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17 June 2022

We Fill Vacancies: Happy Employability Day 2022

By Asi Panditharatna
The Forward Trust celebrates Employability Day 2022 and looks at the challenges we must overcome to build a more productive and inclusive economy.

Today we celebrate our hard work as an employment support provider, helping people to enter and progress in employment. Employability Day is a day for all of us in the sector to shout about our successes and drive understanding about the work of employment support organisations across key stakeholders at a local, regional and national level.

This year’s Employability Day theme is #WeFillVacancies

Our recent achievements

This year we celebrated another successful year, supporting even more people in prison and the community to progress into sustainable work. Here are some of our highlights.

Restart Jobs Fair 2022

Earlier this week, we held a Jobs and Careers Fair at The Turner Contemporary in Margate. It was a great success, attended by over 100 participants. Annie Gale, Head of Raw Talent and Apprenticeships at Cook Trading Ltd launched the fair and we welcomed many employers and partners including Umbrella Training, Avondale Care, The Home Office, Blue Tech Consulting, HR-GO, Sands Heritage and East Kent College. In the afternoon we enjoyed a great networking session with our partners and employers. Thanks to everyone who came along.

The work must continue to tackle in-work poverty

After the pandemic, the Employment Support sector along with employers and its partners did exceptionally well to support people back into work. The official UK unemployment rate is 3.8% (February-April 2022), 0.2 percentage points lower than the previous three month period, putting the official employment rate up to 75.6%.

Challenges remain, with the employment rate still below pre-pandemic levels and short-term unemployment rising, particularly for 18–24-year-olds. The economic inactivity figure is still 447,000, higher than before the pandemic, especially amongst older people, the long-term sick, and disabled members of society.

The cost of living crisis is hitting hard with real regular wages falling more sharply over the past few months. According to the Learning and Work Institute, ‘regular pay in real terms fell by 3.4%’, the largest single month fall this century.

In work poverty has continued to rise, particularly for low paid workers who are disproportionately likely to have less secure contracts e.g. zero hours or agency work. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) found that 57% of zero hour contract workers were in the bottom fifth of earners and they had higher rates of in work poverty.

The JRF in their Making Job Work report stated:

“Insecure work is particularly damaging to families living on low incomes. Lack of notice of shifts or hours, for example, makes it difficult for people to plan for family life or their finances. It contributes to the feeling, of being treated not as a human being, but instead as just a number, or a cog in a machine”

The Forward Trust approach

As an employer, we pay our staff the Real Living Wage and strive to offer better employment contracts. As an employability and skills provider, we work with other employers who do the same and support the Good Work Standard. Employment support providers must work with employers to improve job quality and security. This will play a role in building a more productive and more inclusive economy, as well as contribute to the ‘levelling up’ agenda. Employers should also support the development of their staff, including new entrants from disadvantaged backgrounds, by utilising the apprenticeship levy and programmes such as the Adult Education Budget (AEB) and Skills Bootcamps.

Employability Day 2022 is today and we are spotlighting our work to break down employment barriers via the Forward Trust Restart Scheme – keep an eye social media for updates…