Employers advised to look beyond academic qualifications

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Employers are being encouraged to consider a wider range of qualities when hiring people instead of only concentrating on academic qualifications
Employers are being encouraged to consider a wider range of qualities when hiring people instead of only concentrating on academic qualifications

A Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) organised fringe event, at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, was devoted to advising businesses how to make better hires without concentrating too heavily on academic qualifications.

Speaking at the CIPD event, Charlotte Hill, chief executive at charity Step Up to Serve, advised recruiters to consider “all the different ways people develop their skills through the activities they do rather than just focusing on work experience or examinations.”

Step Up to Serve aims to involve more young people in social action and is working with the CIPD to review how businesses could adapt their hiring guidelines in order to take a wider view.

Ian Peters, director of customer facing strategy at Centrica, also spoke at the event about his company’s hiring policy. “We do see strong candidates with interpersonal and leadership skills that are not necessarily developed through conventional education or work experience,” Peters commented.

The director said that his hiring managers now look for examples of volunteering during the recruitment stage. However, the employer does not treat volunteering as a must have because of the availability of this kind of experience and the ability of some to be able to undertake long periods of unpaid work.

Speaking at another Tory fringe event organised by Young Enterprise, Kevin Jenkins, managing director at Visa Europe UK and Ireland, said his company had launched a scheme for employing young people directly out of sixth form and places equal emphasis on academic and character skills.

“We assess people on aptitude, ability to communicate, interpersonal skills and resilience because essentially, when people land in the workplace, if they haven’t had the benefit of real world vocational experience in life, it’s going to feel like a very strange place,”
 Jenkins commented.

Read more on this subject: Are businesses losing faith in the British education system?http://hrreview.co.uk/analysis/analysis-recruitment/steff-humm-businesses-losing-faith-british-education-system/58723

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