Joint Memorandum from Manchester City
Council and Manchester Training and Enterprise Council
1.1 Matching unemployed individuals to job
vacancies is a complex process which requires a range of interventions
in order to achieve a successful outcome.
1.2 Securing employer commitment to recruiting
unemployed people and supporting their efforts through targeted
financial assistance programmes, such as wage subsidy schemes,
allows the targeting of unemployed people and can break the cycle
of unemployment where new job vacancies are filled by people already
in employment. There will, however, inevitably be a degree of
displacement and "deadweight", (where an employer would
have recruited an individual irrespective of the availability
of the subsidy, although in many instances, not someone who was
formerly unemployed). However, these effects can be minimised
provided that financial subsidies are correctly targeted and linked
1.3 Whilst the above measures are clearly
important, they are only one part of the process. The labour market
is extremely complicated with a great deal of movement, in particular,
at the lower end of the spectrum. Evidence shows that the lack
of basic and key skills, coupled with skill mismatches remain
a significant blockage to unemployed people obtaining employment.
The lack of key skills, in particular, and associated life skills,
(as opposed to vocational skills), needs to be addressed at an
earlier stage in the process and clearly needs to track back into
the education system.
1.4 Many unemployed people have a winding
and complicated career path and the issue is often being able
to get onto the first rung of the ladder and more importantly,
to sustain this employment for a period of time. The Intermediate
Labour Market model is a good example of an integrated approach
which enables long term unemployed people, often those who are
hardest to reach and motivate, to regain the disciplines of work.
1.5 Customised pre-recruitment programmes
which enable unemployed individuals to successfully compete for
jobs are also crucial elements of the process. Once an individual
enters employment, in-work support and mentoring are also required,
evidence suggests that the first three months is the most difficult
period during which employment can often cease for reasons which
could have been avoided.
1.6 Career progression and life-long learning
are also key to achieving sustainable employment. However, often
the flat structures that exist in some sectors provide little
opportunity for career advancement which, in turn, can result
in staff retention problems for employers.
1.7 Government funding programmes and entry
criteria for mainstream training provision can also often be a
barrier to employment, in particular, for newly unemployed people.
In an ever tightening labour market which is experiencing skill
shortages in a range of sectors, the short term unemployed have
a critical role to play. Their recent work experience means that,
with appropriate training either prior to employment or soon after
commencement, they will be able to meet employers' basic requirements.
1.8 Evidence shows that labour demand is
high at NVQ Levels 1-2 in sectors such as retail and service and
recruitment efforts for the unemployed should be focused upon
securing these Level 2 entry jobs. However, there are also critical
skill shortages at NVQ Level 3 in traditional areas such as engineering
crafts, construction as well as growth sectors such as Information
Technology. Often this loss of skills is due to retirement and
is not replaced by current training provision such as the Work
Based Learning for Adults programme which does not train to NVQ
Level 3 standard.
1.9 The introduction of the new Learning
and Skills Councils (LSC) may enable these skill issues to be
resolved. However, this will only be achieved if the LSCs have
the ability to utilise all available funding streams. One area
where the LSC could have an immediate impact is through the introduction
of an NVQ Level 3 programme for both the short and long term unemployed.
1.10 It needs to be recognised that the
need to meet targets and outputs drives agencies and training
providers to move individuals into employment which may not be
sustainable. There, therefore, needs to be more of a balance between
short term outputs and longer term outcomes in recognition of
the intensity of the approach that is required with long term
unemployed individuals, (often at a personal one to one and localised
level), to avoid the "revolving door" syndrome of individuals
returning to unemployment.
2.1 There are now numerous policies and
programmes in place which seek to address unemployment and its
consequent effect upon individuals and local communities. These
include national initiatives linked to Welfare to Work, including
the various New Deals, in addition to a range of local job creation
and brokering initiatives supported through Single Regeneration
Budget (SRB) programmes and local area-based strategies.
2.2 In strategic terms, the context for
Manchester City Council's approach to maximising the recruitment
of unemployed residents is the City Pride partnership, involving
the cities of Manchester and Salford, the boroughs of Trafford
and Tameside and Manchester Training and Enterprise Council (TEC).
In the City of Manchester, City Pride is underpinned by the City
Council's city-wide and area-based regeneration programmes, which
seek to maximise local benefit opportunities in partnership with
key public, private and voluntary organisations.
2.3 Although job growth has been strong
nationally, with almost 300,000 additional jobs created during
the past year, the regional distribution has been uneven, with
London and the South East accounting for the majority of growth.
By contrast, regions such as the North West have actually lost
jobs during the same period.
2.4 The spatial dimensions of unemployment
are particularly acute in a city such as Manchester which has
stubborn geographical concentrations of long term unemployment.
In areas such as these, employment programmes may not reach the
residual core of unemployed people, resulting in the further polarisation
of individuals and communities. This is most clearly demonstrated
in the implementation of the New Deal programme for 18-24 year
olds in the City Pride area. The City of Manchester has a disproportionate
share of unemployed 18-24 year olds (some 66 per cent of the total
number of unemployed young people in the area covered by the partnership)
with the net result that the programme is working best in those
areas which possess less disadvantage.
2.5 Recent analysis by the Unemployment
Unit shows that there are about 500,000 people moving into vacant
jobs each month across the whole economy. However, only about
a third of these vacancies are filled by unemployed people. Nearly
half are filled by job changers ie people moving from one job
to another whilst new entrants into the labour market and job
changers within the same employer account for another 20 per cent.
There are also critical skill shortages at NVQ Level 3 in both
traditional occupations (eg construction) and new growth sectors
(eg Information Technology) which are impacting upon employers'
efforts to fill job vacancies.
2.6 The process of matching unemployed individuals
to job vacancies is complex involving a great range of factors.
From an "employer's" perspective, there are the additional
training costs involved in recruiting unemployed people, in particular,
those who lack basic and key skills, which employers are unwilling
to address. When the above is combined with the element of uncertainty
associated with employing someone with no recent work experience
and other possible factors such as a criminal record, low levels
of educational attainment and a varied employment history, recruiting
an unemployed person becomes a high risk option for some employers.
2.7 From the perspective of the unemployed
individual, depending upon the length of their unemployment, there
may be a range of barriers which prevent them from moving into
employment. As previously stated, typically, these can include
a lack of relevant skills and experience in addition to associated
issues connected with low pay and benefits.
2.8 In addition to assisting long term unemployed
people, there also needs to be mechanisms which support those
who have become more recently unemployed as they will have both
relevant work experience and the motivation to seek employment.
However, as previously highlighted, employer perceptions and prejudices,
together with their recruitment criteria and processes, can often
discriminate against unemployed applicants in general.
2.9 A twin track approach is therefore required.
There is a need to secure the commitment of employers to the principle
of recruiting unemployed people and provide packages of support
to assist their recruitment processes. Equally important is the
need to engage unemployed people, (in particular, those who have
been unemployed for a longer period of time and disconnected from
the labour market) and increase their employability.
2.10 There are a number of general points
to note from Manchester's experience of implementing initiatives
involving both unemployed people and employers. These are highlighted
in the best practice case studies in Section 1 of this paper.
Drawing upon Manchester's approach, Section 2 considers whether
there is anything more that agencies can do to assist unemployed
people to secure employment. Key messages for Government and a
number of proposed actions are set out in Sections 3 and 4.
3. SECTION 1:
UNEMPLOYED: A MANCHESTER
3.1 In common with other urban areas, the
City of Manchester has high levels of long term unemployment and
deprivation. In January 2000, 15,672 people were unemployed in
the City and the unemployment rate continues to be twice the national
average (9.2 per cent compared with 4.3 per cent). This pattern
has remained consistent for many years, with the City following
trends in the national economy and remaining at least double the
county (4.6 per cent), regional (5.1 per cent) and national (4.3
per cent) averages.
3.2 A quarter (4,000) of Manchester's unemployed
residents have been unemployed for at least one year and 4.7 per
cent have been unemployed for more than five years. Manchester
has particular geographical concentrations of long term unemployment
at ward level where the unemployment rate is in the region of
20 per cent, significantly higher than the City's overall average.
3.3 Manchester also currently has one of
the lowest rates of working age population who are economically
active in relation to comparable cities as follows:
||% of working population economically active
3.4 Strengthening the link between economic activity
and local employment is central to Manchester's approach to regeneration
and is pursued at all stages of the job creation process. Building
successful partnerships with employers in tandem with programmes
which engage and assist unemployed people is an integral part
of this approach. The case studies set out below provide a practical
illustration of this in the following ways; the successful re-integration
of disengaged unemployed people into the labour market, mechanisms
which directly link unemployed individuals to new job vacancies
and a sector-based approach targeted at the construction industry.
4. CASE STUDY
1: THE INTERMEDIATE
Community and Environmental Employment (CEE)
4.1 In 1997, a pilot Intermediate Labour Market (ILM)
model was established in the City Pride area. Unlike many other
ILM projects around the country, the local model set about creating
employment through existing voluntary sector employers within
the area and filling job gaps by providing socially useful work.
The ILM model has been further developed and is now part of the
New Deal for 18-24 year olds as a result of combining the Environmental
Task Force and Voluntary Sector Options to create waged employment.
The ILM programme known as Community Environmental Employment
(CEE), is delivered by Manchester TEC.
4.2 CEE aims to create a pool of temporary, waged employment
opportunities in areas of socially and environmental useful work
within a range of local voluntary, public and private sector organisations.
In addition to offering a maximum of 12 months employment, vocational
training is provided together with a programme of non-vocational
personal development (eg driving lessons). Ongoing guidance and
counselling is provided together with job search to enable people
to obtain employment in the regular labour market. The TEC implements
CEE projects through a range of local sponsoring employers and
manages the design, funding and performance of the overall programme.
4.3 Since the first person joined the CEE programme in
September 1998, a total of 558 people (up to December 1999) have
commenced employment with community-based employers in the City
Pride area, with all work having either a community or environmental
benefit. Current provision in the City Pride area is for up to
900 jobs (these are live vacancies or those in the advanced stages
of development) of which around 400 are currently filled.
4.4 The CEE programme is funded by a highly complex package
of resources, including 17 individual area-based Single Regeneration
Programmes (SRB), TEC funding programmes, European Structural
Funds and New Deal.
4.5 In November of last year, an evaluation of the original
City Pride ILM pilot was undertaken by Cambridge Policy Consultants.
As well as providing some very useful pointers for the future
development of the ILM model, the evaluation showed that more
than 59 per cent of people employed on the pilot had moved into
4.6 Early indications are that the CEE programme is extremely
popular both with unemployed people themselves and local community
groups. This element of the New Deal for 18-24 year olds is now
well established and accounts for a much higher proportion of
overall provision than originally anticipated.
4.7 In addition to the above, the TEC and Manchester
City Council's City Works Department have developed a pilot employment
project for individuals (typically Gateway overstayers) who have
been unable to secure a place on a suitable New Deal Option. The
programme provides predominantly manual employment at a lower
wage rate to the CEE programme, in addition to intensive one to
one client support. A key feature of the project is a structured
incentive programme, including financial and non-financial incentives,
designed to reward good performance and attendance. The project
has demonstrated a good rate of retention; since the project commenced
in November 1999, a total of 32 people (out of an original 39)
are still employed on the project as of March 2000.
5. CASE STUDY
2: ENGAGING EMPLOYERS:
ASDA Local Recruitment Initiative
5.1 Prior to the City Challenge regeneration programme
of Moss Side and Hulme, the area had been without a supermarket
for some years. In October 1996, as part of the development of
a new high street and shopping complex, negotiations were successfully
concluded with ASDA for a new supermarket development, adjacent
to the main arterial routes into Manchester City Centre.
5.2 Early contact was made with ASDA by key local agencies
and a meeting was convened with their senior management team six
months prior to the store's opening in order to agree recruitment
strategies. ASDA gave a commitment to employ a large percentage
of local residents and with the help of City Council, the TEC
and other key local agencies, including the Moss Side and Hulme
Community Development Trust, a co-ordinated and comprehensive
approach was developed.
5.3 A public event was held locally in order to communicate
ASDA's working conditions and philosophy to the local community.
This was followed by a presentation on ASDA's recruitment process
and career progression structure by members of their regional
personnel team to Job Centre staff and local recruitment organisations.
This highlighted the key emphasis which ASDA placed upon the quality
of initial application forms and therefore enabled support to
be tailored to meet this criteria.
5.4 Local agencies were also able to influence ASDA with
regards to how they packaged the jobs, so that local people could
actually afford to take up employment, by reducing the number
of part-time vacancies. ASDA also placed staff in the local Job
Centre to assist the recruitment process and held two events in
a local church hall and a community centre.
5.5 A funding package was compiled in order to provide
in-depth support which was delivered primarily by a local training
organisation. This included assistance with the completion of
the application form, interview techniques and information on
ASDA's terms and conditions.
5.6 Specific contact points in key organisations were
agreed so that any issues could be resolved quickly and fedback
to the local community. ASDA took out a two-page centre spread
in a local community newspaper which was also supplemented by
a leader feature and article.
5.7 With support from Manchester City Council and the
TEC, 12,000 households were leafleted (organised and actioned
by a local community organisation) outlining the new employment
opportunities and the assistance available.
5.8 In order to ensure that "after care" was
provided, it was agreed that any participant who was not recruited
by ASDA would be offered further job advice and counselling. ASDA
were also provided with details of local employment and training
networks in addition to local childminders and nurseries to assist
them to address childcare issues.
5.9 As a result of the above, 80 per cent of the 300
jobs originally available were secured by local residents. Furthermore,
more local people applied to ASDA after it opened as residents
could see that local people had been successful in obtaining employment.
From a business perspective, ASDA Hulme has exceeded turnover
targets and has one of the lowest incidents of car crime and shoplifting
of all their stores in the Greater Manchester area.
6. CASE STUDY
3: REACHING OUT
Jurys Inn Pre-recruitment Programme
6.1 In the autumn of 1998, the Manchester City Council,
the TEC and Employment Service were approached by the Jurys Hotel
group to assist in the recruitment of staff for their new Manchester
hotel which was due to open in April 1999. They wanted staff who
were multi-skilled who could undertake reception, food and drink
service and general housekeeping activities. Jurys were particularly
keen to recruit unemployed people and wanted to have considerable
input into the recruitment and training process.
6.2 Manchester College of Arts and Technology (MANCAT),
was engaged to design a 10 week customised training programme
in conjunction with Jurys. The Employment Service (ES) undertook
an intensive recruitment exercise in Job Centres around the area
and there was also local press advertising. The response was very
good and 42 trainees joined the programme. Trainees consisted
of a combination of 18-24 year old New Deal clients and adult
unemployed people, together with others supported under Further
Education Funding Council (FEFC) arrangements.
6.3 ES were approached for dispensation with regards
to unemployed people being able to undertake the training programme
whilst remaining on benefit. However, as this is not possible
under current benefit regulations, individuals had to attend for
less than 16 hours per week in order to meet the availability
for work criteria. Although this lack of flexibility was disappointing,
all the agencies involved did their best to accommodate this requirement.
6.4 34 of the participants completed the course and all
were offered jobs with Jurys. 33 people actually took up employment
offers and several of these continued with their training under
either the New Deal Employment Option or Modern Apprenticeship
programme. One of the original recruits from the programme was
recently voted Jurys Employee of the Month!
7. CASE STUDY
4: A SECTOR-BASED
Towards 2000 Together Local Labour in Construction Project
7.1 Towards 2000 Together is a dynamic partnership between
Manchester City Council, Manchester Training and Enterprise Council
(TEC), construction sector employers, the Construction Industry
Training Board, the Employment Service, Manchester College of
Arts and Technology (MANCAT) and Manchester Airport. It is designed
to meet the twin objective of maximising local employment generated
by physical development projects and ensuring that local construction
employers are supported by a supply of skilled and committed employees.
7.2 The partnership brings together the key players and
their programmes of activity within a single strategic framework
and provides a seamless link between the demand for and supply
of labour within the Manchester construction sector.
Its unique features include:
a dedicated Local Labour Team within the TEC,
providing a single point of contact for the industry and responsible
for co-ordinating activities, including the management of a central
database of local labour and financial assistance programmes to
support recruitment and training such as wage subsidy schemes
and Modern Apprenticeships;
voluntary procedures and mechanisms for encouraging
the employment of local people, including a detailed Procedures
Manual for Contractors, setting out a process to be followed by
contractors when tendering for contracts.
7.3 Masterplanning information on forthcoming contracts
is made available to the Local Labour Team by the City Council
and other major procurers of works, such as Manchester Airport.
This co-ordination of intelligence ensures that training provision
is specifically tailored to meet contractors' skill requirements.
7.4 The project has specifically addressed the issue
of the lack of take up of opportunities by unemployed people who
are disengaged from the labour market. Project staff have developed
an intensive outreach programme, publicising the project through
person to person counselling and home visits. The objective is
to establish personal trust and emphasise the benefits to jobseekers,
including wage subsidies, training opportunities, the provision
of basic toolkits and the eventual prospect of skilled, sustainable,
highly paid and regular work.
7.5 In terms of the project's performance to date, over
2,000 local residents are registered on the local labour database
and over 700 local residents have been placed into on-site employment
7.6 Physical development is the most visible demonstration
of change within regeneration programmes. The construction industry
is, however, a most difficult sector in which to intervene due
to the nature of its employment patterns and the speed with which
developments are completed.
7.7 The Towards 2000 Together project has attempted to
address these problems in a unique and effective way through a
robust partnership which delivers tangible benefits to both employers
and unemployed people.
8. SECTION 2: WHAT
The Role of the Employment Service, Intermediaries and Private
The Employment Service
8.1 There are a number of issues relating to the role
of the Employment Service (ES) which are explored below.
8.2 ES's new Vision and Purpose, as expressed in the
Annual Performance Agreement for 2000-01, is "to help people
without jobs to find work and employers to fill their vacancies".
However, it is clear from documented evidence both locally and
nationally that many employers do not place their vacancies with
ES or use their services. Research conducted recently in Manchester
showed that up to 50 per cent of vacancies in the East of the
City were filled through either personal recommendation or word-of-mouth.
8.3 It would appear that some employers' reluctance to
place their vacancies with ES may be due in part to the number
of inappropriate referrals that they receive. As ES is target-driven,
Job Centre Staff are clearly under some pressure to meet submission
and placing targets.
8.4 In addition, individual Job Centre advisers may not
always be conversant with the skill requirements of particular
sectors, in particular, specialists sectors such as construction,
which in turn can result in inappropriate referrals. There is
a need for better screening of potential client referrals in addition
to more comprehensive training for ES staff on current labour
8.5 Likewise, unemployed clients may not actually be
interested in a particular vacancy on offer but attend the job
interview for fear of losing their benefit. The inclusion of a
new target for the number of long term claimants to remain in
employment 13 weeks after moving off Job Seekers Allowance (JSA),
although described as a pilot, is particularly welcome and an
acknowledgement of the importance of securing sustainable employment.
8.6 Another issue concerns the way in which vacancies
are promoted by ES. Experience from Manchester is that it is often
difficult to concentrate local benefit within a particular geographical
area due to the fact that vacancies are circulated throughout
the whole Job Centre network. This is a particular problem where
new opportunities arise within a regeneration area and potential
benefits are diluted. The ring fencing of particular vacancies
to disadvantaged and/or regeneration areas may be a possible solution
to this problem.
8.7 In terms of providing more comprehensive support
to all economically inactive unemployed people, not just those
in receipt of Job Seekers Allowance, Government proposals for
the closer integration between ES and the Benefits Agency, (building
upon the pilot ONE service), should assist in this regard.
9. INTERMEDIARIES AND
9.1 Intermediaries are agencies which provide a direct
interface between unemployed people and employers. They perform
a range of pre-job support, job placement and in-work support
functions, playing a similar role to that of recruitment agencies.
In the UK, there are several types of agencies that perform intermediary-type
functions, including the Employment Service and TECs. However,
a key distinguishing feature of this type of agency is that they
take an integrated, customer-focused approach to the delivery
of services, as opposed to one which is programme-driven.
9.2 Manchester City Council, in partnership with the
TEC and the Employment Service, are currently exploring the potential
for a community-based job-brokering and mentoring project based
upon a Dutch model known as MAATWERK. This model aims to secure
employment for long term unemployed people who are disengaged
from the labour market, (often the "hidden" jobs in
small, medium sized companies), in addition to providing ongoing
support and mentoring for a period of up to six months after commencing
employment. It is intended that this activity will be integrated
with existing locally based provision in order to ensure a coherent
9.3 Intermediaries can also often be local voluntary
organisations with good links to local unemployed people. As part
of Manchester's New Deal for Communities programme, the City Council,
the TEC and a range of public and voluntary sector partners are
working to establish an integrated preparation for work and job-brokering
service. Much of the provision will be delivered by local voluntary
organisations using a range of existing community locations.
9.4 As can be seen from the above, intermediaries clearly
have an important role to play in terms of linking unemployed
clients to job vacancies, in particular, those who are long-term
unemployed and more difficult to place. Whilst they are an important
component of an integrated employment strategy, their effectiveness
is, however, to a large extent confined to the supply side and
they are likely to be less effective in areas where there is a
jobs gap, that is, an absolute shortage of paid work. Unfortunately,
this situation exists in the majority of disadvantaged areas.
9.5 The Intermediaries Fund should be used to capacity
build local community organisations who are currently involved
in job-linking activities or who may have aspirations to perform
such a role in the future. There is also a need to resource the
intensive one to one client support that is often required both
before and after placing an individual into employment.
9.6 In terms of a sector-based approach, the Manchester
New Deal Employer Coalition recently developed and ran a small
pilot construction Gateway programme, in conjunction with a local
further education college. This comprised a three week programme
aimed at providing clients with the basic skills required to obtain
employment in the industry. A job interview with construction
companies was guaranteed for all individuals who successfully
completed the programme and a total of seven people out of an
original 16 starters obtained employment as a result. This model
has now been extended to the hospitality sector with further initiatives
planned for the retail sector. The Intermediaries Fund could be
used in this way to support further sector-based activities.
9.7 In terms of private recruitment agencies, it is clear
that their role will continue to increase as the labour market
tightens. Although 12 per cent of unemployed people use private
agencies as a source of work, in general terms, they are likely
to be the more motivated clients who possess more recent work
experience or skills and qualifications which will enable them
to access employment relatively quickly.
9.8 Whilst there clearly is a role for private recruitment
agencies as part of a wider employment strategy, it is important
to avoid duplication of activity with other organisations involved
in job matching activities. In addition, in light of the wider
objective of securing sustainable employment for unemployed people,
it will also be important to guard against a profit-driven "quick
fix" approach to the filling of job vacancies which will
not deliver the more longer term sustainable outcomes which are
10. SECTION 3: SUMMARY
10.1 As previously stated, matching unemployed individuals
to job vacancies is a complex process which requires a range of
interventions in order to achieve a successful outcome.
10.2 Securing employer commitment to recruiting unemployed
people and supporting their efforts through targeted financial
assistance programmes, such as wage subsidy schemes, allows the
targeting of unemployed people and can break the cycle of unemployment
where new job vacancies are filled by people already in employment.
There will however, inevitably be a degree of displacement and
"deadweight", (where an employer would have recruited
an individual irrespective of the availability of the subsidy,
although in many instances, not someone who was formerly unemployed).
However, these effects can be minimised provided that financial
subsidies are correctly targeted and linked to training.
10.3 Whilst the above measures are clearly important,
they are only one part of the process. The labour market is extremely
complicated with a great deal of movement, in particular, at the
lower end of the spectrum. Evidence shows that the lack of basic
and key skills coupled with skill mismatches, remain a significant
blockage to unemployed people obtaining employment. The lack of
key skills, in particular, and associated life skills, (as opposed
to vocational skills), needs to be addressed at a much earlier
stage in the process and clearly needs to track back into the
10.4 Many unemployed people have a winding and complicated
career path and the issue is often being able to get onto the
first rung of the ladder and more importantly, to sustain this
employment for a period of time. The Intermediate Labour Market
is a good example of an integrated approach which enables long
term unemployed people, often those who are hardest to reach and
motivate, to regain the disciplines of work.
10.5 Customised pre-recruitment programmes which enable
unemployed individuals to successfully compete for jobs are also
crucial elements of the process. Once an individual enters employment,
in-work support and mentoring are also required; evidence suggests
that the first three months is the most difficult period during
which employment can often cease for reasons which could have
10.6 Following on from this, career progression and life-long
learning are also key to achieving sustainable employment. However,
often the flat structures that exist in some sectors provide little
opportunity for career advancement which, in turn, can result
in staff retention problems for employers. One approach which
is currently being pursued by the Manchester Call Centre Forum
is to examine ways in which companies can jointly provide a more
progressive career structure in the Call Centre sector to enable
individuals to progress from lower level agent duties to more
advanced, skilled work.
10.7 Government programmes, current funding regimes and
entry criteria for mainstream training provision can also often
be a barrier to employment, in particular, for newly unemployed
people. In an ever tightening labour market which is experiencing
skill shortages in a range of sectors, the short term unemployed
have a critical role to play. Their recent work experience means
that, with appropriate training either prior to employment or
soon after commencement, they will be able to meet employers'
10.8 Evidence shows that labour demand is high at NVQ
Levels 1-2 in sectors such as retail and service and recruitment
efforts for the unemployed should be focused upon securing these
Level 2 entry jobs. However, there are also critical skill shortages
at NVQ Level 3 in traditional areas such as engineering crafts
and construction as well as growth sectors such as Information
Technology. Often this loss of skills is due to retirement and
is not replaced by current training provision such as the Work
Based Learning for Adults programme which does not train to NVQ
10.9 The introduction of the new Learning and Skills
Councils (LSC) may enable these skill issues to be resolved. However,
this will only be achieved if the LSCs have the ability to utilise
all available funding streams. One area where the LSC could have
an immediate impact is through the introduction of an NVQ Level
3 programme for both the short and long term unemployed.
10.10 Finally, it needs to be recognised that the need
to meet targets and outputs drives agencies and training providers
to move individuals into employment which may not be sustainable.
There therefore needs to be more of a balance between short term
outputs and longer term outcomes in recognition of the intensity
of the approach that is required with long term unemployed individuals
(often at a personal one to one and localised level), to avoid
the "revolving door" syndrome of individuals returning
10.11 A number of proposed actions in relation to the
above issues are set out in section 4 below.
11. SECTION 4: FURTHER
1. Actions for Government in Relation to Unemployed People
Extend the eligibility criteria for entry onto the Work Based
Learning for Adults programme so that it is available to newly
unemployed people and not just those who have been unemployed
for six months or more.
Develop NVQ Level 3 training provision under the Work Based
Learning for Adults programme which is open to both short and
long term unemployed people.
Ensure that the recent extension of the New Deal programme
(as announced in the Budget), including the proposed inclusion
of an Intermediate Labour Market (ILM) element, is available to
all unemployed people over the age of 25.
Introduce a comprehensive mentoring scheme to support formerly
unemployed people who have recently entered employment.
Establish a low interest loan scheme to assist unemployed
people to overcome some of the financial difficulties faced when
entering the labour market, eg the need to purchase new clothes
Provide more dedicated one to one information and advice
on benefits in order to allay an individual's fears about the
benefits they may lose if they took up an offer or employment.
Consider further amendments to the benefits system to encourage
individuals to take up employment and training opportunities.
Suggestions include the following:
(a) fast-tracking the reclaiming procedure should employment
(b) establishing a comprehensive "back to work"
scheme to cover any delays in the receipt of the first wage packet;
(c) relaxing the current availability for work criteria,
including the 16 hour rule to allow unemployed individuals in
receipt of benefit to attend relevant training programmes.
2. Actions in Relation to Employers
Involve job-brokering agencies at an early stage in the recruitment
process to maximise the employment of unemployed people.
Implement pre-recruitment programmes, including guaranteed
interviews for those unemployed people who successfully complete
Consider ways of packaging new job vacancies to make hours
and salary levels attractive and financially viable for unemployed
Explore the potential for a sectoral approach to career progression
for entry level jobs so that unemployed applicants can see clear
promotional routes and may therefore be more prepared to accept
a lower paid position initially.
Consider ways of amending recruitment and selection criteria
and processes to avoid discriminating against unemployed applicants
who may possess the relevant skills and qualifications required.
Promote life-long learning opportunities and career progression
routes for employees, in particular, those newly employed.
Simplify mainstream funding streams to enable comprehensive
recruitment support packages for employers to be assembled easily
Consider the use of further financial incentives (eg tax
concessions) for employers to reduce the hidden costs associated
with recruiting unemployed people.
Manchester City Council and Manchester Training and Enterprise