Serco’s Restart Scheme has helped a Coventry-based food production business to find, attract and retain the right people. Beckett’s Foods, a multi-site company, that produces over 1,000 tonnes of pork products each week, wants to remain grounded to its local routes and attract Coventry-based employees to help boost the local economy and continue operating under an ethos of being a family-run business.
However, Sarah Langford, Talent Acquisition Manager at Becketts, was struggling to recruit locally at a competitive rate. She explains:
“It is important for us to recruit from within our community to help boost our local economy. Our industry faces the unique challenge of having an already reduced number of potential applicants as many people cannot handle pork. More specifically, we offer our employees job security through long-term contracts which provide a real opportunity for career progression. However, potential applicants were being drawn to some competitors’ shorter-term roles which allow for an inflated salary due to its short-lived nature.”
With the challenge of having a reduced number of applicants, and rising costs per hire to attract talent, Sarah attended a Coventry Jobs Fair to fill multiple Food Production and Hygiene Operative vacancies. In a serendipitous meet, the Restart Scheme’s Yasmin Brotherson and Sarah were introduced.
Offering a five-step recruitment package, nuanced to the business’ specific needs, Yasmin explains how she supported Sarah to overcome her recruitment challenges, both specific to the pork industry, and common across sectors:
“Following an initial needs-assessment, it was apparent the real challenge would be to find willing candidates with long-term career aspirations, and as quickly as possible to minimise any operational impact on the business.
Sarah and I designed a pre-screening process that ticked Becketts requirements for the role, and I acted as a single point of contact to liaise with our network of local employability specialists to source and screen suitable jobseekers. Removing this administrative burden for Sarah freed-up her time to focus elsewhere in the business. Successfully screened applicants then progressed straight to interview stage, once I had ensured their ‘Right to Work’ documentation was in order. Again, we were able to reduce the company’s required input during the initial advertising and recruitment phase.
And, because better prepared candidates are better equipped employees, we know preparatory work gives candidates the confidence they need to shine at interview. To do this, I undertook a full tour of the facility to articulate the intricacies of the role and the company culture prior to interview, whilst candidates undertook interview skills training workshops.”
On the support pathway that Yasmin tailored, Sarah concludes:
“Yasmin suggested innovative ways for us to save time during the recruitment and onboarding process. This included Yasmin advertising our roles, pre-screening and applicant sifting, as well as booking dedicated timeframes in the diary where all we needed to do was show up and interview the very best candidates for the job. We didn’t need to juggle diaries to accommodate a single interviewee.
It worked really well. We have had a great success rate of those who we interviewed, and those who we have employed have a genuine desire to be here. We’ve onboarded 5 new employees so far, with more to come."
Becketts has now onboarded several Restart Scheme Participants into full-time Food Operative and Hygiene Operative roles. New employees, each local to the area and having faced significant barriers to re-entering the workforce, have been impressed by the support offered through the Restart Scheme.
New employee, Christopher, had spent a number of years out of the work, as well as struggled with finding stable, secure housing. He says:
"I am so pleased with my new job and I have never been so happy. I was in the gutter and I am proof things can work out for everyone. Without the support of the Restart Scheme, I would not be in the situation I am. I am so grateful for the help.”
With a new job and a place to live Christopher is looking forward to continuing with the in-work coaching and mentoring support offered through the Restart Scheme. Likewise, Becketts continues to expand its workforce with Sarah and Yasmin working together to offer vacancies within the community.
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