Top five challenges facing young job seekers

Youth unemployment remains stubbornly and worryingly high at around 1m. The Prince’s Trust, a charity, which supports young job seekers (up to the age of 30), last year predicted that youth unemployment will not fall to pre-recession levels until at least 2018 – a decade after the financial crisis hit the UK.

If the Trust’s predictions prove correct then hundreds of thousands of young people will still be unemployed for another three years or more.

A potentially viable way out of this seemingly endless spiral of despair is self-employment. Increasing numbers of young people are going down this route, a move encouraged by Employment Minister Esther McVey, who described it as a “good and worthwhile” option.

The New Enterprise Allowance, a government scheme, has helped over 4,000 young people aged 18 to 24 turn their hobbies into businesses since April 2011 and it looks set to help many more.

Here we look at the top five challenges facing young job seekers and how a proactive approach, which includes going it alone as a freelancer or business owner, can result in success.

Challenge No 1 – Lack of experience and skills

Young people are unprepared for the world of work, according to a 2013 YouGov survey of 635 employers. They lack skills such as communication, team work and the ability to work under pressure.
Honing these skills can boost job prospects and also prove useful in creating a viable career, as Amie Samba discovered. When she graduated with a degree in sports science and psychology in 2009, she struggled to secure a full time graduate job. This motivated her to make the most of her skills and within a year of graduating, she set up a business running sports sessions for children and adults. Her business, Run Fun Starz, now goes into small companies to set up fitness programmes for owners and their staff. In 2013 the business broke even and Samba was in a strong enough position financially to move out of her parents’ home.

Challenge No 2 – Long-term unpaid work experience

Young people who take the initiative and get the work experience required to gain employment in their chosen field often find themselves stuck working for free. For example before setting up Run Fun Starz, Amie found herself doing a lot of unpaid work, interspersed with short-term contracts which is another reason why going it alone seemed an attractive – and fortunately, in her case – viable option.

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Agenda Consulting launches ‘Employee Engagement Award’ for Charities & Not-for-profit sector

-The Royal Star & Garter Homes receive first award -

13 April 2015 – Agenda Consulting, helping not-for-profit organisations achieve their missions through better understanding their people, has launched an ‘Employee Engagement Award’ to recognise clients who have demonstrated high levels of employee engagement.

To qualify for an award, organisations will have participated in an Agenda Consulting Employee Engagement Survey. They will have achieved a response rate of 50%, and 80% of respondents will have agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “I would wholeheartedly recommend this organisation as a good place to work,” signifying very high employee engagement.

Roger Parry, Director of Agenda Consulting said: “Our new award will recognise our clients who have demonstrated outstanding practice in employee engagement in the not-for-profit sector. Increasingly, not-for-profit organisations are surveying their staff and volunteers to measure their engagement and identify areas for improvement.

“An engaged workforce will deliver many benefits to an organisation including higher retention levels, reduced absenteeism and higher individual performance and we believe it’s important to highlight organisations that are doing it really well.”

The Royal Star & Garter Homes, a charity that provides nursing and therapeutic care to the ex-Service community, is the first recipient of the award.  The charity has been through a sustained period of change over the past ten years, including moving from one single care facilitate to new cutting edge homes.

Siobhan Creighton, Director of HR at The Royal Star & Garter Homes said: “The strategic transition was only possible with the support and dedication of staff across all disciplines and their commitment to employee engagement.

Key to success was focusing on three key elements of ‘engagement’: communicate the big picture and everyone’s part in the plan; make the time to consider people’s views and concerns; and treat people as you would wish  to be treated.  As Mangers, we also developed this ethos through leading by example.”

To monitor staff engagement the charity has been using staff surveys, which until recently were paper based. This year it partnered with Agenda Consulting to run its first ever online survey. The management team played a pivotal role in ‘active encouragement’ to ensure high participation levels as they wanted to find out how everyone felt so they could  address any issues and make changes in response to people’s views.

Siobhan added, “We are delighted with the survey results. We are committed to making positive changes where areas of improvement were identified. Our engagement result really demonstrates that staff want to tell us how they feel and they trust that we will act on the results.  We are really pleased to receive this award and want to thank everyone who participated,” adds Ms Creighton.

As recipient of the award, The Royal Star & Garter Homes will receive a trophy, an Agenda Consulting Employee Engagement Award logo which can used for marketing and to support recruitment, plus a listing in the awards section of Agenda Consulting’s website.

For more information about Employee Engagement awards visit:

Nearly half of Brits spent their Easter Bank holiday working at the office

Microsoft Lumia discovers that 58% of the nation are not using their smartphones to their full potential and missing out on leisure time

Are Britons spending unnecessary hours in the office? It’s estimated that nearly half of the UK (46%) spent their Easter break working, according to Microsoft Lumia. Nearly two-thirds of people (60%) worked from their office during the public holiday, meaning they missed out on quality time with their friends and family.

Even with the advances of modern day technology, nearly half of workers (46%) in the UK are still spending a full working day, five days a week at their office desk despite employers offering more flexible working hours to suit their personal life’s. With nearly a third (30%) of people agreeing that their smart device is essential to their jobs, why is it we’re still in the office and not working from our mobiles on the go?

With the launch of Microsoft Lumia 640 you can receive a year’s free Office365 subscription so you can create documents from anywhere, at any time as well as send emails and Skype call clients and colleagues.

Even though 1 in 5 of us use our smart phones for work purposes, 58% of the UK confess that they do not use their smartphone to its full potential, for example 37% admit that although they are aware their phone has document editing equipment on it such as Word and Excel, they have never used it and 21% have missed a work deadline due to not being able to edit from their mobile device.

Although the survey findings suggested that the UK seem to spend the majority of their time at the office, the results also showed that a third of people say smartphones can make them more efficient especially in their personal and social life as 67% text friends and family and 50% use Facebook on a daily basis.

Nikki Moore, technology expert, presenter and author of comments on the results, “As technology evolves and smartphones get better, maximising productivity and managing your own work life balance has never been easier. I still find it quite surprising though that people don’t use their smartphones to a greater extent. Personally, my smartphone is my lifeline and the most efficient way to keep up with my blog, check my emails and social media. As a lover of all things tech, I’m always on the lookout for the next best thing that can increase my productivity and output.”

Nikki has shared some of her top tips for designing a lifestyle fitting to the 21st century with the new Lumia 640 that retails at only £170 and offers everything you’d expect from a high end device:

Why stay late in the office finishing off a budget sheet? With a third of the population (33%) commuting for an hour to and from work, this is the perfect time to catch up on emails or edit a Word or Excel document so you’re ahead of your deadline

I waste a lot of time searching for a USB stick, then checking multiple times that it has saved and panicking that when I arrive it won’t be there. Saving your documents to OneDrive is an efficient way to cut all of that out.

With my work life and family life it’s great to share our forever growing to-do lists on OneNote to keep on top of household chores, my phone always reminds me about birthdays and events that I have coming up

I have my phone set up to quiet hours, so when I get home for family time, only the urgent calls and emails come through. That way I don’t get distracted when I’m enjoying time with my children.

Adam Johnson, Marketing Director for Microsoft’s Mobile Devices Group in the UK & Ireland said, “At Microsoft we want to empower people to achieve more of what they want to do. We think this can be done by working smarter and getting more done on the move; so that when you get home, you can find time for yourself, your friends and your family. What we’re trying to do with the Lumia 640 is enable everyone to live like this, not just the people that can spend £500 on a phone…

This smart device comes with Office 365 and 1 terabyte of Cloud storage for free, all for around £170 or £17/month.”

TempBuddy appoints David Wright as Enterprise Implementation Manager

Specialist recruitment technology firm continues rapid growth and remains on course to becoming the fastest growing provider in this space

DUBLIN 22nd January 2015 – TempBuddy, developers of the world’s first biometric-controlled smartphone app allowing real-time check-in and check-out for temporary workers, has today announced the appointment of David Wright as Enterprise Implementation Manager.

David will be responsible for supporting and implementing the company’s sales activity and scaling programme throughout the UK and Ireland recruitment markets. His role will see him building relationships with high volume temporary and contingency recruitment agencies in addition to leading technical integrations that exceed customer expectations.

As the former Head of Operations for Ireland’s largest staffing agency’s, Grafton Recruitment, which has operations in 16 countries worldwide, David brings with him a wealth of recruitment and technical industry experience. Prior to embarking upon a career in recruitment, he worked for 12 years as a technical engineer for Nortel.

David’s appointment is the latest in a number of key hires for the company in recent months.

With a significant uptake of the TempBuddy since its formal launch in the UK in late 2014, the company has grown into an 11-strong team based in Dublin and is on course to becoming the fastest growing recruitment technology company on both sides of the Irish Sea.

Roderick Smyth, CEO of TempBuddy, said: “The success of the business since our UK launch in late 2014 has encouraged us to ramp up our investment in the UK recruitment sector. David’s appointment is another great example of our signal of intent for 2015 and beyond.

“With an in-depth working knowledge of the contingency recruitment sector and his authority of the industry not just in the UK and Ireland but throughout the whole of Europe, David’s appointment is a boost to the business and will accelerate our objective to become a leading provider of contingent workforce management technologies.

“David joins us at an exciting time in our development and we are delighted that he has taken the unique opportunity to become part of one of the most ambitious, game-changing recruitment technology products to enter the market in recent years.”

Since its launch in 2014, TempBuddy has been adopted by some of the UK’s leading providers of temporary placements, including a number of the top 10 agencies in the UK. The TempBuddy app provides contingency recruiters with cloud based real-time workforce management platform.

The app, which is available via the App Store and Play Store, addresses all the flaws inherent in contingent workforce management processes with a single, 360° solution which drives efficiencies for recruiters, candidates and hiring managers alike.

Candidates can quickly clock-in and clock-out using TempBuddy’s biometric geo-locator as well as having access to their work schedules and shift changes in real time, anytime, anywhere. They no longer need their line managers to sign off time sheets, which means they have greater flexibility in terms of where they are able to work.

Recruiters can receive immediate real time updates on workforce availability and any potential issues, such as pre-emptive late alerts. It also facilitates faster decision-making derived from real time insights, thereby enabling recruiters (and hiring managers) better resource planning – especially during periods of peak demand – which results in significant costs savings.

For more information about TempBuddy and how the system can benefit recruiters or to arrange a 20-minute online demo, please visit tempbuddy

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