DWP’s ‘Spotlight’ sessions, previously known as master classes, have been instrumental in strengthening knowledge and good practice across Jobcentres nationally and have focused on numerous industry sectors including hospitality, agencies, security & facilities management, food & drink, care work and more recently construction.
DWP’s objective for the month of March was to up-skill its staff in the Jobcentre network, equipping them with knowledge and understanding of the hire industry and the employment challenges within it.
In a rallying call to businesses Employment Minister Priti Patel said: “The ambition is to inspire jobseekers, increase awareness of the Hire sector as a great place to work and encourage employers to recruit a more diverse workforce. I am asking for your commitment to collaborate with us by supporting this campaign.”
Taking place on 15th March 2016, in the form of a telephone conference with approximately 750 delegates participating, Jobcentre employees were invited to participate and then communicate key messages to their colleagues about the opportunities within the Hire industry. Representing the HAE EHA were Richard Whiting, commercial manager; Debbie Garner, senior membership development executive and Graham Dobbs, a member of HAE EHA’s Supply Chain Board and managing director for hire software provider inspHire.
Topics and issues addressed during the conference call included the ongoing struggle by SMEs to recruit the right candidates; the growing skills shortage caused by targeting school leavers, the unemployed and recruiting from friends and family; coaching teams at Jobcentre Plus (JCP) offices across the country in identifying jobseekers interested in hire and the personal characteristics that Hirers look for; highlighting the benefits of working in hire i.e. diverse career paths, the amount of training available and ability to progress and a busy and lively working environment and promoting work experience and careers in hire by targeting 18-30 years olds looking for a career change.
The call was brought to a close with an uplifting and inspirational presentation by Graham Dobbs about his own career; relaying how he entered work via the YTS scheme in the 1980s, moving into the construction sector shortly after, before quickly progressing from the hire desk to area manager. Graham is now managing director of one of the UK’s most successful hire industry software companies and it's difficult not to get caught up in his passion for the sector.
At the close of the call a poll was conducted among participants with 95% finding it useful or very useful. These are superb figures backed up by very positive feedback including Gill Knight’s from JCP Somerset, who commented: “The session was excellent, the background information was highly informative and I especially enjoyed Graham’s presentation, talking us through his career and the way he diverted from direct hire to the IT sector. It was refreshing to hear someone talk unscripted, with passion and enthusiasm, without an agenda to push.”
Anne Pavey, senior employer relationship manager at DWP was very pleased with the outcome of the call and with HAE EHA's involvement, telling us: "Richard, Debbie and Graham did a fabulous job on the call really bringing to life the size and opportunities within the sector – our thanks to you all."