The main purpose of running this pilot programme in Enfield was to help gather evidence, prove the concept and disseminate valuable learning as to what is achievable by working in the way Recro does, utilising the best of personal and professional development material, with a recruitment focus, meeting the needs of individuals and employers to get the long-term unemployed into sustainable employment.
“The Life You Want ©” is a personal breakthrough, motivation and employment programme. It delivers a paradigm shift in confidence, motivation and aspiration, transforming attitude and helping participants understand how recruitment works, what employers are looking for and the extent of career opportunities available and entry routes to them.
Recro has shown that it is possible to take significant numbers of hard to reach long term unemployed, address many of their issues and barriers, give them a paradigm shift in confidence, motivation, aspiration and attitude and teach them things they are not getting anywhere else.
When we first met participants their comments included
“I felt like the fire inside me had died”
“Depressed, no hope for a job”,
“Not confident with my current job search, low confidence and self-esteem” “Nervous, scared and worried to go out”, “Hopeless”
“Before I started this course I felt like a failure and had nothing to live for” “I felt about 3/10, bogged down by rejection letters or no reply at all” “Nervous, sad”
“Low on confidence, motivation and narrow minded”
These kind of comments are all too common for people who have been unemployed for some time. Experience and psychology tells us that whilst people are in this state they are not fertile to learning and will not gain or keep a job.
To date Recro has more than 50% of participants in employment and a further 25% in sector specific training into employment. This is unheard of with this client group and we expect this to increase further.
Recro designed the programme in such a way that it met employers’ needs whilst mitigating their risk, allowing employers to give an employment opportunity with confidence, to unemployed people that they might otherwise have rejected.
There were many organisations who initially expressed an interest in this programme and seeing how well it delivered. These included London Borough of Enfield, JCP, Jobsnet, London Councils, GLA, CBI, Enfield Chamber of Commerce, Christian Action Housing and Enterprise Enfield.
Our challenge now is to help organisations build “The Life You Want ©” into future programmes to mirror the success rates.
JCP referred all of the clients to the programme. This worked fairly well and advisors were certainly keen to make referrals, especially after they received feedback from their clients from the first group. The other referral partners did not refer. All were undergoing some form of reorganisation.
Clients were 18 – 24 year olds, Enfield residents and long term unemployed, pre Work Programme. They ranged from people excluded from school at 15 who had no qualifications to graduates. Some had work experience, some had none. A number of clients had been in further education. A number had also been on employability or training programmes previously.
Every single client identified with having little if any motivation, aspiration and confidence. Most said that they were consistently applying for jobs and not even getting a reply let alone an interview.
Many had poor awareness of opportunities open to them and access routes. Retail was a popular choice even though it is in decline. The usual reasoning was “because I like working with people”.
The majority who already had CV’s needed them to be significantly improved. No one knew what a competency was which makes applying for jobs using a competency based application process a futile exercise.
We found an alarming number of the groups had serious health issues. All were disillusioned and some with complex needs and barriers were not getting the specific and joined up help that would be required for them to progress.
We missed the Christmas hiring period which was frustrating as our numbers into work would have been significantly higher and momentum is essential with these people.
During “The Life You Want ©” we consistently emphasise the importance of finding work, any work and progressing a career plan from there.
One candidate who was a chemistry graduate was initially unsuccessful in his application for a warehouse position at Johnson Matthey. Recro got him to redo his application six times before allowing it to be submitted. Although initially unsuccessful, he went into the talent pool and was invited to interview for another position which, following some further training and coaching from Recro he was successful in getting and he is now a Chemicals Analyst on £29k.
A couple of other candidates who left the first job they got, very quickly found another (with Recro’s help) and are still in employment.
JCP warned us about the DNA “do not attend” ratios of 40%. Getting people to turn up for initial screening appointments and then day one itself was a real challenge. This is not a problem unique to Enfield and there are a number of things we are looking at to improve this with partners.
Feedback from candidates included:
“The programme is excellent”, “It’s the best thing I have ever done”, “It has changed my life”,
“I never knew so much of what you taught me,
“I will remember it for ever”, “…. Not only did you bring my confidence back, you also helped me to understand underlying issues I had and how to overcome them……”
“I’ve learnt a lot about the recruitment process and what employers are looking for… nothing is going to come to me, I have to go out there and get it”
“My key breakthrough was the jump. I used it to conquer my fear of heights. I can now take risks I wouldn’t have before”
“The key breakthrough for me is overcoming my fear of not being successful”
“I feel like the fire inside me is burning again and I’m more ready than before to get out and look for work. I feel that someone took time on me and gave me a chance to prove myself”
30 people finished the programme with more than 50% in sustainable employment. A further 25% went into sector based training with employment opportunities attached. Everyone who went into work is still in work. Stick-ability is often a challenge with this age group and “The Life You Want ©” significantly improves that.
Recro looks forward to working with an increasing number of partners in Enfield and beyond, building “The Life You Want ©” into more programmes and making an essential contribution to reducing unemployment, improving life chances, helping deal with troubled families, those affected by the housing benefit cap, improving social mobility and helping the disadvantaged get the life they want.
In doing this in line with employer needs we will improve economic prosperity in Enfield and ensure that the thousands of jobs being generated through forthcoming regeneration schemes are taken by local residents who would otherwise not be able to do so.