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Diversity and Inclusion, Engagment

Engaging with the long term unemployed

We recently produced a film for a new initiative in Wales aimed at improving opportunities for the long term unemployed through volunteering and participation in community schemes. The project is called QWEST (Quality Work Employability and Skills Training) and is a Welsh Assembly and European Social Fund backed project – working in partnership with the University of Wales, Newport.

The areas of Bleanau Gwent, Caerphilly and Torfaen are some of the hardest hit and most economically deprived areas in Europe. The film needed to show the real people stories behind such an initiative who have participated in the scheme. When we set up Working Films, one of the reasons we did so was because I didn’t just want to produce ‘recruitment videos’ feeling that work itself is such a strong topic that it has a powerful effect on the structure of our lives as well as its influence on the fabric of society. The areas of Wales in which QWEST is focused have suffered enormously due to the decline of manufacturing and heavy industry in the area and jobs are few and far between. As Sandra illustrates in the film, being unemployed for such a long time not only shatters your confidence and self-esteem, but your sense of well being and structure in life is also lost. It’s not a nice position to be in.  Initiatives like QWEST, that focus on volunteering, developing skills and boosting confidence and self-esteem are vital in turning these communities round.

The excellent series The British at Work looked at how society and work are so interlinked that changes in patterns of behaviour, family life, work-life balance and attitudes to those around us are shaped by our work and economic climate. This has an impact on the attitudes of employers and in-turn the impact this has on those they employ. Work is so inter-weaved into our lives that to look at work and home in isolation is a tricky business and are rarely two completely separate issues. This is why when looking at an organisation’s employer brand, how they approach the people in the organisation and the values they represent need to be considered in the wider context.

When interviewing the people for the QWEST film it was impossible not to feel moved by the challenges they face and the way they have overcome these challanges through inner drive and determination. In the economic climate we have been experiencing many people will be facing the same situation. The longer they are unemployed the more their confidence and self-esteem will take a knock and the support networks, skills training and personal development programmes offered by employers are likely to have a different emphasis when more jobs do become available. It will  be interesting to see how progressive employers are managing the changing nature of candidates and think about this sensitively in the context of the current labour market and economic climate.

You can view the 10 minute film shown at the QWEST launch below.

QWEST Launch Film

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About Nick Price

Employer branding and communications, insight and engagement, talent attraction and HR analytics

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