Access to Employment
Projects so far have
tended to promote access to employment in the following ways:
Online information on
where/how to find services
Direct provision of
service (e.g. job vacancies online)
employability - training, education, skills development
Direct or indirect
In terms of service
provision, projects tend to divide into those that adopt a
"portal" approach - that is, providing links to websites
which offer information and services, or addresses and telephone
numbers - and those which provide services directly online.
Direct is an example of the latter, with an online jobs search,
currently getting some 7,000+ hits per month, plus pages of advice
from local agencies (Careers Service, Adult Guidance Service, etc). MerseyWorkplace
is another example of this kind of approach.
For a well designed portal
approach, see thenortheast.com,
which provides a very extensive set of links in the North East of the
In planning to set up an
online service for access to job opportunities, regeneration
partnerships need to think carefully about the approach to take.
Providing an online service such as posting job vacancies online is in
many ways preferable, but it is more demanding on back-end processes,
and the agencies concerned have to commit themselves to regular
(daily) updates to make the information worthwhile. The question has
to be asked whether it is achievable within the constraints of the
project and local circumstances.
Online Advice - In
most regeneration partnerships you will find agencies whose role is to
provide advice to clients who want to find work: careers services,
adult guidance networks, New Deal advisers, community development
teams and so forth.
In most cases they can
have a wealth of advice and information, built up over years of
experience and based on careful research - and only available on
Getting the information
and advice that is handed out to clients online provides a more
efficient form of information management, enabling more frequent and
less costly updates. But more than that, it allows clients and workers
more flexible access to the material. It takes the information base
out of the library, and into wherever it is needed - provided Internet
access is/is made available.
employability is about training - and as such is dealt with in the
section on learning.
A focus on
education/training to increase employment prospects will frequently be
linked to other access to employment initiatives. However, in many
cases it can become a substitute for job creation activities. it is
much easier to deliver training than to deliver the jobs or business
growth necessary. The danger is that people acquiring new skills will
migrate to where the work is - so while individual prospects may
improve, the community is little better off.
ICT is important as a
means of delivering the training. But it is also important in itself.
Learning how to work with the new ICT is vital for progression in the
new world of work.
It is particularly
important in areas where traditional industries have declined and
retraining is needed to re-enter the workforce. Local agencies
frequently wish to create a new positive image and identity for such
areas, and leapfrog to the forefront of the knowledge economy.
- In regeneration terms, teleworking is
about bringing work to where people are, rather than expecting them to
leave their communities to find it.
For a variety of reasons
explored elsewhere in Flexibility, success has been somewhat
patchy. But there are some excellent examples of successful telework
promotion, particularly in remote rural areas.
One example is work-global
in the Western Isles of Scotland. In the early to mid-1990s,
considerable amounts of European money were invested in developing the
infrastructure for remote working in the Highlands and Islands, and in
is a teleworking facilitator and manages a skills register which
currently includes resumés on over 600 highly qualified people based
in the Western Isles of Scotland. Supported by the local and regional
economic development bodies, their motto is "live local, work
global". Their marketing focuses on encouraging companies to
outsource business processes to teleworkers in the islands, and
encouraging inward investment through setting up satellite offices and
Success is by no means
guaranteed. In the mid-1990s there was a wave of failed
"telecottages" which had been set up with local authority
support. But it's clear in retrospect they lacked the strong business
focus and skills which are evident in current successful ventures. The
"Field of Dreams" approach - "Build it and they will
come" - doesn't seem to exist outside the movies.
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