Dear Editor, Could anyone please define the role of Jobcentre Plus?
According to the Department for Work and Pensions, one of their objectives, as stated on their own website, is to: “Provide high-quality and demand-led services to employers, which help fill job vacancies quickly and effectively with well-prepared and motivated employees.”
Clearly the author of this statement has had few dealings with the service and has not experienced the frustration businesses face when trying to fill real-world job opportunities.
As a business owner, I have done all the Government could ask of me. We are a specialist IT outsourcing provider and have grown our business through tough economic times, creating many new jobs along the way. Imagine my delight at securing yet more new business requiring us to appoint another IT helpdesk analyst to our growing team.
This is a demanding role. It requires a practical knowledge of IT systems; how they work in the real world and how an IT analyst can help keep a client’s business running thanks to innovative solutions learned through experience.
Naturally when writing our job specification, this need for practical experience was an integral part of the job description, requesting a minimum of two years’ experience.
Clearly our intention was to narrow down the number of candidates we had to interview by excluding those that have not performed this role satisfactorily for a reasonable length of time.
Imagine my surprise and disgust, when Jobcentre Plus told us they had removed our advert because it was “ageist”. By requesting only applicants with two years’ experience, we were discriminating against young people who perhaps had just left school without the necessary experience.
This is the exact point of requesting a minimum level of experience. The result is, we would be inundated with applications from unsuitable candidates who do not have the necessary knowledge of IT systems in the real world, but who now have an expectation of an interview and potentially a new job, thanks to this barmy ruling.
We have employed six new technical staff in the last four months as we continue to grow. All have had experience ranging from three to nine years. We have also employed an apprentice and have a junior currently doing an NVQ.
We do provide training, but in the short time we have to effect change and ensure our analysts can be largely self-sufficient when sorting out clients’ problems; we have to start at a level above a school-leaver.
This is not by design, but dictated by real-world economics, clearly a concept the powers-that-be at Jobcentre Plus are incapable of grasping.
We will continue to require employees with experience to meet the demands of our growing business and most will require a degree of experience to make it to the interview.
But thanks to the obstructive approach of Jobcentre Plus, which is more concerned with not bruising the feelings of school leavers than offering a service to meet the needs of employers and realistic opportunities to the workforce, we will have to disappoint many more applicants than we do at present.
Thanks for that Jobcentre Plus.
Managing Director, Quiss Technology