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Angus Employability Partnership: Paving the way for new opportunity

31 July 2013 

Supported by the Scottish Government Employability Team the Angus Employability Partnership (AEP) has developed a range of supports for local employers. In providing this support it allows local businesses to create opportunity, expand and trade locally, nationally and internationally.

Launched in 2010 the AEP have always had a remit to support local employers. Initial support included an Employer pack which included a one stop shop of information on developing employee's, supporting employees and funding initiatives available.

In response to employer requests, a number of events have been held since the development of the employer pack. These range from sector specific initiatives, HMRC support and more recently welfare reforms and Universal Credit.

Co-locating for Cooperation
More recently the Employer Engagement Sub Group secured funding through Scottish Government to undertake a feasibility study for co-locating services in Angus, in order to support employers, customers and practitioners. The report conducted by MCM Associates outlines the need for a coordinated approach to employability in the area and sets out some recommndations on how this could be achieved.

From the findings it was evident that good progress has been made within Angus to develop a co-ordinated approach to the delivery of employability services.  Angus Employability Partnership is well established and draws together a range of stakeholders and key providers that are committed towards the development of a co-ordinated approach. Co-location is the next step in having a fully integrated approach to employability provision in Angus.

Key learning points from this piece of work included:

  • While a co-located service would greatly improve access to services the partnership felt that firstly improving communication and perhaps having pooled funding would be essential.
  • Employers were unlikely to visit a premise and more outreach work would greatly benefit customers in the amount of opportunities available. This has been seen in the implementation of the new Youth Employment Scotland incentive.
  • A lead body is still essential in creating a co-located service so a lot of discussion around roles and responsibilities is needed.

Working with the Welfare Reforms
Universal Credit is a new single payment for people who are looking for work or on a low income. Universal Credit aims to help claimants and their families to become more independent and to simplify the benefits system by bringing together a range of working-age benefits into a single streamlined payment. This reform will mean a lot of changes for employers therefore through the Scottish Governmnet funding support was put in place to provide information and support to employers on how to manage these changes.

A lot of initial survey work was done in partnership with the Federation of Small Businesses to assess key areas of need. Employers advised they required support on the HMRC Real time information, what to expect from welfare reforms, funding available to support them and how to employ people in this economic climate.

To meet this need, an event was held on 27th February 2013, which over 40 employers attended. The programme included presentations on the Employability Partnership, Welfare Reforms and Angus, Universal Credit for Employers Made Easy, HMRC - Changes and updates, and the Cross Cutting impacts of Welfare Reforms. The event then allowed for a number of questions. The feedback recorded from this event was very positive and showed that AEP were on the right lines with the support being provided.

Significant work is now ongoing in Angus to continue to support employers through the Welfare Reforms and the implementation of HMRC's Real Time information.

Next Steps
The Employer Engagement sub group have a new action plan to cover the 2013/14 period which will ensure that employers are given a range of support in terms of employment, funding, legislation and upcoming key events such as Commonwealth 2014, Ryder Cup and V&A coming to Dundee.

For further information please contact Shelley Hague, Strategy Officer, Angus Council.

 

 

 

In response to Employers requesting details on incentives available to help them recruit, a leaflet was produced with named contacts in order to best inform what is available both locally and nationally.

Learning points from this approach included:

  • Liaising with local employer representatives is essential if you are to provide the right support at the right time.
  • Employers are very busy running their business so making things as co-ordinated and simple as possible is a sure winner!
  • Have something to sell, it may sound common sense but employers will not engage unless you are providing something they need which again is why surveys and promotion is essential.
  • Great employer partnerships have followed from this report but ensure that the employer has a contact and are kept informed of events, support and initiatives.