A business expert with Warwickshire County Council has outlined two new projects aimed at breaking down barriers stopping some of the most disadvantaged groups from securing jobs,
One is a long-term scheme urging employers to broaden their search when recruiting while the other is a six-month scheme aimed at helping 1,000 young people back into work.
Speaking at this week’s (January 11) meeting of the joint communities and adult social care & health overview and scrutiny committee, David Ayton-Hill, the council’s assistant director for communities, said: “Warwickshire Skills Hub is a team we have set up to work with employers to look at where employment opportunities are and to try and link employers with individuals in the county.
“One of the key things they are doing right now is focussing on an initiative called Fair Chance Employer, getting businesses to think about expanding their job search horizons. So rather than going to the traditional routes when looking for employees, get them to look at groups that have pre-existing barriers to employment and are further away from the labour market.”
He explained that those groups included people leaving the Armed Forces, care leavers, those who had mental health issues, migrants and refugees.
“We are trying to get businesses to think about how they could take on those sorts of employees at a time when many businesses are facing labour shortages. When they are struggling to recruit, this is a really rich source of opportunity. We are trying to get as many businesses as possible to sign up.”
Mr Ayton-Hill also outlined another £1m project aimed at targeting 1,000 hard to reach unemployed young people across Warwickshire.
He told the meeting: “The Warwickshire Brighter Futures is a really short-term project that aims to run to June/July as a pilot for Government to see how we might do employment support programmes slightly differently.
“This programme is trying to help 1,000 hard to reach unemployed young people back into employment through five different strands. One of these is the extra ability jobs programme focussing on those with special educational needs and seeing how we can help them transition from education into sustainable employment.
“This is quite an exciting project for us because we think it can have quite a significant impact in quite a short period of time.”