This week’s news in brief

A firm featured in the Government’s New Deal advertising campaign has gone
into receivership. The firm’s dozen odd New Deal apprentices are now looking
for new jobs. Merseyside contractor Porter Builders employs about 100 people.
Founder Ray Porter featured in the campaign telling train passengers about the
New Deal and was later seen in newspaper adverts to mark the scheme’s first
anniversary.

Career tutor scheme

Teenagers are to get mentors as part of a multi-million pound scheme announced
by education secretary David Blunkett. The Connexions scheme will be piloted in
five regions in the UK and will make personal advisers available to 13 to
19-year-olds for career guidance. Blunkett said bad career choices made by
young people cost the country £350 million.

Job-share ruling

A woman who was refused a job share has been awarded £27,351 compensation.
Support manager Lynn Fraser successfully claimed unfair dismissal and indirect
sex discrimination against former employer Stirling Council. Fraser’s lawyer
Claire McManus of Glasgow-based Harper Macleod said the case was the first
involving a single job-share candidate. "This means that where an employee
wishes to take on a job share and that post is suitable, the employer should
appoint the employee and then seek a partner for her."

Furthering IT skills

Access to new technology skills must be improved, according to research by
the Department for Education and Employment. The study found 90 per cent of new
jobs require some computing skills. However, 52 per cent of applicants from
under-privileged backgrounds describe their computing knowledge as
non-existent.

Disabled job agency

A new recruitment company has been set up to match disabled job seekers with
employers. PosAbility founder Ruth Newman said, "We look to employers to
treat the employment of people with disabilities as a business activity rather
than a charity." Chairman Paul Newman, former HR director for Alliance
& Leicester, added, "We are the missing link. We are interested in
what people can do rather than what they cannot."

Union wins total £38m

Unison won more than £38m compensation for its members in 1999. The figure
is the highest achieved by the union which has 1.3 million members. It settled
4,333 claims by members injured during the course of their work. Awards
included £140,000 to a nursing auxiliary in Herefordshire for a back injury
suffered as a result of lifting heavy patients.

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