Flexible route to job creation

By on 04/11/2010 in News

A group of long-term unemployed residents were celebrating this month after landing permanent jobs working from home, thanks to Service Birmingham and Birmingham City Council (BCC).

Twenty-two people from across the city have been employed as home -working customer service advisors (CSAs) and will be dealing with residents' enquiries as part of the council's contact centre.

Previously they had been unable to find jobs which allowed them to work flexibly from home which they need due to other commitments such as being a carer or single parent.

Service Birmingham, the council's strategic partnership with Capita, is responsible for delivering BCC's call centre service and joined forces with the local authority's Employment Access Team (EAT) and Adult Education teams in a bid to help tackle worklessness in the city whilst offering employment to people who were prevented from getting a 9 to 5 job.

The new recruits have now completed their training and Service Birmingham is in the process of installing the technology required to get the CSAs up and running and dealing with citizen enquiries from their homes.

Councillor Tim Huxtable, cabinet member for Transportation and regeneration, said: “Through its partnership with the city council's Employment Access Team and Adult Education teams, Service Birmingham has tackled one of the key issues surrounding worklessness – how to create meaningful employment for people who, up until now, had found it difficult to get a job which would allow the flexibility needed need to deal with their situation at home too.”

Service Birmingham's chief executive, Stewart Wren, added: “This has been a real benefit to us, to the council and most of all to the employees we have recruited. We have a high calibre of customer service advisor in our home-workers and they will be a great asset to the customer services team.

“We are committed to partnership recruitment with the BCC Transport and Regeneration Department for future advisor vacancies both for home-working and in the contact centre.”

Case Study: Jamie Morris (22)

Jamie was unemployed for about four or five months after having to leave his previous role in retail.  Losing his job gave his confidence a big knock and he became uncertain about how capable he would be in the workplace so receiving the support of Service Birmingham managers and recruiters really helped him turn that around.

He has a two-year-old daughter with his fiancé and a baby son who was born in September 2010.

He was finding it hard to get a job at all - particularly one which would give him the flexibility to help with his children in the morning and in the evening so the homeworker's job is perfect for him. It allows him to be there in the morning and also at home straight after he's finished his shift to feed his children and give them a bath - allowing his fiancé to have a break.

He said it has been great working as a homeworker and loves dealing with a broad range of people and problems.

Service Birmingham has installed a router, computer with inbuilt telephone system, desk, monitor, chair and filing cabinet and a phone line installed.

He works varying shifts and said it's great to have this flexibility.

“I find it an extremely rewarding job which I love. Having the flexibility of being a homeworker at a time when I've got a young family has been invaluable and has enabled me to see my daughter growing up and spend time with my new born baby son too. All of the managers and trainers have been so supportive and have really helped me build my confidence up again which has had a really positive impact on my work and home life.”

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