Discussion Document October 2013

Earlier this year MKEA members accepted an invitation from Emily Darlington, Labour Party Candidate for Milton Keynes North, to establish a discussion forum to identify the issues faced by executive level jobseekers and formulate ideas that could be taken forward at national and local level for policy adoption and lobbying. Whilst candidate for the Labour Party Emily, and her fellow Labour candidate for Milton Keynes South, Andrew Pakes, are committed to driving this forward they do not see it as a Labour Party only issue but one that should be adopted across the political landscape.

On 17 July Stephen Timms, Shadow Minister for Employment, visited MKEA and spoke at our "Ultimate Networking" event and met with MKEA members. He readily recognised the plight and waste of executive level unemployment and challenged us to consider how we could help address this waste and committed himself to returning early in 2014 to meet with us and establish ways to take our suggestions forward for inclusion in national policy.

MKEA members met on Wednesday 9 October with Emily Darlington to continue the discussions. 

"The recession continues to hit unemployment and underemployment hard especially for those with high level skills. These people are often forgotten by government and institutions. Therefore systems and programmes are not designed to deal effectively with getting those with many years of experience back into the workplace. But if we forget about them and lose these skills, our city and our economy are worse off. When Stephen Timms MP, Shadow Minister for Employment came to MKEA's Ultimate Networking event he was so moved by the contributions of participants and the MKEA that he has committed to coming back to MK in the New Year. He would like to hear how we can build policies and initiatives that work for unemployed executives.

We are currently discussing how we can improve the situation in Milton Keynes and what policy solutions would help. We are keen to get your views."            

                                                                                                                        Emily Darlington

The notes of the meeting are included below and attached at the foot of this page for download. Please consider them and add your thoughts and issues to the discussion forums on the MKEA members group on LinkedIn and add them to the Word document that can be returned to Melvin Hurley at:

Discussion Possible Policy Initiatives and Other Actions
Local Enterprise Zone wanted Policy Initiative
Adoption of scheme similar to that in Northants but incorporating MKEA job club programme
MKEA members prepared to offer skills on a voluntary or expenses basis subject to co-ordinated management process and team matching (via MKEA?) Policy Initiative
Removal of negatives on benefit entitlements
Hours provided under 16 hours
Necessity to record for benefit purposes removed just recognised as valid scheme
MKEA members want to find ways to work with local business to develop new employment opportunities and diversified businesses  
Undervalued experienced staff not considered worthy of employment and values not recognised Promotion of the experience, expertise, knowledge and understanding of the executive talent available for employment in the local area.
·         Register of people for business to search
·         JCP to introduce a skills/experience matching service
Too much tick-box mentality in training providers and appointment of training providers Policy Initiative
Educators rather than experienced former/current workers ·         Move away from current public sector led provision
  ·         Local funding pot to appoint local providers
MKEA provides unique management support that is not otherwise available National structure based upon MKEA model utilising MKEA website and enhanced tools
MKEA needs to be better promoted to: 1.       SME staff facing potential redundancy during consultation process
2.       Those not registering with JCP
3.       Extra emphasis on the first three months of unemployment
MKEA needs support to provide enhanced services Day workshops
1.       Executive job search
2.       Competence based interview technique
3.       Using LinkedIn
4.       One to one people skills and development to build motivation and confidence
Job Centre Plus
Terms of operation as a benefits gatekeeper does not allow provision of advice, support and signposting Policy change
Demotivating/humiliating experience Better understanding of management job search through training
Opening hours Evening opening one day per week to provide those facing unemployment to secure help, advice and signposting
Does not understand specialist nature of executive job search Staff training (from MKEA?)
Establishment of executive level specialist JCP team – trial in MK with MKEA?
Inconsistent advice Training and managed staff allocation
Does not appreciate extended time scales and multi-level recruitment process at management level Staff training (from MKEA?)
Relationship development between advisor and job seeker Management manpower allocation at local level to try to develop one to one or one to small team relationship
Does not promote MKEA in a targeted way to newly registered unemployed Staff training (from MKEA?)
Flagging process
“Parent-child” relationship needs improvement Attitude approach - training
Work Programme
One size fits all does not recognise specialist nature of securing employment or business start- up for executive level Change in terms of reference
Business start-up support  programme required (ends when move to Work Programme)  
New Business Start-Up
Start-up Grant/Loan scheme Business loan and mandatory training scheme with local mentor engagement to qualify for a start-up loan/grant
·         similar loan recovery to student finance
·         continuing mentor support/help with
·         planning
·         financial management and cash flow
·         marketing
·         sales
·         customer service
·         online – full mix
Finance and Cash Flow Policy initiatives
·         Mandatory payment terms/deadlines
·         End to company liquidation and buy back to continue trading and avoid payment of debts
·         New small business bank
Employment Policy
Recognition of increasing employment trends and impact on HMRC and benefits Policy initiative
1.       portfolio employment Faster claim processing
2.       self-employed business only option Adapting benefits system to recognise employment changes
3.       fluctuating working hours Number of worked hours rules +/- 16
4.         HMRC processing of contributions and tax
  Tax credits do not currently operate in a responsive way and can lead to over/underpayments and confusion/claim misprocessing or not claiming
National Careers Service
Better and more substantial advice 3 sessions insufficient at executive level
Insufficient knowledge and skills re business start-up and training
Professional Membership Organisations
Not recognising the plight of executive level unemployed members Policy Initiative
Meet with organisations to encourage greater support including
1.       Allocation of free training course places for unemployed members
2.       Reduced membership fees and periods
3.       Reduced membership fees for newly established self-employed
4.       Receive now pay later training courses
5.       Training development programme to help unemployed/newly self-employed members to expand skills to help secure employment
Work Inspiration Northants and Northants Enterprise Partnership – Models for MK?
Paul Beesley spoke about these initiatives and those present felt these were good initiatives that could be combined with the work of MKEA and introduced to Milton Keynes.
 Work Inspiration Northants 
targeted to:
1.       Energise employers to help by attending seminars to pledge support to work placement
2.       Job Seekers to rise success rates by
a.       building confidence
b.      providing enabling training
c.       providing personal presentation and makeover
This is delivered by experienced people not professional educators.
Northants Enterprise Partnership 
NEP is a Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), established to support the creation of better quality private sector jobs for Northamptonshire. 10 times more cost-effective at doing this than the UK average. Help is provided in 3 areas
1.       Support – guidance, training, mentoring, property search, apprenticeships, job brokerage
2.       Funding - £1000 start-up grant signposting/access to other funding opportunities
3.       Networks – Ambassadors, Creative Northants, Made in Northants, Property Forum, Business Parks