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More private sector job openings in January

Shirt-and-tie-002Private sector job vacancies rose steeply in January, but salaries were flat, according to a survey from the UK’s largest recruitment website. This report is from the BBC.

The Reed Job Index rose 9 points to 113, the highest since the index was started in December 2009, when the baseline was set at 100.

Private sector growth is behind the rise, as new public sector jobs were less than half the level of a year ago.

The index is drawn from Reed’s list of daily vacancies from 8,000 recruiters.

Reed said job creation rose across all areas of the UK, but that salaries were flat and were 1% below levels a year ago, further lagging behind inflation.

Sectors seeing particularly strong rises, though, were engineering and manufacturing, two areas benefiting from a rise in exports.

The scientific sector also gained sharply, as did financial services.

Two UK regions that had struggled with job creation, North East England and the West Midlands, have 20% more private sector job vacancies than when the index started in December 2009.

Real-term salary rises appear in just 10 out of the 35 job sectors Reed analyses. The salary index edged above 100 in retail, training, banking, hospitality, marketing and accountancy.

Martin Warnes, managing director of reed.co.uk, said the January data shows that confidence among private sector employers is growing.

“While there may be economic challenges ahead, this is encouraging news for the UK economy,” he said.

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Companies recruiting candidates directly from school

More companies are recruiting staff directly from school amid fears bright teenagers are turning their backs on university, according to research. This report from the Telegraph.

A report published today found that growing numbers of top employers are recruiting school leavers instead of limiting vacancies to applicants with a degree.

The disclosure, in a study by the Association of Graduate Recruiters, follows claims that thousands of talented teenagers are shunning higher education because of rising student debt and mounting competition for university places.

According to figures, more than a quarter of leading businesses now employ staff directly from schools and colleges and a fifth of remaining firms are considering opening up recruitment schemes to this age group.
Data shows more graduates are also being employed this year as companies begin to emerge from the worse recession in decades.

But graduate-level salaries are being frozen for the third straight year and the majority of public and private sector employers are refusing to offer financial incentives to attract the best staff.

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Thousands of teachers affected every year by false allegations

uni_1809093bRecruiting for education? Teachers are having to deal with huge obstacles these days. This report comes from the Telegraph.

Pupils’ behaviour in school has a huge impact on their learning, that of other pupils and on their teachers.
Teachers consistently complain about the low level disruption going on every day in virtually every classroom in the UK; the talking back, not paying attention, and chatting to classmates. It makes life tough, but not impossible for those trying to learn and teach. But a few pupils go further, and every year some students and pupils are physically attacked.

Of course heads should be able to expel violent pupils if they need to, and we would be pleased if the Education Bill results in fewer expulsions being overturned. But expulsions must remain a last resort, and it is only fair that pupils and their parents should be allowed to appeal.

Teachers and lecturers will be delighted if the Bill helps gives them more protection against false allegations from pupils. These are hugely damaging. School staff have their careers blighted and private lives damaged as a result of the stress. Good teachers, heads and support staff are lost to the detriment of children’s education. Of course the protection of children is paramount, but it should not be at the expense of natural justice.

False allegations affect thousands of teachers every year. In a 2009 ATL survey a quarter of school staff told us they had had a false allegation made against them by a pupil in their current school or college. We hope the Bill will redress the balance so that school staff are not presumed guilty until they are proven innocent and their anonymity is preserved.

But education staff have mixed views about other some of the other proposals in the Bill to improve pupils’ behaviour. Teachers are worried that encouraging them to search pupils and confiscate items such as mobiles, weapons, drugs, and cigarettes will damage their relationship with their pupils. One teacher told us that searching pupils would be “ … an invasion of pupils’ privacy and show a lack of respect, which would impede the learning process.”

Teachers and support staff are not police and they should not be expected to take on a policing role. They worry that searching pupils could in itself lead to allegations about improperly handling pupils and lead to complaints from parents. An ATL member said: “I am unsure of the plausibility of such powers. I can see a number of civil claims made by vindictive parents who will claim that, if searched or ‘frisked’, their child was ‘damaged’ in some way.”

However, many teachers also think that learning would improve in the classroom if pupils didn’t have mobiles and cigarettes on them. And they also think that pupils will be more likely to obey school rules if they know that teachers have greater powers.

Removing the requirement to give pupils and parents 24 hours notice of a detention is also problematic. The majority of teachers questioned by ATL in 2010 thought that allowing staff to give immediate detentions would damage their relationship with their pupils’ parents and carers. We can certainly foresee problems if pupils miss the school bus, or schools can’t get hold of parents to warn them their child will be late home that night.

Searching pupils, confiscating items and imposing immediate detentions will have to be extremely sensitively handled if they are not going to backfire on staff and their schools.

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Black Eyed Peas singer recruited as innovation director at Intel

Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am has been recruited for a job at Intel to help devise new ways for music and other multimedia to be used with smartphones and tablets, reports the Telegraph.

The Grammy-winning musician was introduced as Intel’s new Director of Creative Innovation, already outfitted with his Intel ID badge, at an internal sales conference in Anaheim, California.

“Nearly everything I do involves processors and computers, and when I see an Intel chip I think of all the creative minds involved that help to amplify my own creativity,” the singer said in a statement.

Will.i.am, born William Adams, is known for his career with the band Black Eyed Peas and his “Yes We Can” Barack Obama video, a huge hit on YouTube, where it has garnered millions of hits.

“It’s imperative that Intel and our innovations are kept in front of the global youth culture that embraces new devices and new forms of communication and entertainment,” said Deborah Conrad, Intel’s chief marketing officer.

She called his partnership with the company a marriage of entertainment and technology.

In 2008, will.i.am worked with Blackberry-maker Research In Motion to help merge social networking and multimedia. Other high tech corporations keen to tap into youth trends and market their gadgets to young people have also enlisted pop stars.

Another current pop star, Lady Gaga, is creative director at Polaroid, where the singer, who wore a controversial “meat” dress to the MTV Video Music Awards last year, has helped develop camera-equipped sunglasses.

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Good news for graduates

University leavers face a jobs market that is showing signs of improvement for the first time since the recession, research suggests. This report comes from the BBC.

A survey of more than 200 employers in the UK reveals an 8.9% annual increase in graduate jobs.

But tough competition means it is still an “employers’ market”, the Association of Graduate Recruiters says.

The survey shows that average starting salaries have not risen for three years, staying at £25,000 per year.

This report confirms an upward trend in job opportunities for graduates, after a steep decline in the wake of the financial crisis.

The improving jobs market was driven by a surge of vacancies at the end of last year, says the survey, with a forecast of a further 3.8% increase for this year.

“It is heartening to see that after so many months of misery for graduates, the job market is finally picking up,” said Carl Gilleard, chief executive of the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR).

But such optimism is tempered by warnings that demands for jobs is continuing to outstrip supply and that employers are receiving high levels of applications.

This intense competition is also allowing employers to freeze starting salaries.

Work experience
Although another jobs survey last week showed that while the average starting salaries might be kept down, there were wide differences between sectors, with recruits into investment banking starting on £42,000.

There are also indications that an increasing number of vacancies are being taken by applicants who have carried out work placements with an employer.

Ernst and Young says more than a third of places in its graduate intake have gone to applicants who have carried out internships at the firm.

Microsoft also said: “In this tough jobs market, getting access to these placements is absolutely invaluable for young people, because it is increasingly a foot in the door to a future career.”

This follows a pattern identified in a graduate jobs survey last week which showed the value placed by employers on work experience.

There are also suggestions that employers are hoping to recruit the most talented youngsters by establishing links with them before they graduate.

The UCU lecturers’ union warned that graduate pay was not keeping pace with the forthcoming increase in tuition fees – and that the rewards of going to university would be diminished.

Universities Minister David Willetts said: “A degree remains a good investment in the long term and is one of the best pathways to achieving a good job and rewarding career.”

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New Stig driver recruited – could it be a woman?

Top Gear last night unveiled the latest incarnation of its anonymous driver, The Stig. The driver’s recruitment has come amid rumours that this time it could be a woman. The Telegraph had this report.

The new driver is small and slight, prompting immediate speculation that it could be a female racing expert.
Jeremy Clarkson, one of the BBC show’s presenters, claimed to have no idea who it was, but acknowledged that the driver was of small build.

He said: “People are always asking me who The Stig is and now, for once, I can honestly say, ‘I don’t know’.
“The Stig comes up to my legs and makes Richard Hammond look like a giant. All the good racing drivers these days are very small.”

The mystery of the character’s identity has become such a talking point that Sabine Schmitz’s name has already been mooted as a potential candidate.

The 41-year-old German is a former BMW racing driver and TV presenter and has featured on the BBC show a number of times.

She has worked with Clarkson on several shows, including Jeremy Clarkson Meets the Neighbours, when she showed the presenter around the Nürburgring race track in 2002 and his Supercar Showdown DVD.
In 2005, she appeared at the Top Gear Awards to collect the award for Best German.

The last driver to don the now infamous white suit and helmet caused a furore when he wrote a book revealing his identity.

The BBC lost a court battle against the publisher HarperCollins, which planned to release the book by former Formula Three driver Ben Collins, 35, last October.

It ran up legal costs of £76,000 in its failed bid to win an injunction blocking publication of the book.
Collins’ identity had been kept a secret from viewers for seven years.

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Limited foreign staff recruitment could harm NHS

The Telegraph reports growing fears that the NHS cannot cope with the immigration cap after recruiters warned the temporary limit on foreign doctors was already “compromising patient care”.

The British Medical Association, the doctors’ union, also warned the cap on non-EU migrant workers – due to come into effect permanently from this April – will “undoubtedly” create skills shortages which would likely lead to operations being cancelled and increased waiting times.

The news comes as the NHS faces radical change in the way it runs and offers services to members of the public.

The Government on Wednesday unveiled legislation aimed at handing GPs about 80pc of the NHS budget from 2013. Unions warned the proposals would undermine the health service while an influential group of MPs said on Monday the overhaul would lead to poor decisions on care. Some 10,000 people have signed an online statement voicing concerns.

A number of health care recruiters said the health service was already under immense pressure after the Government introduced the temporary immigration cap in June last year.

John Faraguna, managing director of Hays’ health care division, said: “In our dealings with employers it is already very apparent that there is a shortage of workers with the necessary skills. Doctors, nurses and specialists, such as radiologists and anaesthetists, are all needed to work in the NHS. The increasing pressure on frontline services due to an ageing population only exacerbates the problem.” He added: “We are faced with greater pressure on services and we need to attract and retain the best talent to support our economy – not cut a valuable source of skills. Skilled health care workers move globally and the UK’s loss will be other countries’ gain.”

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Construction builds Scottish economy

Growth in the construction sector helped drive Scotland’s economy, data from the Scottish government has shown. This report from the BBC.

The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) rose by 0.5% in the third quarter of 2010, the second consecutive quarter to see an increase.

Over the year to September 2010, the Scottish economy struggled out of recession, with growth of 0.1%.

The data shows construction sector grew strongly, with a 6.2% increase between July and September.

The service sector also expanded by 0.1%, but production fell by 0.3%.

Scotland lagged behind the rest of the UK, where the overall growth rate was 0.7% in the same period.

The Scottish government said growth was driven by the construction sector, which “outperformed” the UK rate of 3.9% over the quarter.

Welcoming the GDP increase, finance secretary John Swinney said: “The 0.5% growth we saw in the third quarter of last year builds on Scotland’s strong performance in the second quarter of 2010, which saw the highest growth rate since the second quarter of 2006.

“We have seen strong growth in construction for three consecutive quarters, outperforming the UK as a whole – evidence that we were absolutely right to take decisive and comprehensive action through our economic recovery plan, stimulating investment by bringing forward capital projects and delivering an infrastructure programme worth £3.3bn in 2010/11.”

In the second quarter of 2010 GDP rose by 1.3% over the previous three months.

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Recruiting for killer hotel workers

The head of Travelodge has told Sky News he has no concerns at all about recruiting three convicted female killers in a single York hotel.

Speaking on Jeff Randall Live, Travelodge chief executive Guy Parsons said his firm was one of several employers to take on ex-offenders under a long-running Government scheme.

“For me of paramount importance is the safety of our customers and staff,” he said.
“If I thought there were any issues then we absolutely would not be running this scheme.”

Newspaper reports earlier revealed that the three women – two of whom work as cleaners and one as a receptionist – had applied for the jobs while serving sentences at Askham Grange women’s prison.

Of the women, one was convicted over the death of her ex-partner, another over the killing of her husband and the other over a fatal assault on her father.

According to the Ministry of Justice, the women had been extensively assessed and deemed to be of minimal risk of reoffending.

“At the point where they are put forward for employment by us they have been given the all-clear by all the authorities and given training,” said Mr Parsons.

However, the hotel chain head did admit to Sky’s Jeff Randall that he would be unhappy about employing a rapist or child sex offender, which would “not be appropriate for a hotel”.

The revelations of the ex-offender scheme at the Piccadilly York Travelodge come as the firm announced it was to build 35 hotels in the UK and Spain in 2011.

That expansion will create 700 new jobs in Britain next year.

“The vast majority of those jobs will go to people who have been on the long-term unemployed register. That’s actually where we tend to get most of our employees from,” said Mr Parsons.

By 2025, Travelodge says it hopes to have more than doubled the number of hotels it operates in Britain to 1,100.

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Work Experience is Key to Landing Jobs

suite and boxing glovesJob-hunting graduates in the UK need work experience to stand a chance of getting a job with many employers, a recruitment survey suggests. This article is taken from the BBC.

The High Fliers’ graduate jobs survey, based on 100 leading employers, shows a more optimistic jobs market, with 9% more vacancies than last year.

But the survey says the graduate jobs market has still not recovered to its pre-recession levels.

This will mean a “highly competitive” recruitment round, says the survey.

The survey – The Graduate Market in 2011 – suggests a jobs market that is showing signs of improvement, but has yet to return to the buoyant levels of 2007, before the financial crisis.

Foot in the door
Graduate vacancies slumped through 2008 and 2009 – but despite growing confidence among employers there are on average 6% fewer graduate starter jobs than four years ago.

University leavers are also competing against a record number of graduates – 50,000 more than in 2007 – and the survey suggests that employers are looking for more than academic qualifications.

In particular, work experience is seen as a way of improving job chances.

One in three entry-level jobs are being taken by graduates who have already worked for a company – such as in work placements.

The importance of this link is even greater in investment banking and law firms, where half the recruits have been former work experience students.

“In this highly-competitive graduate jobs market, new graduates who’ve not had any work experience during their time at university have little or no chance of landing a well-paid job with a leading employer, irrespective of the university they’ve attended or the academic results they achieve,” said Martin Birchall, managing director of High Fliers Research.

For those graduates who find a job, average starting salaries have remained the same as last year, £29,000. But there are wide differences between employment sectors.

The average for those entering public sector jobs is £22,000, but those entering investment banks have an average starting salary of £42,000 and law firms have an average starting pay rate of £38,000.

Universities Minister David Willetts said: “Whilst we welcome signs of an improvement, the job market remains competitive for new graduates, as it does for everyone, and graduates need to work hard to maximise their chances of success. However, a degree remains a good investment in the long term.”

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