The South Wales Chamber was delighted to enable 11 businesses to meet with the UK Minister of State for Employment, Damian Hinds MP on 13th July. The meeting, hosted by chamber members Apollo Wales (commercial and domestic cleaning) in Cardiff Bay, was also attended by Welsh representatives of the Job Centre network and DWP. The feedback was very positive with all businesses commenting that they were pleased to have the opportunity to provide views directly into the UK Government, and the Minister’s visit to hear their views was much appreciated.
Businesses who attended expressed views to the Minister and it was an interesting discussion that ranged from:
- The relationships employers have with the Jobcentre Plus network, along with comments of how this could be improved;
- The role of schools in helping young people to be work ready with much reference to the Welsh Baccalaureate as a vehicle to help this;
- The universal challenge of finding skilled and semi-skilled people in Wales to fill vacancies.
- There were ideas for how recruitment was being handled by different businesses.
- General agreement that more joined up working with the DWP and Jobcentre Plus could help make recruitment easier for businesses and remove some of the barriers they face when recruiting via the jobcentres.
The Minister has since provided us with the following comment:
“I place great value on speaking face-to-face with employers, finding out what issues are most important to you. It’s vital that the Government listens to businesses so we can support you and help the economy to thrive. That’s why meeting with the South Wales Chamber of Commerce is so important. It’s a chance to hear directly about what is going well but, even more crucially, where we can improve.
The recent Welsh employment figures give us much to reflect on and outlines the task at hand to boost employment across the country. However, the overall picture remains strong. There are currently around 1.44 million people in employment in Wales and since 2010, the number of unemployed people has fallen significantly. This is great news but I realise can also present new challenges in filling vacancies in your business. That’s exactly where we can help.
Our work coaches are speaking with jobseekers every day, finding out their skills and putting them forward for suitable roles. If they know there are specific vacancies available we can prepare people with these in mind.
There are already great examples of collaborative working between businesses and jobcentres in South Wales. For example, our work coaches recently helped Home Bargains successfully fill over 50 vacancies for their new store in Bridgend. We advertised the vacancies in local centres and on social media, conducted the sift and helped candidates prepare with mock interviews. Home Bargains were so impressed with the standard of the candidates and the work done by the Jobcentre Plus that they are now hoping to work with us in all future recruitment.
We’re seeing more and more companies recognising what you already know – that South Wales is a great place to do business. My goal is to make it even better. Meeting with the South Wales Chamber of Commerce has been a fantastic opportunity and I’d like to thank everyone who gave up their time to attend. I know that together we can fully support the growth of business in South Wales.”
Being a member of the South Wales Chamber of Commerce helps your business to be better connected, and we aim to connect you to a wide range of opportunities having unparalleled access to key decision makers and influencers on business policy, both at a Wales and UK levels. If we can offer further support or connections please get in touch with one of our dedicated Relationship Managers https://southwaleschamber.co.uk/meet-the-team/
“It was a great event that gave us the chance to give our opinion on the Employment Sector in Wales and the UK. Another invaluable service provided by South Wales Chamber.” – Chris J. Birch PhD – CEO Apollo Wales