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Update from GOV.UK – £20m Funding to Help 10,000 Young People into NHS Careers
July 25, 2019
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The Health and Social Care Secretary has announced £20 million funding to support 10,000 young people from all backgrounds to get an entry level job or apprenticeship in the NHS. This will be matched by £7 million from the Prince’s Trust.

The 3-year pre-employment programme will begin later this year and will involve up to 150 NHS trusts in England. Participants will gain basic skills and experience of working in the NHS. The programme will focus on helping those who otherwise may not have the opportunity to gain this experience to overcome barriers and enter sustainable employment.

The programme will provide:

  • job application support
  • NHS trust work placements
  • courses in basic healthcare, literacy and numeracy skills
Young hospital receptionist speaking to a patient

It is expected to help 5,000 young people get into the NHS through entrylevel positions, with a further 5,000 joining through apprenticeships. Roles will include digital and business administration, healthcare assistant, facilities, catering and portering.

The programme will be delivered by The Prince’s Trust and supported by Health Education England (HEE). HEE has already worked in partnership with The Prince’s Trust to run 250 pre-employment programmes, helping over 1,000 young people find work in healthcare across the country.

Nick Stace, UK Chief Executive, The Prince’s Trust, said:

Each year, The Prince’s Trust supports thousands of young people across the country to develop the confidence and skills they need to get a job – with our ‘Get into Healthcare’ programme we help young people to take their first step into employment with the NHS.

We are delighted that through this enhanced partnership we will give thousands more young people across the country exciting job opportunities. Placing young people into frontline roles at the heart of our National Health Service will empower them to realise their potential, kick start their careers and make a valuable contribution to our society.

We believe that when young people succeed, our country succeeds and this is a great example of what that can mean in reality.

Employers Turn to Training as Businesses Struggle to Recruit
July 10, 2019
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More than two-thirds (68%) of UK employers have struggled to find skilled workers this year, with Brexit uncertainty making talent scarcer.

An annual report on the skills landscape of the UK, The Open University Business Barometer 2019, reveals that organisations spent £4.4 billion on temporary staff, recruitment fees and increased salaries in the past 12 months due to difficulties finding employees with the right qualifications and experience.

Nearly half (48%) hired temporary staff to plug gaps, while 44 per cent spent more than intended on recruitment fee

Others (38%) took a different approach, increasing salaries in order to make roles more attractive, and nearly a third (31%) were forced to hire at a lower level than intended.

Approach to addressing the skills shortageExpenditure 2019Expenditure 2018Percentage Change
Extra spending on recruitment fees£1.6 billion£1.2 billion+33%
Training to boost skills of those hired at a lower level£1.2 billion£1.5 billion-20%
Increasing salaries on offer£0.9 billion£2.2 billion-59%
Spending on temporary staff while role remained vacant£0.8 billion£1.5 billion-47%
Total£4.4 billion£6.3 billion-30%

The skills shortage comes as the UK employment rate stands at the highest level since 1971, while unemployment is at its lowest since 19741. The dearth of skills in the labour market means that recruitment is taking one month and 27 days longer than anticipated, forcing many to seek external help – leading to a 33 per cent rise in spending on recruitment fees in total.

Three in five (63%) employers report that their organisation is currently facing a skills shortage (up from 62% in 2018). And while spending on recruiters is on the rise in an attempt to attract necessary skills, there is also a greater focus on re-training existing staff, with more than half (53%) of organisations increasing their training and development budgets in the past year – by an average of 10 per cent.

In the past, many employers have relied on buying talent rather than building it, but with more than three in five (62%) expecting it to become harder to find the right skills in the next year many are now looking internally.

Three in five (61%) think that they will have to focus on developing talent from within their organisation if they want to guarantee access to the skills they need in order to be productive and efficient. And the benefits of this approach can be felt throughout an organisation, with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills citing training as one of the most commonly cited channels through which spillovers of knowledge and productivity can occur2.

While one in five (21%) employers think that Brexit will open up new growth opportunities for their organisation, the current uncertainty surrounding the UK’s departure from the EU may be a key driver of this sudden change in gear. Three in five (59%) senior business leaders agree that the skills shortage will worsen after the UK officially leaves the European Union, which may explain the shift to focus on home-grown talent.

While seven in 10 (71%) employers agree that developing the skills of the existing workforce is a more sustainable approach, it is crucial that any training helps to support business objectives, while offering as much as value as possible. The Open University’s flexible, technology-enabled degrees and apprenticeships, allow employees to fit learning around work and personal commitments, whilst being able to stay local and contribute to their community – and at the same time nearly three in five (58%) employers believe is less disruptive than other forms of training.

David Willett, Corporate Director at The Open University, responded to the findings: “It’s encouraging that employers are looking to invest in the talent of their existing workforce, with businesses increasingly turning to strategies that will serve their skills requirements for the years to come. While many are starting to focus more on building up skills from within, rather than buying them in, it is essential that training ultimately delivers results, while fitting around employees’ existing commitments.

“Current uncertainties may see businesses understandably focusing on the short term, but initiatives like work-based training are essential for those looking to remain agile and competitive throughout in a rapidly changing business environment. Training, such as apprenticeships, provides a long-term solution to UK organisations looking to adapt to challenges on the horizon such as Brexit, digitisation and new technologies.”

Further findings, including specific skills shortages by region and sector and employers’ expectations for the year ahead, as well as details of The Open University’s offering, are available in The Open University Business Barometer 2019.

Methodology: The Open University Business Barometer was developed using the expertise and experience of The Open University in conjunction with quantitative market research amongst a range of businesses across the UK. A full methodology, detailing all extrapolations and calculations, can be found on The Open University’s business website.

The Open University commissioned PCP Research Limited to undertake a survey of 950 senior business leaders across the UK between 9 and 21 May 2019. The data was weighted by UK nation, region, business size and sector. Data for financial calculations was analysed and extrapolated by Third City.

About The Open University: The largest academic institution in the UK and a world leader in flexible distance learning. Since it began in 1969, the OU has taught more than 2 million students, and it currently has almost 175,000 current students, including more than 7,000 overseas.

Over 75% of students are in full-time or part-time employment, and 78 per cent of the FTSE 100 companies have sponsored staff to take OU courses. The OU has been delivering work-based learning to organisations since the mid-90s, and has an employer satisfaction rating of 98%, according to the Skills Funding Agency. The OU launched its higher and degree apprenticeships offering in 2016 to provide employers with flexible, technology-enabled apprenticeship training for new and existing staff in leadership and management, digital, policing, healthcare and nursing.

In the latest assessment exercise for university research (Research Excellence Framework, 2014), nearly three quarters (72%) of The Open University’s research was assessed as 4 or 3 star – the highest ratings available – and awarded to research that is world-leading or internationally excellent. The Open University is unique among UK universities in having both a strong social mission and demonstrating research excellence.

Regarded as the UK’s major e-learning institution, the OU is a world leader in developing technology to increase access to education on a global scale. Its vast ‘open content portfolio’ includes free study units, as well as games, videos and academic articles and has reached audiences of up to 9.8 million across a variety of online formats including OpenLearn, YouTube and iTunes U.

Permanent Staff Appointments Decline as Brexit-Related Uncertainty Intensifies
April 24, 2019
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The latest KPMG and REC, UK Report on Jobs showed that heightened uncertainty towards the outlook underpinned the fastest decline in permanent staff appointments since mid-2016 in March.

Brexit-related uncertainty also contributed to a further steep decline in staff availability.

Key findings 

  • Permanent placements fall at quickest pace since July 2016
  • Vacancies increase at slowest rate since August 2016
  •  Availability of candidates continues to decline sharply

Read more

AI To Create 2.3 million Jobs By 2020
March 19, 2019
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Artificial Intelligence (AI) is slowly taking over our day-to-day lives – especially when it comes to the workplace and using tech to enhance and fast-track tasks writes Alesandra  Berger.

There are many sectors in which AI can help improve services – specifically national health services, banking and legal  services.

Not only do some of the biggest names in technology debate over the future of AI, and how it continues to make life easier and better for many, but we are now seeing some of the biggest tech companies recruiting heavily in AI.

But, who is recruiting for AI roles the most whilst making big steps in looking toward the future?

With AI-related jobs more than doubling over the past three years and job postings related to AI increasing by 119%, RS Components has analysed job posts from some of the world’s biggest tech companies to discover who has the highest percentage of AI-related job openings.

A former Google Exec has predicted that AI will replace 40 per cent of jobs in the next 15 years. Kai-Fu Lee stated that AI will allow entire new industries to be built from the ground up, with automation in mind. AI will be cheaper than human employees, however, it will also create new roles, as well as replace current ones.

As AI progresses beyond development stages and into regular usage, more and more companies are looking to recruit machine learning talent, develop the AI skills of their existing workforce, and begin to use the technology throughout various sectors of their business.

However in a Ernst & Young poll last year, 56% of senior AI professionals argued that lack of talent and qualified workers is the greatest single barrier to the implementation of AI across business operations.

Similarly, the 2018 survey by O’Reilly named ‘How Companies Are Putting AI to Work Through Deep Learning also revealed that the AI skills gap is the largest barrier to AI adoption, but that company culture, company resources and data challenges also contribute to this.

Our academic and training programmes are also struggling to keep up with the pace of innovation and development of AI, further widening the existing gap. But whilst recent research found that only 1 in 4 workers strongly agree that their company equips employees with the skills needed to take advantage of AI, it is suggested that advanced technical education might not be necessary to bridge this gap.

So how can you get ahead and help close the AI skills gap many workplaces are currently experiencing? And how might future career training initiatives be affected by this skill gap?

AI is expected to create 2.3 million jobs by 2020, with job titles such as machine learning engineer, computer vision engineer and data scientist being amongst the most in-demand AI jobs. According to research by Indeed, the most in-demand AI skills include machine learning, Python, R programming, data science, Java programming, and data mining.

These skills, which are currently in significant shortage, beg the question – will the curricula need to change to prepare children for the future workforce?

A recent report by Raconteur describes how Miles Berry, a key architect of the national curriculum for computing, introduced to replace ICT four years ago, is disheartened at how few schools have exploited the new programme fully.

“AI is difficult to teach and schools either lack relevant resources or don’t know how to apply them, but in order to plug the technology skills gap, we must give our youngsters time to experiment with creating rudimentary chatbots for example,” Miles says.

Whilst growing numbers of primary and secondary schools are now teaching students how to code, this only covers one small element of AI, and a skill which is predicted to be “old hat” by the time they’re old enough to enter the workforce.

One way to increase the AI skills gap would be to continue to increase resources for digital, math and technical education in schools – as a sole focus on driving more students in to computer science will not solve the issue.

Devising technology-specific education or training schemes will also help develop the skills of the future workforce. For example, last year the Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced plans to have an AI-focused college built by 2022.

Closer to home, tech giants such as Amazon have an AI-focused lab near the University of Cambridge and there are plans to build a technology University in Milton Keynes which will “focus on skills for the future” by 2023.

The University will be designed as an education institution for the 21st century, delivering a STEM- focused curriculum in key areas including digital, cybe, autonomy, robotics and AI.

Until there are new graduates with the appropriate level of AI skills to step into these roles, many companies should currently be focusing on upskilling and retraining present staff. The future of work will require employees to be ever-more agile and change their skills to keep up with technology, which is constantly developing.

Alexandra Berger, Senior Vice President, Marketing & Communications EMEA region, RS Components

About Alexandra: With over 18 years’ experience across an international business-to-business environment, working for companies including Unilever, SC Johnson, SealedAir and Rexel, Alexandra’s experience includes global, regional and country leadership roles in Marketing and Business Management.  Alexandra’s broad experience has seen her lead digital transformation programmes, brand development initiatives and customer experience programmes. Most recently Alexandra joined RS Components as Senior Vice President, Marketing & Communications for the company’s EMEA region, where she is leading the transformation of the marketing function. RS Components is the trading brand of Electrocomponents plc, the global distributor for engineers. Supporting & inspiring generations of engineers since 1937.

The 20 Best Cities for Graduates to Find Jobs Right Now
March 19, 2019
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New data by AdView’s based on an analysed of 13 different metrics, such as wage growth, average monthly rent and employment rate, shows which citiesThe 20 best cities for graduate opportunitiesand regions in the UK rank the best in terms of opportunity and affordability for graduates.

The top 20 cities for graduate opportunities are:

1. Liverpool
2. Edinburgh
3. Leicester
4. Bristol
5. Belfast Read more

8 Entry Level Jobs in Industries You Might Not Have Heard Of
March 12, 2019
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With influencers, YouTubers and Artificial Intelligence drastically switching up the career landscapes, there’s no end to the amount of jobs currently available that haven’t been before.

1. AI Ex­pert8 entry level jobs in industries you might not have heard of

Entry level role: IT Support Technician

From voice assistants and chatbots, to smart home devices and robot nannies (yes, really!), AI is reshaping our modern lives and the world as we know it. Scary or exciting?

Either way, artificial intelligence is fast becoming a popular degree choice, and as demands for revolutionary technology increase – and we become more dependent on smart devices – so too will careers in this dynamic field. As a result, AI and machine learning experts will play an increasingly important role in the future of our digital world. Watch this space.

Routes in: You could either start work with a technology, data or AI firm, as a support technician for example, after doing GCSEs or A levels. Alternatively, a higher or degree apprenticeship in IT would point you in the direction, as it means you could continue studying for further qualifications in the industry while also being paid. Read more

Australia: Careers and Industries in Demand
February 8, 2019
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What can the release of the Australian Government’s industry and occupation projections reports tell us about employment trends in Australia over the coming years?

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Industries in demand 

The Industry Employment Projections report from the Department of Jobs and Small Businesses found that 886,100 new jobs will open up in the next five
years to May 2023, signalling a total employment growth of 7.1 per cent. These jobs are expected to grow through turnover rather than net employment growth, due to key factors such as job changes, returning to study, caring for family, retiring and travelling. Employment is predicted to increase in 17 of 19 industries by May 2023, with declines expected in the Wholesale Trade and Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing sectors. The report suggests that Australia is undergoing a structural shift in employment that is concentrated in service industries, with four of these areas being projected to contribute almost two-thirds (or 66.4 per cent) of total employment growth over the next five years.

Healthcare and Social Assistance  Read more

Dstl’s Latest Apprenticeship Opportunities Are Now Open
February 4, 2019
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The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory has a number of new apprenticeship vacancies – see their post on gov.uk below.

At Dstl, we are committed to developing our people, and to investing in the next generation of talent.Apprentices at Dstl

We offer apprenticeships in a variety of roles which enable people to gain experience and an insight into some truly unique work that helps protect the nation. Our apprenticeship programmes range from advanced through to degree level. If you are thinking about your next step in education, or a change of direction in your career, then Dstl could be the place for you.

Choosing an apprenticeship programme gives you a breadth of experience and a qualification and you will earn a salary at the same time.

With a mix of classroom and on-the-job -based learning, our programmes offer you the chance to work on cutting-edge real projects, making a real difference to the defence and security of the UK.

We’re keen to develop even more talent. If you’re passionate about science and technology, eager to help protect the UK and keen to learn, you’ll thrive on one of the following apprenticeships: Read more

Schools and Employers Must Collaborate to Help Young People into Work
September 5, 2018
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Off the back of last week’s GCSE results, research published by HR Magazine, shows parents feel more must be done by employers and schools to provide work experience for young people.

Most parents (82%) believe schools and employers need to work more closely to prepare their children for the workplace, according to research from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI)

The survey also highlighted that despite 78% of parents believing work experience provides the best way for young people to gain employability skills, only 32% agree that employers are actually doing enough to provide that work experience.

Separate CMI research showed that 85% of employers want students to have gained work experience.

It found that parents are roughly as confident about the careers advice they give their children (56%) as they are in that provided by their children’s schools (54%).

Parents’ views play an important role in students’ decision-making. In previous research, 77% of young people said that parents are their number one source of careers advice when leaving school.

Read more

Support For Employers to Promote the 50+ Workforce in the North East
July 16, 2018
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The government has launched a programme, “Retrain, regain, retain – a pilot to support employers and the older workforce.”

The Department for Work and Pensions, in partnership with the North East Local Enterprise Partnership and the National Careers Service (NCS), is offering an opportunity to engage with a range of local businesses to explore how the NCS could provide individuals with better careers and skills advice, and how this might have an impact on the retention, retraining and recruitment workers aged 50 and over.

Benefits of the pilot

Employers that participate will have free access to: Read more