Main Report - Page 9 of 10
Advisers suggested that if the issue of IT skills was raised during an interview then it would be useful if some form of immediate in-house support was made available as soon as possible. Even if this support was limited it still could benefit claimants.
Another highlighted topic was the subject of encouraging Jobcentre Plus to develop a more detailed knowledge of local employers, and the local labour market, which was raised and agreed upon by both employer recruiters and Jobcentre Plus advisers alike.
It was suggested that by developing greater links with employers, the benefits of employing older workers could be promoted, the negative perceptions about older people challenged and more effective job and sustainable job matching could be achieved.
There was also a great deal of consensus between the two interview groups in respect of what activities could be implemented to develop greater links with local employers and generally improve adviser knowledge of local labour markets.
Better use of Job Fairs with the possibility of hosting age specific or age positive events was also highlighted.
When it came to getting the more senior job seeker a chance to get their foot in the door both jobcentre advisers and employer recruitment staff alike said that the old system of ringing an employer to recommend a particular claimant should be revived.
This method had the benefit of breaking down some initial barriers between the employers and the claimants. It also gave the adviser the opportunity to build up the profile of a claimant and to explain to the employer how the individual’s particular skills and experience would match their vacancy.
“Ringing employers to introduce them to claimants, especially older claimants, could and would really help. Employers are less likely to ignore them if they have a personal introduction from an adviser” (Adviser Comment Online Survey)
Contact between advisers and special service providers was thought of as a problem by many as the ability to communicate with providers was something of a frustrating restriction advisers said.
Advisers felt that having an open dialogue with local providers could produce real benefits in assisting the skill development of all claimants and in particular older claimants.
Such a dialogue would help advisers understand the role and structure of the provision being given in more detail, and as a result, helping them decide what provision is better for individual claimants and also allowing them to track and monitor the progress of individual claimants in a more understanding way.
There was also a degree of scepticism and even suspicion voiced by advisers about the quality of some local provision delivered by local providers. Such a suspicion over the years has been well justified in various ways as complaints from job seekers have ranged from - no one being around or willing to help, train or assist them to even being sent home when staff failed to turn up themselves.
When job seekers were asked what efforts had been made by providers in contacting employers on their behalf their reply was often - none at all - or - we were told to just sit there and do job search and nothing else.
Many job seekers who had been on such ‘provider’ courses in the past would often say that being given a few minutes of help with their CV or just sitting there listening to how you should speak to someone in an interview for hours at a time everyday was just an utter waste of time and did nothing for them when it came to meeting an employer and talking to them about what they had to offer.