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Employers Must Provide Flexibility to Support Ageing Workforce
July 2, 2020
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The following article by Rachel Muller-Heyndyk, was published in HR Magazine

The government has called on employers to make accommodations for older employees, with research revealing support for more flexible and part-time role

The research, commissioned from Saga Populus, found that when asked what measures employers should implement to make workplaces more welcoming, respondents most commonly cited offering part-time roles (73%). Additionally more than three in five (63%) suggested that employers need to get better at offering training and retraining schemes to help older workers with upskilling and new technology.

More than three-fifths (65%) felt that an ageing and diverse society is a positive thing that should be celebrated.

However, they were mindful of some of the challenges this also presents. For example, nearly nine in 10 (87%) over-50s were aware that health and social care services need to be redesigned to support an ageing population. They believed the cost of this must be borne across all generations, with three-quarters (75%) stating the need for people of all ages to take increased responsibility for planning and preparing financially for living longer.

The research was commissioned as part of the government’s Ageing Society Grand Challenge, which is calling for businesses to promote the benefits of hiring older workers and to recognise that flexible working arrangements are key. As part of the strategy, the government is investing £300 million to develop technologies to support the ageing workforce.

Patrick Thomson, senior programme manager at the Centre for Ageing Better, said that flexible working could allow older workers time for care responsibilities and personal health needs. Read more

10 Famous People Who Were Apprentices
June 30, 2020
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Apprenticeships have been around for centuries, originally in manual trades such as stone masonry, painting and plumbing.

They’ve come a long way and below are some familiar faces who started out their careers as an apprentice.

Jamie Oliver – Like many chefs, Jamie started his career as a catering apprentice. After leaving school with only two GCSE qualifications, his apprenticeship has definitely helped him to succeed in his chosen career.

Sir Ian Mckellan – Sir Ian didn’t go to a drama school like most other big-name actors, but instead he completed a three-year apprenticeship at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry.

Karen Millen – The famous designer started her career as an apprentice, studying at the Medway College of Design in Rochester. She also sold t-shirts to her friends on the side, before opening her first shop.

Stella McCartney – Like Alexander McQueen, McCartney started her fashion career as an apprentice tailor with Edward Sexton on Savile Row. Read more

Overcoming Barriers to Returning to Work after a Mental-Health Leave
June 26, 2020
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How clients can learn to recognize stressors and develop strategies to better manage them during career change By Mary Ann Baynton

Any transition in life can be stressful. Career transition in particular often happens at the same time as other life stressors, including personal, family, health or financial concerns. Recognizing our current reactions to stress and choosing healthier, more effective responses is what building resilience is all abou

Resilience is the capacity to adapt or recover from stressful situations, including a transition into the workforce or from one job to another. Building resilience doesn’t mean you’ll avoid stress. What it means is that you’ll be able to cope better and recover from stress more effectively.

Research has helped us understand practical strategies to build resilience.

Identifying our stress responses

For most of us, stress is a daily occurrence and our responses to it are automatic. This means we don’t choose or plan them. With that in mind, if we can identify some of our immediate responses to stress, we’re more likely to recognize and address them before they create a major life or health concern.

Some automatic responses can be physical in nature – cold sores, hives, and sweating or stomach problems. Some may be behavioural responses such as reaching for a substance, sleep pattern changes, clumsiness, forgetfulness, impatience, overscheduling or overworking. Emotional responses may also be present and could include irritability, anger, frustration or emotional outbursts. Read more

Investing in Infrastructure could Create More than a Million Jobs, says TUC
June 26, 2020
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Fast tracking spend on projects such as broadband networks, green technology, transport and housing could create 1.2 million jobs by 2022, according to a new report by the Trade Union Congress (TUC).

The report said investing in these key projects, which would cost the Treasury £85bn, would pay for itself by creating jobs across the economy and boosting growth and tax receipts. 

It called for a new ‘economic consensus’ on building out of the recession and doing everything possible to avoid the damage of mass unemployment post-coronavirus.

Projects suggested within the report included expanding and upgrading the rail network, which it predicted would create 120,000 new jobs, plus building new social housing and retrofitting existing social housing, creating a further 500,000 jobs. 

TUC warned the UK could “lose no time” in coming up with a rescue plan given there is less than a month until the government’s emergency budget. 

The union also warned ministers to create urgent support packages for the sectors of the economy worse hit by the coronavirus crisis, such as hospitality and recruitment, to avoid redundancies as the Job Retention Scheme is wound down. 

It suggested partial buyouts of struggling firms up to 30%, following the example of other countries. 

This would come with guarantees from companies to introduce fair pay plans, rein in executive pay, improve corporate governance structures and pay their fair share of tax. 

“The more people we can keep in work, the faster we’ll bounce back from this crisis. We should lose no time getting shovels in the ground,” said Frances O’Grady, TUC general secretary. 

“We need to work our way out of recession. Investing in infrastructure now will help to create jobs across the economy and limit the fallout from coronavirus. And it will stop the devastation of mass unemployment.”

Young people were picked out as those needing urgent support given those aged 25 and under are three times more likely to work in the sectors at greatest risk such as accommodation and food, arts, entertainment and recreation. 

The TUC therefore called on government to set up a national recovery council with unions and employers and introduce a fully fund jobs guarantee programmes that offers paid jobs with training for young people.

It also recommended boosting social security support for those who lose their jobs and setting up sectoral working groups with unions and business groups to draw up road maps for specific industries. 

This, the TUC said, would make sure the crisis didn’t widen existing labour market inequalities.

Freedom of Choice to Prevail in post-COVID-19 Work Styles
June 25, 2020
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Employees will want more freedom in where they choose to work following the coronavirus pandemic.

Researchers at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) found since the introduction of mandatory remote working, many employees had the chance to exercise more, spend time with family and time to think and reflect.

Almost two thirds (62%) of people said they wanted to work from home more on a regular basis. 

Some respondents discussed wanting to spend the majority of their time at home, or have an equal split between home and office. 

Of those who said they wanted to work from home more often generally, more than a quarter (27%) of them wanted to do so more than one day per week. 

Gemma Dale, lecturer at LJMU and report author, said HR now risked employees leaving if it did not offer more flexible working choices.

Speaking to HR magazine, she said: “There is a potential risk that where this demand to work from home isn’t met and requests are turned down, employees may choose to seek an employer that will allow them more flexibility in their working lives. 

“An economic recession may lead to a depressed job market – so these implications may take some time to be felt, unlike morale and employee engagement which could take an immediate hit.”

Yet Dale said a lack of flexibility in some organisations can create opportunities in others.

She added: “I do however think there is an opportunity for those organisations that do need to recruit now – if they can allow some homeworking on an ongoing basis it can be a talent acquisition opportunity, especially where employees feel that their current employer won’t be supportive.” 

The research recommended that more employers should consider home working to support employee wellbeing, reduce the carbon footprint of commuting, attract and retain talented employees, support the reduction of the gender pay gap and improve productivity. 

The research authors therefore said that where workplaces should help employees set up effective workspaces. 

Many employees noted a lack of hardware such as printers and monitors while working from home, plus using unsuitable desks and chairs given many are sharing spaces with family and using home spaces such as kitchen. 

The study has led to a series of recommendations for HR to prepare for the increase in demand for homeworking.

These included taking feedback from employees about challenges and benefits, determining an overall approach for homeworking and reviewing flexible working and homeworking policies. 

The survey also pointed to practical challenges of the pandemic such as technology, appropriate work spaces, childcare, home-schooling and stress and anxiety. 

Dale added: “We didn’t see a significant amount of people saying they were working longer hours, although there were challenges around establishing boundaries between work and home. This did not however seem to have dissuaded them from doing more homeworking.” 

Yet despite these challenges, many respondents had experienced more flexibility and freedom and wanted to retain it, the report’s authors said. 

The survey ran for three weeks in May and early June and had over 500 responses, generating 3,000 qualitative responses. 

All Employers to Drop PhD Apprenticeship Plans

The following is the text from a letter sent by Gillian Keegan MP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Apprenticeships and Skills to the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education 

RE: LEVEL-8 APPRENTICESHIPS

The Secretary of State for Education wrote to you on 26th February 2020 to ask you to undertake a formal review of the Senior Leader Level 7 apprenticeship standard. I want to thank you for the work that you and your staff have carried out on this review.

Higher and degree level apprenticeships continue to form an important part of our skills and education system, providing people of all backgrounds with a choice of high-value vocational training alongside traditional academic routes.

As the Secretary of State set out in his recent letter to you regarding the Senior Leader standard, it is important that levy funds are supporting those that can benefit most from an apprenticeship, such as those starting out in their careers or helping people from disadvantaged backgrounds to get ahead. While we do not yet know the full impact of the Coronavirus, our priority is ensuring that apprentices and employers can continue to access high quality training, both now and in the future.

I do not believe that using levy funds for Level 8 apprenticeships, which could result in a PhD, provides value for money, nor are they in the spirit of our reformed apprenticeships system.

Therefore, I am writing to inform you that after careful consideration the Department will not fund apprenticeships at Level 8. As the powers to take decisions on standards development and approval reside with the Institute you will wish to consider whether you continue to invest resources in the development of apprenticeships at this level.

I know that the employers currently developing Level 8 apprenticeships were informed in the summer of 2019 that funding for these standards could not be guaranteed, due to the need to ensure that we are meeting the needs of employers and apprentices at all levels in a way that is financially sustainable and delivers good value for money.

I am aware that the employers involved have worked hard developing not only these Level 8 apprenticeships, but also a range of apprenticeships at lower levels that have contributed to the success of our reforms. I want to thank them for their continued commitment to this vital programme.

I am copying this letter to Antony Jenkins, Chair of the Institute. Yours sincerely,

Gillian Keegan MP
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Apprenticeships and Skills

A spokesperson for the IfATE said:

“We accept the decision and will not support the development of level 8 standards at this time.

“We would like to thank the trailblazers for their hard work on the proposals. The institute has been as upfront and informative as possible with them on the funding issue. We requested policy guidance from the DfE and it is appropriate that this has now been issued.”

Emotional intelligence to have upper hand in post-COVID-19 recruitment
June 18, 2020
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Hiring managers will need to start promoting and recruiting workers for their emotional intelligence, not just technical ability, as we move towards a post-coronavirus culture.

This is according to Professor Cary Cooper, who spoke during day two of the CIPD’s Festival of Work on the growing importance of a strong wellbeing structure within organisations. 

“The more we have people with EQ [emotional quotient], the more we can identify when people are feeling low and can listen and bring teams together, he said. “The challenge is how to train its existing cohort in this and not just promote people on just technical skills.” 

Cooper said organisations in the past had never confronted the issue of poor emotional skills in managers but predicts this is beginning to change.

He said: “The workplace will be different as we will be working substantially more from home so we need more ‘EQed’ line managers. There will be lots of issues we need to face and we will finally get at the productivity issue more than we have before.

“Pre-crisis, wellbeing was beginning to be strategic, and I now suspect this will be a board issue from now on in most companies.”

Wellbeing was a major theme across the entire day of the conference, with many speakers detailing the importance of focusing on employee welfare during the coronavirus crisis and its link to overall health. 

Economist Lord Gus O’Donnell said employers need to be wary of the workers most affected by the fallout from coronavirus. 

He said: “Young, female and low income groups have been hit very badly by the crisis [in terms of unemployment]. We also need to be very careful when we use the term BAME as different things are happening to different ethnicities. 

“A lot of the differences can be explained by income and class. Young groups are suffering because they are much more likely to be in sectors that have closed down. People who are furloughed have an average income of £320 per week. The crisis is exacerbating inequalities.” 

O’Donnell was also concerned that despite its benefits, remote working had led to feelings of isolation. 

He said: “A lot of people are saying they like the social aspect of work. People will spend more time at home than before, but I think they will still want their social connections.” 

Cooper agreed, yet acknowledged the economic pressure businesses will be under and the potential to reduce office space to cut costs. 

He said: “We are not entering a recession but a depression. This will mean employers have to save money, and they can do this by reducing office space and travel costs. We will all need a central office environment but still work substantially from home, maybe not exclusively.” 

Properly understanding your workforce was also highlighted as a key wellbeing strategy.

Speaking during the panel session, Dame Carol Black, chair of the Centre for Ageing Better, said: “Often companies don’t do enough detailed work. They want to do the right thing but don’t have granular enough data on their workforce. They don’t know in detail how much of their workforce has financial problems etc. 

“The more granular the detail…the better. You then use resources to put in targeted interventions.” 

All of this, Cooper concluded, contributes to a need for more emotionally intelligent leaders.

New ONS Figures Reveal Large UK Job Losses During Coronavirus Pandemic
June 17, 2020
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The number of workers on UK payroll has reduced by more than 612,000 between March and May as impacts of the coronavirus pandemic set in.

New data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) found the number of paid employees fell by 1.7% compared with May 2019 and 2.1% compared with March 2020.

The ONS predicts 163,000 people were no longer on payroll in May, on top of the 449,000 in April.

The UK’s employment rate is currently 76.4%. This is 0.1% lower than the previous quarter but 0.3% higher than the same period in 2019.

Matt Weston, MD of HR consultancy Robert Half UK, said the jobs numbers point to worrying trend in the market. “There are still nearly 8 million people on furlough, while early indicators for May suggest that 600,000 fewer employees are on the payroll, with job vacancies falling to a record low.

“The employment landscape is in a pendulum swing. The ‘war for talent’ is becoming a ‘war for jobs’. But despite the rise in the number of candidates in the market, the skill shortage is still raising its head. Professionals with in-demand skills that will help businesses get through this tough market will still maintain strong career prospects and opportunities to consider.”

The largest quarterly percentage decline in vacancies was in the accommodation and food services activities which reported a 70.7% decrease on the previous quarter.

David Morel, CEO of Tiger Recruitment, said it was likely more job losses are inevitable. “With the furlough scheme due to be phased out in the coming months and many sectors already having reported large-scale redundancies in the UK, it seems likely that more redundancies are on their way – particularly temp and contract staff who are currently on furlough.”

Yet Morel was optimistic that new ways of working can help reduce the number of redundancies and stabilise the job market.

He added: “We expect virtual recruitment to continue an upward trend as employers become used to the processes of remote onboarding and having their teams working remotely. We’ve also seen an uplift in temp-to-perm bookings as employers seek more flexibility while they gauge market performance – this trend is likely to continue as businesses feel their way through the new normal.

Last week, the ONS recorded a drop of 20% in UK GDP month-to-month.

DWP Connected Community Recruitment Support
June 15, 2020
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DWP commissions partners across the country to support jobseekers and employers to come together. 

Each partner delivers a service that enables jobseekers to access sustainable work in a local area with an employer like you. 

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, this site will enable you to connect with your local DWP partner to quickly fill vacancies. 

They will help you identify jobseekers with suitable skills for your roles and prepare them to begin working for you.  To find out more visit https://www.dwppartners.co.uk

© The Prime Providers Partnership

Reinventing Yourself After Retirement
June 9, 2020
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The following article will be of interest to your clients who are either planning their retirement or looking for information, advice and guidance on a second or even third career.

If you are working after retirement, you are part of a rising trend in unprecedented times, says gerontologist Suzanne Cook. “We’re in a huge societal shift that’s occurring,” says Cook, who holds a Ph.D. in adult education and community development from the University of Toronto and is an adjunct professor in the department of sociology at Toronto’s York University.

“When the retirement age was set at 65, it was a different time and reality,” says Cook, a member of the York University Centre for Aging Research and Education. “I think as people realize that life expectancy has increased, they are going to be thinking, I don’t want the retirement of my parents.”

Cook cites Statistics Canada data that show the percentage of seniors who were working nearly doubled between 1995 and 2015. The federal agency reports that 20% of Canadians aged 65 and older worked at some point in 2015. “You can see the upswing in employment,” says Cook, “and I predict that it’s continuing to increase.” Read more