High unemployment, high opportunity
Since lockdown more and more businesses have been unable to retain or hire new staff. In the lockdown period alone, over 200,000 redundancies have been made across the UK.
The job opportunities of young people in particular have been severely impacted with the BBC reporting how lockdown had impacted the growing unemployment rate especially between young people aged 16-24 years old.
Yet with existing placements and internships cancelled, this gives businesses who are able to maintain their recruitment processes an advantage when accessing top talent.
We investigate three of the funded schemes available out there to help your business continue growing its workforce.
Don’t feel that limited finances will stop your business from hiring new talent. A new scheme announced by the government called ‘Kick-Start’ encourages businesses to provide placements to young people at risk of unemployment and in return, these businesses will receive payment for every 16-24 year old who is upskilled.
The move looks to ensure your business is able to continue training young talent for their own needs and ambitions alongside those of the wider communities they serve, therefore providing growth for the local economy and access to a growing talent pool at low cost.
2). Furlough scheme
As a business, you may have already taken on new talent, but are unable to keep them on for economic reasons. Well don’t you worry, in addition to ‘Kick-Start’, the government has announced a replacement of the Furlough scheme, the Job Support Scheme.
Unlike the furlough scheme, which saw the government cover the cost of a business’s wages during the lockdown period, this sees the government secure viable jobs by ‘topping up’ an employee’s wage should they only be able to work a third of their hours and not full time.
The new scheme will be run for a duration of 6 months from November 2020 with all small and medium sized enterprises being eligible for the support.
3). Higher Level Skills Match (HLSM)
It’s not just national schemes that are supporting businesses in managing their workforce during this difficult time. Universities are ensuring that local businesses have access to talented students and graduates looking for are engaging and insightful employment prospects.
An example of how universities are working to support businesses is through the award winning HLSM project, funded by the European Social Fund.
This project works closely with businesses within the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) and provides your business with a dedicated Account Manager from one of the partner HEI institutions which include Birmingham City, Aston and Newman Universities.
As part of the project, Account Managers work closely with you to identify your skills needs and goals through a carefully designed Business Skills Needs Assessment.
Following on from this, students and graduates are then offered opportunities through the project to bridge the skills gaps in your business, benefitting both the student and business owner.
The opportunities may range from micro-placements for businesses which looks to place students in short placements to supporting businesses recruit for Graduate level roles.
Continual upskilling of your current staff is also a vital element of a business skills strategy. In addition to placing student and graduate talent within a business, HLSM also works to provide workshops and events that meet the needs of your business. Past workshops have been around Social Media and Marketing, with an accredited course in Search Engine Optimisation.
Online access to support for the ‘new normal’
All the new programmes have tailored their offerings to assist remotely with enquiry forms and service delivery being available online.
HLSM have adapted how their events are run during the lockdown period, by hosting tailored Meet the Employer sessions virtually to ensure businesses are still able to connect with the diverse and talented students available in their region.
To replace the traditional on-site Careers Fairs, the team are offering a more bespoke personalised online offer. All these are excellent examples of how HLSM is supporting businesses with their recruitment by finding new opportunities to host virtually.
Programme Manager for Higher Level Skills Match, Lucia Puricelli comments
“In an increasingly uncertain time, it is important we continue to support our local businesses and our students and graduates by finding new ways of working virtually to offer the same high standard of service.”
Don’t miss out
Regardless which initiative you go with, it’s vital your business continues to look to develop its talent and makes itself aware that you can access support and help even in the direst of financial situations.
You can find out more about support available to businesses currently through our COVID-19 pages.
If you are a small or medium sized business in the GBSLEP area with a workforce of under 250 employees and would like to find out more information on our Higher Level Skills Match Project, you can enquire here.