‘Early intervention needed’ to keep talent in Blackpool

Grace Bennett of Vista Employer Services,
Grace Bennett of Vista Employer Services,
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A Blackpool employment law expert says the coast should beware of losing its brightest talent.

Grace Bennett of Vista Employer Services based at Amy Johnson Way, Squires Gate, said the Department for Education recently named Blackpool as one of six opportunity areas that will get access to funding, to support young people from nursery age right through to starting work.

She said: “This programme is a step towards improving local social mobility, but employers in the area should also be thinking about how they can help to develop and keep the best talent in the area, avoiding the “brain drain” of young people moving to bigger cities looking for career opportunities.

“One great way to nurture and develop local talent is apprenticeships aimed at Blackpool’s young people.

“As a hybrid approach with a mixture of workplace and classroom learning, it’s a sensible step for those straight out of school and new to professional situations. A complete apprenticeship framework will not only allow employers to teach the professional skills they require, but also to embed the culture of the organisation.

“School leavers are more likely to grow into that, having not known any other workplace. This helps with staff retention, as the employees then share the values of the organisation.”

She said when the Apprenticeship Levy comes into force in April, businesses will need to make sure they are attracting the brightest young candidates to join their company.

She added: “Brand awareness will be increasingly important. To achieve this, Blackpool employers need to aim to be part of learning from an early age.

“For children, one of the biggest questions is ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ Before they can answer, they need to know their options. Employers must engage with schools to talk about what a job at the company looks like, through talks in class and workplace visits.

“Discussing what you are looking for in terms of qualifications and skills gives the young people something to work towards. If they know what they want when they leave school, they are more likely to choose to stay. Eventually, this creates a pipeline of candidates with the potential to become engaged and skilled employees.

“Businesses need to ensure they are providing meaningful career paths for children, educating them on their options and helping to nurture their talent in order to keep it in Blackpool.”