Laura Ball is a construction recruitment consultant working in the very busy Nottingham office of Approach Personnel. She recently caught up with J.Tomlinson Building site manager Paul Parker and Nottingham City Council Employer Hub labourer Tom Hardy to discuss how successful the employer hub scheme has been for them.
Interview with Paul Parker – Site Manager at J Tomlinson Building
How have you benefited from having Tom on site with you the past few months?
Tom is an excellent labourer. He is punctual, reliable, hard working and keen to learn. He has also built strong relationships with various sub-contractors to ensure he finds local work when this site has finished. Without his support during the last few months I wouldn’t have been able to focus my attention on various aspects of the site that require more supervision.
When I first recruited Tom I was asked for a labourer for two weeks, he has now been on site for around 6 months. Why have you kept him on site with you for so long?
What many workers don’t realise is that, if they make a good impression and demonstrate the desire to work hard for the company, they will often be given the chance to stay. Tom’s work ethic is unlike any other labourers I have worked with and so as a result we felt the site would not function as well without him here.
Are you surprised that Tom was out of work for two years after he completed his college course?
I couldn’t believe that he was unemployed for such a long period of time, he has a good head on his shoulder and I think he needed pointing in the right direction. He won’t be out of work again if he keeps up the standard he is working to at the moment, he shouldn’t struggle for work again.
What do you think to the scheme the council is trying to encourage at the moment, by helping people like Tom find a job and provide him with the CSCS card he requires to do so?
It is a brilliant idea to get the youngsters up and running, CSCS cards are expensive especially when they aren’t earning in the first place. If someone like Tom has the chance to do the test, they will be straight into work. This is what we need the younger generation to be doing, too many of them are unemployed with no options or guidance on what to do next.
Would you recruit someone from the scheme again?
I have been in construction for a number of years now and Tom is one of the best lads I have worked with, I would like to keep him on board for my next job if I can. If the scheme can bring people like him through then I wouldn’t think twice about taking someone though this scheme again.
What do you think to agencies helping people like Tom into work?
Agencies get a bad name sometimes and I don’t always think it is fair. Although they are a profitable business they also help people like Tom get into work. Most companies can’t employ labourers directly, the only option is to use an agency and quite often it makes our life easier because the agency will look after them.
Interview with Tom Hardy - Approach Personnel Labourer
What did you do before you started working as a labourer through Approach Personnel?
I took a two year college course and did really well, I enjoyed the course. I finished as a trainee machine operator but really struggled to find work, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I was unemployed for 2 years and had no money to travel to try and look for a job.
Would you have gained the same opporutnies without the help of the scheme to assist with the cost of the CSCS card or the advice to start in construction?
Definitely not, I had no idea how to start looking for work and I wanted something I could progress in. After my college course had finished I had no advice to help me out, I just passed and that was it.
I wouldn’t have thought to do labouring work and even if I did, I wouldn’t have had the funds to get a CSCS card to get me on to site.
How does it feel to be in work and has it provided you with a job for longer than you though it would?
I can finally afford to live with my sister and pay rent and bills etc. I can now go out with my friends and have a social life, having something to get up for everyday. It is what I wanted and I think I am doing a good job.
Would you recommend the scheme to your friends and family?
I have already told two close mates to do what I did, they are in the process now. They have seen how well I have done and decided to try it themselves, they are both in the position I was in after college.
How did you find the whole process including using Approach Personnel?
I couldn’t believe how quickly I found work. Approach signed me up and the next week I got a phone call to start a new job. I have been in work ever since and think I will continue especially coming into summer. I am also keen to see if I can progress in construction, up to skilled labourer or gateman etc. Laura has been in touch with me every week and I know the agency will try and get me the best work possible.
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