The country’s businesses have struggled through the pandemic and are now on their way back.
But employers are struggling to recruit enough staff, which threatens to limit growth and stifle recovery.
According to the Office for National Statistics, the number of job vacancies rose to a new record of 1,298,400 between November 2021 and January 2022.
But as part of the Way to Work campaign, government and business are working together to get half a million people into work by the end of June. Jobcentre Plus has always helped companies with recruitment and now more than ever can help employers find talented and motivated candidates.
One sector that needs more workers is healthcare, which has over 100,000 vacancies nationwide. Based in Dudley, in the West Midlands, the Jobcentre Plus team have developed a close working relationship with Sutton Coldfield based recruitment agency Fairway Homecare to match people into vacancies.
Fairway operates a program through its sister company, Embark Learning. It takes on potential candidates suggested by Jobcentre Plus and trains them before passing them on to Fairway, which offers them a full-time position on a permanent contract. They may then be assigned roles in home care or nursing homes.
“The service that Jobcentre Plus provides us is fundamental,” says Alex O’Neill, Operations Director at Fairway.
“And our relationship with his work coaches is absolutely critical to everything we do. Since we started working with Jobcentre Plus, we have guided 1,600 nurses through our program, over 600 of them in the last year alone. This year we hope to get through a thousand.”
“We actually have a ready-made pool of talent on our doorstep,” says David, a member of Jobcentre Plus Dudley Borough’s Employer Advisory Team.
“Some, not all, employers have a negative image of the people using the job center network, but the vast majority of those we see really want to work. They need opportunities and we need vacancies.”
Through Way to Work, Jobcentre Plus offices across the country can support employers in a variety of ways: by streamlining and accelerating hiring processes; advertising job vacancies in local offices and online; and Matching, pre-screening and booking guaranteed interviews. You can also extend invitations to attend local employer recruitment events and industry job fairs.
“We provide local jobs for local people in all sectors, not just healthcare,” says David. “I’m passionate about finding jobs for people – that’s why I do it.”
One happy beneficiary of the job center support is Kate from Wolverhampton. The mother of three lost her hospitality job at the height of the pandemic and was forced to claim Universal Credit. But luckily, her local Jobcenter Plus referred her to Fairway Homecare.
“I’m a sociable and caring person and I like working face to face – I told them that during my interview at the job center,” she says. “They suggested I try grooming and I’m really grateful because it’s the best thing that could have happened. I love it.”
Kate was so successful in her role that she was nominated for an award at this year’s Great British Care Awards.
“I never wanted to be at Universal Credit. Circumstances during the pandemic meant I had no other choice. But now I want to advance in my new job and train to be a nurse. I want to be the best that I can be.”
Good for us and good for them
Having trouble finding recruits? Job centers helped these companies to find talent
Paul Bristow Associates
Screenprinter Paul Bristow Associates is typical of many companies desperate for jobs when trade picks up. Based in Wrexham, North Wales, the family business make quality textile products including t-shirts and printed bags for English Heritage and the V&A.
It turned to the local team at Wrexham Jobcentre to find young people to fill vacancies. Since the pandemic began, it has employed 31 people in roles such as packaging, administration, sales and even sustainability.
“We’ve been able to attract more young people to the business and give them a good foundation in print and textiles,” says director Ben Bristow.
HR Manager Lee Dixon adds: “When I’m short of staff, my first call isn’t to an agency, it’s Jobcentre Plus.”
Nationwide retail supply chain company Clipper Logistics was unable to find unemployed truck drivers and few people could afford £3,000 of training, particularly on social benefits.
Therefore, the company developed an innovative solution with local job centers to find candidates with a driver’s license, train them and test them themselves.
“That way, people can qualify without having to spend huge sums of money,” says Susan McKeown, Regional Transport Manager. “The job centers really accepted the idea and worked with us to implement it. And we have only had positive experiences with their candidates.”
copper & carbon
The green energy sector is now creating many job opportunities as the UK works towards its net zero targets.
Copper & Carbon was founded in 2020 at Edinburgh Business School by Abdhesh Kumar to manufacture a wind turbine generator for the renewable energy sector. He has steadily expanded his team by recruiting graduates through a government program.
“Without this help, I don’t think we would have made the progress we have made so far,” says Abdhesh.
“It was beneficial for us, but also for the people we could give jobs to.”
https://www.the-sun.com/news/4965750/way-to-work-find-employment-jobcentre-plus/ Businesses are teaming up with the government to put half a million people into work