Restart Scheme

Marrying employability support to create progression routes for both employee and employer

30th Mar 2022 Restart Scheme

With ambitious expansion plans, Birmingham’s popular tram network, West Midlands Metro has teamed up with Serco to recruit various roles within its Engineering, Customer Services and Maintenance teams.

The joint approach allowed the company to access recruitment and post-employment support from Serco’s Restart Scheme (progression into work) and Skills Support for the Workforce (in work career progression) for no cost whilst tripling in size and doubling the tram fleet. 

Skills Support for the Workforce is co-financed by the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), therefore, West Midlands Metro was able to access the support at no financial cost to the business.

Restart Scheme: Recruitment, pre-employability and onboarding  

Sue Gaskill, Restart Scheme Employer Engagement Coordinator, had been working with the company to support its ongoing recruitment drive whilst paving a viable routeway for several jobseekers to progress into work in the process. As part of the package, the Restart Scheme organised recruitment days and bespoke pre-screening of candidates on behalf of West Midlands Metro, decreasing the administrative and financial burden of advertising vacancies.  

Having secured a healthy cohort of prospective candidates, Sue ensured she fully understood the next steps and any pressure-points the candidates would face by undertaking the recruitment process, and all competency-based assessments herself!  

Armed with the full picture, Sue worked with her network of delivery partners in the West Midlands, (Business to Business, Steps to Work and Walsall College) to develop and prepare candidates for interview and assessment. This included competency-based checks and preparatory interview training. This service proved an added relief for Midland Metro’s Head of HR, Claire Scrimshire, who could delegate candidate sifting and the organisation of assessment days to Sue, freeing-up her availability elsewhere within the business.  

With seven Restart Scheme Participants onboarded into the business and an additional pool of job seekers who are ready to work, Claire Scrimshire, Head of HR at Midland Metro, says:   

“We have worked to find several exceptional individuals with a range of different skills and experience. They all have a diverse background and are eager to learn new skills. It is important to reach out to people and support individuals returning to the work environment. We have a range of positions available to support our future expansion plans with role information available on our website.”   

With onboarding complete, Sue completed a warm handover with Dom Murphy, Partnership Coordinator for Skills Support for the Workforce (SSW). Dom was able to seamlessly start work with Claire and begin upskilling her new starters. 

SSW: Funded upskilling to boost business growth 

As SSW provides funded upskilling employee packages to eligible businesses to support career progression and business growth, Dom mapped the skills Midland Metro required and identified existing Team Leaders would benefit from an accredited Team Leader Training course. 

Working with SSW’s delivery partner, Business Development Midlands, a tailored package of online and evening classes was designed around people’s shift patterns so everyone could benefit.  

So far, seven Team Leaders have undertaken the training, with the course now open to other employees with aspiration to progress into the role. By creating these viable learning pathways for the employees, Midland Metro is improving the competencies they can proffer through its workforce, increasing productivity levels, and futureproof its retention rates by providing in-house development opportunities. 

Dom says:

“It’s great to see a large organisation taking advantage of the SSW funded offer to invest in their workforce and create progression pathways for their employees. The coaching and mentoring available has proven to be a valuable experience for the business in supporting future and current leaders, and their teams. It’s encouraging to see that the opportunity to upskill yet more employees within Midland Metro is being utilised.”  

Midland Metro continue to work with both programmes to onboard new employees and upskill existing colleagues with accredited qualifications at no additional cost.  

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