Memorandum from Hartlepool Borough Council,
The council has developed, co-ordinated and
delivered a number of initiatives aimed at assisting both local
employers and residents to match vacancies and individuals. Evidence
and recommendations from these initiatives are outlined below.
Our experience in Hartlepool is that there is
a need for local areas to have the flexibility to design and implement
programmes that respond to identified local needs. Hartlepool
Borough Council has a proven track record of working in partnership
and acting as a lead body in bringing together private, public
and voluntary organisations to work in the best interest of local
residents and businesses. The local authority has had a co-ordinating
role in relation to SRB schemes, European funding and a network
of employment outreach centres. This expertise is crucial in the
development and delivery of initiatives that link employers with
the unemployed. Local Authorities are uniquely placed to explore
the use of sector based intermediaries and indeed in some areas
may be the only organisation in a position to take on this role.
The Hartlepool travel to work area has the highest
unemployment rates in the country and having designed and delivered
a number of initiatives aimed at assisting the recruitment of
the unemployed, we would very much welcome the opportunity to
participate in further explorations into intermediaries.
Inward Investor Support
A full package of support is offered to investors
thinking of coming to Hartlepool from both the business development
and local initiatives teams. This provides a range of support
to new and expanding investors, from grants and relocation support
as well as including support from the Targeted Training, Opportunities
for Women and Jobs Build projects to recruit and train local residents.
This adds value to the support available and makes clear linkages
between the supply and demand of labour.
Targeted Training and Opportunities for Women
Targeted Training has over the last three years
endeavoured to bridge the gap between employers and the unemployed
by consulting with employers, employment agencies, training providers
and voluntary sector organisations in the design of short courses
which link the unemployed to local employment opportunities.
Working closely with the business development
team, the project is able to gain direct contact with employers
who may be expanding or establishing a new business in the area.
The project has worked with major companies in the town who have
faced problems with recruitment and has designed courses to enable
unemployed residents to gain up to date certificates relevant
to the vacancies highlighted by these companies.
The project has assisted several companies in
breaking down these barriers by arranging company visits, "better
off" calculations based on the pay rate offered and first
stage interviews. In one such instance, 37 unemployed residents
attended the pre recruitment courses, with a total of 18 securing
employment within the company and a further three securing employment
The Opportunities for Women project works alongside
Targeted Training and works with local employers to assist women
to return to the labour market.
This project has successfully facilitated partnerships
with local businesses and offers incentives and support to train
and recruit the unemployed, including offering subsidies to cover
the costs of training new recruits to enable them to get up to
speed. The project also co-ordinates a network of outreach employment
centres which are voluntary sector run and community based. This
grassroots work enables the local authority to identify recruitment
and training issues and to use this to inform the design and delivery
of our support initiatives. Working in partnership, Jobsbuild,
Targeted Training, Opportunities for Women and local employers
are able to deliver pre recruitment courses targeting the unemployed
with vocational courses. Evidence from these projects has found
that a package of support offered to employers, including training
and financial incentives, can help to influence employers' recruitment
The Local Authority is also involved in the
Tees North 25+ Pilot Partnership Steering Group and delivers the
Families into Work and Intermediate Labour Market (ILM) projects
as part of this pilot. Evidence from working with the long term
unemployed on both projects has highlighted:
The importance of employee status whilst on
the ILM project. This avoids clients perceiving this initiative
as another "scheme".
The need for intensive one to one and group
work with these clients, particularly in relation to social or
Whilst vocational skills can be developed through
short certificate courses and NVQs, the more generic skills essential
for securing and retaining work are proving more challenging to
develop, eg time keeping, flexibility, motivation, personal responsibility,
communication skills, confidence and self esteem as well as taking
long term perspectives and having the determination to "stick
Moreover, our contact with local employers,
particularly in relation to unskilled/semi skilled work, has demonstrated
that whilst subsidies, financial incentives and pre recruitment
vocational training can help to influence employers' recruitment
decisions, the majority are looking for candidates that possess
and can demonstrate the above social/soft skills.
It is intended that this evidence will be used
to inform the development of our ILM project and a series of workshops
will be developed and monitored. It is hoped these workshops will
encourage clients to develop a more positive attitude, raise self
esteem and ensure they are aware of personal responsibility whilst
In addition, our experience of working on the
Tees North New Deal Pilot has provided an insight, and developed
our understanding, of the structural barriers facing the unemployed.
For example, evidence from both the ILM and Families into Work
projects is indicating that where employers are willing to consider
applications from unemployed people, and local initiatives have
supported people to reach the point at which they can apply for
these jobs; issues of "better offness" in work can influence
their decisions to take employment.
It is our experience that amongst the long term
unemployed, employment agencies are not particularly playing an
increasingly important role in unemployed people's job search.
They are still seen as providing temporary and insecure work which
if taken can risk jeopardising their benefits.
However, we feel Employment Agencies can offer
opportunities to the unemployed but that further exploration is
needed to bridge this gap and reduce the risks of making the transition
from benefits to work.
Hartlepool Borough Council, Economic Development