A NEW service has been launched to support people in Leicester and Leicestershire who have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP), the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), Leicester City Council and Futures (who manage local careers support for the National Careers Service) have teamed up to launch a new COVID-19 Redundancy and Recruitment Service. The service will help match people who are facing redundancy due to the impact of coronavirus with opportunities in sectors that have seen a surge in employment demand.
The Government is already offering the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which is designed to help businesses retain staff during the outbreak by paying 80% of an employee’s salary while they are furloughed.
However, redundancies are still being made, leaving people out of work. At the same time, demand for staff is increasing in sectors vital to the fight against the virus outbreak. These include food production and retail; logistics and distribution; and social care. The new service will work with local employers in these vital sectors to help those facing redundancy make a smooth transition into new work.
This programme will also support the DWP, which is dealing with unprecedented demand for new claims for Universal Credit.
SERCO, who manage a Skills Support for Redundancy programme for Leicester and Leicestershire through the European Social Fund (ESF), will further enhance the offer.
Fiona Baker, Head of Strategy at LLEP, said: “Traditionally, responses to redundancy situations have been coordinated directly by the DWP. However, it is currently experiencing huge demand and is diverting its staffing resources to claims processing and payments.
“In response, we will work with partners at Leicester City Council’s Employment Hub and Futures to provide this new, rapid response triage service. It will match redundancy situations to employment opportunities and provide additional support where required.
“The fight against coronavirus is an immense team effort and I am proud that we are able to pool our expertise to help those worse affected by the economic impact of this outbreak across our region.”
Roger Mathews, Leicestershire DWP Team Leader, said: “Our priorities at the moment are ensuring people get their benefit payments, and continuing to support those who need us the most. We are very pleased to be working with LLEP, Futures and the Leicester Employment Hub colleagues as part of this strong employment-focussed partnership. While these are difficult times, unfortunately leading to job losses in some cases, new jobs and other opportunities are being created. This strong partnership will bring about real benefits in helping to link together people and businesses affected by this situation. ‘’
Peter Brammall, CEO at Futures, said: “These are challenging times for individuals and businesses across Leicester and Leicestershire. Futures has longstanding expertise in helping employers to manage their workforce requirements through our National Careers Service programmes, advising and guiding people through redeployment into new jobs.
“We’re pleased to be part of a strong rapid response partnership which will pay dividends over the coming weeks in helping to provide assistance and maximise opportunities for local people and employers.”
City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “It is important that support is available for those people who may be facing redundancy as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
“I am pleased that the city council has been able to work so rapidly with our partners to set up this new service. It will help people back into employment and address the growing demand for staff in areas of work that are vital to our response in these challenging times.
“This is another example of how Leicester is pulling together to get through the coronavirus crisis by keeping essential services running and ensuring that people get the support that they need.”
The Leicester Employment Hub, which is managed by the city council, is already working closely with local social care providers to promote vacancies in residential care, home care or supported living and link potential staff with employers.
Aslam Iqbal, recruitment manager at Adaptus Cares Ltd, said: “We are very happy to be working in collaboration with the Leicester Employment Hub. They have been very proactive by forwarding candidates’ CVS across to us. They are always there if we need any assistance and have any employment requirements.”
Employers who want to access the COVID-19 Redundancy and Recruitment Service should go to bizgateway.org.uk/our-services/support/coronavirus-covid-19
Local people looking for free careers advice can email firstname.lastname@example.org
The LLEP Business Gateway Growth Hub, bizgateway.org.uk has a dedicated area for official guidance and support for businesses and the impact of COVID-19.