Local Employment Partnerships overlooked during recession

Employers’ groups have admitted that organisations will look to cherry-pick the best candidates when recruiting during the recession rather than use Jobcentre Plus’ flagship long-term unemployment scheme.

Earlier this month, new employment minister Jim Knight told Personnel Today he feared employers would be put off using the Local Employment Partnership (LEP) scheme, which aims to help get the jobless back into work, as the demand for jobs was so high.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has since warned there is a risk employers will recruit from other sources. And think-tank the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) warned employers were “too ready to blame” Jobcentre Plus rather than let the jobs service help recruit staff.

John Atkinson, associate director at the IES, said: “People who have hired through Jobcentre Plus have always complained they’ve been sent rubbish, but when you look at the job specifications they send out, they can be very general.”

However, Knight insisted the government was still on track to meet its original target of creating 250,000 jobs through LEPs by April 2010.

Earlier this year, former work and pensions secretary James Purnell called on employers to hire a further 200,000 jobless people this year through the LEP programme. This figure was in addition to the original target set two years ago of 250,000 LEP placements by April next year.

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