Job Centre Plus tells LBN there is demand for workers across a number of sectors in the city region and it is working with employers such as Amazon to help people into work. Tony McDonough reports
Job centre staff in Merseyside have been tasked with filling 150 of the 250 roles in Amazon’s new £68m distribution centre.
Amazon has confirmed the 323,000 sq ft facility in Haydock will be operational by September and it is now recruiting to fill the roles. It is one of a number of employers across the city region that Job Centre Plus is working with to assist people in applying for vacancies.
They include Shaw Healthcare which is opening a ‘dementia hub’ in Anfield, and call centre operators Adecco and The Contact Company who are continuing to recruit for the Merseyside contact centres.
Job Centre Plus says there continues to be a steady supply of vacancies across the Liverpool city region. This is despite new data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) which showed the number of benefits claimants across the six boroughs has risen over the last 12 months, although the also show a long-term trend of a steep drop in claimants.
Liverpool had 15,359 claimants in May, up 1% on May last year but down 28% on five years ago; Halton, 3,250, up 3% on last year but down 26% on five years ago; Sefton, 6,260, up 4% on last year but down 24% on five years ago; St Helens, 4,400, up 2% on last year but down 28% on five years ago; Wirral, 7,014, up 7% on last year but down 24% on five years ago; Knowsley, 4,328, up 3% on last year but down 28% on five years ago.
Unemployment in the UK in the three months to May was down to 3.8%, the lowest rate since 1974 with wage rises surpassing inflation for the 16th month in a row, according to the ONS.
It says there are now a record 32.7m people in work across the UK with female employment at a joint record high. Wages are rising 1.7% in real terms (above inflation) meaning people’s earnings are rising at their fastest since October 2015.
In the North West the number of people employed stands at 3.47m – up 20,000 on the year and up 294,000 since 2010. The unemployment level is at 150,000 – down 145,000 since 2010. The number of workless households has fallen since October to December 2010 by 234,000.
Job centres is working closely with healthcare providers such as Shaw to look at different ways of encouraging people into the sector and one method that has proved successful is using sector-based work academies (SBWAs).
SBWAs have three main components and can last up to six weeks. They are sector-relevant pre-employment training, work experience placements, and a guaranteed job interview for all those taking part.
Job Centre Plus spokesperson Gemma Batchelor told LBN: “Shaw Healthcare was delighted with the SWBA model as it showed how working in partnership can help the community. The next dementia hub is due to open in Anfield in September and recruitment for this will start in August.”
They are also working with Dragon Training on a bespoke construction course aimed at addressing the skills gap in the Merseyside construction sector and are supporting customers who want to gain a trade.
Gemma added: “Following the success of the first programme we have just recruited for a second. The training is unique in that the provider finds local charities/ community organisations that require work and supplies the labour whilst they provide the materials. This gives the trainees a live project to work and supports the local community.”
There are also events in July and August aimed at younger people and Movement to Work, a new talent platform introduced to advertise opportunities in Government departments, other companies and apprenticeships.
An event is also being held at the Royal Liver Building this week as part of the Disability Confident scheme which aims to increase employment opportunities for disabled people. To date, 466 employers across Merseyside have signed up to the scheme.