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Walker Modular and Hull College back launch of Staff Finders’ new ‘Career Starter’ traineeship scheme for young people

A leading Hull manufacturer has joined forces with Staff Finders to support a new ‘Career Starter’ traineeship scheme focussed on helping young people ‘earn, learn and progress’.

Bathroom pod specialist Walker Modular has committed to become the first local employer to pledge to offer young people full-time jobs on more than the minimum and living wage, with a commitment to also offering real career progression opportunities.

The scheme, launched to bridge a gap in the recruitment of young people aged 16-23, has also won the approval of Hull College, which says it offers a ‘great opportunity’ for young people to get into work and learn industry skills.

It will see local businesses offer young people the opportunity to earn more than they would through apprenticeship schemes and the minimum wage for their age, whilst helping employers meet high production demands and get the best value and output from their workforce.

Staff Finders is keen to develop the scheme with many more local employers but has launched it initially with Walker Modular given the long-term relationship between the two businesses, and the success they have enjoyed together.

“At Staff Finders we have recruited many employees for Walker Modular over the years who have established themselves as much-valued members of the team and have progressed to more senior roles at management level,” said Andrew Abraham, managing director of Staff Finders.

“This has happened quite naturally through our commitment as an agency to properly identifying and recruiting suitable candidates, and also through Walker’s commitment to developing people within their own business.

“What we’re doing now is placing a much more formal structure around that approach, one which is focussed on offering opportunities and trade experience to young people to earn money and start building a career. Too many are finding opportunities which are linked to their qualifications limited, but there are good alternatives.

“We are looking for firms who can offer full-time employment with career prospects, so we can offer a clear path from being a temporary worker supplied by us to a full-time employee at a local business with career opportunities ahead.

“As a recruitment agency we are committing to placing a greater focus on supporting young people and we are asking businesses to pledge to offer them a good full-time job and wage, with a commitment to training and developing them so to progress their careers.

“Walkers have a track record of doing this so they are our perfect partner to launch. We are excited about this venture as we know it can work from past experience. The issue for us has been that young people don’t see recruitment agencies as being able to offer good, long-term, full-time employment opportunities, but that could not be further from the truth.

“That is part of the reason for launching this traineeship scheme. We want to dispel that myth and hope to be able to replicate what we are doing with Walker Modular with many other businesses, particularly manufacturers, across the region.”

Walkers’ manager came from agency himself

Simon Blakey Head of GRP Operations at Walker Modular, a business which employs more than 300 workers across four sites and has already taken on six young people as part of the Career Starter scheme.

He joined the business 13 years ago having sought the help of Staff Finders after being made redundant, and hasn’t looked back in a career which has brought numerous promotions and ever increasing responsibility.

“I’m really excited about this project as I want to bring young people into the business and give them the opportunity to progress their careers like I did,” he said.

“I started as a general operative and because I showed potential, and of course a desire to do a good job and succeed, I was soon promoted to a team leader and then as the business grew I found myself in charge of a growing department.

“The business put me through all the relevant training and qualifications required, from health and safety and HR to interview training, investigations training and of course management. That’s helped me progress my career and I hope I can be someone who young people joining the firm look at and see there is scope to progress.

“We have team leaders and managers across the business who came to us via Staff Finders over the years and have worked their way up, so I know they can be relied upon to select candidates who will come to us and will want to work hard and progress.

“We also have opportunities for people to learn skilled trades on the job, which pay a really good wage and are in demand at all businesses, so I think it’s really exciting to make it a more formal process and I see this as scheme which can really grow.”

Traineeship aims to provide jobs with potential to progress

Katie Connell, General Manager of Staff Finders, says the business will help employers by working with colleges and sixth forms to make young people aware of opportunities, by conducting initial interviews, assisting with risk assessments and inductions and by reviewing and assessing each candidates’ progress.

“Recruitment agencies can offer good, full-time, long-term career opportunities to people and we really feel this project will enhance our offering to local employers,” she said.

“The reality is that, as a business which has worked with successful local companies across Hull, the East Riding and North Lincolnshire for more than 25 years, we have a great reputation because we work hard to do our best for job seekers and employers.

“As part of this scheme we will be reviewing how well people progress within each of the businesses which take part each year to ensure it is meeting the targets we have set.

“We want to be in a position where, two years down the line, we can say how many young people have been recruited as part of the scheme, how many have come off our books and into full-time employment, and how many have progressed their careers into more senior roles.”

Darren Storrer, Head of the Institute for Building Technologies at Hull College, says the scheme will offer great opportunities to students.

“The Career Starter scheme will give our learners the opportunity to fill the gap between those who want to study full-time and those who want apprenticeships, as these traineeships offer a great opportunity to get into work, earning a wage and building on their skills in industry.

“This will be a great partnership that will benefit both parties, the learner, the employers and the construction industry on the whole. “

Staff Finders ‘Career Starter’ scheme - ‘Full-time employment opportunities with prospects’

  • Aimed at young people 16-23
  • Businesses must pledge to offer on the job training in trade skills
  • Open to all businesses across the region
  • Aim to transfer young people from temporary to permanent positions.

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