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The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) today said that the government's flagship employment programme has had a promising start since its introduction over a year ago, but low employer awareness could hinder progress in the future.
The so-called Work Programme was launched to help people who risk long-term unemployment find work. The CIPD argued that more needs to be done to increase awareness amongst employers, after a survey of 1,000 employers found that nearly half (49%) were not aware of the scheme.
A high proportion of employers also felt the programme had no relevance to their organisation with 48% not planning to recruit via the scheme. Among those who had done so, only half plan to hold on to the new hires for longer than six months and 48% felt that participants lacked certain job-specific or technical skills.
Gerwyn Davies, CIPD labour market adviser, said the government should target sectors such as retail, hotels, catering and leisure sectors where employers are more likely to hire unemployed or unskilled workers.
But he also warned of a mismatch between participants and employment opportunities offered to them. “Some employers may have unrealistically high expectations regarding the technical skills of individuals who have been out of work for a long time. Instead of expecting the system to churn out work-ready individuals, employers need to play their part too by focusing more effort on training and developing new hires,” he said.