Futureproof your recruitment with Business in the Community

By Anita Jaynes on 20 March, 2016

Business in the Community is the Prince’s Responsible Business Network. It works with its member organisations to tackle a wide range of issues to help building a fairer society and a more sustainable future.

Swindon’s Business in the Community (BITC) Business Connector is Ian Browne, currently on secondment from Lloyds Banking Group as part of its commitment to Helping Britain Prosper. In this post Ian looks at the need to futureproof your recruitment in Wiltshire to inspire, hire and grow.

Wiltshire is a great place to live, work and raise a family. But it could be an even better place if we break some of the key barriers to employment in the area.

As part of the Business Connectors programme, run by the charity Business in the Community, it’s our role to work with local companies to ensure they can attract talented work-ready school-leavers. But we’re often told it’s not as easy as it sounds.

A number of things get in the way – the rural nature of our county, transport challenges, the bright lights of neighbouring cities, or even ensuring that young people know and understand your business or industry so that they can become potential employees.

Employability is a word that comes up frequently at business breakfasts and networking events – there’s a gap between what students are learning at school about the needs of employers and what employers actually need.

In February, Business in the Community, backed by the City & Guilds Group, launched the Future Proof campaign to help businesses break down the barriers in their recruitment processes and create quality accessible jobs for all young people.  As part of the campaign we talked to 4,000 18-24 year olds about their experiences while applying for jobs.

1 in 3 said they found the process of applying difficult with the most common barrier being that job applications demanded previous experience they would not reasonably have had access to in education.

The recruitment process can also be damaging for business as, of those that found it difficult, 1 in 5 young people said a bad recruitment process had put them off a company they were applying to, and 10% said put them off the industry as a whole.

By 2022, it’s expected that 12.5 million vacancies will be created through retirement, people leaving the labour market and a shrinking pool of young people. It’s possible the businesses that manage to recruit new talent, will be those who are smart enough to rethink how they engage, attract, hire and retain young people.

Armed with this knowledge, Business in the Community created a Youth Employment Framework to help businesses address these challenges.  It’s a free resource to keep businesses up-to-speed with the latest best practice on employing young people, with practical guidance on how businesses can inspire, hire and grow their future talent.

Our Youth Employment Framework has three key steps to successful engagement:

INSPIRE – prepare young people for the world of work
HIRE – create accessible, quality jobs for all young people
GROW – support and develop young talent

We’ve also created a Youth Employment Assessment Tool that’s free to use.  It takes ten minutes to complete and will help you compare how you’re doing against the best examples out there. Visit https://futureproof.bitc.org.uk

As your local Business Connectors, we’re funded by The Big Lottery, Lloyds Banking Group and the Ministry of Defence, as an additional resource to help you bridge the gap and forge the links you want with schools, colleges and the young minds that will fuel your business in the future.

Here are three simple ways to start your engagement with young people:

-Sponsor a relevant key project in a school you’re targeting for recruitment, driving the students’ understanding of real-world application of their learning and commercial dynamics – raising the profile of your employer and industry brand.

-Take another look at the way you write vacancies – if relevant work experience, hobbies and interests are more important than minimum qualifications – make it clear. You can use the Inspire section of the Future Proof website for guidance on how to write youth-friendly job descriptions.

-Host a tour of your business, visit a school and inspire students 16 and over to make the most of their remaining time at school gaining vital skills and work ethic through relevant hobbies and volunteering.

To find out more about BITC and how you can get involved contact:

Ian Browne, Business Connector for Swindon: Email: ian.browne@bitcconnect.org; Follow on Twitter: @SwindonBITC

Jemma Garland is Business Connector for Rural Wiltshire and is on secondment from the public sector. To contact Jemma email: jemma.garland@bitcconnect.org; Follow on Twitter: @Jemmaconnects