Scheme brings flexibility to the UK’s Silicon Valley

O’Donnell: move to win IT talent

Cambridge Science Park: pilot


A scheme designed to help staff achieve a better balance between their home and work lives is to be launched at high-tech companies in Cambridgeshire.

Employer Links is inviting human resources managers to next week’s launch of the scheme, which has been developed by non-profit-making organisation Opportunity Links. The organisation is funded by county councils and government contributions.

The initiative is to help companies expand and develop their family-friendly policies which take into account employee childcare and domestic needs.

Uunet, an expanding business-to-business Internet service provider, will be one of the first to adopt the scheme. It is one the high-tech companies in the Cambridge Science Park, known as the UK’s “Silicon Valley”.

Uunet human resources adviser Maureen O’Donnell said the company wanted to ensure it was an attractive employer.

“We are a rapidly expanding company, with 500 employees last year, up to 1,000 by the end of this year and around 2,000 by 2002,” said O’Donnell.

“Most of our workforce are young and many of them already have family commitments. We want to make sure we retain and attract the right kind of staff by offering flexibility.

“There is a lot of competition in the new technology market, so it is important to make the company as employee-friendly as possible.”

There is a shortage of 220,470 people with IT skills in the UK, according to a recent survey by the Computer Software Services Association, and major employers such as Uunet are recruiting more than a person a day.

Employer Links has been established in East Anglia to provide an on-line information service about childcare, jobs, training and benefits.

Web link www.opportunity-links.org.uk

By Paul Dinsdale

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