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Business leaders from across the West of England welcomed a bespoke guide and website  for public sector staff moving into private employment at an event held in Bristol yesterday (Jan 17).

The Choices Guide, which includes the website  was compiled by the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) in conjunction with national recruitment experts Resource Solutions Group Plc (RSG) and Hays in response to more than 54,000 public sector job losses across the South West.

More than 60 people attended the breakfast briefing at Ashton Gate’s Premier Lounge, which included a presentation from Marlene Morley, Head of Change Management at the MOD.

Attendees at the event, which was hosted by BBC West Business Correspondent Dave Harvey also included representatives from HMRC, Job Centre Plus, VOSA, ACAS, BANES Council and Nationwide.

Around 5000 hardcopies of the guide will be distributed throughout public sector bodies in the region, along with 10,000 business cards which carry a QR code directing individuals to the Choices website.

The Guide aims to highlight the valuable transferable skills available in the public sector and explains how employees can effectively showcase these skills in the private sector through CVs and interviews.

It also offers advice on the choices available to them upon leaving public sector employment including starting up a business or freelancing.

Other speakers at the event included Colin Skellett, Chair of the LEP, and Andy Robling, Public Services Director at Hays Recruitment.

Colin Skellett said: “Jobs in the public sector are set to decline at a rapid rate over the next few years. There are, however, a great many people in the public sector who have excellent transferable skills and would excel in the private sector.

“In June 2011, we established a Task and Finish Group, which focussed on how to move from public to private sector employment. The result of this was the CHOICES guide. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those involved in putting the guide together including Hays and RSG. This guide is one-of-its-kind in the UK and I hope it will gain national recognition from other LEPs and public sector bodies.”

Mike Beesley, CEO at Bristol-based national organisation RSG, said: “This was the culmination of seven months work working closely with Business West and the LEP as well as leaders from the public and private sector including the MOD, B&NES and Bristol Water.

“It is important and heartening to see that all those involved in the production of the guide and website are working together to strengthen our economy in this region and we were delighted to have had the opportunity to have hosted this event today with the LEP and Hays.”

Andy Robling, Public Services Director at Hays, added: “The fact that the public sector is driven by public service and the private sector is driven by profit can lead to misconceptions about the type of staff they employ. Whilst people may be motivated more by social responsibility than salary that does not mean they are any less talented.

“Over the last 20 years we have become a very mixed economy with a large amount of public sector services being outsourced or delivered by private businesses. The public sector has become more target-driven, employees are managing large budgets and projects, dealing with complex stakeholder relationships and have a great insight into the way the public sector does business. This is the type of experience and the sought-after, transferable skills that need to be highlighted to break down any misconceptions. This was the driver for the of the CHOICES guide.”

Highlighting what makes the Choices website guide unique in the UK, Andy added: “There are three things that makes the Choices website unique. Firstly, it offers up-to-date, live information on the local job market. Secondly, it focuses on the tools needed to move from the public to private sector including an exercise which & lsquo;maps’ individuals’ transferable skills and, finally, the West of England LEP is the only one doing this.”

A video link to Mark Prisk, Minister of Business and Enterprise, discussing the CHOICES guide was also presented to guests and can be viewed here:


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