Memorandum from London Borough of Newham
1. EVIDENCE FROM
1.1 Although claimant unemployment in Newham
is now the lowest it's been since the Docks closed in the early
80s, there are still over 9,000 claimant unemployed with the third
highest claimant unemployment in London.
1.2 Three years ago Newham Council set up
an Access to Jobs partnership to work on a joint strategy to help
residents access employment opportunities, by identifying employers'
recruitment needs, by finding out where the skills mismatch is
and to then draw up a joint plan of action.
1.3 The partnership comprises:
East London Partnership (Employers' representative)
Newham Sixth Form College
Stratford Development Partnership
University of East London.
1.4 The partnership set itself four key
to identify and respond to employers'
to equip local people with the skills
needed to get jobs;
to ensure effective job guidance
and placements services;
to provide support and development
for people in low-paid/unskilled work.
1.5 The information in this submission relates
to the work carried out in relation to the first and third objectives.
2.1 Towards the end of 1999 the Council's
Regeneration and Partnerships Division surveyed 100 local companies
focusing on recruitment and training issues. We asked whether
employers recruited staff who were unemployed and their opinion
of the skills and attitude of unemployed people. We are still
analysing the returns but key issues for local employers are emerging
qualifications, vocational or otherwise,
are not seen necessarily as a key indicator of an individuals
worth. Employers put more emphasis on experience gained through
employability skills are of key importance
to business. These include good literacy, numeracy and ICT skills,
first class communication/team working skills, the ability to
learn on the job and work flexibly. Several employers have agreed
to discuss their concerns in depth and this will feed into a detailed
2.2 This feedback from employers has led
the Access to Jobs partnership to review its training provision
in order to more adequately reflect employers' training needs.
Employability skills are being stressed in vocational training,
work experience is being increasingly built into training provision
and an "employability certificate" is being developed
with voluntary sector training providers. This will provide a
testament for employers around key issues of attitude that can
be tested throughout a training course, for example, good attendance,
meeting targets/deadlines and team working within the training
2.3 Many SMEs fill posts using informal
methods, eg word of mouth through existing staff members. This
acts as an extra barrier to the unemployed, particularly the long
term unemployed and black and minority ethnic unemployed people
who often find themselves outside of such informal networks. Outlined
below are two measures being taken to ensure that these informal
vacancies can be brought into the mainstream.
3. THE DOCKLANDS
3.1 The Council and the Employment Service
have set up an employment agency specifically for the construction
industry. It is in premises funded by the Council near the major
construction sites. It is staffed by the Employment Service and
has the LMS vacancy system on site. The Council makes the first
contact with contractors through Section 106 agreements or through
planning applications and then introduces the ES staff to identify
3.2 The success is evident from the figures.
In January 2000:
|Clients on database
|Clients into work in January||37
|Clients into work since April 99||295
When the project started three years ago all these clients
were unemployed and many probably still would be unemployed without
3.4 A recent satisfaction survey carried out by the partnership
with employers revealed that 96 per cent of employers rated the
service as Excellent, Good or adequate and the same percentage
will use the centre again and would be willing to recommend other
employers to use it.
3.5 Reasons for success:
the clear benefits to all partiesthe private
sector can recruit the staff they need free, the Council helps
its residents into work and the Employment Service meet their
a real commitment from the contractors which is
not just lip service;
systems for sharing knowledge about new developments
and therefore potential jobs. The advance planning is crucial
as it allows us to work with training providers to put on training
to meet the employers' requirements;
dedicated staff, seconded to the centre, who really
get to know the industry and talk to contractors on a knowledgeable
screening and matching clients according to employers'
requirements and not sending unsuitable clients along;
a willingness to go furtherif there is
nobody suitable on the books then trying neighbouring areas. If
there is still no one suitable then honesty with the employer
about the reasons for this and alternative proposals;
the project has been so successful that we are
now developing a similar model for the hospitality industrynotorious
for its recruitment difficulties.
4.1 The Access to Jobs group has set up two local Into
Work centres. They are designed to target specific unemployed
groups as outlined below and to place them into employment.
4.2 One centre is a joint initiative with the voluntary
sector. There are over 30 small voluntary and community groups
providing vocational training in Newham. For unemployed people,
with negative memories of learning, it is often their first step
on the route to skills acquisition and employment. Many of the
trainees are unemployed and on part-time courses.
4.3 An umbrella voluntary group called Newham Training
Network (NTN) co-ordinates the training groups and arranges work
experience for their trainees. The Council has encouraged NTN
to set up an Into Work Centre
to use their employer contracts and the feedback they get from
employers to place these trainees into employment. Due to funding
difficulties, this has taken some time to happen but is now on
target to open in April 2000. The Employment Service has agreed
to support the project and is exploring whether it can put its
LMS system there.
4.4 The second centre, the Beckton Into Work Centre,
is run jointly by Newtown College of Further Education and the
Employment Service. It is funded by the Council and is based in
one of the Council's Local Service Centres. Its target group is
twofold: one group is the people who casually drop into the centre
to access Council services who are unemployed or who want a better
job. The centre is co-located with the Youth Service so many young
people drop in too. The second target group is the people who
have completed courses and are looking for work, these include
adults who have completed courses at the nearby adult education
centre and people who are on the New Deal. They have almost reached
their target of 200 people into work by the end of March.
4.5 One of the characteristics of this Into Work Centre
is that it does not raise the expectations of employers by blanket
canvassing for jobs to display on boards on the off-chance that
someone suitable will drop in. Rather, they identify the needs
of the job seeker and cold call employers, based on local knowledge,
for vacancies. We are aiming to move towards a situation whereby
the centre workers will know their employers so well that the
employers will begin to trust the centre and will leave "standing
4.6 REASONS FOR
clarity about specific target groups;
focused provision tailored to the need of the
particular groupsboth job seekers and employers;
use of existing resources where possible;
joint planning between key partners;
focused short job preparation/job search training
curriculum for all clients;
centre feeds back to training providers on the
quality of clients that they are putting forward, allows providers
to amend/make course more relevant to employers needs.
Other Good Practice Examples
5. HOUSING WORKERS
5.1 This pilot scheme has been identified as a case study
by the Audit Commission in their recent review of Urban Regeneration.
5.2 The work with housing officers came from a recognition
that there are residents in Newham that either through lack of
information or interest do not access employment and training
opportunities through the traditional ways of attending college/seeking
professional career guidance. It also was a reflection that many
Council service staff that interact with the public are a key
regeneration resource. The pilot scheme used two local housing
officers dealing with rent arrears, they were chosen as it was
felt that if their clients were able to access work they would
be more likely to pay their rent and reduce their arrears, a clear
"win win" for the council between wider regeneration
concerns and self interest.
5.3 The housing workers received training from Access
to Jobs so that they could provide advice/guidance and were provided
with laptops loaded up with the ATJ web site, providing full information
on training and advice on childcare and benefits. Additionally,
the Careers Service provided workshops in the housing offices
for tenants identified by the housing officers. Over the period
of the pilot 100 tenants were contacted, 30 were given advice
and signposted to the Careers Service and 13 moved onto training
5.3 The pilot scheme is being reviewed and is to be extended
across the borough's housing stock. Discussions are being held
with Social Services to see if a similar pilot can be developed
with social work teams.
5.4 An article about the project in Newstart magazine
has elicited 6 enquiries from around the country from local authorities
and tenants' associations.
6.1 A new international exhibition centre is being developed
in the Royal Docks in Newham, ExCeL which it is estimated will
create 1,000s of jobs within new and existing businesses that
will support the centre and the 2.3 million people that will be
attending the 120 exhibitions per year organised within the centre.
6.2 ExCeL have recognised the benefits of a well motivated,
skilled local labour force and are working with the Council and
partners to ensure that local residents can develop the necessary
skills. One element of this work is the Pre-Employment Training.
It is based upon a successfully developed model created for the
Dome. The training is modular, focused upon customer care and
hospitality, builds in key skills and is tailored to the needs
of the exhibition industry.
6.3 Modules will include: ExCeL Induction (the ExCeL
way), Tourism/Hospitality Training (Welcome Host, Welcome All,
Welcome Line and Welcome International), Managing Health and Safety
at Exhibitions and Events First Aid CV, Job Search and Communications
and Customised Training modules based upon particular elements
of the exhibition industry. We are currently working with ExCeL
to work out ways of guaranteeing job interviews to all who complete
the course. Other local employers have now expressed interest
in the proposal.
7. EMPLOYER TRAINING
7.1 This network brings together training providers and
local employers to discuss and exchange information on training
in order to make future training provision in the borough more
business friendly and relevant to SME needs. It also acts as a
communication between employers where by best practice can be
shared and the benefits of a well-trained workforce can be explored
at the bottom line, profits.
7.2 An outcome of the Employers' Training Network's.
The Training Directory which gives outline advice for employers
on training opportunities to upskill their staff through short
industry focused training courses.
7.3 The work of the network is due to be expanded from
influencing general training provision to developing more specific
customised training linked to job growth areas. The work with
ExCeL is a specific example of job growth as a result of a new
industry setting up in the area, other examples include work with
London City Airport, this originated around basic and employability
skills but is being expanded into customised specialised training
around airside ground crew staff and modern European languages.
8. SECOND STEP
8.1 Studies have shown that many of Newham's residents
are in low paid, low skilled employment. It is recognised by the
partners that an increasing area of work will be to develop pathways
within work as well as pathways into work. Much effort and expenditure
has been given to getting the unemployed in a position of being
employable, but unless these individuals can be sustained and
supported into careers rather than employment, many if not most
will find themselves unemployed again when the economy down turns.
8.2 Access to Jobs partners are therefore looking at
developing ways to provide this second step. Already a project
has been developed by the Six Form College that offers guidance
and training to young people in their first job with the aim of
keeping participants in work and helping them to progress in their
careers by providing a networking and advice event.
London Borough of Newham and Partners
The Centre opened in May 2000. Back
16 June 2000 issue. Back