't reflect our principle of sharing what we learn and spreading the learning love. 

What we've changed -  From now on there'll be time blocked out during work time for us to debrief on our learnings from any training so it doesn't get left behind or forgotten about. 

Our Next Meetup Speaker Ratio is 75% male

What happened - After each residential week that kicks off our year of Bootcamp training, we schedule 3-4 meetups to cover additional skills training and give Bootcampers a chance to reconnect. In organising our next meetup we neglected our rule-of-thumb to have gender equity in speakers and trainers and ended up with a male-heavy group.

What we've changed - We're mapping out our next meetups for the coming year and will make sure we return to modelling gender equity in our events and trainings.

We Matched Mentors to Bootcampers after Bootcamp

What happened - As part of the year-long support we offer, Bootcampers are matched with a mentor who has experience in an area that a Bootcamper wants to develop. We'd hoped to match our generous mentors to our latest Bootcamper alums during the residential week in October, but bumped this until afterward because of time pressure. This has meant that matching mentors with mentees has taken longer than planned. 

What we've changed - Our mentor matching system isn't perfect and we're working on mapping out a more structured system that will serve both mentors and mentees better. We're also putting in place the time-planning needed to make sure we can prepare a list of volunteer mentors before Bootcamp 4 and match them to participants during the residential week.

The venue we used for the party wasn't inclusive and was very noisy

What happened - We chose to hold the party in a bar, which wasn't totally inclusive to people who don't normally go to bars because of religious or cultural observance. The room was private but right next door to the main bar so during the speeches it was quite hard to hear people over the background noise. 

What we've changed - We're looking into places where we can have a party that serves all members of the community, and somewhere we can control the music and noise levels more easily!

The campaign scenario became too intense

What happened - Bootcamp is all about applied learning, so at the end of every day the Bootcampers use what they learnt in a scenario. At Bootcamp 3 we got a little carried away in making the scenario an exciting story and the Bootcampers held a protest. This was lots of fun, but looking back we’re a little worried that we put creating a dramatic scene ahead of keeping everyone safe and happy.

What we’ve changed - In future we’re going to have a briefing at the start of every scenario to outline what actions are and are not appropriate. We won’t hesitate in future to suspend the scenario if we have any worries about personal safety.

Not all the trainers received their thank-you gift

What happened - Michelle was so busy with all the moving parts at Bootcamp in October that a few of our lovely trainers didn't receive their thank you gift before they hopped in their taxi.  

What we've changed - The system for thank you gifts at the next bootcamp will be different so if Michelle does have to tend to other things the trainers will still get their thank you's on their departure!

We nearly ran out of beds

What happened - there were so many excellent applications to Bootcamp 3 we decided to increase the number places from 30 to 35. Johnny checked this was OK with the venue, and we went ahead and offered 35 people places. However, we then discovered that actually the venue hadn't checked there would be enough beds. After a bit of scramble it's all OK now, everyone will have a nice bed to sleep in.

What we've changed - we're going to aim for 35 people from now on and if we ever increase the size of a Bootcamp again we're going to make sure we ask a lot more questions to the venue

We weren't setting people us for success when applying to Bootcamp 3

What happened - We realised after reviewing the first batch of applications for Bootcamp 3 that we weren't doing everything we could to help people tell us how amazing they are. 

What we've changed - We have updated the application to provide more prompts to help people know what we're looking for from answers. We've reworded a question so that we get answers which help us understand people's understanding of social media better. We've updated our scoring system so we prioritise the qualities that really matter when selecting Bootcampers. We're retraining the people who score the applications so that the whole system ties together. 

We should have given better feedback

What happened - As we have contacted previous unsuccessful applicants to encourage them to reapply for Bootcamp, we've been told by some they felt they weren't given good enough feedback of why they were originally unsuccessful

What we've changed - We have more staffing in place to be able to offer good feedback to all applicants to Bootcamp 3, and will happily respond to requests for further feedback. 

We have contacted some people too much about Bootcamp 3 applications

What happened - Some people have fed back to us that we're not being targeted enough with promotion of Bootcamp 3 applications and this is annoying and feels like they're being spammed.


What we've changed - We promise to be more targeted and segmented with our approach to people to help us advertise Bootcamp 3. We'll also remain open to all feedback people give us on the subject.

A tired team

What Happened - In the run up to Bootcamp 2 Johnny and Tom got very tired, which is not a great way to run an organisation. 

What we've changed - we've hired some amazing Bootcamp Graduates to help us in the short term and are going to figure out a better way to run Bootcamps in future