Getting together to make recruitment easier
IMPROVING employers' access to job-ready individuals was high on the agenda at an event marking a strategic get together of organisations across the North East.
The Regional Employment and Skills Partnership (RESP) hosted an event at St James' Park, Newcastle, last month. The event was organised in response to the Regional Employability Framework (REF) and co-funded by One North East, Jobcentre plus (JCP) and the Learning and Skills Council (LSC).
The day was attended by over 200 delegates from the private, public and third sectors, all involved in the development and delivery of services to improve skills and employment in the region.
During the day, attendees heard a keynote speech from The Rt Hon Nick Brown MP, which provided an overview of the region's response to the recession.
Kevin Rowan, regional secretary of TUC and REF Strategy chair, also delivered a presentation that provided an overview of achievements since the REF was launched in 2006.
Councillor Stephen Houghton, leader of Barnsley Council and chair of the National Worklessness Panel, talked about the role of local authorities both as major employers and key partners in addressing worklessness.
Howard Forrest, North East Employer Coalition and chair of the newly constituted REF employer group, said: “The event revealed the challenges for partners and providers to ensure that small and medium-sized employers receive the same 'employer' offer as large companies and ensure employers are clear about what the offer is.
“It also told us that funders have a key role to play to ensure they don't fund unnecessary extra staffing, but rather maximise existing employer engagement services to streamline support.”
Kim Smith, REF manager, added: “The ultimate aim is to improve employability, making the journey for employers accessing job-ready individuals easier and less complex and this event has proved a very useful tool in achieving those aims.”
Actions from the day will be taken forward by the REF employer group, which boasts representation from CBI, Federation of Small Business, North East Chamber of Commerce, North East Regional Employers Organisation, employers representing local authority Employment and Skills Boards, Business and Enterprise North East, the Alliance of Sector Skills Councils, Strategic Health Authority, JCP, LSC and the TUC.
Mr Rowan said: “The two key aspirations of the current Regional Economic Strategy (RES) are to improve productivity of businesses in the region and to increase participation in economic activity.
In its relatively short existence, the REF has focused on actions and activities that specifically address these challenges.
“There can be little doubt that the challenges the RES and the REF seek to address are exacerbated by the economic environment left by the economic downturn. We are all committed to ensuring that we make the most of all of the talent in the region and the REF is a key tool in achieving that.”