HR professionals have been urged to help tackle gang culture by a group of employers targeting youngsters in Manchester’s notorious Moss Side district.
The Central Manchester Employers Alliance – which includes the BBC, Central Manchester NHS Trust and the University of Manchester – believes companies have a big role to play in fighting youth crime.
The alliance recently sent senior HR professionals to meet people in Moss Side to give them help and encouragement to apply for jobs with its members.
Moss Side’s gang culture hit the headlines in August when an inquest into the death of 15-year-old Jessie James heard he was shot by a gang for not joining them. There has been a spate of fatal child-on-child shootings and stabbings across the UK this summer, culminating in the death of 11-year-old Rhys Jones in Liverpool.
Steven Grant, assistant director of HR at the University of Manchester, told Personnel Today employers could do their bit to encourage youngsters away from a life of crime.
“The reason that some people get into trouble is that they are on street corners kicking their heels,” he said. “Some of them don’t know what other options are available to them.
“HR professionals are the best people to go out and meet people in the community. They need to get away from their desks and talk to local people to find out what their issues are and develop a strategy to give them a head start,” he added.
The alliance’s event, Moss Side Works, involved HR staff providing information on jobs as well as practical advice on techniques such as CV writing.
According to Grant, another strategy that employers can use to boost the employment levels of staff from disadvantaged areas is to re-evaluate their recruitment criteria.