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Some of East Yorkshire’s largest manufacturing firms are preparing for the renewables industry’s demand for skilled workers by taking advantage of the Green Port Hull Pathway to Employment programme. 

Lee Norman, Trainee Glass Cutter at KwikTuf, who has been employed through the Pathway to Employment programme

The scheme has been created to supply workers to businesses in Hull and the East Riding who may be faced with recruitment needs in the wake of emerging renewables projects, and give training and job opportunities to the long-term unemployed.

The programme, which provides 10 weeks of training and work experience, was introduced last year, with the first group of 20 candidates starting in January. To date, 22 trainees have been offered jobs with companies such as Swift Caravans, Atlas Leisure Homes, Willerby Holiday Homes, Continental Leisure Vehicles and glass supplier and processor KwikTuf.

The innovative Pathway to Employment programme is being delivered by Hull City Council, Unity Training and Jobcentre Plus, and is funded by the Regional Growth Fund, via the Green Port Growth Programme.

Michelle Saville, HR Manager KwikTuf, explains:

“What initially attracted us to the programme was the fact that, as a Hull business, we could assist the local, long-term unemployed in getting back into work. At no cost to us, we were able to help people gain experience, skills and confidence in a manufacturing environment. However, we discovered it’s also an excellent way for us to recruit staff and we have taken on six people through the scheme, as it offers a 20 per cent wage subsidy for the first 12 months of employment.

“During the first five weeks, participants receive valuable, relevant and funded training such as health and safety, first aid, use of tools and equipment, as well as softer skills training such as team building and communication, which are beneficial to any organisation. It also demonstrates their commitment and desire to work, so employers can see first-hand the dedication of potential future employees.

“Unity Training spend time carefully matching participants to organisations, based on experience, skills and preferences, before arranging placements to try to get the best fit possible. Ultimately, if the trial period is successful, the organisation has gained one or more new members of staff, without incurring any of the common recruitment costs involved in advertising posts, interviewing or using recruitment agencies.”

Bob Ferraby, Green Port Growth Programme’s Skills and Development Lead, who is heading up the Pathway to Employment programme, commented:

“In addition to providing excellent opportunities for the long-term unemployed, the Pathway to Employment programme is helping businesses prepare for the employment churn we will face as renewable energy projects in the region pick up pace. As a city, we have a thriving manufacturing industry, but demand for workers will increase and we need to make sure there is the supply to meet this. We are working hard towards improving the skillset of the local workforce and ensuring the public are able to fully access the many new employment opportunities that will become available.

“The feedback from companies involved in the programme has been excellent so far. They have been impressed with the quality of candidates and support given. We hope their endorsement encourages other local businesses to get involved.”

James Hartwell, Training Manager at Unity Training, said:

“The Pathway to Employment programme is proving a successful method of recruitment for businesses. It allows them to get to know the skills and capabilities of potential new employees before taking them on. Not only is it having a positive impact on businesses, but it will also bring benefits to our local economy and employment market when the renewables projects in our region really start to take off and more skilled workers will be needed.”

Gill Dillon, Senior Operations Employer and Partnership Manager at Hull Jobcentre Plus, added:

“We are delighted with the high number of candidates who have gained full-time positions within the manufacturing sector. The programme provides a low-risk recruitment route for local businesses. Essentially, they can take someone on for a trial period, with no cost to them. I hope the programme continues to flourish and that we can provide many more unemployed people in the city with skills, qualifications and employment.”

Information about the Pathway to Employment programme is available from the Green Port Hub, situated in Hull’s Central Library. The Hub is open: Monday and Tuesday, 9.30am to 5pm; Wednesday, 1pm to 7.30pm; Thursday, 9.30am to 7.30pm; Friday, 9.30am to 1pm; and Saturday, 10am to 4pm. A Siemens recruitment representative is based at The Hub one day a week. For more information, call 01482 613875 or email greenportenquiries@hullcc.gov.uk 

Visit http://greenporthull.co.uk/thehub for more information.

Businesses interested in supplying work placements for future cohorts should contact Liam at Unity Training on 01482 852292 or email liam@unitytraining.org.uk