employment

Chesterfield businesses encouraged to submit entries for the Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers 2022

Entries are now open for the Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers for 2022, the annual ranking of England’s outstanding apprenticeship employers produced by the Department for Education.

The Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers celebrates England’s outstanding apprenticeship employers and helps future apprentices, parents and careers advisers to identify apprenticeship opportunities at the country’s leading employers.

First launched in 2020, the annual employer rankings have been developed by the Department of Education, in partnership with High Fliers Research, who independently assess and rank the nation’s top apprenticeship employers.

The rankings weren’t produced in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but they’re back in 2022 to showcase the apprenticeship employers that have done the most to provide successful apprenticeships over the last 12 months.

And new for 2022, England’s top small and medium-sized employers are being featured for the first time in the Top 50 SME Apprenticeship Employers.

Employers will be recognised for their commitment to employing apprentices, their creation of new apprenticeships, the diversity of their new apprentices, and the number of apprentices who complete their apprenticeships and progress further with the employer.

Together, the Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers and Top 50 SME Apprenticeship Employers will reveal which employers – large and small – are the country’s top apprenticeship employers for 2022.

Apprenticeship employers in every industry and employment sector – from accountancy, fashion and law, to teaching, nursing and engineering – are invited to enter for this year’s rankings.

The entry deadline is Friday 25th March and the new rankings will be announced during a special live broadcast in the summer of 2022.

More details about the rankings, how to prepare your entry, and the minimum entry requirements are available on the official entry website: http://topapprenticeshipemployers.co.uk

The new employer rankings for 2022 will be announced during a special live broadcast in the summer, celebrating the country’s leading employers of apprentices.

Nadhim Zahawi, Secretary of State for Education said: “The business benefits and career opportunities created by apprenticeships makes them a key feature of our commitment to level up skills and opportunity across the country.

“There are thousands of employers of all sizes and sectors that are providing individuals with the chance to learn new skills and have successful careers, while boosting their business’ success in the process.

These rankings will help everyone, from young people to career-changers, to make informed decisions about their future and unleash their full potential. I encourage all eligible employers to enter.”

Find out more about apprenticeships in Chesterfield: https://www.chesterfield.co.uk/apprenticeships/

 

Posted in About Chesterfield, Apprentice Town, Business, Destination Chesterfield, Development, Featured, Home, Made in Chesterfield, Property and Construction, UncategorisedTagged in , , , , ,

East Midlands unemployment rate hits lowest point in seven years – but Chamber warns of recruitment challenges

The East Midlands’ unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest point on record, new figures show.

It was 3.5% for the period between September and November last year, compared to a 4.1% national average.

This is the lowest level since the Office for National Statistics (ONS) began publishing regional labour market figures in April 2015, and represented the smallest proportion of the workforce being unemployed since the three months to December 2019, when the rate was 3.6%.

It also marked a significant drop on the previous reporting period for August to October 2021, when the region’s unemployment rate was on par with the UK average at 4.2%.

East Midlands Chamber chief executive Scott Knowles said: “This is fantastic news for the region’s labour market and sends a clear signal that the East Midlands is open for business.

“It reflects our own research that indicates our region’s firms are creating jobs to meet strong demand following the effects of the pandemic. The Chamber’s latest Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) for Q4 2021 showed two-thirds of companies attempted to recruit, while a net 35% expect to increase their headcount in the first three months of 2022.

“We are represented by a very diverse economy in the East Midlands but there have been some standout sectors to celebrate in recent times, such as the logistics industry that has been a major driver of job creation during the pandemic, which has accelerated pre-existing online shopping trends.”

Tightening labour pool presents acute challenge for businesses

While the East Midlands has one of the lowest unemployment rates for over-16s in the UK, the economic inactivity rate for people aged 16 to 64 rose from 21.02% to 22% in the most recent reporting period.

UK job vacancies also soared to a record high of 1.24 million between October and December – 462,000 higher compared with the three months before the pandemic.

Scott added: “Despite the positive trajectory in unemployment, businesses are still encountering major recruitment challenges in a super competitive jobs market.

“The 0.8% increase in the economic inactivity rate represents a rise in the number of people who have opted out of employment, whether it’s for studying, caring or to take early retirement – with the latter being a noticeable trend during the pandemic.

“This means the labour pool is tightening at a time when companies are desperately trying to fill roles to cope with demand, which will enable them to continue growing and creating more jobs for local people.

“Many companies in traditional industries such as manufacturing and construction often tell us about the difficulties in replacing an ageing workforce with younger talent, and the latest QES showed that eight in 10 of those that attempted recruitment struggled to find people with the right skills.

“As we await publication of the Government’s delayed Levelling Up White Paper, the wider context behind the latest ONS data illustrates the need for policymakers to understand how we can pull the right levers in order to support the local economy’s requirements.”

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Peak District & Derbyshire Hospitality Charter launches to promote sector and boost recruitment

A new hospitality charter, designed to raise the profile of the hospitality industry and promote the sector as a career of choice, has been launched by business leaders in the Peak District & Derbyshire with support from the area’s official destination management organisation.

The Peak District & Derbyshire Hospitality Charter has been created to help dispel beliefs that those working in hospitality suffer ‘long hours for little pay’ and instead highlight the benefits of being part of such a vibrant industry.

Over 30 businesses in the Peak District & Derbyshire have already pledged their support for the initiative, with businesses of all sizes across the county urged to sign up and form a collective voice for the sector.

The charter has been founded by two local hospitality leaders – Richard Palmer, Managing Director of the Devonshire Hotels and Restaurants Group, and Neil Fischer, owner of the Fischer’s Group – to promote best practice in the industry, with pledges to offer employees opportunity, respect, quality training, a good-work life balance and the chance to grow and develop their career.

Inspired by similar industry initiatives such as the People 1st Hospitality Commitment and the 2020 Hoteliers’ Charter, the Peak District & Derbyshire Hospitality Charter forms the basis of a long-term strategy to combat the hospitality recruitment crisis whilst also paving the way for better education and training across the industry.

Signing up to the Peak District & Derbyshire Hospitality Charter means businesses will make a series of commitments to their employees, which include providing a positive work environment, supporting training and development, offering competitive salaries and safeguarding employees’ mental health and wellbeing.

Collaboration is at the heart of the initiative and the charter also aims to improve training and apprenticeship opportunities in the sector by strengthening links between hospitality businesses and education providers.

Signatories will pledge to work with local universities, colleges, schools and careers advisors to create refreshed qualification pathways that better meet the needs of the sector – whilst also lobbying Government to improve and attract more funding to support education and training across the industry.

Businesses can find out more and sign up to the Peak District & Derbyshire Hospitality Charter using the following link: visitpeakdistrict.com/industry/hospitality-charter

Jo Dilley, Managing Director of Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire, says: “The Peak District & Derbyshire Hospitality Charter aims to combat the misconceptions surrounding working in hospitality and instead promote this diverse sector as a rewarding career choice.

“By strengthening links between the hospitality industry and education providers, the charter will not only help to build better training and education pathways, but it will also help businesses to reach young adults at the point when they choose their careers, highlighting the many benefits of working within the sector.

“This is by no means a quick fix, but the launch of this charter marks the start of a long-term strategy to support the hospitality industry, to ease recruitment problems and to ensure local businesses can offer fulfilling careers now – and in the future.”

Neil Fischer, owner of the Fischer’s Group, says: “Hospitality is one of those unique sectors where you get to both learn life skills and pull upon your educational background, while continuing to develop. Whether it’s a passion for food and drink, or purely a business and marketing acumen you are looking to develop, the hospitality industry has it all.

“Notably there has been a stigma associated with the UK hospitality sector for many years. What’s frustrating is that this stems from only 20% of the industry. The other 80% of operations are viable, vibrant and successful businesses, where individuals can succeed.

“While hospitality in many respects is about delivering great experiences, this charter is about so much more; from food education in schools, so individuals grow up healthier and fitter, to delivering great opportunities to those that want to learn, whether as a stepping stone to something else or as a long-term career.”

Richard Palmer, Managing Director of Devonshire Hotels & Restaurants Group, says: “There has never been a better time to join the hospitality industry, learn new skills and to seek more fulfilment from our working lives. Roles in hospitality are an invitation to gain invaluable life skills which open up a wealth of opportunities for those who are looking to develop, whether in the hospitality industry or beyond.

“I relate to this with personal experience, having started my own career as a bar attendant at The Devonshire Brasserie, before travelling to learn from other parts of the world. By age 21, I was managing a £1m turnover business and 25 staff, and by my mid 30’s I became the Group’s MD.

“We’re working hard to challenge the perception of the industry as having long hours, low pay and limited career progression. We began with the introduction of a four-day week for chefs, partnering with local colleges and creating our in-house training program, The Devonshire Hospitality Academy. Now, working with our partners at Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire has allowed us to pull together this charter to showcase all of the great opportunities the sector offers, to give others the benefit of our experience and share our passion.”

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Weightron expands its growing team with the hiring of a new apprentice

Chesterfield-based manufacturing and engineering firm, Weightron Bilanciai has announced a further addition to the firm’s apprenticeship programme with the hiring of a new Fabricator Welder.

As there is a generational skills gap appearing, Weightron has taken the decision to expand its scope of apprenticeships into the manufacturing section of its business, providing future skilled workers for its expanding business operation.

The latest recruit to the company, 19-year-old Kai Pollard, said: “Before I joined Weightron I studied Henry Fanshaw School in Dronfield. Outside from my job I have a real passion for Mountain Biking and Hip-Hop music.

“I chose to go down the apprenticeship route as I really enjoy fabricating steel products and seeing the transition of raw materials into a finished product that can be utilized in real life scenarios.

Weightron Bilanciai are providing me with training, support, and skills I require to undertake the challenge of becoming a qualified fabricator. The reason I choose to join Weightron was the scope to work on, and learn to understand large scale fabrication, broadening my horizons in the field of fabrication.

Kai also had a message for other young people in the area wondering what their next steps are with regards to their future careers: “I would highly recommend doing an apprenticeship to any young person searching for a job.

“I love the hands-on approach that my apprenticeship is giving me, Weightron are providing me an environment where I can learn and obtain formal qualifications whilst earning and gaining vital life experiences.”

You can find out more about Chesterfield’s innovative skills and employability offer, and find out about the wide range of career opportunities available in the town by heading over to our My Future and Apprentice Town pages.

Weightron Bilanciai supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 190 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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Workpays welcomes new international leadership

After 11 years of growth and supporting thousands of people throughout their employment journey, skills provider Workpays has welcomed Alex Glasner to the company.

Alex will join Anne Wright as a Managing Director and together they will lead Workpays into its 12th year and beyond.

Anne said: “The changes to the leadership structure will enable our fantastic Workpays team to do even more than we have done before. I am looking forward to working with Alex and the entire Workpays family as we drive Workpays from strength to strength”.

Helen Richardson MBE will step back from her position as CEO but will remain very much at the heart of Workpays in her role as Chair of the new Advisory Board.

Alex brings to Workpays a plethora of fresh ideas and intellectual capital, after a career spanning the US, the UK, and Asia – from Parliament in London to finance in New York.

Alex said: “I have always understood the importance of education and guidance not only to support people into and within the workplace, but to help local businesses thrive.

I have spent much of my life supporting the growth of those around me and the businesses that I am a part of. I’m excited to bring this energy to Workpays as we continue to work hard for thousands of people across the Midlands.”

Workpays’ mission continues to be that of supporting people to have the best employability knowledge and to assist participants to gain the skills necessary to progress into a job and on to a successful career.

You can hear the reaction of Helen Richardson MBE to being honoured with the title on episode 5 of The Chesterfield Show Podcast, which is now live on Spotify.

Workpays supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 190 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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Mortgage 1st strengthens Senior Team due to continued success and growth

Throughout the past 18 months, whilst they navigated the challenges the pandemic forced upon them and all other businesses across the country, Mortgage 1st has continued its impressive growth.

The firm says conditions were tough in 2020, with service levels affected whilst lenders, solicitors, estate agents and mortgage brokers were all adjusting to the changes.

However, the determination and hard work of the Mortgage 1st team and the understanding and loyalty from their customers has ensured the company reached the half way point in 2021 with a record set of results.

As the majority of their Mortgage Advisers already worked remotely all over the country they could continue to operate throughout even the restrictive lockdowns. The head office team which includes senior members and the Mortgage Processing Department were having to adapt almost daily, but took all the changes in their stride and their focus firmly remained on their customers and colleagues alike.

Even throughout 2020, Mortgage 1st continued with recruitment plans and the team has grown at a similar rate to previous years. All departments increased with new team members including Administrators, Processors, Mortgage Advisers and an Apprentice Administrator.

With a team of almost 40 it was time to expand the Senior Management Team and Mortgage 1st has announced an internal promotion, along with the appointment of a new senior manager.

Carly Montisci first joined the Mortgage 1st family 5 years ago in 2016 as a mortgage administrator, with no industry experience. With her drive and passion she very quickly established herself as a key member in the team and stepped up to a mortgage processor role and then Head of Processing within her first two years, followed by a third promotion to Senior manager shortly after.

Carly’s new role is Head of Service, which encapsulates her skills and passions perfectly as even from day one her focus has always been on the team and the service their customers receive.

On the 1st of August, John Wileman joined the senior team as Head of Development to work alongside Carly and the Directors Jon & Lisa Stones. John has over 20 years’ industry experience and will be offering support to all their mortgage advisers as well as managing the on-boarding, training and ongoing support for all new advisers who join the team.

Lisa Stones – Operations Director at Mortgage 1st said: “Jon are I, along with the whole team congratulates Carly for her well-deserved promotion and we’re delighted to officially welcome John to the Mortgage 1st family. By strengthening our senior team we are now equipped more than ever before to push forward with our ambitions future growth plans. There are lots happening behind the scenes at Mortgage 1st at the moment so as they say…. Watch this space!”

Mortgage 1st supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 190 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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Regional unemployment rate remains below UK average for second successive month

Unemployment in the East Midlands has grown slightly – but remains below the national average, according to the latest figures.

The region’s unemployment rate for the period between May and July 2021 was 4.4%, up by 0.1% compared to between April and June, the Office for National Statistics’ latest regional labour market report revealed.

But for the second successive month it was lower than the UK-wide figure, even as this dropped from 4.7% to 4.6% during the same timeframe.

Previously, the region’s jobs market had consistently been hit harder than the rest of the country during almost the entire pandemic – peaking at 5.9% and 0.8% above the national average.

East Midlands Chamber chief executive Scott Knowles said: “After some concerning numbers at the beginning of this year, the unemployment rate appears to have stabilised as Covid-19 restrictions have been rolled back, with the latest data including the period in which stage four of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown was implemented.

“This has enabled industries that are heavily represented in our region’s economy – including hospitality, retail, and leisure and tourism – to finally reopen fully and prove they have always remained viable if the trading environment allows.

“At the same time, we’ve also seen initiatives like the Kickstart Scheme – in which the Chamber has played a key role as a gateway organisation to facilitate more than 1,000 job placements – contribute to helping young people, who had been disproportionately affected by Covid, find work.

“We expect the region’s jobs market to continue improving, with the latest data from the Chamber’s Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) for Q3 2021 showing a net 26%* of East Midlands businesses saying they have increased headcount over the previous three months and a net 41% expecting a rise in employment over the coming three months.”

Acute hiring crisis for businesses slows progress for employment

While the UK’s August payrolls showed another monthly increase of 241,000 to 29.1 million, the headline figure was that job vacancies hit a record high, rising above one million for the first time since they were recorded in 2001.

Scott added: “The slight increase in the unemployment rate for this latest period may be due to the ‘pingdemic’, which meant some businesses struggled to resume trading as normal because staff and customers were forced to self-isolate. The inevitable hit to income may have deterred firms from recruiting until the Government changed quarantine rules in mid-August.

“The record number of vacancies also highlights the acute hiring crisis faced by many businesses right now. Of the 69% of East Midlands firms that attempted to recruit in the third quarter, our QES showed that 73% of those faced problems in finding the right people.

“We have skills shortages across the board that urgently need to be addressed. Many of these are longstanding but as Brexit and Covid have driven a more deep-seated decline in labour supply, they have come to the fore more prominently.

“The end of furlough is unlikely to be a silver bullet to the ongoing shortages and these recruitment difficulties will likely dampen the recovery by limiting businesses’ ability to fulfil orders and meet customer demand.

“More needs to be done to ensure businesses have access to skills when these can’t be recruited locally – including access to rapid and agile training and re-skilling opportunities for adults in the workforce, and a more flexible immigration system that allows firms to access the high and low-skilled workers they need.”

 

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Chesterfield businesses can access support in recruiting highly-skilled graduates

Businesses looking to benefit from graduate talent, that already employ less than 250 people, can access free, tailored recruitment, talent matching, training and funding support through RISE.

RISE is delivered in partnership with Sheffield City Council, Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Sheffield and is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.

Working closely with firms to understand their very specific needs, RISE supports the sourcing, hiring, and the successful transition of graduates into the workplace.  Since RISE launched in 2013, more than 470 businesses in Sheffield City Region have benefited from the free recruitment and wrap-around business support they deliver.

Xbite, an online retailer based in North Derbyshire recently connected with RISE to accelerate their growth plans.

Rikki Stout, Head of HR at Xbite, explains: “We connected with RISE because we wanted to meet, train and develop fresh graduate talent. We understand the value in finding ambitious young people who are hungry for experience and seeking a challenge. RISE has matched us with excellent people straight from university, meaning we can nurture and develop them early on. We are part of their journey and they are part of ours.”

“Meet the candidates that RISE match you with and you’ll understand the calibre of people in their talent pool. It is true that graduates will need time to learn your specific systems, tech and culture, but that is the same with any new appointment. You wouldn’t expect someone to race a F1 car just because they have a driving licence.  If anything, there are some major benefits to businesses that can connect with people in this way, and play a role in developing their skills at the very start of their career.”

RISE is engaging with businesses from now until 13th October 2021, and would encourage businesses to get in touch as soon as possible if they would like help to secure talent.

Find out more at: www.risescr.co.uk 

 

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Monkey Park takes advantage of government Kickstart Scheme

Chesterfield Community group, Monkey Park CIC has bolstered its services by taking on two young and enthusiastic staff members via the government’s Kickstart scheme.

The initiative provides funding to create new jobs for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long term unemployment. Employers of all sizes can apply for funding.

One of the new team members, Ruben has worked in hospitality for a number of years and wanted to try something different. He has been working in the café and around the hub, helping out with a variety of tasks and projects.

The group also took on Jordan, who has worked as a volunteer at the group’s Bike Workshop for several years. As part of his Kickstart role, he continues to work in the Bike Workshop, and has also been involved with other activities and duties around Monkey park, acquiring some valuable employment skills.

Monkey Park’s marketing coordinator, Sally Tunstall said: “The Kickstart scheme has enabled Monkey Park to work with two enthusiastic young people, who bring new ideas and perspective to their roles. We have the pleasure of watching them develop their skills, and knowing that we are helping them with the first steps of their career. Kickstart has also given his extra manpower at a particularly challenging time, as we come out of covid restrictions and try to get the organisation back to normal operations.

“Jordan was already part of Monkey Parkas a volunteer, and so has settled easily into his employee role really well. We have taken him slightly out of his comfort zone by setting him new challenges and intruding him to new areas of working. He has coped well with this and we can see his confidence growing.”

“Reuben has settled really well into the Monkey Park team, bringing some great new ideas and a brilliant sense of humour. He has been given a variety of projects and tasks, which is widening his skills set and again building his confidence. He has explained that the Kickstart scheme appealed to him because young people can work with the Job Centre to find roles that interest them and fit their skills and personality.”

Find out more about Kickstart and how it can benefit your business at: https://www.chesterfield.co.uk/business/business-support/skills/

The organisation is also on the lookout for a number of voluntary directors who are looking to give something back to the local community. The roles include: Finance Director, Social Impact director, Community Fundraiser and Community engagement/development.

These are permanent voluntary roles, working alongside Monkey Park’s existing voluntary directors and dedicated team of staff & volunteers. For more details or to register your interest, email Michelle at manager@monkeypark.org.uk or call 07410987734.

Monkey Park supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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New Advisory Panel launched to support Chesterfield and Derbyshire’s manufacturing sector

A newly-launched panel will support and accelerate the growth, productivity, and competitiveness of the manufacturing economy across Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.

D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership estimates the manufacturing sector employs over 125,000 people and generates £7.2bn into the region’s economy – ranking third outside London and the South-East – and has the largest cluster of transport manufacturing and R&D in the country.

The LEP will be working with local manufacturing business leaders, the region’s universities, local authorities, and business organisations including Make UK to champion and strengthen manufacturing across region and improve the regional economic performance, retaining excellence in sectors including aerospace, automotive, food and drink, medical and rail.

Primary objectives of the panel include developing an action plan for competitive and sustainable manufacturing and co-ordinating, facilitating and forging closer links between academia and industry with a focus on supporting businesses to adopt new digital innovation and disruptive technologies and embrace low carbon growth.

The panel will also forge strong connections at a national level, particularly with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and Innovate UK.

Martin Rigley MBE, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Lindhurst Engineering and Chair of the D2N2 Manufacturing Advisory Panel said: “Clearly the way manufacturers do business is changing at a rapid rate and it’s important that manufacturing is prepared to face the challenges this brings; particularly in the adoption of digital technologies and meeting net zero targets.

“The Manufacturing Advisory Group is sector and size agnostic and aims to use its strong network amongst businesses, large and small, supported by our strong FE and HE representation to guide manufacturing businesses in our region through an evolving way of doing business.”

Sajeeda Rose, CEO of the D2N2 LEP, said: “Manufacturing is our region’s largest sector and employer. As we transform into a more competitive, greener economy, our manufacturers will need support to embrace industrial digitalisation and net-zero challenges.

“We are proud to be bringing together such an impressive group to provide a strong voice for manufacturing across D2N2 to address these challenges and drive our economic growth.”

Charlotte Horobin, Region Director for Make UK in the Midlands and East, said:

“Manufacturing is key to the prosperity of D2N2, the need to ensure our manufacturers are equipping themselves with the skills and technologies to boost their competitiveness has never been so important.”

The D2N2 Manufacturing Advisory Panel met for the first time on 30 June and will meet every two months to collaborate on how best to drive growth and productivity the region.

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East Midlands unemployment rate continues to fall as economy gradually reopens

More people in the East Midlands are returning to work, according to the latest Government figures.

The unemployment rate reported by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) fell to 4.8% in the February to April period this year, down 0.4% compared to the previous three-month period and only 0.1% above the UK average.

However, it remains 0.9% higher than the unemployment rate for the same quarter in 2020.

Nationally, the number of job vacancies in March to May this year was 758,000 – just 27,000 below pre-pandemic levels.

East Midlands Chamber chief executive Scott Knowles said: “The jobs market appears to be moving in the right direction, with yet another decline in the unemployment rate alongside an increasing number of vacancies and people on payroll.

“For much of the pandemic, the East Midlands has suffered disproportionately, with a significantly greater proportion of people in our region out of work than across the UK, so it’s a relief to see the gap being narrowed.

“This trend no doubt reflects the reopening of outdoor hospitality towards the end of this period, on 12 April, as well as the greater resilience of our manufacturers to both the ongoing restrictions and post-Brexit trade changes.

“We’d expect to see further positive news for the three-month period to May, as step three of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown commenced, and more people came out of furlough.

“Our latest Quarterly Economic Survey for Q2 2021 shows that a net of one in five businesses in the East Midlands increased their headcount during this period*, while a net 41% expect to hire more people over the coming three months – with only 3% anticipating a decrease.

“This is clearly very positive news and also comes with big expectations of confidence in turnover (a net 62% of businesses expect this to increase) and profitability (a net 41% believe it will rise).

“The latest ONS data again shows the huge impact of the pandemic on young people, with the unemployment rate for 16 to 24-year-olds at 13.2%, but we’re delighted with the take-up among businesses of the Kickstart scheme, which creates Government-funded six-month work placements for people in this age group who are on Universal Credit or at risk of long-term unemployment.

“So far, the Chamber has helped about 500 young people find employment, with another 1,400 vacancies, among more than 700 businesses.

“However, as yesterday’s announcement that stage four of the roadmap will be delayed for four weeks also demonstrates, we can’t get complacent and sectors such as hospitality, events and leisure will continue to suffer from reduced capacity or complete closure – which in turn has an impact on jobs.

“This means it’s crucial the Chancellor postpones the tapering of furlough, which is due to commence on 1 July, for the duration of the roadmap delay, while grants would also help many of these businesses that have lost both expenditure and expected income.”

Scott Knowles, Chief Executive of East Midlands Chamber

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