July 2022


Valuable insights into the benefits of Inclusive Recruitment

"It was exciting to hear more about the Fair Chance programme and the broad range of Warwickshire businesses engaging with it to offer opportunities to those who need it most."

An online event delivered by Warwickshire Skills Hub gave some great insights to businesses about the benefits of Inclusive Recruitment.

The event, organised by Claire Dougan, Business Skills Support Advisor for Warwickshire County Council's Fair Chance Employment Programme, heard from a variety of speakers regarding best practice and the ways everyone can work together to support Inclusive Recruitment. 

Chloe Millage, Careers and Employability Programme Manager at Warwickshire Skills Hub, launched the event by sharing details of the Skills Hub's team work to support schools, businesses and individuals. Chloe delivered a presentation on the Fair Chance programme, explaining how, by making small adjustments, businesses can recruit from untapped talent pools such as SEND, resettlement and refugee, ex-military, ex-offenders, care-leavers, carers, women returning to work and those over 50; in short, those furthest away from the labour market who need more support and some adjustments to make working achievable.

More than 20 companies have signed up to the Fair Chance programme so are actively seeking to recruiting people in those categories.

Next speaker was Samantha Lees from Nabcel, who have recruited through the programme. Sam revealed that their recruit, Lisa, is a great asset to the company, growing in confidence in her role and looking to increase her hours to full time.

Sam mentioned that some adjustments were made to the recruitment process to make the experience less overwhelming, such as Lisa meeting the team gradually over the first week rather than all at once, and how she felt communication with the whole team has improved as a result.

Claire Cookson, chief executive of DFN Foundation, then spoke about the benefits of employing those with additional needs and autism. Claire explained that only 5.1% of people with learning disabilities known to local authorities in the UK are employed but  65% of people with a learning disability in the UK want to work...and there are currently over 1.4 million unfilled vacancies in the UK.

Claire also spoke about Project Search supported internships for young people in their last year of education and the benefits of on-the-job learning programme with many sites in the UK and worldwide. Seventy per cent of young people from Project Search go on to secure full time paid employment. 

“I was delighted to be invited to present at the event,” said Claire. "It was exciting to hear more about the Fair Chance programme and the broad range of Warwickshire businesses engaging with it to offer opportunities to those who need it most."

Hashim Bhayat, Careers Support and Guidance Advisor at the County Council's Asylum and Leaving Care team, was next to speak and shared the challenges of supporting these young people. He explained how they require ongoing support and guidance to build their confidence and move forward into employment. This does require employers to be supportive and open to employing from different untapped talent pools.

The session finished with an open Q&A, in which people shared their experiences and the importance of good support to enable everybody, whatever their backgrounds, to reach their potential.  

Claire Dougan said: "The event was a great success with some wonderful speakers. We hope it will be the first of many of these events to work with businesses and people from untapped talent pools to create opportunities for Inclusive Employment."


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