Working Solutions Ludlow's Blog

Recruitment, HR + Training Consultancy

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Filling roles in Herefordshire

There is a lovely strapline on one of the Herefordshire websites that says:

“Here in Herefordshire, we’re far from your average English county”

Well we can proudly say:

“Here at Working Solutions we’re far from your average recruitment consultancy!”

Having been in business for nearly twenty years and operating from our offices in Ludlow we pride ourselves in running our company in a way that is contrary to many other recruitment businesses.

For many recruitment companies, sales targets and key performance indicators drive the business forward but these targets very often have little to do with their clients’ recruitment requirements and everything to do with increasing the agency’s profit margins.

We prefer to focus solely on one target:

“To find high calibre candidates for high calibre clients” – finding that in so doing we fill the vast majority of roles we are asked to match with the guarantee of repeat business due to the quality of the candidate being placed in the first place.

We are increasingly working with businesses in the Herefordshire area and have recently placed 4 high calibre candidates with locally and also nationally recognised companies where the quality of our candidates has been gratefully acknowledged.

Perhaps you are looking for a recruitment partner that is not driven by targets having no bearing on your business but is driven by the desire to find high calibre candidates for your company? During these challenging economic times, getting the right people into the right posts will ensure you can weather the economic storms and forge ahead of your competitors as a thriving and prosperous Herefordshire business.

Why not let Working Solutions become your recruitment partner? We would love to work alongside you and provide staff that will make a real difference to your company!

Give Julia and Simon a ring on 01584 877677 and let’s see what we can accomplish together.

Simon Lambourne, Sales Director

Working Solutions (Mercia) Ltd

54 Broad Street, Ludlow



Tel: 01584 877677

Fax: 01584 877556



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Recruiting in the Engineering Sector

Recruiting for business is both a responsibility and a privilege, especially at a time when budgets are stretched. So when I received a call from an employer keen to find a highly skilled CAD Designer I was delighted – especially because it was from someone I highly respect in his industry. At the same time I knew he would want the best candidate available for his new business, starting on a salary below the national ‘going rate’. It would be a challenge I would enjoy!

This post was a fantastic opportunity. As a start-up business, the company were offering an environment for a Designer to grow with the company, allowing the scope to innovate within excellent working conditions.

CAD Design, however, is a specialist skill in great demand, and here in the UK there is a serious shortage of CAD Technicians able to meet the challenges of 21st century engineering. The average salary for a CAD Designer is competitive; a skilled CAD Engineer can expect to earn £40K to £50K a year. Yet while opportunities in engineering are plentiful, skilled graduates are not. A recent survey by the Bosch Group revealed that only 5% of 18 -24 year olds would consider engineering as a career.

So finding someone was always going to be tough, especially for an innovative fledgling business working in renewable energy, and requiring someone with a variety of interchangeable skills. The person specifications included: a track record of using 2 and 3D CAD to produce mechanical and technical architectural drawings; an understanding of electrical wiring and mechanical engineering theory; a strong interest in IT including selecting the best CAD software for the company and overseeing its installation; the practical skills to roll up sleeves in the field and measure up the space where the equipment would be sited; the ability and willingness to use a hammer and spanners… all this plus creativity, self-motivation and bags of imagination!

Many phone calls and emails later, I had sourced five fantastic candidates for the job, and I am now delighted to report that one of them has proved to be the ideal candidate. The company are, in fact, so pleased with him that they offered him £7K more than the graduate salary he is currently earning.

So the moral of the story seems to be, that we need to invest in what are known as STEM skills (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) for the future. Sadly, the government have recently decided to downgrade the schools based Engineering Diploma for 14 to 19 year-olds from its current value of five GCSEs to one. To keep up with the emerging economies skills base, much more will need to be done for the UK to compete.

In the meantime, I can highly recommend CAD design as a career path!

Visit for more information about Engineering Careers.

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Is there an issue in this area about Attraction and Retention of specialised (well-paid) Jobs and Talent?

I received an email last week from a man who I’d paid to produce a company video a couple of years ago. He describes his specialities as: Branding & Identity; Communications & Marketing; Product Development Strategy; Post-Production Technology; 4K, 2K & HD Post Production; Web Media and Television.
He told me he had given up on this area for work although he still lives in South Herefordshire. Intrigued, I asked him to summarise why with such talent he wasn’t able to find a market for his services.
Here is his reply: “Not sure I could write it in a single paragraph. It boils down to different market conditions between The Marches and major business centres. The Marches seems to be far more focussed on price rather than quality, so there is little demand for high value, high price services. I could drop my prices to below half what I charge elsewhere and still not get a sniff. Indeed, there is a really strong demand for ‘free’. This is fine but gets galling when it never translates into paid.

I went to a tradeshow in Amsterdam last September, as a favour to Dolby. I came back with two job offers, one of which I have taken as worldwide Director of Product Management for a leading provider of production tools in film and television. 4 days (well paid) and two job offers versus 2 years and frankly bugger all ‘at home’, for someone of my background and skills. I am not saying that businesses in The Marches are wrong, just that their model and my skills and experience don’t seem to match.”

As a Recruiter working in South Shropshire I am always fascinated by the relationship between pay, conditions, job opportunities and business success and I would love to hear whether business people and companies feel held back by lack of talented individuals or finding a local market for their services.

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Additional Paternity Pay

Under new regulations, mothers of babies born on or after 3 April 2011 will now be able to transfer up to six months of their maternity leave to the baby’s father when they return to work. But a new survey from the charity Working Families has revealed that 40% of employers have yet to prepare for the change in legislation.

Read on to make sure your business is up to date with the latest changes to maternity and paternity leave.

If a new father meets the following criteria and his partner is returning or has returned to work, he could have the right to additional paternity leave and additional paternity pay:
* he is the father of a child due on or after 3 April 2011
* his wife or partner is pregnant and due to give birth to a child on or after 3 April 2011
* he and his partner receive notification that they are matched with a child for adoption on or after 3 April 2011
* his spouse, civil partner or partner (including same-sex relationships) is adopting a child from overseas and the child enters Great Britain on or after 3 April 2011.

Additional paternity leave (APL)

APL can extend for a maximum of 26 weeks. If the father’s partner has returned to work, the leave can be taken between 20 weeks and one year after their child is born or placed for adoption. A father may be entitled to receive additional statutory paternity pay during his partner’s statutory maternity pay, maternity allowance or adoption pay period. To qualify for additional paternity leave the father must hold employee status.

To qualify for leave, he must have been with their employer for at least 26 weeks’ by the qualifying week either:
* the end of the 15th week before the start of the week when the baby is due
* the end of the week they are notified that they are matched with a child (adopting within the UK)
* the date the child enters Great Britain for the purposes of adoption (adopting from overseas).

Fathers must also still be employed with that employer the week, which runs Sunday to Saturday, before they want to start their leave.

Fathers must be taking the time off to care for the child and child’s mother or adopter who herself must also :
* have been entitled to one or more of the following – statutory maternity leave, statutory maternity pay, maternity allowance or statutory adoption leave or pay
* have returned to work and ceased claiming any relevant pay.

Fathers do, of course, continue to be an employee throughout any period of additional paternity leave, unless the contract of employment is expressly ended by either party.

Additional statutory paternity pay (ASPP) ASPP is paid if the father takes additional paternity leave and is not working for the purposes of caring for the child, during his partner’s statutory maternity pay, maternity allowance or statutory adoption pay period. The rate for 2011/12 is £128.73 a week or 90% of average weekly earnings, if that is less.

To qualify for additional statutory paternity pay, the father must be an employed earner i.e. working for someone who is liable to pay the employer’s share of class 1 National Insurance contributions and also earning at least the lower earnings limit for National Insurance contributions in force at the end of the qualifying week.

The mother or adopter must have:
* returned to work and
* stopped claiming any relevant pay, with at least two weeks of unexpired statutory pay period remaining.

Additional statutory paternity pay is only payable during the period of the mother’s 39 week maternity allowance, statutory maternity or statutory adoption pay period.

Fathers may also have the right to take unpaid additional paternity leave if they meet the eligibility criteria for leave but not pay. All additional paternity leave taken after the end of the statutory maternity pay, maternity allowance or statutory adoption pay period is however unpaid.

Ordinary paternity leave (OPL) and ordinary paternity pay (OPP) The existing statutory entitlement for the two weeks leave taken around the time of birth/adoption will not change

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We are busy supplying Temps!

With widespread uncertainty in the business community, the use of Temporary staff (Temps) is thriving. Here at Working Solutions we interview all our Temps and are aware of their skills AND their reliability! Temps are keen to work and can quickly adapt to our clients’ needs. The trial period with no commitment mean a temporary assignment is a great way to find out if someone fits your company’s culture.

We test our secretarial and admin staff for typing, spelling and numeracy skills, and always take references. We supply staff in a wide area from our Ludlow offices.

Everyone in business agrees that their greatest resource is people.
Recruiting the right people is a major problem for many small businesses. Getting the wrong person can be very expensive and damaging.

The advantage of using a recruitment agency is that we have people on our books whose strengths and expertise we know. Previous employers will talk openly to us, knowing that we are a truly independent party and candidates are much more likely to be honest about their real objectives.

A flexible workforce can give you an edge on your competitors and allow you to streamline your services and get on with running your business!