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Never before has the staffing sector faced the breadth of challenges that it’s experiencing now. The global pandemic has put an immense strain on recruitment businesses and with the Brexit transition period coming to an end and the IR35 roll out date looming, tough times lie ahead.

But recruitment has shown its resilience in the face of adversity. Despite the challenges, many staffing companies are now planning for the future – and that includes hiring and training the recruiters of tomorrow.

Helping Staffing Companies Access Support

With Boris Johnson’s plans to support the reskilling of the UK workforce through a number of schemes, it’s perhaps no surprise that some recruitment businesses are looking at how they can gain access to government aid to train and develop new consultants. Unfortunately, though, the limitations of some schemes have put staffing companies at a disadvantage.

Kickstart – part of the ‘Plan for Jobs’ scheme – is one such example. It is intended to create thousands of new, fully subsidized jobs of up to 25 hours per week to support young people (aged 18-24) into employment during the coronavirus. However, to be eligible for the support, an employer must create at least 30 new job placements – a target that simply isn’t feasible for a vast number of recruitment firms.

In order to provide staffing companies with access to this scheme, though, APSCo has collated vacancies from a number of its members and submitted them to the government (101 roles in total for 32 of our members). We want all staffing companies, irrespective of size, to be able to get involved with the scheme and so we felt it important to facilitate members who wanted to get involved but who just didn’t have the vacancy numbers to be able to participate.

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Recruiting Recruiters

Having access to the Kickstart Scheme will be crucial to supporting recruitment businesses now and in the longer term. In fact, Toni Harney, global head of talent acquisition at Goodman Masson, and Richard Bradley, the managing director of Kelly Services’ UK and Ireland operation —  both of whom have been part of the first application — feel that the initiative really helps promote recruitment as a career of choice:

“Creating opportunities for young people to enter our sector is something we’ve always been passionate about, and this really aligns to that,” Harney says. “We’ve been working hard to prepare an on boarding journey and training plan that allows the people who join us to have a great experience and get the most out of their time with us.” Bradley agrees that the scheme will be really valuable for the sector: “We’re really pleased to be involved in the kickstart scheme with APSCo. While the economy has been rocked in 2020 we continue to look into the future and attracting new talent to the business is essential to Kelly. The support APSCo has provided in helping hire young people seeking exciting new career opportunities is incredibly valuable. The recruitment sector can provide fantastic opportunities for the emerging generation of the workforce and we’re excited to begin welcoming new hires to the team.”

Zack Raja, director at Talentometry, a turnkey recruitment start-up in Bolton, made the point that the scheme can really help deprived areas:

“Having grown up locally in Bolton in one of the top 10 most deprived boroughs in the UK, I firmly believe employment provides the best route out of poverty. The Kickstart program provides Talentometry with a risk-free route to give a young person with little to no experience an opportunity to succeed with our business.”

According to Tamara Barnard, people and key account director, Build Recruitment, being able to access the scheme through APSCo will support business growth:

“For us at Build Recruitment, the kickstart scheme came along at the right time. We’re looking at setting up a new desk and we don’t want to pull consultants away from their current work to deliver this. The 18-to-24 age range is a good target group to focus on career development. Recruiting and training those that are recently out of education gives us an opportunity to develop the next tranche of recruiters.”

Future-Proofing Staffing Companies

While we may be facing a period of continued uncertainty, the future of the recruitment sector very much lies with its people. As the trade body for the professional staffing sector we will do everything we can to help recruitment businesses access the support needed to survive today and best prepare for tomorrow.