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Lack of employer awareness hampering Work Programme

Around half of employers say they are either unaware of the Government’s flagship employment scheme the Work Programme, or say it is not relevant to them and they would not recruit via it. 

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), surveyed 1,000 employers, finding that a majority (79%) of employers who have actually used the Work Programme said the recruits met or exceeded their expectations. 

58% said candidates were better prepared for interviews and demonstrated better presentation skills as a result of the programme. 

The CIPD said overall the Work Programme is off to a “promising start”, but that less than stellar employer awareness is “hindering progress”. 

Gerwyn Davies, CIPD labour market adviser, said: “The results suggest that there are two key areas of concern that will determine whether the early success of the programme will be sustained.  Firstly, the Government needs to put as much clout behind improving awareness and understanding of the Work Programme amongst employers in all sectors as it has with pensions auto-enrolment. 

“Our survey results suggest that the scheme could be targeted at those sectors, such as retail and the hotels, catering and leisure sectors, which are more likely to hire unemployed people and/or employ unskilled or low-skilled workers. 

“Secondly, the high rate of churn after the six month mark suggests that there may be a mismatch between participants and the employment opportunities that are being given to them, and that some employers may have unrealistically high expectations regarding the technical skills of individuals who have been out of work for a long time.  Instead of expecting the system to churn out work-ready individuals, employers need to play their part too by focusing more effort on training and developing new hires, in order to build their future workforces and have a lasting impact on helping the long term unemployed back into work. 

“Previous CIPD research has found a clear business case for this investment, supported by numerous high profile employers who have a long track record of bringing the long-term unemployed into their workforces. The CIPD is committed to working with government and employers through our Learning to Work campaign and other work to promote this business case in order to improve access routes into work for the young, long-term unemployed and other disadvantaged groups.” 

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