From education to employment

Talent is across all the UK, but actual job opportunities are still far and few between, especially for those in poorer areas

CEO of Qube Learning, Joe Crossley

Joe Crossley, CEO of Qube Learning, a national training and recruitment solutions provider, works to increase the employment prospects for those furthest down the socioeconomic ladder, and who may traditionally fall through the cracks of the UK’s employment and education system:

As upward social mobility appears harder than ever for many members of society, we are unfortunately still seeing the quality of an individual’s education vary depending on the social class that they are born into. More often than not, the higher the family income, the better the educational opportunities.

As a country who prides itself on diversity, our geographical equality remains biased, and education and professional poverty is a daily reality for many people. Although the space between the classes is vast, an increasing number of organisations are beginning to seek out the wide and diverse range of talents on offer from every sector within society. However, this is still not enough, as unemployment rates in some localities remains high and sees several demographic groups unable to secure work.

With two educational Kick Start Centres in Bradford and Bolton, we have seen first-hand what professional deficiency looks like. We work closely with residents to help them gain basic skills, training them and then placing them in an occupation of interest. For academic year 2019/2020, we saw 116 people embark on Traineeships with 80% of those achieving, and for the 2020/21 academic year we enrolled 196 Trainees with 90% completing. We intend to keep growing this provision year on year, with the aim being to see many more people find a viable path to a safe and secure future. We see the desire for people to survive and care for themselves and their families; these are talented individuals who have often gone unseen or are stuck in habitual employment cycles in sectors not for them. We hope to inspire change with our hands-on approach and programmes like Traineeships, which provide a comprehensive package of employability support.

A core objective of the government’s recent Levelling Up White Paper report is to release the potential of every person and region within the UK, which closely aligns with our own company ethos. The report muses that through successful programmes like Apprenticeships and Traineeships, there is a real chance to improve the social mobility of poorer areas – predicted skills increase, economic boost, improved transport, and more factors, will see regional locations transformed into cultural hubs and drive up the number of professional vacancies.

According to the report, by 2030 the number of people successfully completing high quality skills training will have significantly increased in every area of the UK. In England, this will lead to 200,000 more people successfully completing high quality skills training annually, bolstered by a further 80,000 people annually completing courses in the lowest skilled areas. As a provider who aims to see fairer recruitment and skills development options available to everyone, this prediction is music to our ears. It’s an encouraging paper to read with a lot of promise and we remain optimistic that the government’s wheels are now in motion, escalating a rapid movement of equality across industries and education.

I see people from all corners of the UK overcoming challenges and reaping their rewards; we want all demographics to succeed and that should be the outlook for all those who play a part in recruiting. Many businesses are missing out on a huge pool of talent by sticking to their conventional social class when recruiting. No matter where in the country, it’s about developing all talents, and looking at vocational and creative skills rather than just academic status.

Joe Crossley, CEO of Qube Learning

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