Square Mile Jobs, the programme run by Prospects, the employment, education and skills company, helped jobseekers living in the boroughs nearest the City of London’s prestigious Square Mile into jobs with City firms. Funded through the London Councils’ European Social Fund and the City of London Corporation, Prospects ran the contract for two years ending in June 2015. Prospects worked with JobCentre Plus, job brokerages and advisers to identify people seeking roles in the City who required support to overcome their real or perceived barriers to job entry.
On Tuesday 14 July Square Mile Jobs launched their legacy toolkit at London’s Guildhall. The event welcomed more than 40 employers, referral agencies, customers and staff. The toolkit, devised by Jonathan Starling-Cross and his team, is a lasting legacy to the success of the Square Mile Jobs programme. The online toolkit offers employability advice, workshops and videos that can be accessed by advisers and job seekers wanting to gain insights into working for organisations in the City.
Speaking at the event Jonathan Starling-Cross highlighted the reasons behind the toolkit’s inception: “We wanted to capture all the learning and material we developed during the contract in a simple and easy to use format. We hope by sharing our resources employers and jobseekers will benefit and we can extend the reach of Square Mile Jobs and continue to help bridge the divide between City employers and potential recruits.”
More than 100 individuals from Camden, Hackney, Islington, Lambeth, Southwark and Tower Hamlets started the programme and a quarter of these started a job in the City. Customers referred to Square Mile Jobs received an individual plan, with one to one support from their consultant, help ensuring their CVs were targeted and guidance to find hidden jobs and roles on social media, motivation and confidence building sessions, interview and employability skills.
The Square Mile Jobs consultants worked with organisations to offer employer visit days, mock interviews, workshops and assessment days. The candidates were inspired and challenged, as they participated in interview role play with employers in their corporate offices. Everyone who participated gained valuable, real-life experience; waiting in reception, sitting in a corporate setting and meeting their interviewer, shaking their hand and making eye contact. All skills required during the recruitment process.
The Square Mile Jobs customers met employers and learned about the soft skills they required. Alison Mulligan from Maximus IT, who successfully recruited employees from the Square Mile Jobs programme, emphasised the need for soft skills and social intelligence in applicants, she commented: “As an employer we look for problem solving skills, we ask do you want to be part of the team, what is your mindset? Square Mile Jobs helped make a connection with people who wanted to work and organisations.”
Square Mile Jobs successfully brought together employers and candidates, making the recruitment process easier for both parties. Candidates were well prepared and screened for roles and employers were able to encourage local people to enter the recruitment process. Alison praised this aspect of the programme: “The overwhelming lesson we learned is there is a wealth raw talent on our doorstep. Prospects served a very valuable service opening the lines of communication.”
The toolkit is available online at www.prospects.co.uk/squaremilejobs. Candidates and advisers can download the resources and support materials for free, to help them apply for and secure careers in the City.
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Notes to Editor
The Prospects Group is a dynamic and enterprising organisation providing a wide range of education, employment and skills services in the UK and internationally. At the heart of what we do is the drive to improve the life chances, skills and aspirations of everyone we support. Each year we support more than 500,000 young people and adults.
Square Mile Jobs is a European Social Funded (ESF) and City of London Corporation funded programme that aimed to help unemployed London residents to find jobs in the City. It targeted people aged 18-65 from the fringe boroughs of Camden, Islington, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Lambeth and Southwark.
Alona de Havilland
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