A Cardiff-based community-run initiative is urging other businesses to consider using the Employability Skills Programme after finding it to be the perfect solution to a skills shortage within its organisation.
Planet Gymnastics, a not-for-profit organisation providing gymnastics and dance tuition for all ages, has utilised the programme to not only bridge its skills gaps but also as a means of training and retaining its workforce and identifying candidates for its Apprenticeship scheme.
Becky Johnson, Director of Planet Gymnastics, said: “Although we always get a lot of applications for our childcare positions, we started increasingly to notice that many of the applicants didn’t realise what working in childcare really involved and we’ve seen a lot of individuals drop out.
“As well as increased recruitment costs, this has resulted in a skills shortage within the company that we desperately needed to fill. We came across the Employability Skills Programme while researching different possibilities and it seemed to offer us the perfect solution.
“The programme has been incredibly valuable to us as a business. It allows us to take on individuals on a trial basis and train them in the skills they would need to progress on to an Apprenticeship with us. During their placements, we also get to know the individuals and see how they work and interact with the children. If, at the end of their placement, we feel they would be a good candidate for an Apprenticeship we encourage them to put in an application with us.
“The work placements also give individuals the opportunity to trial working in childcare and find out whether they like it before committing themselves. By the time they come to fill in an application they will have a good idea of exactly what the work involves and have valuable on the job experience that will be incredibly beneficial for them when, or if, they decide to go on to do an Apprenticeship.
“Whenever we take on an individual through a work placement, it’s always with the hope that they might join us as an apprentice after their placement finishes.
“When we consider an individual for a work placement with us we’re looking for people who are passionate about working with children but have struggled for one reason or another to find a job in childcare. So far, we have found the individuals to be highly motivated and hard-working and we’ve been delighted to be able to help them get their foot onto the career ladder.”
The Employability Skills Programme is designed to provide individuals with the confidence and experience they need to get a job through high-quality work experience placements that provide work-based learning, employability and skills training workshops, upskilling in essential skills and dedicated support staff.
To find out more about the programme click here.