Position statement: Job placements and recruitment

The demand for employability services is greater than ever. The latest figures from the Office on National Statistics show that the unemployment rate has risen to 4.9%, and redundancies surged to a record high of 370,000. Many people have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and will need additional support to access new employment opportunities.

In this final position statement, we want to set out the vital role that colleges can play in helping get people back into work. In the previous position statements, we outlined how colleges can help communities by establishing skills and jobs hubs. In the second statement, we outlined the role of colleges in delivering an enhanced training and upskilling offer. Now, we want to turn to the role that colleges can play in helping employers with recruitment and job placement activity. This may seem to represent something of a departure for colleges. The recruitment market is, after all, saturated and highly competitive. It stands, however, that what we are proposing builds on activity that colleges undertake routinely anyway. Further, the advantages of adding a job placements element as part of the phased model would provide job seekers with a more straightforward progression pathway into employment.

Further education colleges already have a strong track record of helping employers identify and filter new talent into their business. Part of this success can be accounted for by the depth and breadth of connections that colleges have with employers. Collab Group colleges, for example, collectively have over 50,000 employer relationships.

Recruitment and job placement support may not be necessary or relevant in all contexts. There are sectors of the economy, where recruitment has all but frozen. However, we would anticipate that going into 2021, employers in the public sector, construction and health and social care will likely ramp up this activity.

As the economy begins to recover, colleges can build on trusted relationships that they have with local employers in sectors of the economy that are poised to recover quickly, adding job placement as part of and “end to end” solution to help get people back into work.

This job placement elements can be flexible but may consist of the following aspects. Firstly, colleges would be able to provide job matching service based on a set of criteria specified by the employer. They could draw on a talent pool of those who have been placed on specific employability pathways that correspond with the needs of employers. Once job matching has taken place, candidates could be offered a guaranteed interview with a relevant employer. Some of this could be done through existing schemes; these include progression opportunities following Kickstart placements, traineeships, or apprenticeships. Across all these areas, colleges have a strong tracked record of undertaking evaluative and recruitment-based activity to help employers attract new talent.

One of the key strengths of this approach is that the selection and placement process can take place over a more extended period than would be the case through traditional recruitment approaches. Having colleges conduct both advising and placing job seekers would allow college-based employability practitioners can conduct evaluations of job seekers from the stages of initial engagement and assessment through to job placement.

In essence, this activity could seek to replicate the model of sector work academy programmes where colleges already have the experience of working in partnership with employers to provide a broad range of training and job placement services. Such a model would not necessarily guarantee a job placement. Still, the intention will be that in tandem with the skills triage and advice services, the chances of success for a candidate at the interview stage will increase. Additionally, there is a range of activity recruitment-based activity that colleges undertake, which include filtering CV’s based on employer set criteria and conducting group or focus interviews.

This is not to assume that colleges are the only organisations that can undertake this activity. Instead, we believe that there are benefits for a model that directly links an individual through different phases in their job searching journey, to provide a consistent pathway from initial advice and assessment up to the recruitment and job placement process. It is this focus on the viability to a complete end to end solution, that stands as the clearest USP for this type of model.

Over the past few weeks. have set out in these three position statements, a range of areas where we think that colleges are well placed to help get people back into work. The challenges of 2021 will likely be considerable, and there is still a considerable amount of uncertainty about what economic recovery will look like. What is sure, however, is that colleges, working in partnership with local stakeholders will be key partners to support local communities and help get people back into work.

If you are interested in any of the ideas in these position statements, we would like to hear from you. Please contact: info@collabgroup.co.uk

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