Restart Scheme

Midlands-based company offers staff development opportunities to create long-term efficiencies and protect retention rates

27th Apr 2022 Restart Scheme

An Electrical Contractor, Lightworks Services Ltd, has been able to recruit new staff and upskill its existing workforce at no cost by making use of two funded employability programmes; Skills Support for the Workforce and the Restart Scheme.

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

Roger and Marlena, a dynamic husband and wife duo, had been looking for a new Administrative Assistant to join the family-run Lightworks team for months, with no success despite advertising. 

After airing her recruitment challenge with the Black Country Growth Hub, Marlena was signposted to Dominic Murphy, Partnership Coordinator for Serco’s Skills Support for the Workforce programme. Dominic advised Marlena to consider an alternative - advertising for an Administrative Assistant, with the offer of an Apprenticeship once in-post. Dominic says:  

“In the current jobseeker’s market, offering in-work development as an additional hook can attract a wider cohort of candidates. By offering an Apprenticeship, Marlena can develop a new employee who perhaps has the right ‘soft skills’ but lacks recent experience, whilst providing career development from the off; proven to increase motivation and retention rates. Time is also allocated for existing employees to undertake a mentoring role and pass on invaluable company culture and experience.”  

Dominic introduced Marlena to Restart Scheme Partnership Coordinator, Sue Gaskell, who worked with her to find, interview and onboard this position. Sue says:  

“It was evident following a needs-assessment that Marlena was keen to fill the role with the business’ family-run ethos in mind, wanting to offer a position with flexible hours to fit around those with caring responsibilities. Marlena was very receptive to explore different options and we were ultimately able to advertise for a flexible role, with a good rate of pay, plus in-work career development!  

To decrease the administrative burden for her, I acted as a single point of contact to source and sift suitable applicants from our network of employability specialists. We were able to shortlist two Restart Scheme candidates. Evan*, the successful interviewee, had many years of administrative experience, and was hoping to return to work in his local area following a period of long unemployment with no job opportunities available within his chosen field’ 

Whilst Evan was onboarded into the business, the Restart Scheme facilitated his Right to Work to further reduce the stress for both employer and employee at this critical time. To make for a seamless transition, Dominic took the reins, meeting with Marlena and Evan to explore what training would suit both Evan’s ambition and the business’ needs. Dominic concludes:  

“Evan has been enrolled on a Level 2 Business Administration course via SSW and will progress into an Apprenticeship on completion. Because he had some reservations about undertaking an Apprenticeship, the Level 2 acts as a steppingstone to help build confidence and will smooth the transition for him. Evan has quickly seen the benefits of lifelong learning, regardless of age, and is keen to progress once his training is complete. I am a CLIMB Apprentice (leadership and management) myself and an advocate for self-development at any point in your career.  

I am confident that Evan will enjoy great success in a supportive work environment like Lightworks. Both he and the business will benefit from the additional competencies he develops and brings into the workplace. I’m happy to report that Marlena has also decided to undertake funded SSW training to increase her own professional competencies and is exploring upskilling in an NCFE Certificate in Lean Organisation Management Techniques."

Through Dom and Sue’s joint working, Marlena is growing her business sustainably and at little cost to create meaningful career pathways for her staff and protect retention rates.  


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