Recruiters can make the Work Programme work
The Government’s much discussed ‘Work Programme’ goes live today. This will take time to bed down and there are concerns over whether the scheme can deliver the expected benefits. However, initial discussions on how recruiters can work in partnership with welfare providers for mutual benefit have been encouraging.
Commenting on the implications of the Work Programme for recruiters, Sarah Gordon, Associate Director of the Sammons Group and Chair of the REC’s Diversity and Inclusion Forum says:
“Recruiters - especially those operating in sectors where there is likely to be growth in demand for staff - can form an integral part of the local-level delivery process. Agencies can also bring one other important provide offering to the table - namely temporary work opportunities that provide a crucial stepping stone into the labour market.
“The priority for employers will always be to attract candidates with the right skills, attitude and potential. It is not about recruiting 'on the cheap'. Recruiters can form part of an effective filtering mechanism so that candidates put forward are genuinely job-ready. The REC will continue to play a brokering role in the months ahead. We will also use initiatives such as our Institute of Recruitment Professionals (IRP) to break down barriers and build stronger links between all those shaping the UK's employment landscape.”
The last meeting of the REC’s Diversity & Inclusion Forum included discussions with individual welfare providers as well as representatives from the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA). One of the main areas of discussion was whether work programme providers should be seen by recruiters as a source of competition or as an opportunity for co-operation.
Picking up on this and on the overall outlook for the Work Programme, Tom Hadley, the REC’s Director of Policy and Professional Services says:
“With so much resting on employment outcomes the scheme can be seen as a gamble for both Government and providers – the jury is still out as to whether it can deliver. However, there is no doubt that recruiters can provide a crucial piece to the Work Programme jigsaw. REC members are already working constructively with Jobcentre Plus and have demonstrated the value they can bring through the recent support scheme for higher-end professionals.
“Organisations with responsibility for delivering the Work Programme are keen to tap into the expertise and contacts that recruiters can provide. It is not about usurping the relationships that agencies have build with their clients but rather using these as a routes to the promised land - job outcomes.”