The UK Government’s Way to Work plan is getting job-ready candidates into new roles – and supporting employers in finding the right staff
Looking to find a new job or fill a vacancy? Through Way to Work, Jobcentre Plus is offering employers a recruitment service that can quickly provide candidates who are the perfect fit.
Jobcentre Plus has everything you need to move quickly. Right now, there are 1.3 million jobs available in sectors such as warehousing, logistics and manufacturing – so there are plenty of opportunities out there.
For employers, Jobcentre Plus has thousands of quality candidates, ready to fill your vacancies quickly. The pandemic has been tough on everyone and highly skilled people have found themselves unemployed for the first time.
Many may be considering a career change. These people can make a real difference to your business. And the UK Government is working with employers to get 500,000 job-ready candidates into work by the end of June.
Many well-known companies already trust Jobcentre Plus with their recruitment needs – and you can too. To find out more, visit gov.uk/waytowork. Eligibility criteria apply.
‘We had loads of jobs but not enough people to fill them’
Screenprinting business Paul Bristow Associates is just one of the employers who’ve worked with Jobcentre Plus to fill vacancies.
The family-run firm, based in Wrexham, produces textiles including T-shirts and printed bags – and they’ve been keen to attract younger people to roles.
“One of the issues we have is the perception of manufacturing as being something we used to do in the Victorian age but no longer,” says director Ben Bristow.
“Of course that’s not the case – but it made it hard to attract young people. Working with Jobcentre Plus gave us the ability to get more young people into the business and provide them with a good grounding in print and textiles.
“Our staff collaborated really well with the team at Jobcentre Plus, who gave excellent support and deserve high praise indeed.”
HR manager Lee Dixon, 35, agrees: “The people who work there have done a fantastic job. It’s not been easy through Covid and the fact they’ve managed to help people into work is great.
“It’s also massively helpful to us as an employer, given there are loads of jobs but not enough people to fill them. Through working with the team at Jobcentre Plus we’ve built up a great rapport. They’ve been first-class.
“Our recruits have been a massive help in bringing in valuable skills to our business,” says Lee.
“We’ve had them working in packing, admin, sewing and sales. Another guy has got a position in sustainability after he joined us from university. We’ve also had people with additional learning needs and disabilities.”
‘My team made me feel very welcome and supported me‘
“When I left college in January 2020 I didn’t finish my A levels because I wanted a change, but then obviously the pandemic happened. I didn’t particularly know what I wanted to do, but I knew I would be good in a computer-based job because it’s something that I’ve gravitated towards.
“Then I saw JD Sports was advertising opportunities and I thought I’d go for it because it was an administration role in a big company. It was actually the first that I applied for and everything went through really quickly – and I got the job.
“My team at JD were great from day one. They made me feel very welcome and supported me. Day to day I’d look after anything from HR queries and issuing contracts to payroll and pension questions. It gave me pretty much a whole picture of what it’s like to work in HR and I’ve been doing it ever since.
“I’d always had an interest in HR, but after working for six months I realized it was what I wanted to do.
“There was the option to stay on and I’m now doing an apprenticeship with JD and CIPD Level 3 in HR support. It was another perfect step for me and I’ve now been there for a year and I’m really enjoying it. Starting work was quite tough, but I’ve got so much support from my team. It’s a lot more friendly than I expected it to be.
“Now I’m learning about different parts of HR, building on what I was doing before. I was struggling to find any job with no
experience, but now I’ll just keep going.”
Peter Cowgill, executive chairman of JD Sports, on how the company has forged links with Jobcentre Plus.
“We are proud to have worked with Jobcentre Plus to provide much-needed employment and learning and development opportunities at a time when competition for job positions has been at an all-time high. Social inequality has only been exacerbated during the pandemic, so it has never been more vital to give young people a chance to succeed.
“Our relationship with the DWP now covers all three nations across the UK and gives our stores, head office and distribution centers access to new talent pipelines and initiatives, which not only facilitates our future recruitment needs, but also allows us to support candidates facing social barriers, an area we are hugely passionate about.”
‘Staff learn something every day‘
“When I was developing my start-up in the renewable energy sector, working with Jobcentre Plus allowed me to recruit new graduates.
“We’re part of the Edinburgh Business School incubator, where we get office space, mentoring and support. Since the graduates joined, we’ve moved to the stage of building a prototype.
“If it wasn’t for the scheme, recruitment would have been years away –
and having a few more minds to work on the concept has given us a competitive edge.
“The candidates knew when they joined that they wouldn’t just be working on their own tasks and would be learning something every single day. If you’re looking for experience, it’s a great way to get it.”
‘It’s important to personalize our service‘
“Our service helps employers and our customers meet each other face to face, which is crucial. Employer advisers speak to both employers and the Work Coaches, who’ll send customers over who are ready for work.
“We can also help employers sift through CVs and hold training events to get people work-ready and match them up with the role they’ve got available.
“I’ve been working closely with Lee at Paul Bristow Associates, who came along to events at the job center where groups of young people could come and speak to him about what roles they had available.
“A lot of employers weren’t aware of all the great services we offer, but the feedback we’ve been getting has all been really positive. Every employer’s needs are slightly different, so personalizing our service is really important.
“There are lots of sectors that are struggling to fill places, so we can help companies find a pool of candidates. We have large manufacturing areas in North Wales that are struggling to recruit people. There are also plenty of roles in the hospitality and care sectors.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.