Meeting the demand for childcare roles
Following the Scottish Government’s announcement to expand free childcare via Councils to 1,140 hours per year, for every pre-school age child, Routes To Work has been collaborating closely with North Lanarkshire Council to maximise the employment opportunities for clients seeking roles in the childcare sector.
In partnership with North Lanarkshire Council & DWP we took part in several roadshow information sessions to spread the word about these amazing opportunities. This resulted in lots of interest and requests for support from North Lanarkshire residents.
By creating a dedicated Childcare Routeway process, we formed a structure of support that captured all the necessary criteria to ensure that our clients were not only fully informed but also genuinely interested in these roles, and best-matched to the opportunities available.
Routes To Work also partnered with CEMVO Scotland as part of the initiative, to ensure that we reinforce the contribution and inclusion of ethnic minorities across our community and provide equality of opportunity for all.
As a result, in 2019/20, our team and clients secured a total of 54 job offers across the region. Among the 54 offers secured, a real diversity of client backgrounds and circumstances was highlighted, with five job offers for those having identified from the BME community, three carer’s, two linked to underemployment, eight clients from the No-One Left Behind initiative, and two clients highlighted with housing issues.
It is a great example of how, working together, both externally with our partners and internally with each other, we can change the lives of those clients most in need and asking for support.
One of our clients, Humaira, referred herself to us in June 2019 for support to find work after hearing about Routes To Work at her local Mosque. She was keen to work with children which had been an ambition from a young age, so we completed an action plan which included enquiring about childcare courses at the local college.
She had previous work experience within a customer service role, so securing a college place would give her the training and learning experience to improve her chances of gaining work within childcare.
Although this was ultimately unsuccessful, we quickly decided to look at other options with Humaira, including a beauty course, and although she was fortunate this time to be offered a place, childcare remained her first choice.
Thanks to the 1140 expansion strategy, there was going to be a need for additional staff across nurseries and family centres. We assisted our client with her My Job Scotland application for Early Years Support Worker and put her forward for an Interview Skills Workshop run by the internal skills team.
After a successful interview in December, she was notified of a job offer early January subject to satisfactory pre-employment checks. Humaira is over the moon and is looking forward to getting started in her chosen career.
“It took me a long time to find a job,” she says. “When I came to Susan for the first time, I didn’t know what to expect… but finally when the Childcare Support Worker job came up Susan helped me apply for this. I’m very happy with the service that has been provided for me from Routes to Work and by Susan.”
“I’m very happy with the service that has been provided for me from Routes To Work and by Susan.”
Maintaining a best-value partnership
Over the years Routes To Work and North Lanarkshire Working have built strong working relationships across a number of functions. One initiative, Prospects, aims to help unemployed people of all ages from North Lanarkshire into work by providing exclusive vacancies with a financial subsidy attached to offer opportunities for residents, that otherwise would have not been competitive in a mainstream process.
One of Routes To Work’s Team Leader’s, David Winning, explains that this is open to all whether you are long term unemployed, just out of school, or simply looking for a new challenge. “Many people in North Lanarkshire have already benefited from Prospects and have found jobs as well as developed skills and techniques for the future,” he explains. “This incentive is to allow clients the best possible start or next step in their life back into work, whilst still receiving ongoing support from both us and their employers.”
External Link Workers Sarah McDonald and Marie Mulvey-Kennah find their roles extremely fulfilling in making a difference to people’s lives. “Working with North Lanarkshire’s Working and the Employability Development Offers (EDO’s) has created opportunities that match the demands of our caseloads offering exclusive opportunities which are not always on the open job market”.
An example of our collaborative approach was with Pulp Tec, Cumbernauld. They advertised vacancies through North Lanarkshire’s Working. After interviewing one of our clients Gemma, they were keen to offer her the position. Unfortunately, the start time was an issue due to public transport, so Gemma could not accept. The EDO & ELW agreed to approach the employer and negotiate a different working pattern for Gemma. Marie says “Pulp Tec were more than happy to accommodate which allowed Gemma to start at a different start time. Through the partnership working between ourselves and the EDO’s the outcome was positive for both the employer and the client who got to start her perfect job.”
Our ELW colleague Sharlene McVey, too, has a very positive view of the “joined-up working” that has led to so much employment success for our clients. She says that it is not just getting the right clients into the right jobs that has justified a strong partnership approach, but also that “employers have so much more confidence in our joined-up service provision.”
Marie finishes by saying “It is important that EDO/ELW continue to develop these partnerships across north Lanarkshire, working together on these types of projects benefits the lives of so many people.
Adele Muir, Employability Development Co-Ordinator at North Lanarkshire Council said “We have built a really strong partnership over the years with Routes to Work, and the offer we have for employers is a perfect example of that. Our team at NLC offers employers a full recruitment service safe in the knowledge that the clients from Routes to Work being matched to jobs are suitable and keen to work. As well as getting the right person for the job, the employer is also able to access funding and aftercare support to support them every step of the way.