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Recruiters mobilise temps to cope with act of God absences

Recruiters mobilise temps to cope with act of God absences
Agency workers are being mobilised across the UK to fill workforce gaps resulting from thousands of workers being stranded abroad due to the volcanic ash cloud.
Temps are being called in to fill gaps across the labour market, from receptionists to IT contractors, according to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC).
Anne Fairweather, the RECs Head of Public Policy, said: "Many employers rely on being able to call up extra resource at the drop of a hat.  Agencies are working hard through the period of travel disruption to ensure that these gaps are filled.  Maintaining a flexible supply of labour is vital to ensure that businesses stay on track and services continue to be delivered through unexpected emergencies and weather events.   This current crisis will also offer many work seekers the opportunity to get their first step on the employment ladder through agency work.
The REC has also highlighted the crucial role currently being played by temporary workers who have stepped up to the mark to keep essential services such as schools, hospitals and care homes working.
Recruitment agencies have also risen to the challenge by ensuring that suitably qualified and properly vetted supply teachers, care workers and other temporary staff are placed at very short notice to cope with the enforced absences.
Commenting on the effects the volcanic ash cloud is having on classrooms, John Dunn, Chair of REC Education, said: Continuity of education is crucial. It is particularly important for students who are at a critical stage of their studies, GCSE students for instance.
This is where specialised agencies are an invaluable asset as they are in a position to place supply teachers who are not only fully qualified and vetted but are also, whenever possible, subject specialists. This provides real added value compared to unqualified and generalist cover supervisors who can only offer a generic teaching experience for children.
An example of how recruiters have responded to the crisis and have helped to provide emergency cover is provided by Jes Ladva, the RECs London regional director and development director of Synarbor Education.
Following the snow related disruptions at the start of the year, contingency plans were developed in order to cope with similar situations in the future. In the current crisis, schools started contacting the agency as early as last Saturday and Sunday to discuss their resourcing options. To support this, an agency weekend resource team was convened to ensure that a pool of properly vetted supply teachers and support staff was in place ready for the start of the new term on Monday.
Commenting on the role that agencies have played, Jes Ladva said: The resourcing challenge was amplified by the fact that it all happened at the end of the Easter holiday. The early intervention efforts went some way to allaying the disruption and helped us manage the 150 per cent increase in demand we saw for temporary staff on Monday morning.
Ringfencing supply teacher time will always include an element of risk should the travel disruption subside but clients appreciate the extra effort and the safety net that the effective supply of temporary staff provides.
He added: Often this type of preparation and support is overlooked but it shows the value of the recruitment industry in being able to respond quickly to challenging circumstances. 


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