Work-ready New Dealers plea

Granada’s group personnel director warned MPs last week that work-ready trainees are vital to the success of the New Deal.

Stephanie Monk told the House of Commons education and employment committee that training organisations need to tackle the gap between trainees’ readiness for work and employers’ expectations.

But she said too few of these intermediary organisations exist and called for funding to be targeted. “Funding which is earmarked would make an enormous difference. They [intermediaries] don’t exist in sufficient scale right now.”

She added, “Without intermediaries we will be left with a significant pool of people who will really be quite hard to help, with too big a gap between their needs and employers’ needs.

Earlier this year, employment minister Tessa Jowell responded to criticism that trainees were not job-ready by pledging to ensure no one would leave the New Deal gateway scheme lacking literacy and numeracy skills. (Personnel Today, 1 February)

Monk told MPs, “I don’t think some employers have the understanding of problems such as drug abuse and homelessness that they would need to tackle [them] in a credible way.”

She thought it was optimistic of MPs to expect employers to cope with those problems.

Speaking after giving evidence to the committee of MPs, Monk said Granada remained committed to New Deal.

She said, “The main point I wanted to make was the need to create people who have a genuine chance of becoming sufficiently confident that they can migrate around the workforce, and the importance of getting them launched onto a normal employment path.

“If that help is available and of sufficient quality, then they should quickly become a regular member of the workforce. And they will have a future that is indistinguishable from other employees and an ability to progress and increase their salary.”

www.parliament.uk/commons/selcom/edemhome.htm

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