Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce News

Employment for the Future

6 Feb 2018 by Vicky Carr

Our February meeting was an opportunity to focus on employment - and specifically, to look at growing a team in new ways.

Simon Gregory from GPS Return spoke about the advantages of employing parents returning to work after a career break.

Both mums and dads often take several years out to look after their children when young. Once they decide to return to work, they can struggle to find the right position to suit them, despite having extensive skills and experience.

Simon said he deals with many businesses which are insistent that they want a full-time person to fill a senior role, and that taking on a returning parent is a risk. However, he shared statistics showing that part-time employees (anything up to 35 hours per week) are more productive and take fewer days off sick than their full-time counterparts.

He referred to a previous client who had struggled to recruit for a marketing position. The client could only pay £25,000 so ended up taking on a graduate, who did not last. The receptionist was then given the marketing work, but it did not work out. Finally, the client spoke to Simon, who persuaded him to try a returning parent working part-time.

The candidate was a very experienced marketing professional who had had a high-flying career with leading companies. She had taken time out after having children, but was now ready to return to work. The match worked out perfectly and the client found the candidate was more than able to do all the work he required while still working flexible part-time hours to suit her.

The second speaker was Steve Yardley from Hull College and Harrogate College. With many years' experience in workplace training, he shared the latest news on apprenticeships.

The clear benefit to business is that, in many cases, the government funds most if not all of the training element of the scheme and the business only has to pay the apprentice's wages. For apprentices aged between 16 and 18, the government fully funds the training, while for those aged 19 and over, it funds 90% of the training. The training provider would take care of all of the admin to set up the role, so the employer would only need to focus on finding the right apprentice and ensuring they got the support needed to make progress.

Apprenticeships are not just for young people. Steve explained that while the youngest people on apprenticeships through the college at present are aged 16, the oldest is 67.

Chamber members gave useful examples of how apprenticeships have worked in their businesses, as well as how they have employed parents and others returning to work after a career break.

For more information about apprenticeships, click here. For more details about GPS Return's work with returning parents and others, click here.