• MP Geoffrey Robinson visits Kaonix
    06 December 2013

    Coventry North West MP Geoffrey Robinson visited Kaonix to see what the company was doing to help tackle worklessness.

    Read the full story on the Recruitment International web site

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  • Vocational skills 'more valuable' than academic qualifications, say employers
    11 November 2013

    NEARLY three-quarters (72%) of employers see vocational qualifications (VQs) as essential for improving the skills of young people and preparing them for work, with over half (53%) rating VQs asmore valuablethan academic qualifications.

    The Skills Show

    The new research, commissioned by the Edge Foundation and City & Guilds, gathered views from 1000 small, medium and large businesses.

    The vast majority of employers (83%), across a variety of sectors, believe young people need to be made more aware of the options available to them to progress to their chosen career. 84% also feel that children should be exposed to the world of work whilst still at school.

    The findings were part of a wider project to understand employers' experience of working with young people in Britain. The latest statistics come a few days before the launch of The Skills Show - the UK's largest skills and careers event - which takes place at the NEC in Birmingham from November 14-16th.

    Jan Hodges, CEO of the Edge Foundation says:

    "We already know how important high quality vocational education is, but it is refreshing to hear how highly employers rate it. We have skills gaps emerging in many sectors within the UK and it is crucial that young people are given the right training and encouragement to be able to fill these gaps.

    "The Edge Foundation promotes technical, practical and vocational learning and we must all continue to support this, if we are to have the skilled future workforce that our country so badly need.

    "The Skills Show is a fantastic opportunity for young people to come and see for themselves just how many exciting career and training opportunities there are available."

    In earlier research published last month, City & Guilds revealed that a third of businesses are considering looking abroad to bolster their workforce and over half didn't feel that the current education system meets the needs of business.

    Chris Jones, CEO and Director General at City & Guilds says:

    "In recent years, society has placed too much emphasis on academia. But as the research shows, the current system is failing young people and not preparing them for the world of work.

    'Employers are crying out for young people who have the right skills to add value to their business. Vocational qualifications can provide these skills - but how many people know about them? Careers advice provision in schools is limited, uninspiring, and often purely focused on university.

    "That's why The Skills Show is so important. It brings together young people, employers and training providers to bring to life the opportunities skills can offer, and the exciting careers they can lead to."


    Edge Foundation

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  • UK jobless total falls to 2.49m
    16 October 2013

    The number of unemployed in the UK fell by 18,000 in the June-August period to 2.49 million, official figures show.


    The unemployment rate remains unchanged at 7.7% from the previous three months.

    The figures, from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), also show the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance last month fell by 41,700 to 1.35 million.

    The ONS also reports that average earnings rose by 0.7% in the year to August, 0.5% down on July.

    The unemployment rate has become a key economic indicator for the Bank of England which, under its recently appointed new governor, Mark Carney, is targeting the unemployment rate.

    It says it will not consider raising interest rates from their record low of 0.5% until it falls to 7%.

    The number of people in work, both full-time and part-time, reached a record high of 29.87 million in the quarter, up 155,000.

    The ONS looks at demand for full-time work and whether part-time workers would rather work longer hours.

    Its figures showed that almost 1.5 million people were part-time because they could not find full-time jobs, the highest figure since records began in 1992.

    Job vacancies also rose by 6,600 in the period to 541,000, the highest for five years.

    Longer term

    There was a sharp difference in the number of men and women in part-time employment, with male part-timers increasing by 21,000 and women in part-time work falling by 13,000.

    But more women were finding full-time work than men, with male full-time employment up by 69,000 compared with a rise of 79,000 for women.

    Youth unemployment remains just below the one-million mark, with 958,000 unemployed 16 to 24-year-olds, down by 1,000 over the quarter.

    The number of people unemployed for more than a year fell by 15,000 to 900,000. Those without work for between six months to a year rose by 29,000 to 446,000, but there was a fall of 32,000 people unemployed for up to six months, leaving 1.1 million in that position.


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  • Kaonix facilitates Government advice to colleges and schools
    07 October 2013

    The Department for Education today published advice to colleges and school sixth-forms to help ensure all students get the high-quality, relevant work experience needed for good jobs.

    Department of Education

    The advice is published following the findings of an evaluation of a work experience pilot for 16- to 18-year-olds in 25 further education colleges over the last 2 years.

    It is interesting to note that Kaonix already provides a range of technology services which facilitate all of the recommendations made by the Department for Education.

    Professor Alison Wolf recommended in her independent review of vocational education that work experience should be an integral part of programmes of study for all 16- to 19-year-olds, and that the Department for Education should run a pilot to test different approaches to improve the quality and scale of placements offered by providers. The new study programmes came in from this academic year.

    The evaluation, also published today, and carried out by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), found that:

  • students were very positive about the benefits and particularly valued experiencing a real working environment and gaining skills and confidence;
  • the pilot considerably improved all participating colleges engagement with employers;
  • the work experience undertaken prepared students for the world of work, developing teamwork, communication and interpersonal skills, and gaining confidence from real-world experience.
  • Todays guidance says each college and school sixth-form should consider either appointing an existing member of staff as a specialist work experience co-ordinator, or recruiting one. The trials found co-ordinators raised the status of work experience in institutions, were a cost-effective way of ensuring work experience became a priority and were vital in developing relationships with employers so they offer placements.

    The guidance also says colleges and school sixth-forms should:

  • ensure that students who have completed work experience get some form of feedback from employers and also to provide employers with feedback to improve the quality of future placements;
  • match students to placement opportunities - by looking at their existing skills, the qualifications they are taking and their possible future career options - and then prepare them fully beforehand;
  • be flexible in terms of timing and length of placements - they could be once a week throughout a term, longer block placements, or a rotation of shorter placements at different employers so students can experience different aspects of the sector. This will depend on employers capacity and what the student needs to become work-ready.
  • Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said:

    "Work experience is vital for young people and employers. It bridges the gap between school, college and work, helps young people make decisions about their future and develop new skills, and gives employers the chance to spot good new recruits. I am sure employers as well as schools and colleges will welcome these changes."

    "Work experience is such an important factor in young peoples job prospects."

    "The inclusion of work experience as a necessary part of new study programmes means colleges and school sixth forms have a duty to provide high-quality placements."

    "The success of the trials and the guidance we are publishing today gives them the opportunity to develop work experience programmes that provide young people with the placements they need."

    Professor Alison Wolf said:

    "Todays labour market is globalised and highly competitive - high-quality, relevant work experience can make a critical difference to a young persons chances of getting a good job."

    "Skills developed in the workplace are rewarded by employers over and above even the skills learned in formal education. Experience of a real workplace is also the best way to discover what you really like doing and where you want to go in life."

    "It has become increasingly difficult for young people to get this valuable experience. That is why, in my 2011 review of vocational education government, I highlighted the need to develop many more substantial work placements for young people, especially those aged 16 to 18. And it is why I am greatly encouraged by this excellent report and the advice to colleges and schools."

    In the summer the government outlined some of the changes that make it easier for employers to offer young people work experience.

    As a result of cross-government action:

  • the insurance industry committed to treat work experience students as employees for the purposes of insurance against bodily injury, and confirmed that simply giving work experience opportunities to students will not in itself impact on insurance premiums;
  • the Health and Safety Executive issued guidance providing clarity on employers obligations with regard to risk assessments - making it clear that if workplace risk has already been assessed with young people in mind, a business does not need to repeat this for each new student;
  • the Department for Education and Ofsted published a guide to clarify the health and safety responsibilities for educational establishments organising work experience opportunities.
  • UK Government

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  • Over 50% of UK job ads do not include salar
    14 August 2013

    Half of UK job vacancies do not include a published salary, finds research from job search engine Adzuna.co.uk, which also reveals EY, Google and HSBC as the UKs least transparent employers on the matter.

    Job ads

    Adzuna says that it analysed nearly every UK job ad in August over 500,000 in total finding property and healthcare as the most transparent sectors, where 90% of roles include salary.

    The least transparent job sectors are energy and executive, where as few as one in five roles display a salary in the ad, the same rate as seen across sectors for part-time and graduate roles. City sectors are also on the secretive side, with 40,000 roles in the Square Mile listed without pay.

    Scotland is the region least likely to list pay, with only 42% of adverts North of the border doing so.

    Among the major firms most likely to disclose salary are restaurant chain Nandos and retailer Tesco. The top 10 companies for percentage of ads not showing a salary are:

  • Google (100%)
  • HSBC (99%)
  • EY (98%)
  • Johnson Controls (84%)
  • Rolls-Royce (75%)
  • Royal Mail (75%)
  • RBS (74%)
  • JP Morgan (69%)
  • Vodafone (69%)
  • Deloitte (67%)
  • An RBS spokesperson tells recruiter.co.uk: "We have a case-by-case approach which takes account of the market in which the role is being advertised, the type of role and the type of person that we are looking to attract." Other employers from the list contacted by recruiter.co.uk did not immediately respond.

    Adzuna head of research Flora Lowther suggests that salary no-shows have the effect of putting candidates off applying for these roles and making the job market less efficient.

    We believe that jobseekers have a right to know what pay to expect, she says.


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  • The private sector should help 'failing' job centres
    09 July 2013

    Private firms and charities should be given a bigger role in providing back to work support, as Britains faltering 1.4 billion-a-year network of job centres is letting unemployed people down, according to a major new report.

    The state-run Jobcentre Plus (JCP) network should be remodelled on the lines of the market based Australian system, which has proved a world leader in getting people back into work.

    Centre for Social Justice

    The report from the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), the think tank that designed the Coalitions Universal Credit welfare reform, identifies a string of problems with the current UK system.

    The CSJs new report finds that JCP focuses far too much on arranging benefits for claimants instead of identifying the factors that are preventing them from getting work and staying in work.

    The main measure of job centres, the so-called Off-flow, only looks at how quickly people stop claiming benefits and not whether they have found a job.

    The report also highlights churn in the system - 40 per cent of claimants who move off Jobseekers Allowance make another benefits claim within just six months. The black hole of information about such an important part of the Jobcentres role is alarming and needs to be urgently rectified, the report says.

    In evidence to the CSJ, the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) which represents Work Programme providers said: A high proportion, perhaps as high as 1 in 4 [claimants moving on to the Work Programme], present with no up-to-date CV, even though by definition almost all will have spent at least a year with Jobcentre Plus.

    The CSJ report finds that, given the success of the Australian model, there is a compelling case for utilising the expertise of the private and voluntary sectors to deliver tailored support to all claimants.

    Christian Guy, Director of the CSJ, said: Huge sums of public money are being spent on a system that is missing the point but much worse is the human cost of worklessness and the devastating impact it has on people and communities.

    This report reveals deep-seated weaknesses within the JCP network. It does not prioritise getting people into lasting jobs and many become trapped in cycles of worklessness as a result.

    We need a radical new approach if we want to transform lives and tackle unemployment. The state monopoly should be broken and innovative charities and private firms should be allowed to assist jobseekers who are crying out for help.

    During its research, the CSJ spoke to unemployed people, many young, who complained that JCP made little effort to help them find work. Some objected to box-ticking and accused the agency of promoting welfare dependency.

    The report notes that Australia is unique among Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries in that its mainstream employment services are delivered by over 100 profit-making and non-profit providers on a payment-by-results model.

    As the report explains, the Australian system operates with all jobseekers being assessed and categorised into different streams based on their level of disadvantage in the labour market, triggering referrals to a network of welfare-to-work providers.

    The CSJs report, 'Up to the Job?', argues that such reforms would help achieve significant reductions in the number of people unemployed, while increasing the number of people in sustainable work.

    The CSJ report is published against the background of data showing that the UK continues to have a serious unemployment problem. Although headline data for employment is increasingly positive, there are 2.5 million people unemployed. Around 750,000 people are still parked on incapacity benefits and waiting for reassessment. The picture is also bleak for young people - there are more than 650,000 16-24 year olds, excluding those in full-time education, out of work.

    Mr Guy added: The Governments Universal Credit reforms will shake-up the broken welfare system and make sure that work is worthwhile for people but that has to represent phase one of reform. The next stage needs to be a revolution in how we offer support to those trying to get back into work.

    The report also shows that frontline JCP advisers are paid less than the national average wage, meaning that good advisers move away from working with clients to earn more in management or elsewhere the CSJ calls for increased pay for effective advisers. It also calls for a new performance measure based on people finding work and staying in it, and the transfer of greater freedoms to JCP staff and local managers, including in setting their Centres pay levels and structure.

    Private firms and charities should be given a bigger role in providing back to work support, as Britains faltering 1.4 billion-a-year network of job centres is letting unemployed people down, according to a major new report published today.

    The Centre for Social Justice

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  • Graduate recruitment at highest level since 2008
    01 July 2013

    Students graduating from university have the most positive employment prospects since the onset of the financial crisis, despite competition for jobs remaining fierce.

    A survey of the intentions of the 100 largest organisations recruiting graduates including Apple, Oxfam, Marks & Spencer and MI5 has found a 4.6% increase in hiring, raising graduate recruitment to its highest level since 2008.

    Graduate recruitment

    The survey of leading employers by High Fliers Research, conducted in June, found the biggest increases in graduate employment were in the public sector and armed forces. Engineering and industrial companies are taking on 800 extra graduates this year out of the 17,000 total.

    The figures confirm the progress of 2012 graduates revealed by a separate nationwide survey conducted by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (Hesa). It found that 91% of students who completed courses in 2012 were either in employment, involved in further study or training six months after they graduated.

    But the Hesa statistics revealed a sharp divergence in the starting salaries of male and female graduates, with men dominating the top graduate pay brackets. Almost twice as many men as women were earning more than 30,000 after finishing their first degree.

    One of the biggest drivers in recruitment is the not-for-profit organisation Teach First, which aims to fast-track students from top universities into a teaching career in state schools. This year, it has attracted 1,300 graduates as it expands further outside London, balancing out a squeeze on public sector recruitment elsewhere.

    Overall, graduate hiring rose in nine out of 13 sectors, including the law, investment banking and accountancy, marking a recovery from the depths of the recession, which produced declines of 18% in 2009 and 6.7% in 2008.

    But while there may be more jobs for graduates, the lingering effects of the slump and continued austerity mean that those first graduate pay cheques remain depressed. The median graduate starting salary in 2013 remains unchanged at 29,000, the same as it was between 2010 and 2012.

    One reason that salaries are unchanged is that competition for graduate jobs is still intense. Martin Birchall, managing director of High Fliers Research, said: "Our latest research shows that competition for individual graduate jobs remains fierce, with employers receiving an average of 46 applications per vacancy this year."

    The competition for places allows employers to be more choosy. The survey found that three-quarters of recruiters now insisted on a 2:1 degree as a minimum requirement, and one in four specified an A-level tariff in the range of BCC to AAB.

    The effects of retrenchment continue to be felt in the retail sector, traditionally one of the largest areas of graduate employment. Recruitment dropped by 233 places between 2012 and 2013.

    The Hesa survey of 2012 graduates, published last week, reported that two-thirds of those with jobs were in professional sectors. Of the remainder, sales and customer service occupations accounted for 13% of all university graduates in employment.

    Graduates with bachelor's degrees working in the UK reported average salaries of 21,000. Above the 25,000 mark there was a sharp divide between male and female starting salaries. While women were in the majority among graduates earning less than 25,000, male graduates dominated the higher brackets at 25,000 and above. As a result, the mean salary for men was 2,000 higher than for women.

    About 28% of male graduates had starting salaries of 25,000 and above, compared with 17% of females. The Hesa survey did not break down its results by gender and industry destination to explain the wage gap, but one factor may be the larger number of women earning degrees: 172,000 female first-degree earners were recorded, or 57% of the total, compared with 129,000 males.

    Professor Michael Gunn, vice-chancellor of Staffordshire University and chair of the million+ university thinktank, said: "These statistics confirm that even in a very difficult labour market, studying for a degree on a full-time or a part-time basis remains one of the best ways of securing employment and a career."

    The Guardian

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  • Kaonix and CASCAiD announce new partnership
    26 June 2013

    Kaonix has today announced a strategic partnership with CASCAiD, to provide innovative new solutions for tackling long-term unemployment.


    CASCAiD is the leading producer of careers information and guidance solutions in the UK, with over 40 years experience of supporting individuals who are considering their career options.

    Kaonix provide online recruitment and talent management solutions and have an impressive portfolio of high profile customers. The company has significant experience of developing recruitment systems and it is envisaged that this expertise will be utilised in the partnership with CASCAiD.

    Richard Harrison, Chief Executive at CASCAiD (pictured, right) said, I am very pleased and excited at the prospect of a partnership with Kaonix. The partnership builds on the unique capabilities of both organisations and will help to develop and grow our business in the future.

    With extensive experience of developing systems to help identify people for suitable vacancies, the partnership with CASCAiD will enable a joint venture of skills and expertise that will help deliver results and support for employers, advisers and jobseekers.

    Talking about the new partnership announcement, Stuart Mockford, Managing Director at Kaonix (pictured, left), said; "We are delighted to be working with CASCAiD and see tremendous potential in our partnership". He continued, "Kaonix is the leading provider of vacancy sourcing and matching systems to the employment related services sector and there is a great fit with the solutions that CASCAiD already provide."

    His sentiments were echoed by Mark Keane, Product Manager at Kaonix, who added, "We are very excited by some of the ideas we have already discussed, and look forward to the fruits of our partnership providing some real, tangible benefits to both the student and wider job seeking community internationally".

    This year, the results of this new partnership will provide real benefits for employer/adviser engagement with a solution for achieving sustainable employment.

    Owned by Loughborough University, CASCAiD is committed to providing innovative tools that inspire career choices. CASCAiD products contain the highest-quality information, which is independently-researched and continually updated, plus a unique system of matching that creates personalised results.

    CASCAiD products are used extensively in guidance and educational organisations throughout the UK and internationally. They have supported millions of people worldwide with their career decisions.


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  • Apprenticeship scheme to create 100,000 engineering technicians
    25 June 2013

    The Prime Minister has outlined plans to create an extra 100,000 engineering technicians within the next five years, as BAE Systems chairman Sir Richard Olver called for the country to give engineers more respect and prestige.

    The initiative to encourage young people to sign up for an engineering apprenticeship will work through new and established apprentice schemes, backed by 10m from the Gatsby Foundation, a fund set up by Lord Sainsbury. The programme was created by the Institutions of Mechanical Engineers, of Civil Engineers and of Engineering and Technology.

    Engineering Apprenticeships

    British engineering and innovation are a part of our history that we are rightly very proud of and our engineering excellence continues to change the world that we live in for the better, said David Cameron as he explained the scheme.

    Apprenticeships are at the heart of our mission to rebuild the economy, giving young people the chance to learn a trade and to build their careers, creating a truly world-class, high-skilled workforce that can compete and thrive.

    Details of the plan emerged as the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering on Tuesday celebrates the best of British engineering at an awards ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

    However, Sir Richard the outgoing chairman of one of the worlds largest defence groups said the UK is in danger of repeating the mistakes of the past by failing to appreciate its scientific heritage and undervaluing its engineers and the skills they need to flourish.

    He saw the problem as deriving from an ingrained but unhelpful skew against apprenticeships and the sciences.

    At its root, our failing is due to a mixture of particularly British cultural and social attitudes and preconceptions which has resulted in the sciences and engineering particularly the practical pursuit of engineering exemplified in the UK by apprenticeship programmes playing second fiddle to other career and job choices, such as the professions and financial services, he said.

    For instance, how many British parents would encourage their children to choose an apprenticeship over university, even in the current period of austerity where a degree is no guarantee of a job? Not many.

    The answer, Sir Richard said, was likely to be very different in Germany, where a backbone of apprenticeships and technical schools supports its pre-eminence in high-tech engineering.

    At BAE Systems, Sir Richard said management was working to change attitudes. We view our apprenticeship programme as an important means of nurturing talent, he said.

    The Telegraph

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  • Work Programme is 'giving hope' to the unemployed
    17 June 2013
    Mark Hoban

    The Government's controversial Work Programme has been hailed a success by minister for employment, Mark Hoban.

    Hoban said since its introduction the Work Programme has "given hope to those written off by society".

    The minister was speaking this morning at a conference in central London, 'A team effort: the role of employers in closing the protection gap', organised by independent think-tank Reform.

    However he acknowledged more work still needs to be done. "We are focused on providing sustainable employment for those who are out of work," he said.

    "We need to move complex barriers that are currently stopping many getting into work, however the Government can't do this by itself."

    He added: "Employers must give opportunities to people who find it the hardest to gain employment, such as ex-offenders or those who have grown up in 'worklessness' areas."

    Hoban also described the Work Experience programme as a "great success", as it offered employers an opportunity to "try before you buy".

    HR Magazine

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  • Jobs market in record surge
    03 June 2013
    Job surge

    The jobs market is at its healthiest since 2008, following a record surge in positions being made available by employers from nearly all sectors, according to the latest Reed Job Index, published today.

    The index, which is compiled using data from over 10,000 employers, shows there were 8% more opportunities on offer in May than in April.

    There were more opportunities for jobseekers in over 90% of the UK's employment sectors last month compared with April, with one in four making over 10% more jobs available, the index found.

    It also showed on an annual basis the average growth in opportunities for every sector of UK employment stands at 21%, with only three sectors (accountancy, financial services and purchasing), less healthy now than they were in 2012.

    Among the sectors enjoying the most notable growth were the education and health and medicine professions, both experiencing annual growth of around 60%. The training sector proved the biggest monthly riser, up by 26% compared with April.

    Despite the optimistic outlook for job opportunities, the Index revealed salary growth remained flat last month. This means remuneration is at the same level it was this time last year.

    James Reed, chairman of Reed, said: "In line with the season, the jobs market has bloomed this spring after steadying in April. We are particularly encouraged by the fact that the majority of employment sectors are showing growth.

    "We believe that a jobs-led recovery is the way forward for the UK economy and, with the latest service sector and house price data starting to indicate the wider health of the economy picking up of late, we are starting to see the tentative recovery very much being led by the buoyant jobs market."

    Reed said: "Looking ahead, it will be interesting to see whether this month's GDP and ONS figures follow suit. Both measures have recently shown encouraging, if modest growth and there are strong signs the growing health of the jobs market will continue to help drive the economy forward."

    HR Magazine

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  • Apprentices are the "most employable" young people
    08 April 2013

    Former apprentices are outpacing their peers when it comes to being fit for the workplace, according to figures published today by ICM Research.


    The study reveals employers in England rate qualified apprentices as 15% more employable than those with other qualifications.

    Those who complete higher apprenticeships are the most desirable employees, with businesses rating this group as 25% more employable than those who took an alternative route into work.

    The survey asked 500 employers in England to rate the employability of people with different qualifications on a scale of 1-10.

    The mean of all three apprenticeships was 7.36 and the average of other qualifications 6.382 - 15% lower.

    Those with a higher, degree level apprenticeship were rated most desirable at 7.98.

    Those who had university degrees were rated as 7.58 in the survey.

    One in six (15%) apprentices currently progresses to higher education following their apprenticeship, either at a college or a university, but with apprenticeships at bachelor and master degree levels also becoming available for the first time, the opportunities for degree-level learning while young people earn have now been significantly expanded.

    Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said: "We want apprenticeships or university to become the new norm for young people leaving school and higher apprenticeships are an excellent way to enter high-profile careers while also achieving a degree-level qualification.

    Gaenor Bagley, head of people, PwC, said: "We're finding talent from wider sources than ever before. There's no doubt in our mind that for talented students who are clear about their career path and want to get straight into work, higher apprenticeships offer a real opportunity that doesn't compromise on training and development."

    Last year, the Government funded 4,230 placements in the second round of a 25 million higher apprenticeships initiative.

    At the time, business secretary Vince Cable said it would help sectors tackle skills shortages and boost participation by under-represented groups like women.

    HR Magazine

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  • Apprenticeships remain poor relation to university education, says working parents
    11 March 2013

    Almost half of working parents believe that apprenticeships are more appropriate for manual or blue-collar jobs and less than a fifth believe that apprenticeships have the same status as university education.

    In the Employee Outlook Focus on Apprenticeships, survey of almost 400 working parents, contacted by the CIPD as part of its Learning to Work programme they said the top two reasons to make them believe that apprenticeships would be a better career option were: More information about apprenticeships and more local employers offering apprenticeships.


    The survey showed that only 17% of respondents with children aged under 18 agree they would not think about recommending apprenticeships, a quarter (26%) neither agree nor disagree, while 53% disagree.

    The CIPD is calling for improved careers guidance to challenge perception that apprenticeships are mostly relevant to blue collar careers.

    Peter Cheese, chief executive at the CIPD, said: "Apprenticeships give young people the chance to learn and develop skills in the context of the workplace and enable employers to grow their own workforce and recruit from a more diverse pool of talent.

    "But this new research shows that misperceptions about apprenticeships prevail, which is likely to impact the supply of potential candidates for employers that do offer apprenticeships and deter those that don't from adapting their recruitment methods.

    Katerina Rdiger, skills policy adviser at the CIPD, said: "It's not enough to convince employers that apprenticeships are a good idea, we also need to get the message out to potential candidates and their parents that apprenticeships are a good route into skilled jobs.

    "In most cases, parents are the key influencers on young people's education and career choices, so schools and employers need to reach out to them and make sure that they and their children have enough information about alternatives to university education.

    She added: "At the moment this is not the case, with many young people reporting that they had no or very little advice and guidance about apprenticeships.

    HR Magazine

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  • Work Programme a success, says PPDG MD
    25 February 2013

    The managing director of welfare-to-work provider Pertemps People Development Group (PPDG) has hit back at criticisms by MPs that the governments Work Programme is failing.

    Calling the scheme a success, PPDG MD Gareth Edwards tells Recruiter: My view is that it is working.


    The Work Programme was launched by the government in June 2011 as a radical new approach to get the long-term unemployed into work.

    On Friday, the public accounts committee said that during the first 14 months of the programme only 3.6% of jobseekers on the scheme moved off benefits into sustained employment of more than six months, and described the performance of the scheme as extremely poor.

    Edwards responds that the 3.6% figure is not an accurate reflection of activity because it is a seven-year contract and we have them [the long-term unemployed] for two years. It takes an average of 20-26 weeks to get people into work; the first measurement point is after six months, so that is 12 months into the programme before you get meaningful results. We have still got two to three months before the end of our first cohort [of unemployed], and it is only then that we will see the true measure.

    Edwards also disagrees with the MPs criticism that providers cream off those jobseekers who are easiest to place, while parking and not bothering to help those who are hardest to place into jobs, such as those on incapacity benefit.

    He responds: Morally and ethically as a business we treat everyone the same; our target is to help 100% of people on the programme. He adds: We dont park people, we give everybody the same opportunity, we dont give up on them.

    Edwards says that the company only puts people forward for interview when there is a good chance that they will not only get the job, but also keep it. And he goes on to explain that getting people to that stage, when they may have been out of work for 20 years, can take many months and sometimes more than a year.

    This is not the first time the Work Programme has been criticised. In November, the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD) found that 49% of UK employers were unaware of the scheme.

    A spokesperson for employment services charity the Shaw Trust and Careers Development Group says he is confident that given time the Work Programme will be a success.

    Providers have two years to work with people to help them find and stay in work, and therefore it is too soon to state that jobseekers are being creamed and parked, he says.

    The spokesperson adds: As you would expect for a scheme of this size, we do feel that further refinements can be made. This includes making sure that funding for providers is based on the needs of the individual rather than the type of benefit they receive, as in the Australian system, which we believe would be another step forward.


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  • Infographic from ONS showing latest on labour market
    21 February 2013

    Labour Market Infographic Summary, February 2013

    Infographic by Office for National Statistics (ONS)

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  • Record number of people in work as unemployment continues to fall
    20 February 2013

    The number of people in work hit a record high in the three months to December 2012 at 29.73 million.

    The latest Office of National Statistics (ONS) released today showed there was an increase of 154,000 from the previous three months and up 584,000 on the same period a year earlier.

    JobCentre Plus

    There was also a decrease in the number of people claiming job seekers allowance in January 2013 compared with January 2012.

    Overall, the ONS said there were 29.73 million people in the UK in employment, of which 73% were working full-time and 27% were working part-time.

    In the three months to December, the unemployment rate fell to 7.8% - down from 7.9% in the previous quarter.

    But youth unemployment increased by 11,000, the highest rise for a year, and the number of people with more than one job increased by 41,000 to 1.1 million.

    The ONS also reported a continued cut in the real value of pay, with average earnings increasing by 1.4% in the year to December, down by 0.1% on the previous month.

    Stephen Barter, director, KPMG Management Consulting, said: "We have now seen more than two successive quarters of falling unemployment and this is an encouraging sign for the long-term outlook of the economy and of employers' intentions for future employment growth.

    "Of course, on its own, a figure showing a drop in the number of claimants is not a silver bullet, but taken alongside other positive economic data, such as house prices and stock prices, it is an encouraging trend."

    Tom Hadley, director of Policy and Professional Services said: "Employer confidence remains strong and the outlook for the UK labour market in 2013 is generally very positive, although there are still legitimate reasons to worry about persistent levels of youth unemployment.

    "The private sector continues to overcompensate for public sector job losses and in some high demand areas starting salaries are inflating as businesses find themselves in a race for talent.

    "When skills shortages emerge employers need to be flexible. Business demand for candidates in highly skilled areas like engineering, IT and management is outstripping the UK's current supply of qualified and experienced candidates."

    Hadley added: "Bosses need to think about whether they could do just as well by taking on someone who shows potential if they can't find candidates with the years of experience they might initially feel are necessary for a role.

    "That change in attitude would also be good news for graduates and younger jobseekers."

    HR Magazine

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  • Are anonymous CVs the answer to discrimination?
    11 January 2013

    The concept of blank-name application forms, to reduce discrimination in recruitment processes, is back on the agenda after a damning government report on the employment prospects of ethnic minorities.


    A study from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Race and Community in December found that women of black, Pakistani and Bangladeshi heritage who 'anglicised' their names saw a 50 per cent drop in the number of applications required before getting an interview.

    The Group's recommendations include encouraging businesses to use blank-name, anonymised applications forms that screen out a candidate's name, background and schooling from recruiters, to eliminate unconscious biases. But this isn't the first time the idea has been mooted - and it's proved highly divisive in the past.

    In 2009, Lib Dem MP Lynne Featherstone tried to add a clause to the Equality Bill that would have made nameless CVs mandatory, citing the use of candidate numbers rather than names in school exams. The idea was described as "unworkable" by a number of HR directors and was subsequently dropped.

    Last year, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg asked firms signing up to his Business Compact on social mobility to "increase use of name-blank and school-blank applications" - but although more than 100 major employers have joined the scheme, the CV requirement was not mandatory and there is no indication of take-up.

    Tim Baker, manager of commerce & industry at global HR recruiter Frazer Jones, is among those who doubts anonymous CVs would make a difference: "The name is usually the first thing you look at when you open a CV, but any good recruiter will tell you that it's a combination of experience, companies worked for and sometimes education that make a good CV. If you have this, the name and ethnic background is irrelevant."

    Sarah H Gordon, chair of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation's Diversity and Inclusion Forum and associate director of SME recruiter The Sammons Group, advises jobseekers to look for employers and agencies who advertise their diversity credentials. She adds: "We prefer to use names and just work with clients who operate fair and objective recruitment based on merit and nothing else."

    Despite the doubts, the idea clearly has momentum, though evidence of its effectiveness is inconclusive.

    When the Department for Work and Pension sent 3,000 applications for 987 using false identities in 2009, the number of interviews granted appeared to show a bias against those with names recognisably from ethnic minorities.

    A 2012 German study using more than 8,000 blank applications concluded they levelled the playing field for women and immigrants, but a widespread French government experiment found the chances of people who were born abroad or lived in disadvantaged areas being offered an interview was more than halved when their details were left off applications. Researchers suggested the practice restricted positive discrimination.

    "Companies have a vested interest in employing the best person for the job, regardless of gender and ethnicity," says Neil Morrison, group HR director at Random House. "But the parliamentary report is a sad reflection of how ethnic minority groups feel about their treatment by employers, and collectively we should be looking to change both perceptions and treatment."

    People Management

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