Published on in Responsible Business

Since its launch in September last year I have been proud to support the Department of Work and Pension’s See Potential Campaign, which looks to support people from disadvantaged backgrounds into work.

The campaign is about giving people an opportunity to prove themselves and contribute to the success of companies like Fujitsu.  Harnessing a person’s talent is good for the employer, for the individual and ultimately for the economy.  So it is important that we do not overlook talent right across the workforce.

A person’s history and the challenges they might have faced in their past should not be a barrier to a good career.  An individual’s talents and their drive to succeed are the key factors that determine the impact that they have, which is why Fujitsu is proud to support the DWP’s See Potential campaign.

It is why I am pleased that Fujitsu will be playing a leading role in the next phase of this important initiative.  Next week Fujitsu will be hosting a See Potential Conference, with the Minister of State for Employment, Priti Patel, at our offices in Manchester.

The event will bring together companies from across the North of England and beyond to explore how companies can align opportunities with the talents of the entire workforce.

I am not saying there is a ‘one size fits all’ approach, but it is clear that an inclusive recruitment strategy that looks beyond stereotypes and considers an individual’s value, does bring real benefits to employers.

Fujitsu has followed this principle for several years and given managers the scope to be flexible to allow people from different backgrounds the opportunity to shine.  We have seen many of those individuals flourish within the business and play their part in the company’s success.

For example, our Service Desks in Manchester have worked alongside Job Centre Plus to expand our talent pool with a broader range of young people by providing work experience placements.

We have consistently been impressed by the diversity of skills and talent from those that carried out placements with us, and have gone on to recruit over half of them into full-time roles. Without helping them to enhance their CV, these people may have been overlooked. They were given the opportunity to demonstrate their value and they are now progressing within the company.

We support ‘Wakefield Works’, which went on tour last year and visited our Wakefield office. We spoke to local unemployed people about their experiences and offered CV advice in order to reignite their confidence in applying for jobs. It is really important to us to continue supporting local communities and offer roles which shouldn’t compromise on personal life.

As another example, the work we do at Warrington Print Centre aims to employ people from the local area into a permanent role. We have successfully rolled out our apprenticeship programme, which incorporates NVQ learning and learning at work.

Since 2011 over 50 NVQs have been undertaken by staff who have not taken any form of formal education. These are now helping staff to move to new roles as proof of commitment to significant self-development can be evidence showing the hiring manager that these staff do have the drive to develop themselves.

To make sure we can help people from all backgrounds, we are working with Brunel University to provide paid work experience to first year students, who are from underrepresented groups such as care leavers or from a low income/low participation of university area.

The objective is to help the students on the road to being ‘work ready’, and after following a successful pilot, the first cycle began on 13th January this year. We are hoping that this provides students with the ability to enter work confidently and have a higher performance in the workplace.

The most important aspect of this, is that this approach addressed a genuine business need that Fujitsu faced.  We have found that we were able to recruit a wider range of people that diversified the workforce and brought in new perspectives and skills.  This has been crucial in improving performance and has been a real business benefit.

The See Potential Conference which Fujitsu is hosting will hopefully inspire other companies to follow the same principles we do. See Potential is about giving people a chance, but it is also about what is good for business and utilising the talents of a wide range of potential employees is good for business.

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