A back-to-work employment scheme which springboards job-seekers into jobs is proving a hit with North East bosses.
The Leapfrog Programme prepares potential workers for roles in a variety of sectors, from catering and hospitality, to waste management and manufacturing.
Many of the participants have been unemployed for several months or even years but are re-familiarised with working life during the two week programme to help with gaining successful employment.
The programme, which is free to employers looking to recruit, has been developed by training organisation Amacus and has already helped 227 people into permanent work.
Christine Hall, Managing Director of Amacus, said: “The Leapfrog programme is not just about training for training’s sake, it’s about real opportunities, working with both employers to identify job opportunities and Job Centre Plus to identify the right candidates to take advantage of preparation training with the possibility of a real job at the end of it.
“It gives job seekers a chance to go back into a working environment via work experience so that they get a full insight to decide if it’s for them or not.”
Candidates are signposted to the Leapfrog programme via JobCentre Plus and undertake a range of sector specific training and qualifications such as manual handling, health and safety and food hygiene before spending a day at their prospective workplace to get a hands-on feel for the job.
By completing 100% attendance on the two-week programme, they increase their chances of securing a permanent position with their host company.
Several North East employers have taken advantage of the scheme including Hartlepool-based waste management company J & B Recycling which recruited 13 new staff and The Croxdale Inn, in County Durham, where eight people were offered positions at the hotel.
The programme’s success lies in preparing people for exactly what is expected of them in the workplace, focusing on confidence building, teamwork and time-keeping, as well as practical help such as CV writing and interview technique.
Christine added: “Employers spend a lot of time recruiting staff, only for a person to walk away from the job because it’s not for them. Recruitment costs can be high so any initiative that helps get the right employee first time has got be good news.
“The Leapfrog ‘job-ready’ recruitment programme gets participants as ready as they can be for work by preparing them for what the employer expects before they step into the job.
“Retention rates are extremely impressive for those moving into work after completing the programme.”
Innovative training organisation Amacus formed in 2003 and is a provider of training workshops, qualifications and services in Leadership and Management; Health & Wellbeing; and Business & Personal Development, across the North East.
The firm, which employs five full-time employees, operates premises in Teesside and Tyne & Wear and has a strategic partnership with Gateshead College.